Concealment/Scrapper: 5.4 PvP Guide by Knin
- Game Update 5.0 Highlights
- Stats and Gear
- Key Abilities and Passives
- User Interface
- Solo Ranked
- About the Author
|AoE||area of effect|
|CC||crowd control: refers to abilities/effects that incapacitate enemies (mezzes, saps and stuns) or hamper their movement (roots and slows)|
|DoT||damage over time|
|DPS||damage per second, also a synonym for damage dealer|
|hard stun||2.5–4-second CC that doesn't break on damage taken (e.g., Debilitate or Dirty Kick)|
|HoT||heal over time|
|LoS||line of sight|
|mez||4–8-second CC that breaks on damage taken (e.g., Flash Bang or Flash Grenade)|
|root||type of CC that prevents enemy movement|
|slow||type of CC that slows enemy movement|
Concealment (Scrapper) is a melee discipline with high burst damage. It has great mobility, stealth and powerful off-healing from Kolto Probe (Slow-release Medpac) and Kolto Infusion (Kolto Pack). It can isolate and control enemies with an array of CCs. It excels in duels and small engagements, making it equally suited to arenas and objective play in warzones.
A rundown of Concealment’s pros and cons are given in the following table.
|on-hand burst||burst management relies on an internal timer|
|high mobility||weak swap damage (switching from one target to another)|
|short cooldowns on DCDs: Evasion (Dodge), Shield Probe (Defense Screen) and Exfiltrate (Scamper)|
This guide is written so that both Concealment and Scrapper players can refer to it. Except for reasons of clarity, Imperial ability names will be followed by the Republic equivalent, e.g., Evasion (Dodge).
Game Update 5.0 Highlights
- Gear no longer carries Expertise. There is no distinction between PvP and PvE gear and PvP gear has been removed from fleet vendors.
- War Hero crystals now carry Mastery instead of Expertise.
- After reaching level 70, subscribers are able to earn Command XP (CXP) towards Command ranks (1–300) on a per-character basis.
- Every time you gain a Command rank, you receive a Command crate containing random items (gear, cosmetic items, pets, crafting materials, etc.). The stats and set bonuses on gear depend on your discipline (Medicine, Concealment, etc.) when opening the crate. The maximum item rating of gear from Command crates depends on your Command rank, given in the table below.
|Tier||Item Rating||Command Rank|
Stats and Gear
There are three ways to get gear.
- Obtain gear drops from Operations as follows.
- Obtain Unassembled Components to trade in for gear. You can earn Unassembled Components at the following rates by participating in PvP.
- By opening Command crates, which are earned each time you gain a Command rank. This method is supplementary to the first two. Command crates are RNG boxes much like the Cartel Market packs. Crates contain Command Tokens (which are used to purchase tier 1 gear directly from vendors) and three or more other items, one of which could be a piece of gear carrying a set bonus.
|Veteran (Hard Mode)||242|
|Unranked Warzone||Unranked Arena||Ranked Solo Arena||Ranked Group Arena|
Your priority is to meet the first or second Alacrity threshold, corresponding to global cooldowns of 1.4 or 1.3s respectively. These values are given in the table below. You can read more about the peculiarities of Alacrity Rating in rambol’s article Alacrity and the Global Cooldown or the relevant section of her guide to Stats and Damage Calculation. In short, exceeding these thresholds is largely a waste of your tertiary stat budget.
|Alacrity Rating||Alacrity (%)||Global Cooldown
Once you’ve met the desired threshold, spend the remainder of your tertiary stat budget on Critical Rating. While Critical Rating gives diminishing returns, it continues to be more useful than Mastery and Power beyond current stat budgets.
Optimal Gear and Item Modifications
The following table lists the optimal gear and item modifications for Concealment as of game update 5.9.2. Combine different earpieces, augments, enhancements and implants to achieve the desired values of Alacrity Rating and Critical Rating.
|Augments||Superior Alacrity Augment 48||+80 Endurance, +39 Power, +99 Alacrity Rating|
|Superior Critical Augment 48||+80 Endurance, +39 Power, +99 Critical Rating|
|Crystals||Advanced [color] Eviscerating Crystal||+41 Critical Rating|
|Enhancements||Adept Enhancement 52||+146 Endurance, +162 Power, +231 Critical Rating|
|Quick Savant Enhancement 52||+146 Endurance, +162 Power, +231 Alacrity Rating|
|Mods||Lethal Mod 52||+162 Endurance, +177 Power, +205 Mastery|
GEMINI MK-5 Adept Device
+526 Endurance, +339 Power, +231 Critical Rating, +459 Mastery
GEMINI MK-5 Quick Savant Device
+526 Endurance, +339 Power, +231 Alacrity, +459 Mastery
GEMINI MK-5 Adept Package
+526 Endurance, +339 Power, +231 Critical Rating, +459 Mastery
GEMINI MK-5 Quick Savant Package
+526 Endurance, +339 Power, +231 Alacrity, +459 Mastery
GEMINI MK-5 Relic of Serendipitous Assault
30% chance to grant 1221 Power for 6 seconds every 20 seconds
GEMINI MK-5 Relic of Focused Retribution
30% chance to grant 1221 Mastery for 6 seconds every 20 seconds
Datacrons are objects that can be found on the many worlds of SWTOR. When collected, each grants a small stat increase (Mastery or Endurance). In 4.0, all the class-specific stats (Aim, Cunning, Strength and Willpower) were rolled into one called Mastery. This means that if you haven’t collected all the datacrons (some of which may have been worthless to you prior to 4.0), you are missing out on a significant stat increase (126 Mastery, 35 Endurance and 42 Presence). The good news is datacrons are now legacy bound: if you collect a datacron on one character, all characters on your account benefit. If you want to min/max, I recommend you go out and search for them; there are many detailed datacron location maps/guides online.
Companion Influence Bonuses
Each class in SWTOR has five unique companions, met throughout the course of the first three chapters of each class storyline.
Completing a companion’s side quest chain unlocks a legacy-wide bonus. There are five bonuses in total, one for each class’s ranged tank, melee DPS, healer, ranged DPS and melee tank companion. Each bonus can only be unlocked once per legacy.
|Role||Imperial Agent Companion||Bonus|
|ranged tank||Kaliyo||+1% max HP|
|melee DPS||Vector||+1% Critical Multiplier|
|healer||Doctor Lokin||+1% healing received|
|ranged DPS||Ensign Temple||+1% Critical Chance|
|melee tank||Scorpio||+1% Accuracy|
Bant is a well-known theorycrafter who developed a mathematical model to determine optimal stat allocation for typical PvE scenarios. His thread (last updated for 5.0.1a) is well worth reading. While Bant no longer plays, multi, another theorycrafter, continues to post updates using Bant’s model. If you are interested in hardcore raiding and min/maxing, these threads are required reading.
See also rambol’s guide to Stats and Damage Calculation.
