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Sentinel Advanced Class Guide

GalnarDegana's Avatar

06.05.2012 , 05:28 PM | #1
Welcome to the Sentinel/Marauder Advanced Class Guide! This is the go-to compendium of knowledge for The Fanatical Swordsman on the Sentinel and Marauder advanced classes. This is a work-in-progress, and will be updated as much as possible. For the most up-to-date information, the original article this is based on is here.

LAST UPDATE: Update 1.4

Note from Geldarion: The Sentinel is my 3rd level 50, but it is actually one of my favorite PvP playstyles I have encountered. For readability sake, since I am used to the Sentinel, I will use the term Sentinel occasionally as the overall descriptor of this class-type, especially for things that are true of both classes, such as discussions of general tactics. However, I will refer to the specializations by both their names, and I will show builds for both the Sentinel and the Marauder, and I will refer to skills in a manner as such: Jedi Knight skill name/Sith Warrior skill name.

Most builds are links to my website, and the articles which I have written about the builds. Included with the actual builds are step-by-step analyses of the talents I took and why. Oftentimes, sacrifices in one area must be made for another area's advantage, and I spell those out there. Also, some builds are accompanied with strategies for their use.

Any and all constructive comments and questions are welcome!

Roles and Overview

The Sentinel is a damage-dealing machine. Two blades, one purpose. The Sentinel is also one of the few classes that can give group buffs, including a huge burst damage boost. Interrupts are also a specialty of Sentinels, as we have a 4-second interrupt on a 8-second cooldown (6-second talented). Sentinels can consistently outrun most opponents, have superior escape skills, and can unleash a frightening amount of damage consistently.


All Jedi Knights and Sith Warriors function of off a resource called Focus/Rage. Knights and Warriors have a maximum of 12 Focus/Rage pips at a time, and generally start combat with zero. Skills such as Zealous Strike/Battering Assault and Strike/Assault add pips and skills like Merciless Strike/Annihilation spend pips. These are lumped together into “Focus/Rage-builders” and “Focus/Rage-spenders.” Most of the Sentinel’s and Marauder’s best skills and hardest hitting attacks are Focus/Rage-spenders. There is no innate regeneration of Focus/Rage, but certain talents can increase the production of pips, and certain talents can produce pips in ways unrelated to skill-usage.

The following skills are ways to build Focus/Rage:
  • Strike/Assault
  • Force Leap/Force Charge
  • Force Stasis/Force Choke
  • Zealous Strike/Battering Assault
  • Zen (in Shii-Cho)

The following talents augment Focus/Rage generation:
  • Focused Slash/Enraged Slash (Watchman/Annihilation)
  • Focused Leap/Enraged Charge (Watchman/Annihilation)
  • Burning Focus/Empowerment (Watchman/Annihilation)
  • Jedi Crusader/Cloak of Carnage (Combat/Carnage)
  • Combat Trance/Blood Frenzy (Combat/Carnage)


Centering/Fury “stacks” are another kind of resource that the Sentinel and Marauder have to manage. These stacks range from zero to thirty, and are built primarily by using skills that spend Focus/Rage pips. Having fewer than 30 stacks is of no benefit, but once 30 are stacked, there are three skills that can be used that will consume all 30 stacks. Two of these skills are group buffs as well, and the third is a group buff in Juyo form and of solo benefit in Ataru and Shii-Cho forms. All of these skills are off of the global cooldown, and so can be used in a rotation with no loss of damage.


Zen/Berserk is the first stack-consuming skill. It is learned at level 10 and mostly benefits the Sentinel/Marauder. This skill’s effects depend on which stance you are in. Regardless of stance, it has six charges that will have to wear off before stacks of Centering/Fury can be built again.
  • If you are in Juyo (the primary form of the Watchman/Annihilation tree), this skill makes your next 6 bleeds auto-critical hits and heal the other three people in your party.
  • If you are in Shii-Cho (the primary form of the Focus/Rage tree), Zen generates 2 Focus/Rage pips every 0.5 seconds for each stack, for a total of 3 seconds and 12 Focus/Rage pips.
  • If you are in Ataru (the primary form of the Combat/Carnage tree), this skill reduces the Focus/Rage pip cost of Slash/Vicious Slash, Blade Rush/Massacre, and Cyclone Slash/Sweeping Slash by 1 and reduces their global cooldown by 0.5 seconds.


Transcendence/Predation is the primary, most-available group buff the Sentinel/Marauder has. It is available at level 22. This skill buffs the party’s melee and ranged defense by 10% and increases the party’s movement speed by 50% (80% with the talent Fleetfooted/Unbound). This buff lasts for 10 seconds. This is the only buff that is currently Ops-group-wide, i.e. it helps all 8 of your team members, not just the 4 in your party.


