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Juggernaut Tanking Guide: From Beginner to Master

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes > Guardian / Juggernaut
Juggernaut Tanking Guide: From Beginner to Master

Vaidinah's Avatar


Vaidinah
02.22.2014 , 08:20 PM | #1
Intro

This guide is meant to explain how to play a Juggernaut tank, with the main emphasis being on operation boss fights. While the information here will likely benefit you for leveling, doing flashpoints, and PvP, I don’t participate in those activities anymore. Thus, I can’t guarantee this will improve your performance in those areas.

The guide is split up into many different sections, each of which focuses on a different aspect of playing a Juggernaut tank. These are Spec, Gear, Single Target Opener, Single Target Rotation/Priority System, AoE (Area of Effect) Opener and Rotation, Defensive Cooldowns, and Utility. Furthermore, each of those sections is subdivided into three sub-sections depending on your level of experience/skill. This makes it easier for you to go to the appropriate area to focus on what you want to learn.

Start with the Beginner sub-sections if you are new to playing a Juggernaut tank (or tanking in general), go to the Advanced ones if an experienced player who is just looking for more knowledge and ways to improve, and eventually finish with the Master category if you want to play optimally or close to it. In general, everything is written on a need-to-know basis so Beginner sub-sections especially will omit a lot of explanations as you don’t want to get overwhelmed with unnecessary information. The Advanced and Master ones are there to give you a deeper understanding.

It should be noted that while this guide can do a great deal to improve your understanding of Juggernaut tanking, the most important part is understanding the flow of the fights. What determines your success in operations is your knowledge of the fights, your understanding of your role/class, the skill/experience of your teammates, the skill/experience you have on your character, and lastly, your gear.

To be clear, you do need an appropriate set of gear for the operation you are trying to complete, especially if you are playing with a PUG (pick-up group). In a team with people you know and trust to play well, you can be well below the necessary gear requirements to succeed. Tanking is mostly about understanding what needs to be done and doing it, not about executing the best possible rotation or having the optimal gear setup.

As long as you can hold aggro within the first 30 seconds of the fight, use defensive cooldowns somewhat correctly even part of the time, and do the mechanics needed to beat the boss, you have done everything you *need* to do to win. Of course, there is a great deal more to playing a tank if you want to become good at it, but those are the necessities.

Spec

Your spec is how you distribute the talent points you get while leveling into the three skill trees of your class. There is little variation in the Juggernaut tanking spec as it ends up being 36/8/2, however, there are 2 points in the Immortal tree and 2 in Vengeance can be moved around as desired.

Beginner

Spoiler


Advanced

Spoiler


Master

Spoiler


Gear

This is probably the most overrated aspect of playing a character in general, even more so for tanking. When it comes to being ready for operations, don’t use more than say 10% of your total effort you put into your Juggernaut to figure out the best possible gear with what you have.

Beginner

Spoiler


Advanced

Spoiler


Master

Spoiler


Single Target Opener

How you start a fight is very important as a tank. In fact, your highest priority is to keep control of your opponents. This is because nothing else you do matters if they are constantly attacking the rest of your team. Your survivability (your second highest priority) only really matters if you are the focus of the boss. If you are uncomfortable starting off with the boss, have the other tank take it and practice the opening rotations listed in each section. If you are off-tanking (the tank not holding the boss), remember not to use “Taunt” or “Threatening Scream” unless directed to do so by the other tank as they will guarantee that the boss will attack you for 6 seconds (with some exceptions).

The way players control who the enemy is targeting is through “aggro”. Aggro is based on the “threat” a player has built by doing damage or by using certain skills on the boss to cause it to attack a target. Normally, damage increases your threat by a 1:1 ratio so 1000 damage = 1000 threat. For tanks, your threat is doubled by being in Soresu form so doing 1000 damage = 2000 threat. Certain attacks state they have “high threat”, which means instead of your threat from the skill being doubled, the multiplier is even higher. For example, Backhand increases your threat from the skill by 3 times instead of 2 and Crushing Blow increases it by 2.6 times.

Anyways, you hold aggro on an enemy by having the highest threat. If another player surpasses your threat by a significant amount, the boss will change to that target. All you need to know is that your goal is hold threat if you are tanking the boss at the time. If you lose aggro, use Taunt or Threatening Scream to regain control of the boss. This will put you at the top of the threat list, forcing the boss to attack you for 6 seconds. If you continue to have the top threat after that, you will keep control of the enemy.