My personal loadout for warzones and ranked arenas follows. I find it balanced in terms of defensive capability and damage output. In the next section, I’ll cover each utility and their pros and cons in greater detail.
|Chem-resistant Inlays||Scar Tissue||Increases damage reduction by 5%.|
|Slip Away||Dirty Escape||Reduces the cooldown of Debilitate (Dirty Kick) by 15 seconds.|
|Precision Instruments||Anatomy Lessons||Reduces the energy cost of Debilitate (Dirty Kick) and Sever Tendon (Tendon Blast) by 5 and makes Sever Tendon (Tendon Blast) immobilize the target for 2 seconds.|
|Fortified Kolto||Supplemented Medpac||While your Kolto Probe (Slow-release Medpac) is active on yourself, your damage reduction is increased by 3% per stack.|
|Cunning Competencies||Dirty Trickster||Countermeasures (Surrender) purges all movement-imparing effects when activated. Additionally, when Sleep Dart (Tranquilizer) wears off, the target is struck by Sedatives (Sedatives), reducing all damage dealt by 50% for the next 10 seconds.|
|Evasive Imperative||Scramble||Every time you get attacked, the active cooldown of your Evasion (Dodge) is reduced by 3 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds.|
|Revitalizers||Surprise Comeback||Stim Boost (Pugnacity) now additionally grants Revitalizers (Surprise Comeback), restoring 5% of total health every 3 seconds and reducing your damage received by 20% for the duration.|
|Blow for Blow||Back at Ya||Activating Evasion (Dodge) grants Blow for Blow (Back at Ya), returning 150% of direct single target tech and Force damage taken back to the attacker while Evasion (Dodge) is active.|
You can change some of these around based on your playstyle and goals.
- For a more aggressive style and a shorter cooldown on Holotraverse (Trick Move), your gap closer, you can take Circumvention (Sleight of Foot) over Blow for Blow (Back at Ya) in the legendary tier.
- For greater survivability, take Nanotech Suit (Smuggled Get-up) over Slip Away (Dirty Escape) in the skillful tier, Escape Plan (Smuggled Defenses) over Evasive Imperative (Scramble) in the heroic tier and Augmented Shields (Hotwired Defenses) over Blow for Blow (Back at Ya) in the legendary tier.
These are the two optimal choices in this tier. The others are less versatile; Nanotech Suit (Smuggled Get-up) is a strong candidate but only recommended for duels against specific classes.
Not recommended. This utility provides no bonus to PvP; strictly a PvE utility as of 5.x.
Not recommended. While useful for running the ball in Huttball, for example, other utilities provide greater overall benefit.
Reduces all area of effect damage taken by 30%.
Not recommended. As explained above, Operatives have enough tools to create and close distance and the benefits of an increased stealth level are negligible.
Overload Shot (Quick Shot) and Noxious Knives (Lacerating Blast) reduce the movement speed of the targets they damage by 40% for 6 seconds. In addition, when Flash Bang (Flash Grenade) ends it leaves behind Flash Powder that reduces the target’s Accuracy by 20% for 8 seconds.
The only useful component of this utility is its Accuracy reduction. This can be used defensively or to relieve pressure from your healer in team ranked. Not recommended outside of team ranked.
Strongly recommended. This utility helps you lock down targets and keep them in range for greater DPS.
This utility is only situationally useful and not recommended.
Not recommended. This utility, like Nanotech Suit (Smuggled Get-up), is mainly for dueling certain classes. If you find you need more survivability, you can take this over Precision Instruments (Anatomy Lessons).
Not recommended. Only useful for PvE.
This utility is of little use and not recommended.
This is a top-tier utility and strongly recommended, especially if you find yourself constantly under fire. If you are attacked at least every 1.5 seconds, the cooldown of Evasion (Dodge) drops to nearly 20 seconds—very useful.
This utility synergizes well with Blow for Blow (Back at Ya): you will have a 3-second, 150% single-target reflect as often as every 20 seconds!
Countermeasures (Surrender) will also purge all movement-impairing effects when activated. Additionally, when Sleep Dart (Tranquilizer) wears off, the target is struck by Sedatives, reducing all damage dealt by 50% for the next 10 seconds.
This is another must-pick utility, which turns Countermeasures (Surrender) into a root breaker. Combined with the passive ability Ghost (Fight or Flight), this is your answer to roots, slows and other escape mechanics.
This utility is another top-tier pick. Currently, it fights for a permanent spot with Evasive Imperative (Scramble). If you find yourself tunneled in every match, Evasive Imperative (Scramble) is the way to go. If not, pick this.
Situational. This utility gives you a third root for even more control. I have tested it in warzones and in some solo ranked matches and feel it has potential.
Reduces the cooldown of Holotraverse (Trick Move) by 10 seconds and Holotraverse (Trick Move) can be used while immobilized and purges movement-impairing effects when used. Additionally, Holotraverse (Trick Move) grants a Tactical Advantage (Upper Hand).
This utility has its pros and cons. One the one hand, it gives Concealment Operatives perhaps the highest mobility in the game. It also grants a Tactical Advantage (Upper Hand), allowing you to follow up with immediate damage.
“What is the con?” you may ask. Well, dear reader, Holotraverse (Trick Move) is a temperamental and buggy ability. You may end up near your target, halfway across the map, get launched into orbit, fall into the abyss of the map or not move at all! While fun in regular warzones, this utility can’t be relied on in ranked play.
Exfiltrate (Scamper) grants a charge of Mobile Strategies (Slippery Shooter), reducing the energy cost of your next Overload Shot (Quick Shot) by 100%, allowing it to be used at 30m, and making it knock the target back. Each use of Overload Shot (Quick Shot) consumes a charge of Mobile Strategies (Slippery Shooter) and grants 10 energy.
Not recommended. Great for trolling but there are much better options.
A must-pick utility. This will save your butt so often, you’ll never be able to pay it back.
Countermeasures (Surrender) grants Curative Agent (Sly Surrender), causing your next Kolto Probe (Slow-release Medpac) on a new target to immediately grant two stacks. Additionally, Countermeasures (Surrender) heals you for 1% of your maximum health every second for 10 seconds and Kolto Infusion (Kolto Pack) now initially restores 𝑥 health and then additionally restores 𝑦 health over 9 seconds.
Not recommended. In most circumstances, this utility is useless to Concealment Operatives.
Its usefulness is up for debate. As Revitalizers (Surprise Comeback) is a must-pick utility, you have a choice between this and Blow for Blow (Back at Ya). If you find yourself unable to time Evasion (Dodge) to leverage its 150% reflect, take Augmented Shields (Hotwired Defenses) instead. It helps mitigate burst and, when combined with Escape Plan (Smuggled Defenses), puts Shield Probe (Defense Screen) on a 25 second cooldown.
I consider this a top-tier pick. It has the highest return percentage of any reflect in the game at a whopping 150%. That is, if you were hit by Heatseeker Missiles (Demolition Round) for 30k damage with Evasion (Dodge) active, the attacker would receive 45k damage back. Note, however, that you still take the initial 30k damage. It’s a close call between this and Augmented Shields (Hotwired Defenses) and ultimately comes down to personal preference.
Because Blow for Blow (Back at Ya) synergizes so well with Evasive Imperative (Scramble), if you choose not to take Blow for Blow (Back at Ya), there is a good argument to be made to take Escape Plan (Smuggled Defenses) over Evasive Imperative (Scramble).
