SWTOR Marauder PvP Guide by arcadean
What you should know first:
This is a PvP Marauder guide. I’m going to cover several things such as cool downs, damage dealing, how to be effective, what you should be doing in groups and several other things. I’m NOT going to be covering specific skills and explaining what they do (for the most part). You need to know what all of the Marauders moves are and how Marauders work before reading this. I’m going to start with our important CDs and then give you some some general widely applicable PvP tips/ideas before getting into some more specific things.
If you need a more general guide, check out this excellent post by Maefly.(This is a more general guide as to how Marauders/Setinels work.)
Abilities and Cool Down Usage:
Force Choke: Our 1 minute CD channeled stun. Quite lackluster compared to other classes stuns but still a useful tool. You should only be using this as either an interrupt/cc for healers that you are trying to bring down, or when your big damaging moves are on cd to buy you time for them to come back and build you some rage.
Intimidating Roar: 1 minute CD aoe soft cc/incapacitate. This appears to have about a 10m range. The best use of this is a peel for yourself/friends or a cc on a healer while you kill something else. Its only 6 seconds, but that’s quite a while. It can also be used to stop someone that is about to get out of range of you, for example you get the 5 second immobilize applied to you from a sniper, you can respond with this so that he gains no ground. 1 minute is really not very long, don’t be afraid to use this.
Force Charge: Our main gap closing ability. If this is on CD and you are slowed/snared away from your target it’s gonna suck unless you have some other CDs up. Your goal with this move is to use it as little as possible. Any time you can close the gap in a timely manner without using this move, and you aren’t trying to burn the target ASAP, don’t use Force Charge. This can also be used as a survivability tool to get you out of bad places, look around for a target that is far away from where you are, other classes will have a hard time closing the gap with you again.
Force Camouflage: This is both a survivability and mobility tool. It’s only a 45sec cd so can be used plenty. Use this when you need to get back on target and force Charge is down (carnage spec skill really helps this use). Also of good use when you are about to go down to give you 4 seconds of free run away time or healer catch up if you need it. Also keep in mind that since it drops target, in a group situation it will be hard to find you again so it’s often enough to use this if you get focused and just wait a few seconds before re-opening on your target.
Cloak of Pain: Awesome, awesome survivability CD. You should pop this every fight as soon as you start getting focused a bit. Ideally you should have this up from 90%-0% of your health bar as it will last 30 seconds. If you are not using this ALL THE TIME, start using it.
Saber Ward: Our bigger survivability CD. 50% defense and 25% less force/tech damage for 12 seconds is A LOT. At 3 minutes, the CD is a bit prohibitive of frequent use, so save this for more important fights such as trying to hold an objective until backup arrives.
Undying Rage: 99% damage reduction for 5 seconds, you are basically invincible. The fact that this takes 50% of your hp makes it unusable in a proactive fashion for the most part, so use it to stay up for an extra 5 seconds when you are inevitably going down, or to give your healer the time to get you back on your feet in the health department. Don’t use this above 20% hp in almost any situation.
Berserk: This really, really depends on your spec. As Annihilation, you will have the fury stacks for this a lot and should be using it every time you have a 3 stack of deadly saber on someone. As carnage it’s a bit less useful but still good for bursting an important target. Of special note is that shii-cho form Berserk gives you a good aoe. So if you are in the thick of things with several targets around you, feel free to switch stances to Shii-Cho form and then pop Berserk. Just be sure to dump the rage you build up back before going back to your stance of choice.
Predation: Super awesome group buff from fury. Use this to help your ranged teammates kite away from melee, or as a gap closer for yourself. The 10% defense is just a nice bonus. I currently use this more than anything for the most part, since it is such a great group buff and mobility buff for you.
Bloodthirst: Our single biggest CD at 5 minutes. The only time you would ever want to use this is if you were with several team mates. Using it by yourself is a waste as the berserk buff will buff your damage just fine.
Frenzy: Gives 30 stacks of fury. Use this right after one of your fury buffs wear off or if you are at an important fight with 0 fury stacks so you can get your group buff or berserk up quick.