You can use the skill “Guard” on any DPS that you notice is generating too much threat (i.e. they are much more experienced/geared on their character) if you see they are grabbing aggro off of you. You will notice when aggro is taken from you as the enemy will face someone else. A better way to tell if you lose aggro is to have “Target of Target” turned on the interface. You can do this by going into your Interface Editor from Options, clicking on “Target of Target” (it will be a red bar if it’s off), and clicking the “Enabled” check. From there, just hit the Save button to keep this on (it will turn into a blue bar).

Also, you want to position the enemy so that it is facing you and its back is to the rest of your team as most bosses have “cleaves” that will strike the rest of your team along with you if they are in the path of its attack.

Beginner

Spoiler


Advanced

Spoiler


Master

Spoiler


Single Target Rotation/Priority System

Your rotation is just the order in which you use your attack skills with your main ones being Smash, Crushing Blow, Retaliation, Sundering Assault, and Force Scream. Around 30 seconds after you start a fight, threat stops mattering since you or other tank should have used your taunts at least a few times to boost threat to the point where no one else can catch up. This is when your rotation focuses on just survivability and damage.

With more experience, you can put a larger percentage of your time into increasing the damage you do, but your main priorities at almost all times are to hold aggro and survive. The more damage you and your team do, the faster the fight ends, which means you and your team take less damage and there’s less of a chance that a disconnect or other random event doesn’t come up.

Juggernaut tank rotations can seem intimidating at first as you have a great deal of skills to utilize. If you come from another tank class, it will be a lot more than you are used to, but in time, you’ll adapt. Eventually, you will end up using around 15 skills, which means you have 10 other skills that aren’t main ones. As you progress, you can start adding each one to your rotation until it becomes a priority system. This means your skills aren’t used in a set order each time, but instead rely on a number of factors like your total Rage, number of enemies, applying buffs/debuffs, and so on. Resource management is critical to playing a Juggernaut tank as they must generate Rage to fuel most of their skills.

Beginner

Spoiler


Advanced

Spoiler


Master

Spoiler


AoE Opener and Rotation

Controlling multiple enemies at the same time has always been unnecessarily difficult for a Juggernaut tank. If you are playing a Juggernaut after coming from another tank class, you will likely notice your lack of ranged AoE options, but despite this, it’s not too bad. You just need to be in melee range to be effective as a Juggernaut tank and must be aware that your AoE attacks have a smaller range of effect as well. A Juggernaut who understands the limitations of the class and keeps his/her AoE cooldowns available for the right time will be about as good as any other kind of tank for this purpose.

Smash and Crushing Blow will make up the core of your AoE damage/threat and both of these skills have the benefit of doing good damage, have bonus threat multipliers (as they are high-threat attacks), and provide important buffs/debuffs to aid in your survivability. Your goal is to jump or move to your opponents, keep them off your team, and do your best to stay alive at the same time.

One point I’d like to reiterate is that while your survivability is very important as a tank, it does not matter if you don’t hold aggro. As a tank, it’s critical to keep control of all enemies so when you have to prioritize your skills, do so with the intent of grabbing aggro first, then surviving second. If you are in a flashpoint, your main focus is holding aggro on the strongest enemies while the DPS clean up the weak ones first. This prevents the weak enemies from eventually going onto the healer as they will if no one else attacks them.

Beginner

Spoiler


Advanced

Spoiler


Master

Spoiler
The Harbinger
Intrepid

Guardian/Juggernaut Tank Guide: From Beginner to Master

Vaidinah's Avatar


Vaidinah
02.22.2014 , 08:20 PM | #2
The rest of the guide is shown below. Apparently there's a 50000 character limit when posting so I needed to split this up.

Defensive Cooldowns

There are 5 defensive cooldowns used by a Juggernaut tank: Saber Ward, Invincible, Endure Pain, Saber Reflect, and Enraged Defense. Beyond that, you can also use an adrenal every 3 minutes. For adrenals, use a Rakata/Exotech absorb adrenal as it boosts your armor instead of your shield and absorb ratings, which is especially important since Juggernauts have by far the lowest shield/absorb of all the tanks. Exotech is best for progression, but the Rakata version is almost as good and you can get a reusable version of it as well if you use Biochem. Biochem is a generally good crew skill to max since it just makes all those stims (Nano-Infused Fortitude), adrenals, and medpacs (Impeccable) reusable.