Key Abilities and Passives
Tactical Advantage (Upper Hand): Defeating an opponent or activating Shiv (Blaster Whip) puts you in a position of Tactical Advantage (gives you the Upper Hand), enabling the use of executions (exploits) for 𝑥 seconds. Up to 2 charges of Tactical Advantage can exist at once.
Tactical Advantages (Upper Hands) are a resource gained by using Veiled Strike, Backstab (from stealth or on a target marked with Revealing Weakness), Stim Boost, getting a killing blow, Holotraverse (with the Circumvention utility) or by using Lacerate on a target affected by one of your poisons (subject to an internal cooldown).
There will be occasions where you are out of TAs and need to use a filler ability: either Sever Tendon, Crippling Slice or Corrosive Dart. This filler window should only be equivalent to one GCD.
Note/fun-fact: If you listen closely, you will notice that your character laughs whenever you gain a Tactical Advantage.
Tactical Superiority (Stack the Deck): Executes your Tactical Advantage to grant Tactical Superiority to you and your Operation group members within 40 meters, increasing critical chance by 10% for 10 seconds. Does not break stealth.
This ability can be used in 8-man warzones but not in arenas (ranked or unranked). I try to use Tactical Superiority off cooldown.
Note: Good combos include:
- Volatile Substance → Veiled Strike → Tactical Superiority → Backstab
- Volatile Substance → Veiled Strike + Stim Boost → Tactical Superiority → Backstab → Laceration
Try to combine Tactical Superiority with your auto-crit Volatile Substance to further increase its damage.
Adrenaline Probe (Cool Head): Recovers 50 energy over 3 seconds.
This is your emergency energy regeneration. Use it sparingly as it’s on a two-minute cooldown. They could be the longest two minutes of your life if you are energy starved.
Stim Boost (Pugnacity): Grants a Tactical Advantage and increases Alacrity by 10% for 15 seconds.
This is the only ability in our kit that can increase the rate at which we deal damage/heal. Keep in mind that alacrity
- decreases your GCD
- lowers the time between ticks of your HoTs
- helps you cast heal/channel faster and
- lowers the CD of your abilities.
Stim Boost is versatile: it can be used offensively, increasing your burst potential, or as a defensive cooldown (assuming you have taken Revitalizers).
Kolto Probe (Slow-release Medpac): Summons a droid that heals a friendly target for 𝑥 over y seconds. Stacks up to 2 times.
You should aim for 100% uptime on two stacks of Kolto Probe, assuming you have taken Fortified Kolto. This gives you 6% damage reduction, which stacks with the 5% from Chem-resistant Inlays (totaling 11%). Put Kolto Probes on your teammates in solo ranked; you generally needn’t worry about using them on friendly targets in warzones.
Veiled Strike (Bludgeon): Strikes the target for 𝑥 kinetic damage, granting a Tactical Advantage.
Applies the Susceptible debuff, increasing tech damage taken by the target by 5% for 45 seconds.
This is one of three ways to gain Tactical Advantages. It’s on a relatively short cooldown and should be used whenever available. Prioritize this before Backstab, which will benefit from the Susceptible debuff.
Backstab (Back Blast): Ambushes an enemy for 𝑥 kinetic damage. Only usable while behind the target. If used from stealth, Backstab deals 𝑦 kinetic damage and grants a Tactical Advantage.
Backstab also applies Acid Blade (Flechette Round), which causes an additional x internal damage over 6 seconds and increases your armor penetration by 30% for 15 seconds.
This is one of two main burst abilities. This will hit consistently for around 20k and has a 12-second cooldown. This ability should also generate a Tactical Advantage most times you use it. Combine with Volatile Substance to maximize burst damage.
Volatile Substance (Blood Boiler): Injects a substance into the target that, after settling in for a few  seconds, will react when the target takes damage from one of your poisons, dealing 𝑥 internal damage and making your target assailable for 45 seconds. Assailable targets take 7% more damage from elemental and internal attacks.
Your primary burst ability. Hits like a truck and deals internal damage, making it one of the best offensive abilities in the game. Combo with Backstab against a Susceptible target for insane burst potential.
Note: When your Volatile Substance does damage, it marks the target with Revealing Weakness, allowing your next Backstab against the target to be useable while face-to-face with the target and treated as though you attacked from stealth.
Laceration (Sucker Punch): Executes your Tactical Advantage, lacerating the target for 𝑥 kinetic damage. Requires and consumes Tactical Advantage.
Welcome to the bread and butter of Concealment. This does a decent amount of damage and you will be spamming this throughout fights.
Benefits from Collateral Strike (Flying Fists), a passive in the Concealment tree which triggers a secondary hit dealing 𝑥 kinetic damage and refunding a Tactical Advantage when hitting a poisoned target (can only occur once every 10 seconds).
Crippling Slice (Shank Shot): Slices the target low for 𝑥 kinetic damage and immobilizes it, preventing it from moving or turning for 4 seconds.
My favorite Concealment ability. Crippling Slice works almost like a stun: it not only roots the target but makes them unable to turn for the duration. Move behind them and, without a cleanse, they’re stuck eating your damage for 4 seconds. Great set-up for a burst window.
Sever Tendon (Tendon Blast): Throws a knife at the target, dealing 𝑥 kinetic damage and slowing the target’s movement speed by 50% for 12 seconds.
A great ability in its own right, Sever Tendon benefits hugely from the Precision Instruments utility, which adds a 2-second root. This gives you another tool to catch up with and stick to targets.
Debilitate (Dirty Kick): Deals 𝑥 energy damage and stuns the target for 4 seconds.
This hard stun is your main tool to set up burst. Without a breaker, your target is at your mercy for 4 seconds.
Shield Probe (Defense Screen): Summons a probe that projects a shield around the Agent, absorbing a moderate amount of incoming damage for 10 seconds. Does not break stealth.
A potent defensive cooldown usable every 30 seconds. Shield Probe is versatile; while you may want to save it in anticipation of burst windows, you can’t go far wrong using it off cooldown.
Evasion (Dodge): Increases your chance to dodge melee and ranged attacks by 200% for 3 seconds. Does not break stealth.
Another powerful defensive cooldown. Evasion is normally on a 45-second cooldown but this can be reduced to nearly 20 seconds with the Evasive Imperative utility (if you are attacked at least every 1.5 seconds). Evasion also benefits from Blow for Blow, which reflects 150% of single target tech and Force attacks back at the attackers for the duration. These utilities turn Evasion into an insane cooldown that can be used both defensively and offensively.
Exfiltrate (Scamper): Roll forward 12 meters. Activating Exfiltrate a second time within 10 seconds allows you to roll again, but puts the ability on cooldown for 10 seconds. While rolling, your chance to dodge melee and ranged attacks is increased by 30%. Does not break stealth. Cannot be used while immobilized or hindered.
This ability gives operatives incredible mobility. In Concealment, Exfiltrate benefits from the Shadow Operative Elite utility, which gives us 1.5 seconds of nigh-invulnerabilty: 100% chance to dodge or resist incoming attacks. Additionally, Shadow Operative Elite increases our stealth level by 2, making us that much sneakier.
