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Shield Tech Powertech PvP Guide

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes > Vanguard / Powertech
Shield Tech Powertech PvP Guide

Xancath's Avatar


Xancath
01.03.2017 , 05:42 PM | #1
Last updated 01/05/17


Why Play a Powertech? Why Shield Tech?

"But Xancath! Powertech's aren't performing well! Therefore by PvP forum logic they are not only worthless, but the most useless class ever conceived!"

I won't deny that 5.0 has been almost entirely detrimental to both the performance and playstyle of the powertech class as a whole, but that doesn't mean you should turn away from them entirely. Perhaps you would rather play something you enjoy, rather than something that performs well. Perhaps you abhor the notion of playing the "fotm" class, and as a hipster take great pride in being the only powertech within a 100m radius. Perhaps you live in a cold part of the world, and the flame attacks of the powertech help you get through the winter months.

Equipment and Modifications (gearing)


You should aim for...
  • All b-type lethal mods
  • All discipline-type enhancements
  • All fortitude augments
  • Adept (power/critical) ear piece and implants
  • 1 mastery proc DPS relic and either A) defense proc tanking relic or B) power proc DPS relic
  • Shield offhand / generator offhand depending on personal preference (explained below)

It may seem counter-intuitive for a tank role to be gearing for quazi-DPS so allow me to explain.

Shields have limited effectiveness in the face of high critical rates
Because of SWTOR's roll system, an attack is determined to either be a critical hit or a normal one BEFORE it is determined whether said attack is blocked or not blocked, in the event of a critical hit the shield is bypassed entirely. Given that majority of players either have high critical rates via equipment or through talents, shield rating and absorption is highly devalued. *NOTE: In the past when it was possible to stack equipment with solely shield/absorb it was debated whether or not tanks in pvp should stack said gear or still use DPS equipment, but now it is essentially a no-brainer.
Defense has limited effectiveness in the face of enemy player attacks
Only a small percentage of attacks can be dodged (defense) in PvP by virtue of most attacks being of the force or tech variety. It has been estimated that only roughly 25% of damage in PvP makes up the dodgeable category, greatly devaluing this stat.
Endurance is the only defensive statistic which increases your survivability in PvP against any form of damage, in any given situation
Whether tech, force, physical or ranged, endurance will increase the amount of time it takes for you to die at a greater rate than any other stat. In addition, stacking endurance means our shoulder cannon utility (if taken) and adrenaline rush are more potent as they are based on your maximum health.

Regarding the shield / generator option...
It's highly debated whether to use a shield or generator in PvP. While I've already pointed out that shielding has limited effectiveness in the game mode, there are a number of key talents that benefit from shielding which affect heat management, heat screen generation and various talents that improve absorption. It's also worth considering that while devalued, the shield slot alone provides a 20% chance to shield and 20% shield absorption rating which is no slouch even in the face of a not insignificant amount of tech power. Ultimately the choice is up to the user, and is open for debate in this thread.

Utilities

In this section I'll discuss my thoughts on what I consider viable choices for the role, rather than outright pick them for you.

