Please upgrade your browser for the best possible experience.

Chrome Firefox Internet Explorer

A Practical Guide to Pyro Powertechs

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes > Vanguard / Powertech
A Practical Guide to Pyro Powertechs

exphryl's Avatar

05.10.2012 , 02:51 PM | #1
A Practice Guide to the playstyle of this spec.

Table of Contents
Section A. - Intro
Section B. - What Is Pyro, and Why should I Spec It?
Section C. - Bounty Hunter Resource Management
Section D. - Acronyms
Section E. - Powertech Pyro Mechanics
Section F. - Talent Specs
Section G. - Specific Talent Discussions
Section H. - Thermal Detonator vs Non-Thermal Detonator
Section I. - Basic Rotations and Burst Potential
Section J. - Gearing Recommendations
coming soon - Section k. - One on One Strategies
Section L. - Countering the Pyro semi-added 5/12/12
Section M. - Leveling as Pyro Added 5/15/12
Section N. - Specific Warzone Strategies as Pyro

Section A. - Intro

Hello good citizens of the Powertech Community.

I decided to take some time and throw together a guide for Pyro Powertech in PvP. I will add a PvE Section later so have no fear, you folks are not forgotten.

This will be an ever evolving guide. By that I mean this information will change depending what the community brings forth and when they articulate better ways of doing things. Point of this thread is to compile all that information in one snappy little guide for people to review, read, inspect, print out and put on their fridge.

Also, this guide provides Options as a lot of the play-style is dependent on the player themselves, which in the appropriate sections I'll explain and highlight for you.

There will also be a few opinions added to various talents, trees, abilities on what I (or others) feel best as a whole.

Anyways hope you enjoy this. Feel free to comment or add to this, or ask a question and somebody from the community here will answer you.


Section B. - What Is Pyro and Why should I Spec It?

Pyrotech is a pure damage tree, shared between Bounty Hunters, but superior with Powertechs due to some accessible talents Mercenaries do not have. It is not, as commonly stated, a burst spec. If it was just a burst spec it would not be doing such high DPS in parses in a PvE Environment. Pyro is, as I put it, a "High Damage Spec, with Extreme Burst Potential".

For the most part, it is a pseudo-Melee build, requiring maximum efficiency at the 10m Range on an opponent. However, due to some abilities it provides some relatively nice ranged capabilities as well so in the event you are knocked back, pushed away, or running to a target you can keep pressure and damage at a near 100% up time to some degree.

In a PvP Environment, unlike some other Melee counterparts, and to a lesser extent Advanced Prototype, Pyro players will have no way to remove themselves from combat or escape a battle in a timely manner. The build becomes a kill first, run later, type approach. This can be troublesome and near frustrating if you are constantly getting focused so be sure that's the type of survival you are OK with before playing this spec. On the upside, the damage you do put out, in my opinion, far out weighs the low survivability of the build.

Section C. - Bounty Hunter Resource Management Refresher

The resource management all Bounty Hunters are stuck with is Heat. An ill-thought out resource system that to maximize it's effectiveness requires a lot of micromanagement of what abilities to use when. This does hold true more so in PvE as you'll have opportunity to use your basic attack (rapid shots), while in PvP you'll find yourself Overheating rather consistently. With that said, the system works like this:

Current Heat
0-40 5 Dissipation per second
40-80 3 Dissipation per second
80-100 2 Dissipation per second

So what does this mean? In simple terms, the more heat you have, the longer it takes to go away. Staying at the Sub-40 Range provides the most optimal heat management, and also use of Rapid Shots to keep it around that level. Depending if Vent Heat is available, or Thermal Override, or if you have a PPA Proc going over that will be OK to do. Long term though, if you stay in most of the fight at the 40+ Range you will hurt your damage potential greatly.

The few GCDs of casting Rapid Shots, while keeping heat lower, will provide a greater increase than patiently waiting for your heat to go down to use a single ability.