Cloaking Screen (Disappearing Act): Overloads your stealth generator, immediately exiting combat and entering stealth mode. For 10 seconds, you become virtually undetectable.
A powerful and versatile cooldown, Cloaking Screen enables us to reset combat or escape an unwinnable fight.
Corrosive Dart (Vital Shot): Fires a dart at the target that deals 𝑥 internal damage over 18 seconds.
Use only as a filler ability or to detonate your Volatile Substance on a target out of range of Backstab. In unranked warzones, you can generally use this whenever. In arenas or when trying to take an objective, however, because the DoT has such a long duration, it could potentially break an important CC.
Escape: Purges all incapacitating and movement-impairing effects.
This is your breaker, arguably your most important cooldown. Only use this to break stuns or mezzes; never use Escape to break a root. Breaking as an operative is risky: if forced to eat a hard stun without your breaker, like most other classes, you will probably die. You should only really break a mercenary or commando’s Electro Net or if you’re white barred (have temporary CC immunity) and need to get back into the fight. Otherwise, wait out the CC—it’ll be okay, I promise! Just be smart about when you break, recognize that you’re particularly vulnerable when it’s on cooldown and pay attention to your surroundings accordingly.
Holotraverse (Trick Move): Supercharge your stealth generator, quickly moving you to a friendly or enemy target and increasing your movement speed by 75% for 3 seconds. Does not break stealth. Cannot be used against enemy targets in cover.
This ability should be used as an emergency gap closer to either keep pressure on a target or secure a kill.
Note: The Circumvention utility enables you to use Holotraverse while rooted and purges movement-impairing effects (in addition to generating a Tactical Advantage). Unfortunately, because Holotraverse is unreliable and buggy, spending a utility point here is is not recommended.
Other than in emergencies, for the greatest chance of success, only use Holotraverse when you have an unbroken line of sight (no obstacles in the way). Otherwise, you’re liable to find yourself stuck in odd places, flying into space or even exploring the uncoded regions of the game.
Flash Bang (Flash Grenade): Detonates a flash bang that blinds the target for 8 seconds. Damage causes this effect to end prematurely.
This is our AoE mez. It’s great for
- peeling for allies
- stunning a group to cap an objective and
- stunning a group then isolating and killing a target.
Sleep Dart (Tranquilizer): Puts the target to sleep for 60 seconds. Damage will break the effect prematurely. Only usable from stealth and only usable on targets not in combat. Only one target can be incapacitated at a time. Does not affect droids.
Note: In PvP, Sleep Dart’s target is incapacitated for 8 seconds, not 60 seconds as in PvE.
Sleep Dart benefits from Cunning Competencies (Dirty Trickster). This utility causes targets struck by Sleep Dart to suffer from Sedatives, which reduces their damage dealt by 50% for 10 seconds.
Sleep Dart’s main uses are for capping a node from a defender or sapping someone in a 1 vs 2 situation.
Toxin Scan (Triage): Cleanses a friendly target of up to 2 negative tech or physical effects.
This is mainly used in solo ranked to cleanse a teammate who is CC’d by a physical or tech effect (e.g., Flash Bang). Also great for cleansing tech-based roots in duels, though very few of these are cleansable.
Kolto Infusion (Kolto Pack): Executes your Tactical Advantage to heal the target immediately for 𝑥 followed by 𝑦 over 9 seconds. Requires and consumes a Tactical Advantage.
Use to heal yourself in a duel or a teammate in serious danger. It may not seem like much, but it can save lives (and ranked matches).
Countermeasures (Surrender): Activates countermeasures, instantly lower threat by a moderate amount.
Countermeasures benefits from the Cunning Competencies utility, which causes it to purge all movement-impairing effects on activation. Additionally, the Ghost passive ability in the Concealment tree gives Countermeasures a 50% increase to your movement speed for 6 seconds. This makes this ability an equally powerful tool for chasing and escaping from targets.
Concealment has high burst output and high sustained DPS. You can regularly deal 40–50k in a single GCD (Volatile Substance + Backstab). Our sustained damage revolves around spamming Laceration after the Volatile Substance burst window. With that in mind, here is my typical opener for regular warzones/solo ranked matches:
Backstab → Stim Boost + Volatile Substance → Veiled Strike → Laceration (×2)
This maximizes your opening burst with a maximally buffed autocrit Volatile Substance. The highest I personally have pulled off was a 26k Backstab and 31k Volatile Substance, totalling 57k within a single GCD.
If you are aiming to sap cap an offnode, do the following:
- get as close to the node as you can while still being in range to use Sleep Dart
- use Sleep Dart and unstealth at exactly the same time (to make this easier, ensure both abilities are bound to adjacent keys) and click the node
- if they break, you must use Flash Bang and click the node at exactly the same time.
This guarantees your cap as long as there is only one defender.
Now, if you want to be a complete jerk and humiliate the enemy by killing them and taking their node while they lie there, dead, contemplating their mistake, use the following opener:
Sleep Dart → Volatile Substance → Kolto Probe (×2) (for relic procs) → Debilitate → Stim Boost + Veiled Strike → Tactical Superiority + Backstab → Laceration ×2
This is a slight variation on the normal opener. This not only forces your opponent to use their breaker but the opening burst in this 1 vs 1 situation should take somewhere between 50% and 80% of their HP (scaling with your gear level).
- Adjust max camera distance
- Go to Preferences
- in the Game tab, select Controls
- under Camera, set the Max Camera Distance slider to 100%
- hit Apply then OK.
This is pretty self-explanatory. This setting lets you zoom out all the way for a better view of the terrain—a good player is one who can read the whole battle.
Tip: If you aren't comfortable with the camera distance even at 100%, you can increase it further by editing a UI file. Steps to do this can be found here: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=205633.
- Show cooldown text
- Go to Preferences
- in the Game tab, select User Interface
- under Cooldown Settings (scroll down), check the box next to Show Cooldown Text
- hit Apply then OK.
Enabling this setting will overlay a countdown timer on your quickbar icons, indicating the active cooldown of abilities.
- Show HP/resource values on player/target frames
- Open Interface Editor
- click on Player Frame or Target Frame
- check the box next to Show Information Text
- click Save.
Enabling this option overlays the current HP/resource (energy, heat, rage, etc.) values on the player and target frames.
- Highlight personal buffs and sort by duration
- Open Interface Editor
- click on Player Buff Tray
- check Highlight Effects
- under the Effect Hightlight Max Duration dropdown box, select 1 minute and below
- check Personal Effects
- under the Effect Sort Type dropdown box, select Apply Time
- click Save.
Enabling these options highlights your personal buffs, helping you keep track of your Kolto Probes.
- Highlight target’s buffs and sort by duration
- Open Interface Editor
- click on Target Frame
- increase Buff Scale as desired
- check Show Information Text
- under Highlight Options, check Highlight Buffs
- under the Buff Highlight Maximum Duration dropdown box, select 1 minute and below
- under Sort Options, check Personal Buffs
- under the Buff Sort Type dropdown box, check By Time Remaining
- uncheck Personal Debuffs.
Enabling these options helps you keep your Kolto Probes on those that desperately need them. Note that this primarily applies in solo ranked games, where off-healing is almost a necessity.