Unleash: Our cc breaker. This breaks everything but is on a 2 min CD. The use of this move is very subjective and should only be used when it will really help. Don’t use it if your getting focused and going to die, or the target you were on is still fine health wise. Use it to screw someone over when they are barely going to get away, or to get away yourself when not being 100% mobbed.
General Tips and Guide Lines:
Manage your rage! In PvP you always want to have at least 1 rage available for your interrupt. The only time it’s ever worth going below that is when bursting with team mates or you KNOW that last hit is going to kill them. Nothing is worse than being out of rage and unable to interrupt the cc/heal that is being cast.
Don’t force charge if you can just run up to your target. It’s your only real gap closer and is best saved to get back on target if they get away from you. That said, you will still be opening with charge a lot to get to a target in the back or if you have already been engaged by someone else.
Be aware and use your defensive CDs proactively, don’t panic when you are low and use Saber Ward at 30% hp, use it when you know you are going to be focused.
Force charge and Force Choke are great in huttball. Charge their ball carrier when he is crossing a fire spot and then Force Choke him so he gets toasted.
Watch for Guard on your targets. It’s a blue shield bubble around them when it goes up, but it can be hard to see sometimes too, check their buffs. Going on a target that has guard on them by yourself is very, very pointless. You need to separate them from their tank somehow, which you are not good at with no displacement moves, or choose a new target.
Positioning is HUGE in PvP. As melee, your positioning is only a concern if you get too separated from your team mates. What mostly concerns you is the enemies positioning. If a healer or ranged player is anywhere near the engagement line of the fight you can often drop whatever you are doing and switch to them. Once you do that, you want to keep them out of position, so use your snares/stuns/immobilize effects so you and your team can have more time to punish them for over extending.
Go cybertech! They 4s incapacitate re-usable grenades help fill in one of the failings of the class which is a lack of any true CC.
Now then, onto specifics!
Damage Dealing “Rotations”:
Generally, PvP is a bit too dynamic to be able to do a particular rotation. You can still have something to shoot for though! Rotation depends a lot on spec, so I will cover both Carnage and Annihilation in specific, but first, some general considerations.
Several things will interfere with actually doing a rotation, such as applying a slow, interrupting, switching targets, getting stunned etc. Be aware that all of those things will interrupt the flow and you need to be able to pick up where you left off, or start over or in the middle as needed.
Annihilation: Assuming you Force Charge in, you need to first decide if you need to apply your slow or healing debuff, typically I always apply my slow even if there are team mates attacking, as it really blows if they slow you and simply walk away :P. So, Force Charge(4)->Deadly Saber(in air)(1)->Battering Assault(7)-> Crippling Slash(5)->Rupture(3)(pop Berserk now if you have it)->Assault(5)->Annihilate(1). As you can see, that kinda takes a while, if you remove Crippling slash you can finish that much quicker as you don’t need to Assault either, just 3 hits after landing on your target and hes got your dots and has some hurt going. So when you really want to kill something, forego that Crippling Slash. Usually this will do quite a number to someones health bar AND you have 6 good crit dots coming.
Without force Charge your going to be simply running up to your opponent and opening with Battering Assault(6)->Deadly Saber(3)->Crippling Slash(1)->Assault(3)->Rupture(1)->Assault(3)->Assault(5)->Annihilate(1). As you can see, thats alot slower, but you will have to do this in alot of occasions. Again, dropping that Crippling Slash if you absolutely must will help speed this up. And also consider that you get knocked back at some point in the middle of this and can then Force Charge in for that 4 rage and that will speed up your output a bit.
Carnage: Again assuming the Force Charge in and deciding on Crippling slash, a decent alternative here is to use Deadly throw as it will be a 3 second immobilize as combat. Force Charge(4)->Battering Assault(10)->Deadly Throw(7)->Gore(4)-> Force Scream(2). Unfortunately Berserk in Ataru is not that great compared to the other forms. After that, just use Force Scream on CD and Gore when you have some rage to dump into Massacre and Force Scream.