The last buff comes at level 44, and it is the only one with a cooldown (a whopping 5 minutes). Inspiration/Bloodthirst buffs the party’s outgoing damage and healing by 15% for 15 seconds. Use it early in boss-fights so it can be used twice per fight. This only buffs the 4 people in your group, not the entire Ops group, so it is useful to put one Sentinel/Marauder in each group.

Building Centering/Fury

The following are ways to build Centering/Fury:
  • All Focus/Rage-spenders
  • Valorous Call/Frenzy - instantly builds 30 stacks - 3 minute cooldown (untalented)
  • Valor/Short Fuse (Watchman/Annihilation)
  • Defensive Forms (Combat/Carnage)

For a complete chart of all Focus/Rage and Centering/Fury building tools, their effects and their locations, see the original article (HTML is finicky in these posts).

Force Leap/Force Charge

Force Leap/Force Charge is very useful and very dangerous. You can use it and its long root to stop people in the fires in Huttball then run off, turn around, and Force Stasis/Force Choke to hold them in the fire while they roast. You can clear large distances with the Huttball safely in hand. You can jump up from the pit up to the edge and run straight into their goal.

However, Force Leap/Force Charge is dangerous because when you jump into the fray, AoE damage can whittle your health to nothing. Also, using Force Leap/Force Charge to attack a Sage/Sorcerer or a Commando/Mercenary will probably result in you being knocked back on your butt with either a slow or a root for your trouble. Approaching these classes, it may be better to just run up to them with either a speed boost from Transcendence/Predation or even better, Force Camouflage.

The 3 Specializations

The information is in spoiler tags to keep things clean, there are no actual spoilers present.







Author’s Favorite PvP Spec: Watchman/Annihilation

This build is about killing healers while simultaneously becoming one (sorta). Your DoTs can heal the party with each tick while in Juyo after popping Zen/Berserk, and DoTs just generally keep you alive, even when Zen/Berserk isn’t up. Healer-hurting skills like your interrupt (Force Kick/Disruption) are on a short cooldown, Force Leap/Force Charge has its minimum range eliminated and its cooldown reduced, and you are able to run farther and faster in Force Camouflage as well.

It should be noted that Overload Saber/Deadly Saber is off the global cooldown, and thus can be used almost immediately when off cooldown.

When attacking, the general rotation is:

As can probably be seen, there are three phases per stack of the Merciless/Annihilator buff. The first phase is stacking bleeds and setting up Merciless Slash/Annihilate. This involves Force Leap/Force Charge and Overload Saber/Deadly Saber, followed by Merciless Slash/Annihilate and Cauterize/Rupture.

The second phase is only present once we have stacks of Merciless/Annihilator going, and it consists of firing off Zealous Strike/Battering Assault followed by Blade Storm/Force Scream. Zealous Strike/Battering Assault are used in the very first rotation to build pips for Merciless Slash/Annihilate, so it is not yet off cooldown.

The third phase is a stalling phase, mostly consisting of alternating Slash/Vicious Assault (which requires 3 pips, but returns 1 for a net cost of 2) and Strike/Assault (which builds 2), but is also a good phase to make sure that your opponent is slowed, has a healing debuff on, etc. You just want to make sure you are ready for Force Leap/Force Charge to come off cooldown with 5 pips. Bleeds will be returning pips occasionally, so that will help in the extra management. I did not really take that into account above, but there will surely be extra pips lying around that you will want to put to good use for slows and healing debuffs, etc.

It is very important to have certain parts of the rotation down pat, such as the Force Leap/Force Charge -> Overload Saber/Deadly Saber combo. In PvP, there are very few times where it is simply following a rotation, so the large rotation above is highly idealized. The main thing is you try your best to hit Merciless Slash/Annihilate when it is up, hit Overload Saber/Deadly Saber when it is up, and hit Cauterize/Rupture when it is up.

My personal spec for use in Warzones is the Healer-Killer Juyo Sentinel 33/8/0 build.

PvE Strategies
  • When using Watchman/Annihilation group heals from bleeds, be careful on fights like Eternity Vault’s Dark Council, where it debuffs you if you heal another player. You should use Transcendence/Predation or Inspiration/Bloodthirst instead, because it does help the other players, but you do not get the debuff.
  • Use Inspiration/Bloodthirst at the beginning of boss-fights, so it can be used twice in the fight. It is useful to have one Sentinel in each group for this skill, as it is only group-wide, not Ops-wide.
  • Use Dispatch/Vicious Throw every time it is off cooldown and the boss is under 30% health. The current set bonus for the PvE gear makes it only cost 2 Focus/Rage untalented, and with the talent Focused Slash/Enraged Slash, it only costs 1 total.
  • Keep Rebuke/Cloak of Pain on cooldown for fights that involve AoE damage. Though you are not being directly attacked, it does absorb AoE damage and return some to the source, increasing DPS and lowering damage taken.
  • Transcendence/Predation can help speed people up in the platform phases of Eternity Vault on Soa and Gharj.
  • Learn how to effectively interrupt. Some fights like Jarg and Sorno in KP require a good Sentinel/Marauder to keep Sorno from healing.
  • On the 4th boss in Karagga’s Palace, the G4-B3 Heavy Fabricator Droid, you can build both Focus/Rage and Centering/Fury on the droid before the boss fight even starts. Just start building and when you reach full stacks, let the leader know so they can start the fight.