My UI is arranged as in the screenshot below. It is a little out of the ordinary, I know—please no flamerino! My ops frame is between the two front action bars (one has all my damage abilities while the other has my utilities/defensives). I’ve used this layout since 1.2 (when custom UI options were introduced) and have never looked back. The six-button action bar in the top center is where I put key abilities whose cooldowns I want to monitor (ignore the rogue Overload Shot).
Note on Enemy Hitbox and Positioning
The red lines in the illustration below enclose the region behind an enemy where you can safely stand and deal damage without the target being able to return the favor (e.g., during a Crippling Slice root).
Depending on your team composition and the enemy’s, Concealment can be really strong or it can basically turn the match into a 3 vs 4. It’s hard to define its strengths and weaknesses but, based on my experiences (two operatives over 1800 rating and climbing), this is how I rate Concealment in solo ranked:
- insane off-healing
- easily set-up burst.
- useless/vulnerable when CC’d.
Your job is to tank as much damage as possible in the opening fray and help peel for your team, all the while putting out damage. That may sound more complicated than it is. The easiest way to do this is to put Kolto Probe (×2) on yourself before the match starts then get into the enemy team as fast as possible. Once in position, you can open with a Flash Bang or Sleep Dart and draw their attention. Put your opening burst (Volatile Substance + Backstab) into the primary target. If you get tunneled, do your best to survive. If the enemy ignores you, even better: continue to unload on the kill target, peeling for your team when necessary. If someone seems to be in trouble, you can offheal with Kolto Infusion and Kolto Probe (×2). This strategy will take practice and its success hinges on your teammates’ skill.
While not everyone’s into dueling, in both warzones and arenas, you will find yourself in must-win 1 vs 1 situations. Concealment is particularly well-suited to offnode play, for instance. Understanding the basics of dueling is vital to playing Concealment to its fullest.
In this final section, a primer on general tactics is followed by an in-depth analysis of how Concealment performs against each class/spec.
Note: A key utility, Blow for Blow, was intoduced in 5.0. For the duration of Evasion, 150% of all single-target yellow (Force and tech) damage is dealt back to the enemy. Practice timing this to reflect abilities like Thermal Detonator right as it goes off. Reflected damage also goes unmitigated against, e.g., Undying Rage. I.e., if a marauder under the effects of Undying Rage hits you for 20k yellow damage, they will receive 30k damage regardless. Keep this in mind as you read through this section. While you don’t want to take Blow for Blow against certain specs (e.g., snipers and juggernauts), it turns Evasion into a potent offensive (and defensive) cooldown.
1. In general, you have two viable openers.
- Sleep Dart (Tranquilizer) → Volatile Substance (Blood Boiler) → Kolto Probe (Slow-release Medpac) (×2) → Debilitate (Dirty Kick) → Veiled Strike (Bludgeon) → Backstab (Backblast)
With this, you can even pop Stim Boost (Pugnacity) + Tactical Superiority (Stack the Deck) before Backstab then play aggressively for their duration. Popping both cooldowns at once provides maximum burst.
- Backstab (Backblast) → Volatile Substance (Blood Boiler) → Debilitate (Dirty Kick) → Veiled Strike (Bludgeon) → Laceration (Sucker Punch) (×2)
Optionally, use Stim Boost (Pugnacity) + Tactical Superiority (Stack the Deck) before detonating Volatile Substance (it will most likely detonate on the last Acid Blade (Flechette Round) tick so ensure you fit Veiled Strike in before Acid Blade expires).
2. If you don’t get the opener against another stealther, don’t panic. Just think through your CDs and pop things accordingly. Since Blow for Blow was introduced in 5.0, countering openers (and burst) has become much easier: careless enemies risk killing themselves. Typically, popping Evasion will give you three seconds of catch-up time.
3. Burst timing is a simple concept. Monitor your buff bar for your relic procs (power and mastery) then try to unload Volatile Substance (Blood Boiler) if available or as many Lacerations (Sucker Punches) as possible. That’s only part of the story, however. Bringing out the big guns involves not only looking out for your relic procs but for your enemy’s defensives. Against operatives, for instance, ensure their Kolto Probes (Slow-release Medpacs) have expired and that Stim Boost (Pugnacity) isn’t up. You then have the perfect opportunity to hard stun and tear into them with Tactical Superiority (Stack the Deck) and/or Stim Boost (Pugnacity). This should force them to use their CC breaker, if available. Otherwise, odds are they’re dead meat.
4. There isn’t much to say about defensive timing. Shield Probe (Defense Screen) can be used off cooldown. Evasion (Dodge) is best saved to mitigate incoming white burst or to reflect yellow damage.
5. There are a few abilities you can counter with precise timing of Exfiltrate (Scamper). One of these is Thermal Detonator, belonging to the Advanced Prototype and Innovative Ordnance specs: you want to roll right before it goes off to mitigate the damage. With Force Leech, Ambush and Thundering Blast, you want to Exfiltrate just before the casts complete. Beyond that, recognizing each spec’s attack patterns and trying to roll preemptively takes practice.
6. Finally, proper usage of Kolto Infusion (Kolto Pack) and Diagnostic Scan. Kolto Infusion can be used any time you use Debilitate (Dirty Kick) or Crippling Slice (Shank Shot), providing a burst heal and minor HoT to mitigate incoming damage. The only time you can really use Diagnostic Scan is after a successful Flash Bang (Flash Grenade) or Sleep Dart (Tranquilizer). You can then use Kolto Probe (Slow-release Medpac) (×2), Kolto Infusion and Diagnostic Scan. From there, try to keep Kolto Probe up throughout the fight (minus stealth phases) and use Kolto Infusion whenever you can.
7. It’s a lesser-known fact that Exfiltrate (Scamper) affects your stealth level. Essentially, when you roll, you are moving too fast to trigger an enemy’s stealth detection. This is extremely useful against snipers, whose passive ability Spotter increases their stealth detection while in cover. When you roll near them while stealthed, they are unable to see you at all. This Exfiltrate mechanic also counters Stealth Scan, allowing you to roll right through the scan without being detected.
While Volatile Substance can be applied through Force Barrier, the Scrapper scoundrel mirror ability, Blood Boiler, is bugged and cannot.
Madness sorcerers (Balance sages) are one of the easier matchups for a Concealment operative, simply because they’re so squishy. It’s vital to stick to the target with Holotraverse (Trick Move) and Exfiltrate (Scamper) and keep them slowed when their Force Speed is down. It is also key to interrupt when you can to save your Exfiltrate resists for two key abilities:
- The highest priority is their Force Leech (Force Serenity), which has a 1.5 second cast time. This ability is their heavy hitter, especially with Recklessness (Force Potency). A successful roll resist will mitigate a lot of damage, saving you from overhealing yourself and so shortening the fight.
- The second priority, which is a little trickier to time, is their Force Lightning (Telekinetic Throw) → instant Demolish (Force Serenity). If you don’t roll it successfully, use Evasion (Dodge) to cleanse it. The typical Madness sorcerer will cast Force Lightning and immediately use Demolish. The easiest way to counter it is to watch their cast bar and Exfiltrate (Scamper) with 0.3–0.7 seconds remaining. If you manage to Exfiltrate in that window, you will also catch their Demolish in the last split second of your resist buff on Exfiltrate (Scamper), avoiding a lot of follow-up DoT damage.