Section D. - Acronyms

If you wish to know the Acronyms commonly used expand this list. Otherwise continue reading. This is a copy of Dardack's list on the sticky, but I like to keep things in one place as much as possible.


Section E. - Powertech Pyro Mechanics

Lets go ahead and talk about basic Pyro Mechanics and some explanation on the abilities used.

Cylinder Used - Combustible Gas Cylinder:
There will be little reason to ever switch your cylinder from something other than CGC. What CGC Provides is the potential to add a Burning Tech dot to the opponent via our Rapid Shots or Unload at 10% Application Rate. Also talented it provides a 100% chance to add that dot via Flame Burst.

Prototype Particle Accelerator with Superheated Rail:

With 1.2, Bioware added an internal cooldown (ICD), to PPA. What this did was made it so we could no longer get chain Railshots off on an opponent, lowering our burst potential. The ICD is at 6 seconds. What PPA Does is it makes the next RS casted free. With Superheated Rail, it actually vents 8 heat each time you get this proc, it is our only soruce of built in heat management outside of the normal heat dissipation.

PPA has a 45% Chance to proc with your Flameburst, and a 60% Chance to proc with Rocket Punch

You can get a PPA Proc even if you never Railshotted before. (We'll talk about some rotations later). You can also sit on a PPA Proc so if you were to Railshot at the end of a PPA, you have a chance to refresh it on your next attack. Normally this isn't the best idea but in some situations it allows better heat management.

Railshot Armor Penetration:

Railshot is the strongest attack a Pyro has available to themselves. With access to 3 point puncture in the AP Tree, this will stack with the 30% Super Heated Rail Provides (if target is burning) to effectively give you 90% Armor Penetration on your Rail Shots.


All Powertechs have access to both a Single Target and AOE Taunt. These are off the GCD and can be used without hindering your rotation or anything of that nature. My recommendation is use these with a bit of intelligence, while the protection bonus is great, keeping these off GCD just for the fact of keeping it off the GCD will hurt more than it helps. I specifically save the AOE for well, AOE and the ST when I know a healer is getting attack or another high dps might be getting focused.

Section F. - Talent Specs

One huge benefit of being a Pyro, is you have flexibility to play with your talents and still be as effective as the next. I'll list a few here for you to choose from:

1. 4/6/31 -
2. 7/3/31 -
3. 7/3/31 With Better Heat Management -
4. 8/6/27 -
5. More to Come

1. 7/3/31 -
2. Will add more as I finish the PvE Section

Section G. - Specific Talent Discussions

You probably are looking at some of those talent builds and wondering why I didn't take certain things, that at first glance seem like they might be decent. Or you have a question about why something is there.

Integrated Cardio Package: More endurance isn't a bad thing right? Well, it is when it's only 3% and takes 3 skill points to get there. At 20K HP this is just shy over 500 more HP. It's not a worthwhile investment for ANY spec of Powertech.

Degauss - Oh great, you can break a root! Well, yes and no. Degauss is a one time thing with your energy shield, once it breaks any snare or root can be reapplied. As a downside as well this talent forces you to use energy shield situation-ally, when you should be using it any chance you get to survive longer. If this talent ever provides immunity to snares and roots it would be great, for now it's useless.

Gyroscopic Alignment Jets - Most of the PvP Builds have this over Vent Heat. In a long PvP Battle, with the amount of CC that is out there you'll get better heat management out of it. It's always running. You can vent a large amount of heat in the minute and a half you normally would have to wait for vent heat. With the PPA Change as explained earlier, we do not get constant RS's anymore to help keep our heat low, in PvP this talent greatly assists there.

Energy Rebounder - This is the only thing we have to keep our survivability up. In most battles it will keep the skill down to just a minute cooldown which is very nice.

Automated Defenses - Another great talent, but best used in PvE. Reason being, quite frankly, it's hard to pull 2 more points out to fill out that talent (unless you are doing 5/3/33 for instance). It's not a talent you take for Kolto Overload, but you take it for Thermal Sensor Override so you'll have more opportunity at a free ability to use.