Again, without force Charge, run up and start with Battering Assault(6)->Deadly Throw(3)->Assault(5)->Assault(7)->Gore(4)->Force Scream(2). Again, takes alot longer, but remember you will throw force Charge in here if you get knocked back. Also to consider is that if you immediately get an Ataru Form proc you can remove an Assault as you will have enough rage from the Blood frenzy proc that happens after 6 seconds of an Ataru form strike.
Rage: Assuming Force Charge. Force Charge(3)->Force Crush(0)->Battering Assault(6)->Smash(5)->Here it branches depending on squish factor. Either going to assault, force scream, Vicious Throw, or just continue dealing out damage and using a force choke->Obliterate->Smash later. If you don’t force Charge in, its very similar except you open with Battering Assault and at some point Force Charge back to your target before your first Smash.
Ravage can be used at the end of any of these rotations if you are out of rage and need to push damage out ASAP.
Remember, the huge majority of the time you can’t follow these strictly, but you still want to be striving towards that as it is the optimal damage rotation.
I have played both Annihilation and Carnage extensively. I’ve only dabbled with Rage as it seems much more of a utility spec than anything, and other classes are far better at utility then we are :P, so I won’t cover that here. Also, there really isn’t a workable hybrid spec because of how our trees are designed, so I won’t get into that.
y:Most of this is obvious, but a few points to be made. You really only need 1 point in Close Quarters, as using it closer then 5m to your target is a mistake in most situations, a 6s cd on disruption should be all the interrupts you need for the most part. However, there are times where it will help you take down a healer. And there isn’t much other choice anyways.
Phantom is also mostly useless since it drops target and you will only be getting hit by aoe. Force Camo is also better used as a gap closer than a defensive CD anyway.
One alternative spec to this is if you want Seeping Wound. It sounds great, but I have found it lack luster in practice. Its only for 6 seconds, and its only for 30%. Pretty much every slow you get put on you is more than 30% so its no good. That said, it can work, so an alternative is to drop a point in Close Quarters and Narrow Hatred from the Combat tree to grab this talent, like so: http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#100bIrRrRzcGzZGbb.1 Also one thing I have not been clear on yet (stupid no combat log), is exactly how accuracy works in PvP. If it turns out we don’t need Narrow Hatred, we can grab Stagger from the Focus tree for another second of immobilize on our Force Charge
Carnage: http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#1000cZGGbbddrRrsZzM.1 Again, pretty obvious. Unbound is AWESOME and so is Displacement. No real alternatives to even consider here. The only question is how much accuray is needed for PvP. If you don’t need the full 3 points in narrow hatred you can get that last point in Ravager instead.
Rage: http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#100bcZMMZG0RrdrMdGR.1 Pretty straightforwards here. You don’t need Dual Wield Mastery as its a very small damage difference and your main damage sources don’t use both sabers anyways. The only real consideration here is potentially dropping Strangulate to pickup the additional 1 second root on Force Charge from Stagger. But in group PvP you are fairly likely to get hit by something random, so I wouldn’t consider it too much.
Carnage Vs Annihilation Vs Rage: So, which is best? Well it really depends. Annihilation generates fury faster, has a much better Berser and really, really hurts when played optimally. It’s also the healer killing spec with the 6s interrupt and 0m range force Charge if you go that route. That said, it is INCREDIBLY rage intensive and difficult to play optimally. You need to have the rage for Annihilate and Deadly Saber when they come off CD, and you need to have rage left over after that for your interrupt (Fortunately, the way Enraged Slash skill works helps alleviate Annihilate). Annihilation requires you to really be on top of 4 short term CDs and your rage to really put its hurt out. The hard part about this is even when your doing it right, it can often feel like your not since you don’t get very many big numbers :P. Spending rage on Deadly Saber also makes it harder to visibly see the damage you are getting out of that rage spent. Rest assured however, that while you don’t get chunks out of health bars, you are pretty rapidly draining them when done right. As far as the PvP utility you get from it, the decreased CD on charge is quite awesome, and reduced cd on disruption is AMAZING for killing any sort of ranged player. Oh, and some self/group healing from your dot crits!