Note: Force Serenity shares Demolish’s animation but is recolored to blue and white.
Once you have Exfiltrate’s timing down, it’s a matter of staying in melee range of your target. Note that most sorcerers will Phase Walk to kite you: save your Holotraverse (Trick Move) for this. If Holotraverse is on cooldown, your only option is to Exfiltrate to close the distance. If you have to Exfiltrate, you need to do so in a very timely manner, making sure not to overlap the resist buff. This will typically counter any Phase Walk play.
Lastly, the biggest complaint I’ve heard from other Concealment operatives is Force Barrier. Surprisingly, there is a very easy solution! You have two options:
- The non-troll approach: stand next to them while they are channeling Force Barrier. Note that operatives can preset Volatile Substance on sorcerers while they are channeling, whereas Scrapper scoundrels cannot preset their Blood Boiler (due to a bug). Once Volatile Substance is applied, you have one job (don't screw this up, Jim), which is to Flash Bang (Flash Grenade) immediately after the channel ends. This will catch their Enduring Bastion in Flash Bang’s full 8-second duration—no time wasted tunneling into that forsaken bubble.
- The troll approach (my preferred option): as above with one minor change. After presetting your Volatile Substance, you can /dance for the remainder of their Force Barrier channel. After using Flash Bang (Flash Grenade), /dance again while you wait for their Enduring Bastion to expire.
You rarely see Lightning sorcerers in duels but it’s still worth covering their abilities. This matchup is identical to Madness but for two key differences.
- Instead of trying to Exfiltrate (Scamper) Force Leech, you are now going to Exfiltrate their Thundering Blast cast. Doing so will allow you to not only resist Thundering Blast but the instant Chain Lightning that follows.
- Don’t bother trying to interrupt Lightning sorcerers. They gain immunity to pushback and interrupts every time they are interrupted. Instead, just go ham, staying in range to beat/stab them to a pulp.
Against all three assassin specs, kite for the duration of their Force Shroud (Resilience).
Typically, Darkness assassins (Kinetic shadows) run full DPS gear (including the DPS set bonuses) to maximize DPS while benefiting from the damage reduction in the tank tree. This matchup is fairly straightforward; there are two key points:
- Once the stealth phase ends, the highest priority is rolling as many Depredating Volts (Cascading Debris) as possible: they hurt. You can get by with simply rolling once, then using Kolto Probes to mitigate the last tick of the channel. Fairly easy to see and to time.
- The second priority during the fight is to watch for their Force Shroud (Resilience). Force Shroud grants them immunity to Force and tech damage for 3 seconds (5 seconds with the Disjunction (Mind over Matter) utility in the legendary tier). Once you see Force Shroud, run away, HoT yourself with Kolto Probe (×2), pop Shield Probe (Defense Screen) if available and kite your opponent for the duration. Keep in mind that you can apply Volatile Substance (Blood Boiler) right as Force Shroud ends to catch them off guard with burst.
This matchup is one of the harder ones for Concealment, owing to Deception’s massive burst. There are a few pointers I can give that have helped me to best most Deception assassins—I generally only lose if I screw up.
- Roll resisting Deception assassins is uniquely tricky. Rather than timing/anticipating a particular ability, you need to pay attention to their buff bar for certain procs. One you want to watch for is Static Charge. Each stack (up to three) progressively increases the damage of their next Discharge. When you see them hit three stacks, it’s advisible to Exfiltrate in hopes of resisting that Discharge. Another proc to watch for is Voltage (its icon is a hand holding a lightsaber aloft). This stacks up to twice, each stack giving their Ball Lightning a 50% chance to trigger Surging Charge off its normal, 6-second rate limit, which additionally generates a Static Charge.
- Of utmost importance when dueling a Deception assassin is to not panic break. If you freak out and mistime your breaker, a competent assassin will capitalize. Typically they will use a Low Slash → Maul/Ball Lightning/Discharge → Electrocute combination. Don’t panic break the Low Slash or you’ll be screwed later in the duel. Simply wait for Electrocute, break it, camera spin + Debilitate (Dirty Kick) to shut them down. If you spin and stun them quickly enough, you have a good chance of baiting out their CC breaker. If they break before they’re white-barred, you are looking at an easy win! Keep calm, play around them not having a breaker, time your burst rotation as stated above and abuse their vulnerability to CC.
- If low on health, they will most likely try to stealth out with Force Cloak, sap you (with Mind Trap) and find a safe place to regenerate while out of combat. If they successfully sap you while your CC breaker is available and you are confident in finishing the job, break the sap, Holotraverse (Trick Move) to cover ground (if necessary), lock them down and finish them. It gets tricky when they pull off a sap regen when your CC breaker is on cooldown. In this situation, you need to stay calm and follow their movements. If they follow up by going into stealth, do the same (essentially resetting the fight).
Note: This matchup can be approached aggressively or defensively.
- Defensive approach: Hatred might have seen some nerfs, but its potential damage output is still huge. The key thing to watch for in this matchup is their Leeching Strike (Serenity Strike) and Thrash (Double Strike). If you are under the effects of their Discharge (Force Breach) debuff, those abilities will proc their instant-cast Demolish (Vanquish). In this situation, roll Leeching Strike/Thrash immediately to resist their Demolish and mitigate a lot of damage.
- Offensive approach (a.k.a. gimme dat bootie): Play aggressively, popping Shield Probe (Defense Screen), Evasion (Dodge), Stim Boost (Pugnacity) and maintaining Kolto Probe (Slow-release Medpac) (×2) on yourself to reduce incoming damage. Whether or not you get the opener (outlined above), stick to the target and maintain the pressure. Exfiltrate (Scamper) when you think they are going to use Demolish.
Reminder: Against all three specs, you will want to kite for the duration of their Force Shroud (Resilience).
This is an easy matchup against all three specs. However, there are key points to bear in mind. Ensure you take the Cunning Competencies (Dirty Trickster) utility (Countermeasures (Surrender) additionally purges movement-impairing effects): use it to break their Ravage (Blade Barrage) root and follow with a roll. Also remember to kite or CC them for the duration of their Undying Rage (Guarded by the Force).
Remember to use Evasion (Dodge) when you are under the effects of both Deadly Saber (Overload Saber) and Rupture (Cauterize). Apart from that, as outlined above:
- break the Ravage (Blade Barrage) root with Countermeasures (Surrender) then roll and
- Flash Bang (Flash Grenade) them during their Undying Rage (Guarded by the Force).
This is an otherwise straightforward fight.
Relatively easy, though you need to watch out for their burst window. If they activate Ferocity (Precision) (+100% armour penetration for 3 seconds) while you are stunned, break immediately and either
- follow up with a Debilitate (Dirty Kick) or Flash Bang (Flash Grenade) or
Do this and it should be an easy win.