Bursting Flame - A staple of the Pyrotech Tree and what enables Flameburst to add the dot from CGC to it. The *huge* DPS Benefit of this is the fact it adds the first dot tick instantly. So basically everytime you Flameburst, you get the first dot tick of CGC with it as well. Oh by the way, this dot can crit around 1K at times also.

Section H. - Thermal Detonator vs Non-Thermal Detonator

This is always a debate that comes up between builds that have this talent and builds that do not. My personal preference is with TD Builds, however, a Non-TD Build is in fact Viable.

The thing about TD is it gets benefit from the Surge talent for 30% more damage, something Explosive Dart does not. This results in some cases 4.5k-6K TD Crits depending on the target and what buffs you have available. ED will never achieve those numbers. The benefit to this is because our chain burst was lowered a bit with the patch, TD provides a great filler in between PPA Procs to keep high damage attacks on the target.

Catch is though, if you do not keep TD off cool down you lower the value of it greatly. If you aren't using it as much as you should, perhaps the Non-TD Builds WILL be better for you as you get a bit more base stats and crit as a result.

Another aspect of TD is it does share the cool down with ED. In a situation where you are sure to be AOE'n a group down, using ED for the AOE of that as well is a great adding to DFA's damage.

I would like to add though, in a sustained battle (PvE) the builds are VERY Comparable. Coming down to which ones gets luckier with crits.

Section I. - Basic Rotations and Burst Potential

The opening for a Pyrotech is fairly simple in practice, considering you have Thermal Override off cooldown.

TO - IM - TD- RS - FB - RS (If PPA Procs)

This leaves you back to starting at 0 heat since with the two RS Procs and using TO at the start, while staying below 40 heat, the dissipation left you at 0 which is great.

IM is aways great to use to open up at Range so you can get a RS off. However, it is very heat intensive so using it constantly will overheat you quickly, it's recommended to save it for the range or if TO is available. Otherwise rely on FB to add the burning dot you require for the rest of your abilities.

So what happens now that your PPA is on it's 6 second Internal Cooldown.

If Thermal Detonator is Available - Use it
If Rocket Punch is Available, AND ICD is still active - Save it
Otherwise use Flameburst.

The reason you want to save Rocket Punch, is it provides a higher chance at a PPA proc. Plus, the damage of it is LESS than a FB/CGC combo that occurs. It is better off used to proc PPA and keep higher burst than to pretend you are Ryu about to Dragon Punch Bison.

To further give an example the rotation with heat management, in best case proc scenario. (I tried to capture the heat the second I got the ability off so it may be a point or two off but just to keep things general)

TO - IM - TD - RS - FB - PPA RS > 0 Heat - FB - FB - RP - PPA RS > 21 Heat - FB - TD - FB - PPA RS > 43 Heat

So in that time you managed to get 13 attacks off and you are just now breaking the 40 Heat thresh-hold. Not to shabby. Don't forget thoguh, like I stated this is best case proc scenario. If you are not getting PPA Procs your heat will continually rise to the point of overheating. It is not normally feasible to Rapid Shot in PvP against an opponent or you risk dying, or you risk not doing enough damage and they can out heal you.

In a PvE Environment, after the first PPA Proc I like to Rapid Shot before I use any other ability (Or twice depending where my heat is at). This allows your heat to dissipate as well as run the timer on the ICD a bit to provide greater proc rate.

Lets revisit that opening rotation in regards to burst, I'll use relative numbers of what I personally see (Yours will vary based on gearing) but just so you can have an idea of max burst potential of this class. This little diagram is considering a 100% crit rate because you sacrificed a goat to an RNG god somewhere.