Skillful
  • Iron Will: One of the strengths of this class is it's mobility by virtue of a potentially beefed up Hydraulic Overrides (with multiple utilities focused on the ability), if you plan on taking the other utilities for it you should probably take this one. It's also worth noting the value of reducing the cooldown of your CC breaker.
  • Gyroscopic Allignment Jets: While our discipline does not really have heat management issues, it may be a valuable choice if you find yourself leaning towards heavy use of flame sweep or if you use a generator instead of a shield.
  • Suppressive Tools: As I'll mention below, throwing a flame sweep out on a group of foes is a great way of spreading the healing debuff (via the talent in our discipline) and increasing the pressure on enemy healers. Adding a slow to your already frequent use of the ability is something you may consider, but it's not the primary reason flame sweep is used.
  • Engulfing Flames: While a tempting choice for our activities in PvP which employ frequent use of the ability, the point of using flame sweep is to spread either the slow or healing debuff, not it's lackluster damage. Consider it if you're overly keen on AoE damage, but it's not something I frequent.
Masterful
  • Pneumatic Boots: It's worth noting that this does not function OUT of combat, only IN combat. A worthwhile utility if you're interested in objective-based play in regular warzones, and still useful besides if you find yourself having difficulty sticking to your targets.
  • Sonic Rebounder: Easily one of the more unique utilities we bring to the group table, stronger still if the RNG gods have favoured you with a 4pc set bonus. Considering our frequent use of Sonic Missle it's difficult to pass up this utility. A very strong choice.
  • Quell: Aside from your role of protecting your teammates, you'll be harassing the enemy healer and this utility improves your ability to do this. Locking down the healer is key to applying pressure as a tank in PvP, a worthwhile utility if you want them to hate you a little more.
Heroic
  • Adaptable Assailant: The immobilize effect on grapple is nice but the real purpose of this utility is the group-wide speed boost (on a much shorter cooldown than that of Marauders/Sentinels). Especially valuable if you're interested in regular warzones (huttball in particular), a difficult pick otherwise.
  • Torque Boosters: If you're taking the other utilities that boost the ability then this is a pretty straightforward pick. On it's own however you should probably consider the other options.
  • Mutilating Shards: A fairly long cooldown, but a VERY powerful AoE slow (75% for 15s is outrageous) in it's own right. A definite pick for objective-based play (regular warzones) and a useful utility for peeling otherwise.
  • Enhanced Paralytics: Worth considering if you take the Masterful utility reducing it's cooldown, otherwise I wouldn't bother.
  • Efficient Suit: One of our most powerful utilities in PvP, a secondary CC breaker is something that not very many classes have and it is a solid choice for any format of play.
Legendary
*ASIDE* If there's a questionable ingredient in the sausage of this class, it's this. We have easily one of the weakest sets of legendary utilities out of all the other classes. If there is a buff to be made to our class, it's probably going to be here.
  • Battering Ram: Probably a solid choice, unfortunately Jet Charge is currently bugged and may trigger the cooldown of the ability without moving you anywhere. Definitely not something you want to pick up.
  • Overdrive: The key utility if you've taken all the previous ones for the ability, especially of value in regular warzones where movement speed is elevated in importance to the point of being considered a virtue.
  • Pressure Overrides: Unfortunately the firestorm/searing wave aspect of this utility does not have it's range increased at all. Explosive fuel as a whole is in an awkward place for us as it's both an offensive and defensive utility. Potentially a solid pick now, definitely a solid pick when the bug (there are oh so many) is fixed.
  • Shield Cannon: Allows for the use of shoulder cannon as a defensive move rather than an offensive one. While it's not that powerful a self heal (3% x 4 over 6 seconds) it may be worth taking given our stacking of endurance and the "alternatives" in our legendary set of utilities.

Tactics and Strategy


This section primarily is going to be the focus of updates and the like as I'm able to organize my thoughts as well as acrue more experience playing the role.

Tactics


The Shield Tech Powertech "How to Play" guide, listed in order of importance...