Carnage is much less rage intensive and simply revolves around a nice easy to use 9s cd Force Scream and 15s cd Gore to buff your next 4 attacks. The CD reduction on Battering Assault also helps with rage quite a bit. You also get two very solid PvP utility skills in Unbound (Force camo breaks movement impairs) and displacement (3 sec immobilize on your 10m range crippling throw). You don’t stack fury nearly as much, but that’s not too terrible because your Berserk skill is not nearly as great in Ataru form anyway :P. The damage from here is still great and comes out nice and fast. Its also delivered in a satisfying way as you see plenty of big numbers floating around.
Focus if fun :P. You can burst quite hard and anything that is squishy or undergeared is gonna die to your main combo. My sweep typically hits for 3.5k+. Slash actually becomes a decent damage dealer too with the crit, armor pen and extra damage on it. The worst part is that you will be tempted to force charge in a lot more than you should, remember to save it as you’ll get knocked back or your target will get distance in plenty of cases before you need to smash anyways. Also, smash is pretty easy to miss with, it doesn’t do damage until the end and with all the KB and pulls and pushes its easy to miss your target Even though you have Obliterate this seems to be the least mobile spec. You will be using Obliterate as a damage tool fairly often and it requires 3 rage so if you are not careful and get off target you won’t be able to use it as a catchup anyways.
So… let’s compare
Carnage: 3 short term cds to keep track of for damage. Annihilation: 4 short term cds to keep track of for damage (1 proc). Rage: 5 Short term cds to keep track of for damage, though these are pretty easy to manage by comparison as they flow quite well.
Carnage: Relatively easy to manage your rage. Annihilation: Very rage intensive and requires a lot of attention. Rage: Easy to manage rage, only time it becomes troublesome is during the Obliterate part of your rotation as it can drain your rage a bit faster than you expect.
Carnage: Root break on 45sec cds force camo and 3sec immobilize on your Deadly throw. Annihilation: Faster cd on disrupt and Force charge. Rage: 10m Range slow, cheaper crippling slash, Obliterate with speed boost.
Carnage: Slow fury buildup and meh Berserk. Annihilation: Super fast fury build up and awesome Berserk. Rage: Same buildup as Carnage, however your Berserk is quite nice, awesome when there are multiple enemies and still nice even on one
Carnage: Visibly bursty damage on short cd. Annihilation: Consistent damage output that rapidly drains health bars. Rage: Burst damage on short cd, little more effort to setup then carnage but hits like a truck.
So, annihilation is harder, but better for killing healers and does do a little more damage in general as well as bringing the group utility of the heals and plenty of predation buffs. Carnage is a lot easier to manage and is slightly better for sticking to targets and peeling and has more readily available burst. Rage is for pub stomping and lotsa fun :P. It’s not as good in group situations as it has less peel and utility then carnage and not as good at 1v1 or healer killing as annihilation.
It’s really up to personal choice, all 3 specs have their place and are great. A word of warning however, Annihilation is very hard, I don’t care how good you are, it is A LOT to manage when combined with a PvP fight where you need to be keeping track of multiple targets, what they are doing, what they are going to do and what your friends are doing on top of everything about YOU. If you can’t do the Annihilation rotation perfectly in PvE, you will not do well with it in PvP. And I don’t care how much damage you do if you tunnel vision and focus only on what you are doing, you will not succeed in any PvP that is played at a high level by doing that.
Using the focus frame:
The ui in SWTOR is a bit lacking, but at least it has a focus frame. The focus frame is a great tool in any instance where you are fighting more than one person. The default keyboard to set something as your focus frame is alt+f, change this to something comfortable. You will also need to change the modifier key for using an ability on your focus target, it defaults to the “end” key which is really terrible, what were they thinking? I setup mine for alt, but choose a modifier you are comfortable with, this could even be a mouse button. Unfortunately, it can’t be the one you are most comfortable with as I’m sure you already have keys bound with that modifier. The other thing you need to make sure is that any keybinds you have for skills you would use on a focus target aren’t bound with a modifier, as hitting two and the key will never be “easy”.