[0 Secs] TO + IM
[1.5 Secs] TD
Use your Cooldowns, Explosive Fuel, Adrenals. TD will be affected by the cooldowns here if it's already on the target.
[3 Secs] Rail Shot (5K Damage)
[4.5 Secs] Flame Burst + CGC Dot Tick (2K+800 Damage)
[5.5 Secs] TD Explodes for 4.5K Damage
[6 Secs] PPA Proc'd RS for 5K Damage + Refresh of CGC Dot Tick
[7.5 Secs] Flame Burst + CG Dot Tick (2k+800 Damage)

So this is why people hate us in PvP. Because in 7 and a half seconds you just managed to do over 20K Damage to your opponent. Keeping in mind in actual practice you will rarely get that many crits, even with cooldowns. But it *is* what is possible.

Section J. - Gearing Recommendations

You can do a lot with your gear here to fit how you want to play. The basics you should worry about revolve around two stats.

Surge to 75%
Crit(Ranged) to 25%

Shoot for those. From there you now have a decision to make. There are two paths you can take, one is stacking Power on most of your mods or enhancements, the other is getting a balance between Crit and Power.

My personal preference is stacking power. This gives your base abilities a bit more damage, but most importantly it makes your burst with cooldowns unmatched and you'll get the most of those.

Crit however, isn't technically a bad stat to have either. It helps emulate our cooldown burst more frequently throughout a warzone while our cooldowns are down. Regular attacks hit a bit weak, it's the crits where we make up all of our damage at. It's best to just play a bit in each and figure out what you like best. If you are having lower performance with one after a few warzones, try the other. If you do better with that, stick with it.

As far as armor sets, for Pyro, you should be looking at the Eliminators for the 15% Rail Shot Crit. Combat Tech (PVE) will provide 8% RS Damage, which due to the amount of RS you had prepatch, were great. Since they are not as common, having a higher chance at a crit so far, provides a higher dps gain in both PvE and PvP.

If you are looking to stack power, you'll want the War Hero Eliminator's Boots. These provide a high Power/Surge enhancement, as well as a power Mod. As a plus it's also the cheapest item we have to buy which makes it worthwhile.


More to come to this guide but I wanted to get this out to you guys for now.
E x p h r y l | <Exiled Disciples> Daragon Trail
| ---------- Want to see Pyro Burst Potential in 1.2? Watch This! -----------|
| Valor 90+ Powertech | |Thinking of Rolling a Pyro or Assault VG? Read this Guide |
|Guild Website | Youtube| Cassie - 50 Operative | Krelia - 50 Sorcerer|

exphryl's Avatar

05.10.2012 , 02:52 PM | #2
Section L. - Countering the Pyro (Work In Progress)

I will eventually write out a bunch of strategies for these classes in detail on how to beat us. But for now I'll simply grade the "trees" to the best of my knowledge on their survivability against us. (Vanish is not taken in to consideration here for OPs and Sins). Survivability for the healers simply entails if they can survive long enough for help to come and support them.


Arsenal: Bad
Bodyguard: Moderate
Pyrotech: Moderate

Annihiliation: Best
Carnage: Good
Rage: Moderate

Immortal: Bad
Vengence: Good
Rage: Moderate

Darkness: Best
Deception: Good
Madness: Moderate

Corruption: Bad
Lightning: Bad
Maddness: Good

Medicine: Best
Concealment: Good
Lethality: Moderate

Engineering: Best
Marksmanship: Good
Lethality: Moderate

Pyrotech: Even
Advanced Protoype: Moderate
Shield: Moderate

Section M. - Leveling as Pyro

A lot of players wish to flat out level as Pyro the entire way, which I whole-heartidly recommend. My personal preference is Shield but that is only due to the soloabiliy of Heroics. However, that is not to say Pyro lacks a lot. It just requires you to be more careful in the way you play.

Leveling Companions:

Your main companions will be Mako, Torian or Gault. Both Skadge and Blizz won't do much to help you as even geared out they go down pretty quickly without you being a healer.

I always preferred Mako, it allows a bit more wiggle room when fighting elites or champions. Both Torian and Gault are great companions, but on tougher encounters it becomes a "kill them before they kill you" mentality.