When it comes to using your defensive cooldowns, don’t be reluctant to do so. They can do a great deal to help reduce the damage you take with Saber Ward and Invincible being useful on every boss fight. The other skills range from somewhat conditional (Saber Reflect) to very conditional (Enraged Defense).

It’s good to save Endure Pain as a defensive cooldown in case there are problems during the fight. It increases your health by 30% for 20 seconds and removes all that health after it ends. It won’t kill you if you are below 30% of your max health, but will drop you to 1 health. It’s used as a stop-gap solution to give healers time to deal with other issues that may arise during a fight.

Beginner
Spoiler


Advanced

Spoiler


Master

Spoiler


Utility

Juggernauts have a variety of miscellaneous skills that aren’t purely attack or defensive skills. One set of them I’d like to mention are their crowd control (CC) skills, specifically single target ones like Force Choke, Backhand, and Force Push. These are skills that paralyze the enemy, causing one to be unable to attack or move. In the case of Force Push, it actually knocks the enemy back fairly far. If you are used to playing another tank, these types of skills are usually only used to stun/displace enemies as they do little to no damage. With the Juggernaut, they have other uses as all of them deal respectable damage. Due to this, you will want to make frequent use of them even during boss fights in operations.

There are a couple other crowd control skills that work on multiples enemies in a small area around your character. One of these is Intimidating Roar, which stuns all enemies and does so for a longer period of time than your other ones, but breaks the stun upon enemies taking damage (this is called a “mez”). The other is Chilling Scream, which slows all nearby enemies by 50%. Neither of these abilities are useful most of the time in operation boss fights, but you may find that to be the opposite case during flashpoints and when leveling. There are certain situations even during boss fights when adds spawn that they may become valuable to you as well.

Beginner

Spoiler


Advanced

Spoiler


Master

Spoiler


Outro

http://www.torparse.com/a/557083/21/0/Damage+Dealt

This is an example of what can be done with a strong understanding of Juggernaut tanking and this fight is 8 man Nefra HM. In this fight, I do 1348.81 DPS while using Enraged Defense twice and my gear is almost full 78 (was just missing 2 implants). The use of Enraged Defense two times costs me 16 Rage total (4 for initial cost + 4 triggers for each one) and I use it on every other Power of the Masters DoT the boss places on me. As my co-tank (an Assassin) is holding the boss’ aggro, this helps out the healers without losing threat, though it does drop my DPS by a significant amount. I also cycle my other defensive cooldowns during the fight to lower the damage I take.

For my DPS itself, it’s lower than that what is capable of being done due to this as the extra Rage would have allowed for more Vicious Slashes, more Vicious Throws, and a lot less Assaults. If you note in the parse, you can see that I have delayed Smash and Crushing Blow several times just as I mentioned in the Master sub-section of the Single Target Rotation. I also use my AoE taunt, Threatening Scream, three times to shield my teammates during the Power of the Masters DoT.

Hopefully this guide has helped you understand just how much you can do to improve your own play and helped you with completing operations. If you have any constructive criticism or suggestions, please let me know. Good luck.
The Harbinger
Intrepid

Guardian/Juggernaut Tank Guide: From Beginner to Master

VarekRayth's Avatar


VarekRayth
02.23.2014 , 08:31 PM | #3
By far the best Jugg tanking guide. Not even close. Thanks a ton for putting this all down.

Get Wrecked - AP Powertech - <good talk>

nightsproull's Avatar


nightsproull
02.24.2014 , 11:01 AM | #4
Very good explanation of the more advanced mechanics of the class.

KeyboardNinja's Avatar


KeyboardNinja
02.24.2014 , 12:51 PM | #5
A sidebar on Saber Ward… To the best of my knowledge, Blade Turning is still bugged. I would be very interested to see a log which demonstrates that it is actually working correctly, but I haven't seen it function at any point to date. The second, more interesting note is that the Saber Ward tooltip is bugged. It claims that it increases defense by 50% and reduces damage from force/tech attacks by 25%. The latter is what is inaccurate: it reduces all damage by 25%, but not in the conventional way.

Saber Ward appears to be unique from the perspective of game mechanics. It doesn't reduce your incoming damage in the same way as Invincible or the like. Instead, it computes an absorb shield (like Sonic Wall) based on incoming damage, not based on bonus healing (this is what is unique). For every attack which hits, regardless of attack type, 25% of the damage ultimately applied will be "absorbed". You can see this in both flytext and combat logs. This actually makes Saber Ward a much stronger cooldown than it appears on the surface, since it really isn't limited to a particular damage type (though clearly the 50% defense is still its strongest component).

