This is not a guide for you old pro’s, this is a guide for the newer players. I get a lot of people whispering me asking me how I do so well as a saboteur. Part of it comes from loving the soul and having played it literally since beta (yes even when it was atrociously bad). So this guide will outline the philosophy and playstyle of a pvp sab, what I personally use and how to utilize the tools in the saboteur kit. This is probably not the absolute best sab build, but its my own, one I have developed over years of play with a lot of input from other great sab players.
Philosophy: You are a sab, your mission should you choose to accept it is to blow up as much stuff as possible. Two things are key with saboteur. One is awareness and the other is target selection. By awareness I mean that the saboteur is squishy, if you are building for AOE damage then you will die quickly and people will snap to you the minute you start spamming bombs. So you have to use LOS, range and any mobility you have to move in and out of range.
Target selection is huge. Sabs will top charts all day long in damage if you are choosing clumped up targets, if you know a target is “soft” then its likely to get you a killing blow but take care not to pick a target to close to death otherwise you may be wasting your cooldowns. So targets with 50% health down to about 25% are usually ideal. If you are afraid the target is gonna die its imperative that you switch from bombs to detonate. If you are using shrapnel and caltrop you will still do aoe damage but detonate is instant cast. With bombs there is travel time so you may think you will get your full combo off but in actuality you may miss it. This is a feel thing, it takes some time to get a feel for when you should detonate and when you should be using your bomb spam. Also if you are pushing an objective (which is what saboteur does best) you shouldn’t be trying for KB’s. Your main priority is to do tons of damage and push the opponent back. Once you have thinned the herd some then you can go to work on trying to actually get the kills. Saboteur isn’t about personal glory though, its about winning matches for your team by putting a huge amount of strain on enemy healers and on defenders or even attacking zergs.
Strategy: Saboteur is what is referred to as a “pusher” in MOBA’s. They are fantastic at leading charges onto objectives, pushing back zergs, and defending areas that have a open point of attack. Generally if I am pushing an objective like bridge in Port Scion or Codex I’ll open with the GTAOE bombs. These are hugely effective at pushing enemies back which gives you an opening to move the zerg up and you personally a chance to start bursting them down with your full rotation. Its very important to move in and out of range when you push especially if you are healer light, be aware of your range relative to the enemy zerg and what cooldowns you have at your disposal for escaping. Its very important to be quick with your break frees (and like abilities) because a stunned/cc’d sab is usually a dead sab. And you absolutely want to avoid being dead. Every second you are dead means your team won’t be able to push as strongly. Thus its really important to minimize unnecessary deaths.
54 sab you say? Yea, Spike Bomb was reworked recently such that its hugely useful to have in a macro with your other bombs to spam. Especially in warfronts where people are often dumb enough to sit in one place, they can eat huge amounts of spike bomb damage.
I use a simple 3 action bar setup (2 horizontal and 1 vertical). The side bar is mostly mounts and buffs. My top action bar is usually escapes that I can’t macro (Shadow Shift for example).
The main bar is where your kit of abilities will reside. I use a simple 1-2-3-4 setup for the main rotation. 1 is your rapid setup. 2 is your caltrop charge, 3 is the time bomb macro (see below for macros). 4 is your master bombing macro. 5 is detonate and 6 is shrapnel charge. These are the main points of your rotation. Also on the bottom bar you should have blast charge (for if you are up against a single target), Spike Bomb, Chemical Bomb, Adhesive Bomb and Choking Gas Bomb. The Spike Bomb you won’t use much (its in the master bomb macro) but you want to have it for situations where you want to be SURE that you are casting Spike Bomb. The remaining GTAOE abilities are hugely important and while it takes some practice to get good with these, its really important to being an effective saboteur. The last thing to put on the bar is a break free macro (just dump all your CC breaking abilities into this). I’ll not be listing that macro cause it depends on how many PA points you have etc.
Easy stuff, you always want to have Curative Engine and Planebound Resilience up.
Time Bomb Macro
#show Cloud Maker
cast Cloud Maker
cast Time Bomb
Main Bomb Macro
#show Carpet Bombing
cast Carpet Bombing
cast Annihilation Bomb
cast Spike Bomb
cast Fragmentation Bomb
cast Embers Bomb
cast Splinter Bomb
This makes up your full rotation and this is what you open with. Saboteur is a long setup burst spec, but its important that in between you not be sitting idle. In fact in between bomb downtime its important to keep stacking on charges and using detonate. This is where you will get killing blows. People usually expect a lot of damage out of sabs cause that’s what they do but it often suprises people how many killing blows a good sab can get if you are really utilizing all your skills.
Port Scion- This is tailor made for Sabs, the bridge is where you will live. Your job is to hold the flag or if you don’t have it, to push your zerg up onto the flag using your gtaoe’s to move the enemy zerg force back. Do not overextend, people will cluster themselves into the chokepoints and for that reason this is the warfront where you normally see Sabs doing damage numbers in the millions.
Whitefall Escalation- Much better than the old whitefall for sabs, your job here is to hold the middle. This is a little tougher cause there are multiple points of entry so getting the enemy to cluster is harder. Use your GTAOE’s to interrupt people trying to pick up the stones.
Black Garden- Smart Sabs own this warfront. You should always try and get down to the middle as soon as possible to lay down GTAOE before the fang spawns. Put as much spam into the middle as you can until your team gets the flag. Once that happens stay near the flag carrier as the enemies will naturally clump up to try and get him down. If you lose the flag try and time your burst to knock the fang out of the enemies hands and then immediately shift back to the middle to lay down aoe for your teams cap.
Codex: This is not a warfront where you will top the charts usually. Sabs tend to work best at codex because of the zerging that takes place there. Sabs are fantastic at keeping people off the flag once you have it. Use Land Mines on the flag to thwart stealthers. Always be panning and scanning because there are multiple points of entry to The Codex.
Library of the Runemasters: Like Codex this isn’t generally huge for us. You want to stay in the middle and hope your team holds it. If you do then its great for sabs. If you don’t its very tough for sabs to make an impact. Your best hope is to try and target and quickly burst down enemy carriers.
Karthan Ridge: This one is another where you want to stay in the middle. But its usually not a warfront suited to sabs. The new alt mode however is because the Portal holds so much value as a position.
Stockpile: This is awful for sabs. Don’t even use sabs in this warfront.
Conquest: This is perfect for us sabs. Run with the zerg and use your siege capabilities to secure turrets for your team.
Closing: If you are gonna complain about the spec not being optimal, don’t bother. If you want to suggest tweaks to help other players that’s awesome, but I’m not claiming this is the best sab build NA, so don’t treat it that way.
Have fun blowing people up!