Every PvE build should consider having the following abilities, as they are all Tier 1:
  • Watchman/Annihilation
    • Valor/Short Fuse (2 points) – Increases Centering/Fury building rate by a large amount. More of this is always good.
    • Focused Slash/Enraged Slash (3 points) – Slash/Vicious Slash, Dispatch/Vicious Throw, Blade Rush/Massacre, and Merciless Slash/Annihilate return 1 Focus/Rage when used. This just helps with resource management, which is good, regardless of the situation.
  • Combat/Carnage
    • Dual-wield Mastery (3 points) – Increases damage done by offhand lightsaber by 36%. Straight up damage boost, which is your role in PvE and PvP both.
  • Focus/Rage
    • Insight/Malice (3 points) – Increases Force critical chance by 6%. This is usually useful as one of our hardest hitting attacks, Blade Storm/Force Scream, is a Force attack. It is not always good though, since in the Combat/Carnage tree there is a talent that makes Blade Storm/Force Scream an auto-crit under most conditions.

PvP Strategies
  • You can increase the size of your opponent’s casting bar in your UI options so it is easier to see what is being cast so it is more convenient to interrupt healers.
  • At the beginning of Huttball, Civil War, and Novare Coast, a speed boost at the beginning can be very useful. Use Valorous Call/Frenzy and Transcendence/Predation to get a quick speed boost for the entire group.
  • Generally, as Transcendence/Predation is the only Ops-wide buff, you should stick to using that for the most part. The other buffs can be useful, such as using Zen/Berserk to stay alive when defending a turret, or if you are with your half of the Ops group and you need the extra damage or healing power from Inspiration/Bloodthirst.
  • When interrupting healers, watch for the big heal and interrupt that. As a starting point:
    • For Commandos/Mercenaries, watch for and interrupt Medical Probe/Rapid Scan
    • For Sages/Sorcerers, watch for and interrupt Deliverance/Dark Infusion
    • For Scoundrels/Operatives, watch for and interrupt Underworld Medicine/Kolto Injection
  • Watch for damage-absorbing bubbles. Don’t blow all of your cooldowns on enemies that are using bubbles. You can usually spot them because they glow a certain color.
    • Look for green bubbles on Smugglers/Agents. This is actually a +100% Dodge buff, so melee and ranged attacks are the only attacks affected by it. Feel free to use Force attacks like Force Stasis/Force Choke, Force Sweep/Smash, and Blade Storm/Force Scream.
    • Look for dark-blue bubbles on anyone. This is probably a guard bubble. There is more than likely a tank nearby guarding the target. If you can spot a grey honeycomb pattern under the feet of a nearby tank, they are the one guarding. Try to separate them.
    • Light-blue/light-purple bubbles are usually from Force Armor/Static Barrier from a Sage/Sorcerer. This buff is a damage absorbing shield, which bursts after a certain amount of damage. There is no way to bypass it, so think of it as a temporary health bubble that needs to be DPS'ed through.
    • Saber Ward looks like a red bubble, which you probably know. On other Sentinels/Marauders, this is not such a big deal, but on Guardians/Juggernauts, the first couple of seconds of this are huge defenses. Don’t blow your big attacks.
    • Guarded by the Force/Undying Rage doesn’t look so much a bubble as it does an aura. It is blue for Sentinels and red for Marauders. Wait out the 4 second duration, then kill them.
  • Speaking of using Guarded by the Force/Undying Rage, remember it takes 1/2 of your health away while giving you 99% damage reduction. You want to hit this at about 5% health or less, so it doesn’t take a lot of health away, but be aware that it will only mitigate 99%. If you hit it at 2 health, then yeah it only takes away 1 health, but any attack hitting for 100 or more will kill you.
  • Watchman/Annihilation specced players can use Force Camouflage as a short term stealth that can get you up to the door in Voidstar without being noticed.
  • Use Rebuke/Cloak of Pain when heading into what looks like a big brawl. Try to keep it on cooldown, but it is best used when you know you will be taking consistent damage.
  • You can be a great help to a ball-carrier by jumping ahead of them and using Awe/Intimidating Roar to mez everyone around the goal-line.