Anyway, very nice guide! I'm still thinking a bit about the Crushing Blow delay, since I'm not 100% convinced that delaying it is actually a DPS gain. In current content, you should be hit by a defendable attack once every 1.3 seconds (give or take). With an effective 40% defense chance (accounting for low accuracy, etc), that means you should defend every 3.25 seconds, which leaves a full m/r hit worth of error margin before the ICD of Retaliate comes up. Additionally, the ICD of Retaliate does not evenly divide the cooldown on Crushing Blow. Thus, you could be getting perfect proc rates on Retaliate and thus see absolutely no DPS jump from the auto-proc on CB, but you would still end up delaying Crushing Blow by at least a GCD each time when following the priority queue you lay out, thus strictly a DPS loss. There is probably some way to mathematically characterize the m/r swing timer at which it becomes advantageous to delay Crushing Blow. I'll give that some thought…
Computer Programmer. Theory Crafter. Streaming Dilettante on The Ebon Hawk.
Tam (shadow tank) Tov-ren (commando healer) Aveo (retired sentinel) Nimri (ruffian scoundrel)
Averith (marksman sniper) Alish (lightning sorcerer) Aresham (vengeance jugg) Effek (pyro pt)

Falcon_Runner's Avatar


Falcon_Runner
02.24.2014 , 02:25 PM | #6
When you say that Blade Turning is bugged and not working at all, do you mean that the benefit from the 4 piece set bonus is not being realized?

KeyboardNinja's Avatar


KeyboardNinja
02.24.2014 , 03:01 PM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Falcon_Runner View Post
When you say that Blade Turning is bugged and not working at all, do you mean that the benefit from the 4 piece set bonus is not being realized?
I mean that I don't think the damage immunity is present for any length of time.
Computer Programmer. Theory Crafter. Streaming Dilettante on The Ebon Hawk.
Tam (shadow tank) Tov-ren (commando healer) Aveo (retired sentinel) Nimri (ruffian scoundrel)
Averith (marksman sniper) Alish (lightning sorcerer) Aresham (vengeance jugg) Effek (pyro pt)

GrandLordMenace's Avatar


GrandLordMenace
02.24.2014 , 09:16 PM | #8
Could be wrong Tam, but I don't think Blade Turning is bugged after some analysis of the logs Vaidinah has in his log. It doesn't say there is damage immunity attached to Blade Turning, but rather The first 2 seconds of Saber Ward grants 100% melee and ranged defense. I don't think he can be immune to Force. In addition, is it possible for Resilience and Blade Turning having the same bug, IE 95 percent resist/defend chance? I notice that in the logs, specifically nefra,

Vaidin gains Blade Turning.
21:48:41.610 Vaidin gains Saber Ward.
21:48:41.786 Vaidin gains 1 rage point.
21:48:41.788 Vaidin parries Nefra, Who Bars the Way's Twin Attack, causing 1 threat.
21:48:41.788 Vaidin parries Nefra, Who Bars the Way's Twin Attack, causing 1 threat.
21:48:41.788 Vaidin parries Nefra, Who Bars the Way's Twin Attack, causing 1 threat.
21:48:42.004 Vaidin activates Smash.
21:48:42.005 Vaidin spends 1 rage point.
21:48:42.005 Vaidin loses Revenge.
21:48:42.005 Vaidin's Sundering Assault effect of Armor Reduced fades from Nefra, Who Bars the Way.
21:48:42.005 Vaidin's Crushing Fist adds effect Armor Reduced to Nefra, Who Bars the Way.
21:48:42.005 Vaidin's Smash hits Nefra, Who Bars the Way for 1624 kinetic damage, causing 3329 threat.
21:48:42.383 Sykfak's Kolto Probe heals Vaidin for 1532, causing 689 threat.
21:48:42.888 Vaidin activates Threatening Scream.
21:48:42.888 Vaidin's Sonic Wall adds effect Sonic Wall to Mahagud.
21:48:42.889 Vaidin's Sonic Wall adds effect Sonic Wall to Sykfak.
21:48:42.889 Vaidin's Sonic Wall adds effect Sonic Wall to Discount.
21:48:42.889 Vaidin's Sonic Wall adds effect Sonic Wall to Lykui.
21:48:42.889 Vaidin's Sonic Wall adds effect Sonic Wall to Diivinemarksman.
21:48:42.891 Vaidin's Threatening Scream adds effect Taunt to Nefra, Who Bars the Way.
21:48:42.891 Vaidin taunts Nefra, Who Bars the Way, causing 285770 threat.
21:48:43.192 Idnewton's Berserk heals Vaidin for 416, causing 208 threat.
21:48:43.295 Idnewton's Berserk heals Vaidin for 416, causing 208 threat.
21:48:43.799 Vaidin activates Sundering Assault.
21:48:43.799 Vaidin gains 2 rage point.
21:48:43.799 Vaidin's Crushing Fist effect of Armor Reduced fades from Nefra, Who Bars the Way.
21:48:43.799 Vaidin's Sundering Assault adds effect Armor Reduced to Nefra, Who Bars the Way.
21:48:43.800 Vaidin gains 3 rage point.
21:48:44.199 Idnewton's Berserk heals Vaidin for 416, causing 208 threat.
21:48:44.393 Vaidin's Sundering Assault hits Nefra, Who Bars the Way for 1000 energy damage, causing 1750 threat.
21:48:44.496 Vaidin activates Retaliation.
21:48:44.496 Vaidin spends 1 rage point.
21:48:44.698 Vaidin loses Blade Turning.