As with Carnage, this matchup is relatively easy but Fury’s burst is scary if your CC breaker is on cooldown. Save your Shield Probe (Defense Screen) for their leap and use your Evasion (Dodge) to cleanse Force Crush (Force Exhaustion). Aside from that, play it the same as against Carnage and Annihilation, using Countermeasures (Surrender) to purge their Ravage (Blade Barrage) root and roll away. Stun lock them, burst and Flash Bang (Flash Grenade) when their Undying Rage (Guarded by the Force) is active.
- Do not tunnel into Saber Reflect. Debilitate (Dirty Kick) them and wait it out. If Debilitate is on cooldown, use Crippling Slice (Shank Shot) and move directly behind them. If you can’t do either, Exfiltrate away and kite for its duration.
- Another key point is to save your Flash Bang (Flash Grenade) for their Enraged Defense (Focused Defense)—or, as I call it, their “nine lives”. This stacked buff heals them every time they take damage (12 charges, 15 second duration). If you don’t have Flash Bang, your only other option is to use Cloaking Screen (Disappearing Act) and sap them for the duration. You should only ever hit a juggernaut under the effects of Enraged Defense if all you have available is Debilitate or Crippling Slice, in which case you have to abuse the 270° hitbox and kite them for its duration.
After recent buffs to Immortal’s damage output, they are more frequently seen in duels. They have high survivability and burst—be careful. Generally, you play against juggernauts the same as against marauders. Follow the two key points for dueling juggernauts (above), use your rolls defensively and keep Kolto Probe (×2) up. Don’t be afraid to cast Kolto Infusion (Kolto Pack) while they are hard stunned, mezzed or rooted with Crippling Slice (Shank Shot).
One of the more frustrating matchups as Concealment, owing in large part to their 4-second CC/interrupt immunity on Force Charge (Force Leap). The easiest counter I have found is to use Countermeasures (Surrender) to purge the root on Force Charge, rolling afterwards to run out the clock on their immunity. Save your Evasion for when all three of their DoTs are applied, so you only need worry about their direct hits. From there, follow the general tips given above to win!
Their burst demands respect and is scary if Escape is on cooldown. This matchup can be played exactly as against Fury marauders (with the addition of the Saber Reflect and Enraged Defense mechanics described above). Reminders: use your Evasion to cleanse their Force Crush, try to roll after every leap and play around your stuns.
Electro Net is their biggest threat. The easiest counter is to pop Stim Boost (Pugnacity) and tank it. My strategy when netted is as follows: Stim Boost → Kolto Probe (Slow-release Medpac) → Shield Probe (Defense Screen) → Kolto Probe → Kolto Infusion (Kolto Pack) → Kolto Probe → Diagnostic Scan. If they interrupt your Kolto Infusion, simply reapply Kolto Probe then use Diagnostic Scan. Your job is to heal yourself and tank as much damage as possible over the 9-second duration of Electro Net.
Mercenaries have enjoyed some major buffs with 5.0. This matchup can be a rollercoaster of emotions; their powerful DCDs can mitigate and undo a lot of incoming damage.
The Trauma Regulators utility in the legendary tier allows them to build a stack of Trauma Regulators (Trauma Stabilizers) (up to 15 stacks) whenever they receive direct damage for the 12-second duration of their Energy Shield (Reactive Shield). When Energy Shield expires, they are healed for 5% of their maximum health for each stack—potentially 75%. When coupled with the Energy Rebounder (Reflexive Shield) utility, which reduces the active cooldown of Energy Shield whenever they take damage, Energy Shield becomes the one of the most most potent DCDs in the game.
It’s wise to CC them with Debilitate (Dirty Kick) or Flash Bang (Flash Grenade) and wait it out. However, if you feel confident enough, you can hit through it in hopes of making them panic and forcing a Kolto Overload (Adrenaline Rush), which rapidly heals them up to 70% of their maximum health with the Kolto Surge (Adrenal Surge) utility, or Responsive Safeguards (Echoing Deterrence), which absorbs 100% and reflects 50% of incoming single-target damage (as well as healing them for 5% of their maximum HP for each attack absorbed).
Take note that more skilled mercs will simply right-click their Energy Shield buff, ending it early and triggering the heal from Trauma Regulators. As such, I strongly recommend CC’ing them during this and their other major cooldowns. This way, you don’t get outplayed and create windows to heal yourself. Take your time and play cautiously. Try to save something for each Blazing Bolts (Boltstorm) cast—either Exfiltrate (Scamper) or Evasion (Dodge)—to mitigate the filler. Finally, their Decoy passive causes Chaff Flare (Diversion) to grant them five charges that absorb the next five incoming Force or tech attacks (lasts up to 10 seconds).
Innovative Ordnance/Assault Specialist
Mechanically, this fight is the same as the other DoT specs. Save your Evasion (Dodge) for when they have applied all their DoTs then play aggressively.
Make sure you roll as the initial gap closer. Generally, once the Electro Net burst ends, you’ll have already cleansed all their DoTs: if you then Exfiltrate (Scamper) to close the gap, you will resist any DoTs they try to apply for 1.5 seconds, forcing them to reapply them.
Their Degauss passive buffs Chaff Flare (Diversion), causing it to additionally increase their defense chance by 35%. This does affect Concealment/Scrapper, giving IO mercs a chance to resist some of our attacks. If they take the Supercharged Defense utility, Chaff Flare also synergizes with Supercharged Gas to give them +50% defense chance. In this situation, CC them and wait for their cooldowns to expire.
You should also try to time Exfiltrate (Scamper) to resist their Thermal Detonator (Assault Plastique).
Shield Tech/Shield Specialist
You will rarely see Shield Tech powertechs in duels. Simply play around your stun locks, CC during their Kolto Overload (Adrenaline Rush), roll away from Firestorm (Ion Storm), keep Kolto Probe (Slow-release Medpac) up and have your way with them.
This is the scariest matchup in terms of single-target burst. These are the key points:
- Don’t get globalled. The easiest way to mitigate most of their damage is to roll just before Thermal Detonator (Assault Plastique) goes off—either listen for the audio cue or watch the debuff on your bar.
- Use Toxic Scan (Triage) to cleanse debuffs that increase the damage you take. The easiest, least stressful time to do so is during a stun window (if you can’t burst). Otherwise, Exfiltrate (Scamper) away from (or through) them, cleanse yourself then Holotraverse (Trick Move) back to them.
- Sonic Missile (Sonic Round) grants them defense chance, just like Innovative Ordnance mercenaries. Expect some of your attacks to be resisted when it’s active. You also need to be mindful of their Energy Shield (Reactive Shield): if they are running the Pyro Shield (Electro Shield) utility, you will take elemental damage for each of your direct damage attacks on them for the duration of their Energy Shield (up to once per second). You may want to play defensively: Flash Bang (Flash Grenade) them, wait it out then drop them when it expires. Otherwise, you’ll need to kite it. Saving your Flash Bang (Flash Grenade) is advisable in this sense, as long as you use it when you trigger their Kolto Overload (Adrenaline Rush): let it heal them to 35% then expire so you can finish them.
- As well as timing Exfiltrate (Scamper) to avoid Thermal Detonator (Assault Plastique), roll right after they use Rocket Punch (Stockstrike), Shatter Slug (Flak Shell) and Magnetic Blast (Tactical Surge) as these proc their Prototype Particle Accelerator (Tactical Accelerator), which gives them a free Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt) up to every 6 seconds.