1. Keep your teammates alive!
Your primary role in any warzone situation is to keep your allies alive and well, akin to a healer's role but achieved through different means. We accomplish this by...
  • Guard swapping: Guard isn't just something that's supposed to be placed on the healer and then forgotten, you need to be actively switching it's placement between the targets your enemy is focusing (with, admittedly, a priority on the healer if you're forced to choose).
  • Liberal use of taunting: Taunting is one of the key methods through which we fulfil our role. Your AoE taunt should be used whenever you can land it on a group of enemies attacking your allies and the single target taunt should be used ON CD on whichever is the most threatening target attacking the ally you've chosen to guard (and thus deemed most in-danger). The use of the "target of target" function is helpful in the facilitation of single target taunt use.
  • "Peeling": In the most plain terms, peeling refers to separating your enemies from your allies. We have powerful tools to do this, they include but are not limited to: Grapple, Translocate, Electro Dart, Carbonize, Jet Charge, Shatter Slug (with the utility) and Flame Sweep (with the utility).
2. Applying pressure to the enemy, in particular the healer.
Your secondary role is to keep the enemy team off balance, focusing specifically on hindering the activities of the enemy healer as they are the primary means of keeping your foes on their feet.
  • Interrupts!: The key to interrupting the healer's activities is through stopping his heals. You can do either with your direct interrupt Quell or your crowd control tools (Jet Charge, Electro Dart, etc). Consider saving your CC as a means of interrupting the enemy healer if he has made himself immune to interrupts (as mercenary/commando healers can do for example).
  • Debuffs: The 20% healing reduction and 5% damage dealt reduced debuffs inflicted by trauma (through Flame Burst and Flame Sweep) are very powerful and one of the key utilities brought to the match by any tank. You have the ability to spread this powerful debuff to the entire enemy team through the use of Flame Sweep in particular, so make liberal use of it! Consider that the healing debuff aspect of trauma lasts 6 seconds, you don't need to spam the ability to get good use out of it.
  • Damage: We don't have any burst as a tank, but our pressure through various AoE abilities (Firestorm in particular, if you can aim it's wonky hitbox) is nothing to laugh at. The number one method of increasing one's damage throughout a match is to increase one's uptime. That means you should never have a single GCD (global cooldown) that isn't being used. Even if you are at a distance from your enemy, consider using Rapid Shots or connecting with another target. Every second of damage adds up.
3. Tips and Tricks
These particulars aren't necessarily excluded from any of the above tasks, but I feel that it's important to go over them and stress anything that may not be immediately apparent.
  • Translocate: A quirky ability to be sure, it probably sees it's best use within huttball. You can either move yourself with the ball to someone who has advanced further up the goal line or do them the same favour. Outside of huttball it can be an effective (though situational) tool for peeling for your healer by first moving to a good location (preferably near an object that can be used to LoS or "Line of Sight") and using it on them. Alternatively, you could just use the ability to annoy fellow party members.
  • Jet Charge: Don't neglect the fact that the ability has an interrupt component to it, you needn't JUST use it as a gap closer. Timing your CC alongside utility-specialized Quell and Jet Charge can barrage your enemy healer with a chain of interrupts making things very difficult for them.
  • Focus Target: This isn't really Powertech specific and may come across as even patronizing to some but I can't stress enough the importance of familiarizing yourself with the focus target hotkey and modifiers. A significant portion of any match may demand that you focus your damage on a target OTHER than the healer while still interrupting their heals, utilizing the focus mechanic is key to this. Become comfortable with the focus modifier key in particular and you'll seriously improve your capability in a PvP scenario.
  • Defensive cooldown usage: Assuming the presence of a healer and an open line of communication, the most efficient usage of DCDs (defensive cooldowns) is not all at once but instead staggered if you're being pressured. Granted, this is heavily dependant on the situation but in general your goal is to increase your mitigation sufficiently to allow your healer to catch up on your health while at the same time minimizing your resource (DCD) usage. If you blow all your DCD's at once all the opposing team has to do is switch to a different target and then back to (a now DCD-less) you, leaving you exposed. As previously mentioned, there ARE very rare situations where using multiple DCD's at once is required however; If you're in a warzone and the ENTIRE team is focusing their attention on you odds are no healer will save you without serious aid on your end. Another situation is in a smaller group situation (say, a rated warzone) where you're already at low health and your healer is being controlled. Judging how many DCDs are required to keep you alive and maximizing how many you have available is a skill you develop over time and also largely dependant on your healer (or lack thereof).

Strategy

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Still a work in progress...
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Fun Fact: I wrote this guide while on a train to Ottawa
The Harbinger server

Venat - Powertech | Tsilok - Sorceror | Tsolus - Marauder |
Tharel - Operative

Kirpputori's Avatar


Kirpputori
01.04.2017 , 09:01 AM | #2
Quote: Originally Posted by Xancath View Post
*]Damage: We don't have any burst as a tank, but our pressure through various AoE abilities (Firestorm in particular, if you can aim it's wonky hitbox) is nothing to laugh at. The number one method of increasing one's damage throughout a match is to increase one's uptime. That means you should never have a single GCD (global cooldown) that isn't being used. Even if you are at a distance from your enemy, consider using Rapid Shots or connecting with another target. Every second of damage adds up.
I was really surprised how nicely it crits. Usual biggest hit is around 18-22k and i've even peaked at 37k And ofc if managing to hit like 5 people with it, thats pretty nice.
Also dps overall seem to be quite decent, i break 3k every now and then. (depends a lot on what kind of match it is)