Notice he parries 3 times in a row after Blade Turning.

UNLESS the natural effects of Saber Ward did all the parrying and Blade Turning legitimately isn't working, but to prove that we'd probably need a lot of saber ward logs, as doesn't the cooldown stack with a toon's base defense?

I hate math.
Rydarus Veneris the Eternal Forum Warrior, Lord of Alacrity, of the Ruined World, 7/10 HM TOS/Rav
GuardDPS PVE guide: http://dulfy.net/2014/12/11/swtor-3-...de-by-rydarus/

Vaidinah's Avatar


Vaidinah
02.25.2014 , 12:44 AM | #9
Thanks for the comments. When it comes to Blade Turning, I can't be completely sure that it works again, but I have yet to see an instance of myself taking a M/R attack during it since they said they fixed it. The only way I can think of to prove it still doesn't work is have a log showing a player taking a M/R attack during the 3 second uptime. Saber Ward is indeed a very odd case of a defensive cooldown as I can't think of any other one like it. I assume this is done because it has the two components where one increases defense chance and the other reduces F/T attack damage taken.

As for Crushing Blow, there are times when delaying it could result be a loss, but this assumes that you will actually proc a Retaliation in those 4.5 seconds every time. I'd rather be safe to make sure I get that proc due to how valuable it is, but I can see why it may not work.
The Harbinger
Intrepid

Guardian/Juggernaut Tank Guide: From Beginner to Master

KeyboardNinja's Avatar


KeyboardNinja
02.25.2014 , 11:09 AM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by Vaidinah View Post
Thanks for the comments. When it comes to Blade Turning, I can't be completely sure that it works again, but I have yet to see an instance of myself taking a M/R attack during it since they said they fixed it. The only way I can think of to prove it still doesn't work is have a log showing a player taking a M/R attack during the 3 second uptime. Saber Ward is indeed a very odd case of a defensive cooldown as I can't think of any other one like it. I assume this is done because it has the two components where one increases defense chance and the other reduces F/T attack damage taken.
I did a bit of testing myself last night, and I can confirm that (at least without the set bonus), it does appear to be correctly modifying player stats. That, paired with the evidence from Rydarus, makes me suspect that we should consider Blade Turning as functional now. Unless we can find a log of a regular-accuracy attack making it through Blade Turning, I would assume that it is working just fine.

Note on Saber Ward: if you test it out, it isn't reducing Force/Tech damage, it is reducing all damage in addition to the defense component. It appears to be an entirely unique mechanic which piggy-backs off of the absorb "heal" (the sorc bubble mechanic), generating an absorb shield per attack which shields exactly 25% of the post-mitigation damage. This absorb works on all attacks, both melee/range and force/tech. In other words, Saber Ward is a fair bit more valuable than the tooltip implies, it just doesn't appear to be that valuable because most log analysis tools will still show the damage as taken (since absorb is usually a heal, not mitigation).
Computer Programmer. Theory Crafter. Streaming Dilettante on The Ebon Hawk.
Tam (shadow tank) Tov-ren (commando healer) Aveo (retired sentinel) Nimri (ruffian scoundrel)
Averith (marksman sniper) Alish (lightning sorcerer) Aresham (vengeance jugg) Effek (pyro pt)