Every PvP build should consider having the following abilities, as they are all Tier 1:
  • Watchman/Annihilation
    • Valor/Short Fuse (2 points) – Increases Centering/Fury building rate by a large amount. More of this is always good.
    • Focused Slash/Enraged Slash (3 points) – Slash/Vicious Slash, Dispatch/Vicious Throw, Blade Rush/Massacre, and Merciless Slash/Annihilate return 1 Focus/Rage when used. This just helps with resource management, which is good, regardless of the situation.
  • Combat/Carnage
    • Dual-wield Mastery (3 points) – Increases damage done by offhand lightsaber by 36%. Straight up damage boost, which is your role in PvE and PvP both.
    • Defensive Forms (2 points) – Builds 2 Centering when attacked. This is not as useful in PvE, since Sentinels/Marauders should not be taking aggro, but in PvP, this is a great boon, as you will be attacked quite frequently (much more than you like, in fact). There are also some ancillary effects to this talent that may or may not be useful in PvP, depending on the lightsaber Form that is being used.
  • Focus/Rage
    • Insight/Malice (3 points) – Increases Force critical chance by 6%. This is usually useful as one of our hardest hitting attacks, Blade Storm/Force Scream, is a Force attack. It is not always good though, since in the Combat/Carnage tree there is a talent that makes Blade Storm/Force Scream an auto-crit under most conditions.

Crew Skill Selection

Crew skill selection can be important to a class’ progression. Only one crafting skill may be trained at a time, and the options that are really useful for a Sentinel/Marauder are Synthweaving, Artifice, Cybertech, and Biochem. Armstech is utterly useless for this class, and Armormech, while able to make Smuggler/Agent medium armor which can be worn by a Sentinel/Marauder, cannot make anything with Strength on it, which is the real stat for Sentinels and Marauders. Jedi Knights have companions particularly suited for Slicing (+2 crit), Synthweaving (+5 crit), Biochem (+5 crit), and Investigation (+1 crit). Sith Warriors have companions with bonuses to Treasure Hunting (+5 crit), Synthweaving (+5 crit), Investigation (+2 crit), and Bioanalysis (+2 crit). By virtue of these, Jedi Sentinels should think about going Biochem or Synthweaving, and Sith Marauders should strongly consider going Synthweaving.

Related Articles on The Fanatical Swordsman

PvP Talent Build: AoE, Force Shii-Cho Sentinel – 5/2/34

PvE Talent Build: Armor-piercing Ataru Sentinel – 5/32/4

PvP Talent Build: Mobility Ataru Sentinel – 5/34/2

PvP Talent Build: Healer-killer Juyo Sentinel – 33/8/0

Beginner’s Guide: The MMO Trinity – DPS

SWTOR Beta Top 4: The Knight Class

GalnarDegana's Avatar

06.05.2012 , 05:28 PM | #2
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GalnarDegana's Avatar

06.05.2012 , 05:29 PM | #3
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dcgregorya's Avatar

06.05.2012 , 11:26 PM | #4
People overemphasize the usefulness of the heals from Watchman. Transcendence is straight better way to improve your teams performance. Zen heals are only 6 1% heals to half your 8 man team some or all of which might just be overhealing.

GalnarDegana's Avatar

06.06.2012 , 10:51 AM | #5
Yes Transcendence is better in general, but the heals shouldn't be completely disregarded. They can help a lot, especially with players that are well-geared. 6% of 16,000 health is nearly 1000, and I can pop that twice per minute or more. If the other team is primarily Sorcerers/Sages, this is more useful, as Transcendence only boosts Melee and Ranged Defense.

That being said, I agree the speed boost is often way more helpful than anything else, but it is really situational. I like that we have options.

Thanks for your comment, and if you have any other opinions I would be glad to hear them! On my other guide in the Gunslinger forums, I had one person that changed the way I thought about the Dirty Fighting tree and I incorporated his thoughts into the post.

GalnarDegana's Avatar

06.09.2012 , 02:05 PM | #6
Ok so after further research, I have found that only Transcendence is Ops-wide. Thanks for bringing that up to me! I have updated the guide to reflect that.

GalnarDegana's Avatar

06.12.2012 , 10:11 PM | #7
It looks like the functionality of Precision Slash will be improved in 1.3, making it more effective in PvP in case of stuns. I will update the guide on that when 1.3 goes live. Any people who run Combat in particular that want to comment on the change?

GalnarDegana's Avatar

07.14.2012 , 07:31 PM | #8
Updated through 1.3.2

GalnarDegana's Avatar

09.27.2012 , 07:26 PM | #9
Updated for 1.4 and the changes to Zen in Shii-Cho.

Ryat's Avatar

09.27.2012 , 11:45 PM | #10
A nice guide for Sentinels. I like how you used all three trees. Will be especially useful now that the Focus/Rage tree got buffed. Will still stay with Watchman myself though.