Edit: Just had a wz with 4,4k dps though it was just full on dmg farming (well, still 1,2mil protection). Just shows that you can do some decent dps with it too

Xancath's Avatar


Xancath
01.05.2017 , 09:31 PM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by Kirpputori View Post
I was really surprised how nicely it crits. Usual biggest hit is around 18-22k and i've even peaked at 37k And ofc if managing to hit like 5 people with it, thats pretty nice.
Also dps overall seem to be quite decent, i break 3k every now and then. (depends a lot on what kind of match it is)

Edit: Just had a wz with 4,4k dps though it was just full on dmg farming (well, still 1,2mil protection). Just shows that you can do some decent dps with it too
Oh absolutely, firestorm can be very satisfying if you manage to hit multiple enemies with it. I just wish the hitbox wasn't so wonky.

As an aside, I've updated the guide a bit including a "Tips and tricks" section to tactics.
The Harbinger server

Venat - Powertech | Tsilok - Sorceror | Tsolus - Marauder |
Tharel - Operative

Exedong's Avatar


Exedong
01.07.2017 , 07:48 AM | #4
Really nicelly structured guide, I just have some questions regarding gearing as I gear my tank differently for yolos. How much bolstered health are u gettting with full fortitude? I run only 4x fortitude and feels like my dmg is ok, but sacrificing even more crit would be crucial. I also run a quite high alacrity which I like a lot for a tank spec so 4 of my enhancements are alac.

Xancath's Avatar


Xancath
01.07.2017 , 08:40 AM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by Exedong View Post
Really nicelly structured guide, I just have some questions regarding gearing as I gear my tank differently for yolos. How much bolstered health are u gettting with full fortitude? I run only 4x fortitude and feels like my dmg is ok, but sacrificing even more crit would be crucial. I also run a quite high alacrity which I like a lot for a tank spec so 4 of my enhancements are alac.
EDIT: Upon some more investigation actually it would appear that alacrity is valuable for us even in a "skank tank" setup from a pure damage point of view. Barrage enhancements are alacrity-based and have just as much endurance as discipline ones, if you want to stack alacrity go for those. In terms of how much? I would recommend you follow the ratio outlined under AP powertechs here http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=847112

Regarding my health bolstered I currently have 156k. Do note that I'm missing the 240 discipline enhancements as I've yet to find a crafter who can make one, but everything else is 240.
The Harbinger server

Venat - Powertech | Tsilok - Sorceror | Tsolus - Marauder |
Tharel - Operative

Baby-Girl's Avatar


Baby-Girl
01.12.2017 , 02:07 PM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by Xancath View Post
Last updated 01/05/17

Equipment and Modifications (gearing)

You should aim for...
  • All b-type lethal mods
  • All discipline-type enhancements
  • All fortitude augments
  • Adept (power/critical) ear piece and implants
  • 1 mastery proc DPS relic and either A) defense proc tanking relic or B) power proc DPS relic
  • Shield offhand / generator offhand depending on personal preference (explained below)

Fun Fact: I wrote this guide while on a train to Ottawa
Thank you for the comprehensive guide! In-spite of all of the negativity surrounding Vanguards in 5.0, I just can't seem to hang up the PVP gear and move onto a different class. I guess I just think they are still a fun and playable class. Traditionally I have run as a "pure" tank in PVP; however this is my first adventure into the "skank tank" realm so this guide is wicked helpful.

With regards to the relics, can you tell me the name of the relics you are referring to? There has been some discussion about which relics are actually usable and proc in PVP so I am curious of the particular ones you recommend.

Also, next time you are the train to Ottawa *wave hello* to me as you pass Kingston!
The Abrek Legacy
Maliha (Commando DPS) - Luijizka (Vanguard Tank)
Sthenoh (Shadow) - Tresin (Guardian)
The Shadowlands

Xancath's Avatar


Xancath
01.16.2017 , 12:43 AM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Baby-Girl View Post
Thank you for the comprehensive guide! In-spite of all of the negativity surrounding Vanguards in 5.0, I just can't seem to hang up the PVP gear and move onto a different class. I guess I just think they are still a fun and playable class. Traditionally I have run as a "pure" tank in PVP; however this is my first adventure into the "skank tank" realm so this guide is wicked helpful.