In the event you are fighting an elite the *easiest* way to manage your companion is have them open up on the target and use any defensive (or offensive) cooldown they have. When they drop to around 30% or so use your taunt. Do not attack until this point, it gives you a good amount of free damage on the target before it starts beating your face in. Otherwise after that just damage it normally.

If you are using Mako, be sure to uncheck any of her damaging abilities. While she'll still take a pop shot at the target occasionally, she'll cast her heals more frequently as her GCDs aren't bogged down by casted damage abilities.

Leveling Specs:

There are a few ways you can level your character. I'll post one of the ways here, for every 10 levels so you can get an idea of what works out really well. I'm keeping these builds mainly PvE orientated from a leveling perspective.

Level 20:
Allocation Order: Burning Gas > Iron Fix > Superheated Gas > Sweltering Heat > Incendiary Missile

Level 30:
Allocation Order: Superheated Rail > Gyroscopic Alignment Jets >Prototype Particle Accelerator > Rapid Venting > Firebug
Note: If PvP Replace Rapid Venting with Infrared Sensors

Level 40:
Allocation Order: Firebug > Rain Of Fire > Burnout > Automated Defenses > Thermal Detonator
Note: If PvP, replace Automated Defenses with Energy Rebounder

Level 50:
Allocation Order: Puncture > Rail Loaders > Prototype Burn Enhancers > Prototype Cylinders > Intimidation

If you noticed the final 50 Build does use a 4/6/31 set up. With your stats generally being so low, especially aim, you'll gain more from a 4/6/31 build than a 7/3/31 build.
E x p h r y l | <Exiled Disciples> Daragon Trail
| ---------- Want to see Pyro Burst Potential in 1.2? Watch This! -----------|
| Valor 90+ Powertech | |Thinking of Rolling a Pyro or Assault VG? Read this Guide |
|Guild Website | Youtube| Cassie - 50 Operative | Krelia - 50 Sorcerer|

exphryl's Avatar

05.10.2012 , 05:54 PM | #3
(reserved for the offchance of needing a third post once guide is complete)
E x p h r y l | <Exiled Disciples> Daragon Trail
| ---------- Want to see Pyro Burst Potential in 1.2? Watch This! -----------|
| Valor 90+ Powertech | |Thinking of Rolling a Pyro or Assault VG? Read this Guide |
|Guild Website | Youtube| Cassie - 50 Operative | Krelia - 50 Sorcerer|

FaceShindu's Avatar

05.11.2012 , 02:42 AM | #4
Been looking forward to this thread for a while.
Definitely on my subs list.
Money, Hoes & Clothes. All a Hunter Knows
MarloLord Calypho

Enutie's Avatar

05.11.2012 , 09:12 AM | #5
Great infomation, helped alot for me, keep it up

Enutie's Avatar

05.11.2012 , 09:34 AM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by FaceShindu View Post
Been looking forward to this thread for a while.
Definitely on my subs list.
Sorry for being ignorant, but how do you subscripe?

NVM i used the power of the force to see the big botten at the buttom of the page

uzairzaidi's Avatar

05.11.2012 , 09:54 AM | #7
Good job. Really appreciate all that you do for the community.
Tomb of Freedon Nadd - WARMONGERS
50 Powertech - Imperialtrooper

ShiroRX's Avatar

05.11.2012 , 10:17 AM | #8
I admire your dedication to helping people play. Pretty much every other dps PT and VG on my server should come here.
Sombrah - Zabrak Stoßtrupp
The Bastion

Hoopi's Avatar

05.11.2012 , 03:01 PM | #9
Nice work Exphryl, appreciate the effort.
Sajuuk - Powertech
< Kyr'am Prudii >
Legions of Lettow

Cempa's Avatar

05.13.2012 , 12:13 AM | #10



When at Range


If you engage mid fight a target within 10m and TO is on CD, skip IM?
“When I left you, I was but the learner, now I am the master.”