Once you have that setup we can get into actually using it. The first part is selecting your target. In team situations, there is typically some time when you see the enemy before both sides engage. Use this time to evaluate the opposition and choose your target and focus target.
There are a couple different uses for your focus target. The first is the obvious, target a person you will want to interrupt or stun or leap to on demand when you see them casting something you want to stop. Typically this is a healer. Now, being melee can make this difficult, so you will want your target to be someone that is going to be near that healer. Often times this will be fruitless, but it pays off often enough that its worth doing. It’s quite satisfying as kicking that healers heal while your on another target and then killing your target.
The second use is to have it as your second or secondary kill target. This way you can either instantly engage your next target, or in a team situation call for a target switch if the primary is getting healed too well. If everyone has the secondary on focus there is very little gap in the damage output :P.
The final use is just for keeping track of a threat. Again this is often a healer, but in this situation you aren’t really expecting to be interrupting your focus since he is going to be too far away. Typically in this situation I set my focus to a DPS Sorc or Sniper. Since we are simply a damage dealer there isn’t much we can do besides using it to call out an incoming CC. Something that’s pretty useful if you are getting focused though is to know if your focus is hitting you, and use force camo or guarded by the force when they have a big hit coming in (such as ambush from a sniper).
How to improve further:
Ok, so you’ve read this and can work towards applying it. But how can you take it further? How can you increase your skill faster? What can you do when everything I’ve covered is super obvious and seems basic to you? Well… lots of stuff!
1. Keep practicing, there will never be a point where you can just stop and not have your skills decay.
2. Gain understanding of other classes, you should at least know all of their CDs and how their mechanics work so that you can begin to anticipate them.
3. Duel players you know are good. This will improve your 1v1 skills against that class and allow you to predict opponents of said class much better.
4. Watch videos/streams of good players playing your class. Do your best to analyze and follow everything they do. Then you can take some of the tricks or tactics they employ and use them yourself.
5. Watch videos/streams of good players playing other classes. Again this goes back to knowing your enemy. Keep track of what they are doing and use that to help you anticipate other players of that class.
6. Ok this last one is probably the best. Record yourself and then watch and thoroughly analyze your play. There are so many decisions to be made every second. Look at situations that you feel you failed in, figure out what you could have done different. Look at situations you succeed in, and make sure you know exactly why you succeeded.
If you only do a couple, do #1, 2 and 6, in that order.
So hopefully after wading through all of that you’ve learned something! But that only goes so far, as I said in the previous section, make sure you practice and work towards applying things you’ve learned.
Also, keep in mind I am not the best player in the world. If you disagree with anything I’ve said or suggested, or have your own tips/methods to offer, please do! I am more than happy to discuss things more in depth and encourage any (constructive) criticism.
Appendix A, PvP Gear:
PvP Gear in this game is pretty straight forwards right now. The difference between PvP gear and not PvP gear is the Expertise stat. This increases damage done to players, healing done to players and reduces damage taken from players. It is built into the gear itself and not. If you PvP while leveling, don’t bother with the PvP Gear as it does not have expertise.
There are two commendations you can get while leveling, Warzone and Mercenary. Warzone come from warzones. And Mercenary come from trading in those Warzones at a rate of 30 WZ for 10 Merc. So while leveling, be sure to convert your WZ commendations whenever you get near 1000.
Once you hit 50, you have access to dailies and weeklies, there are 2 dailies and 2 weeklies, One is for WZ wins and the other for doing objectives on Ilum. The dailies award one Champion bag, weelkies award 3, and you can buy 1 for 200 WZ and 200 Merc commendations (800 WZ total to convert and have 200 left). In the bags you get either a token for Champion gear and 1 Centurion token, or 3 Centurion tokens. The drop rate seems to be around 1 in 5-8 for gear. So its luck based, have fun with that :P.
Something to note is that once you get enough gear and start getting duplicate Champion items, you can remove the Mod and Enhancement out of the duplicate you got and put them in some other gear. You dont get Expertise this way, but you do get the stats from those level 56 purple slots :P.
Thanks for reading!