With regards to the relics, can you tell me the name of the relics you are referring to? There has been some discussion about which relics are actually usable and proc in PVP so I am curious of the particular ones you recommend.

Also, next time you are the train to Ottawa *wave hello* to me as you pass Kingston!
The 234 ilvl relics are the highest ones that can be bought and used in pvp, all of the iokath ones are pve only (at least those that are craftable/tradeable). I've seen people in trade link the 242 "legendary" relics and they WERE useable in pvp, it's important to note though that these only drop from command rank tier 3 and at an EXTREMELY low chance.

I'll be sure to give a wave when I pass by the next time haha, both my eldest sisters went to Queens.
The Harbinger server

Venat - Powertech | Tsilok - Sorceror | Tsolus - Marauder |
Tharel - Operative

Nezyrworks's Avatar


Nezyrworks
01.16.2017 , 07:56 AM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Xancath View Post
Last updated 01/05/17


Why Play a Powertech? Why Shield Tech?
First of all, good guide mate!

Sorry for being an arse, but its missing the TOP Legendary utility Real the Rattle, which is an amazing 3rd stun you get. It simply is that good and can make peeling/control easier.

Couple things to consider:
  • Because of the number of MM Snipers+Carnage Mara DPS pairs, full endurance gear is a waste for TR IMO. Im actually going full skank on TR most of the time because of the extra damage i can put as a pressure.
  • PT tank can melt down the MM Sniper due to elemental AOE and offensively used Oilslick+sonic rebounder combo. It is a very viable strategy, when between peeling, guardswaps and targeted CC, you will use all your single traget stun+rebounder+Oil (most of the time), as an offensive measure, to create immence pressure on the sniper, who can't realy do anything about it. Focusing you means a DPS loss, and defense works well agaist all the white attacks, Oil+rebounder and two speced sungle target stuns are here to break the burst, while elemental attacks are doing the job against both entrench and evasion. To peel for your focused teamate from Mara use Real the Rattled grapple+RP combo, while still staying on the sniper. Pulling mara makes it easier to pop that Searing wave also. This is of course a TR strategy agaist one of the strongest teams: tankasin, carnagemara, MMsnip, and sorchealz.

Quote: Originally Posted by Xancath View Post
The 234 ilvl relics are the highest ones that can be bought and used in pvp, all of the iokath ones are pve only (at least those that are craftable/tradeable). I've seen people in trade link the 242 "legendary" relics and they WERE useable in pvp, it's important to note though that these only drop from command rank tier 3 and at an EXTREMELY low chance.

I'll be sure to give a wave when I pass by the next time haha, both my eldest sisters went to Queens.
If you havent read the PVP gearing thread so far: both 234 and 242 are not bolstering well in PVP. use only 242 mainhand and offhand barrels/hilts/armorings as this will be strictly a DPS increase. Otherwise go only 240 as the top gear as it is the highest properly bolstering gear. (242 is legendary meaning it will never be bolstered, and the small stat increase over 240 doesnt justify loss on the boster).
Meet the Pyro!

MixWeidner's Avatar


MixWeidner
01.16.2017 , 06:19 PM | #9
Did anyone test full tank gear for PvP?
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Baby-Girl's Avatar


Baby-Girl
01.17.2017 , 01:36 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by Nezyrworks View Post
First of all, good guide mate!

Sorry for being an arse, but its missing the TOP Legendary utility Real the Rattle, which is an amazing 3rd stun you get. It simply is that good and can make peeling/control easier.
  • Because of the number of MM Snipers+Carnage Mara DPS pairs, full endurance gear is a waste for TR IMO. Im actually going full skank on TR most of the time because of the extra damage i can put as a pressure.
Thank you for the utility tip! I wondered if anyone used that utility in PVP as it seemed like it could be a great way to keep sents/marauders out of the way of the healers for a short time or, pull the ball carrier back to reality.

You mention that endurance gear is a waste for TR and that you are going full skank tank. Can you share your approach to gearing? It would be appreciated as I would like to see what other mods etc folks are using om Vanguards post 5.0.

Cheers,
The Abrek Legacy
Maliha (Commando DPS) - Luijizka (Vanguard Tank)
Sthenoh (Shadow) - Tresin (Guardian)
The Shadowlands