- Finally, don’t play too aggressively. AP burst, even after the surge nerf, is potent: they can mess you up quicker than you can them. Exfiltrate (Scamper) to avoid Thermal Detonator and Rail Shot, CC them during their cooldowns, keep Kolto Probe up and use Kolto Infusion whenever you see an opportunity. Never break Carbonize (Neural Surge). Save your breaker for their Electro Dart (Cryo Grenade) and when you are white-barred.
One of the weakest specs in the game as of current patch/meta. Its DoTs don’t do a lot of damage and are really only there to frustrate you. Similar to Innovative Ordnance, save your Evasion (Dodge) for when all their DoTs are applied. Another key mechanic is that their Kolto Overload gives them 30% damage reduction while active: when you see it, it’s best to Flash Bang (Flash Grenade) them and wait it out.
- Never CC into their Entrench (Hunker Down).
- Stay out of their Diversion. Exfiltrate (Scamper), Kolto Probe (Slow-release Medpac) yourself and get out of their line of sight; trying to hit them through Diversion is pointless and can cost you the duel. Note that Marksmanship snipers benefit from the Heavy Diversion (Percussive Diversion) passive, causing the effects of Diversion to persist on you for three seconds after leaving its area of effect.
- They have some of the most powerful DCDs in the game. You will need to pay close attention to make sure you’re stalling when you need to.
- Players of all three sniper specs will generally take both the Tactical Retreat (Bait and Switch) utility, which gives them a 10% heal on Covered Escape (Hightail It), and Defensive Safeguards (Shield Reserve), which (among other things) heals them over time while they are inside their Ballistic Shield (Scrambling Field). While Tactical Retreat is nothing to worry about, you must stall their Ballistic Shield for its 20-second duration: in addition to its heal over time, it also gives them (and their allies) 20% damage reduction and immunity to knockdowns and physics (pulls, etc.). With Defensive Safeguards, they gain an additional 5% damage reduction for each enemy within their Ballistic Shield (up to four). Try to Flash Bang (Flash Grenade) them then create and maintain as much distance as possible for its duration.
A scary fight due to their high burst potential. In addition to the general mechanics described above, you must Exfiltrate (Scamper) their Ambush (Aimed Shot) whenever possible. Watch their cast bar, roll accordingly to mitigate the damage then start your rotation. Remember to avoid standing in their Diversion and not to stun them while Entrenched. Snipers have incredible survivability in the current patch: stay focused and don’t let the prospect of a drawn-out fight get to you.
Perhaps the most frustrating matchup in the game, the deck is stacked in favor of your opponent. Engineering’s toolkit has control for days, powerful DCDs and nearly 100% damage uptime. Plasma Probe (Incendiary Grenade), their AoE slow (50% movement speed reduction, 8-metre radius), is a particular nuisance. Save Evasion (Dodge) for when you see Explosive Probe (Sabotage Charge) on you and they start channeling Series of Shots (Speed Shot); it’s not the end of the world if Explosive Prove detonates because the follow-up damage is greater.
My recommended utility loadout for dueling Engineering snipers is as follows:
- Chem-resistant Inlays
- Nanotech Suit
- Fortified Kolto
- Med Shield
- Cunning Competencies
- Evasive Imperative
- Augmented Shields
Note: Escape Plan is a viable alternative (probably best substituted for Augmented Shields).
They have a secondary, 2-second stun on EMP Discharge (Sabotage) if you are under the effects of their Interrogation Probe (Shock Charge) and Plasma Probe (Incendiary Grenade). It’s important not to break this: they can close the gap and wreck you with Debilitate → Explosive Probe → Covered Escape → Series of Shots.
In summary, keep Kolto Probe (×2) up and avoid their Explosive Probe and stun combos. Try to save Exfiltrate, Evasion or Shield Probe for each Series of Shots + Explosive Probe—one of them should always be off cooldown for this. If you need to heal, break their line of sight to avoid being interrupted. Expect this fight to drag on, sometimes longer than typical duels against other operatives. Don’t be disheartened if you lose: on paper, the Engineering sniper has the distinct advantage.
This fight is harder than in previous patches because their improved defensive cooldowns give them more Cull (Wounding Shots) uptime. However, this is still one of Concealment’s easier matchups. Save (preferably) Exfiltrate (Scamper), Evasion (Dodge) or Shield Probe (Defense Screen) for each Cull and you’re halfway to winning the duel. You’ll be forced to eat Cull every now and then—and it will hurt—so just heal back up.
Key note: This can be the most stressful—and beautiful—fight in the game. It demands concentration, endurance and a firm grasp of all the concepts covered above, as well as some specific to this mirror matchup.
- Prepare for a long duel where the tables can turn quickly. You need to stay calm and focused while dancing with your opponent, something that only comes with practice.
- Never break the first stun. Breaking without a full resolve bar is basically suicide. Try to break as soon as your resolve bar is filled to take advantage of the CC-immunity window and deal damage. If your opponent breaks early (before they’re white-barred), punish them. Play aggressively but don’t lose sight of the game plan.
These are the key plays and counterplays to memorize:
Q. What if I lose the stealth phase, i.e., my opponent opens on me?
A: There are three variants to this counterplay:
- The textbook opener is Sleep Dart (Tranquilizer) → Volatile Substance (Blood Boiler) → Kolto Probe (Slow-release Medpac) (×2) (which triggers the internal cooldown of relics) → Debilitate (Dirty Kick) into burst rotation. Hang tight and don’t panic break the sap. You can counter this opener by waiting for their Debilitate (Dirty Kick), immediately breaking it, turning to face them and following up with your own Debilitate combo.
- If, instead of Debilitate (Dirty Kick), they use Crippling Slice (Shank Shot), use Countermeasures (Surrender) instead of Escape and either follow up with Debilitate (Dirty Kick) or your own Crippling Slice to reduce the early pressure. If you accidentally break (rather than purge) Crippling Slice, stay calm: you can compensate for your mistake by playing more defensively.
- One of the rarer openers is Sleep Dart → Volatile Substance → Backstab (Back Blast) into burst. This generally only happens if their Sleep Dart ends up filling your resolve bar. The simple counter is to Exfiltrate (Scamper) on Backstab, delaying the Volatile Substance detonation and creating distance. If you roll correctly, you also resist the entire Acid Blade (Flechette Round) DoT, preventing Volatile Substance going off at all.
Q: What if I win the stealth phase, i.e., get the opener?
A: Again, there are three variants to this play:
- As above, the optimal opener is Sleep Dart → Kolto Probe (×2) → Volatile Substance → Debilitate → Veiled Strike (Bludgeon) → Backstab. This generates maximum burst as Volatile Substance detonates after their Kolto Probes fall off for 6% less damage reduction.
- As above but substituting Crippling Slice for Debilitate. The idea is to try and bait out your opponent’s CC breaker: many operatives will anticipate the Debilitate and break reflexively instead of waiting for and reacting to their opponent’s next play.
- Finally, if your Sleep Dart (Tranquilizer) fills their resolve bar, follow with Volatile Substance → Kolto Probe (×2) → Backstab. Typically, your opponent will Exfiltrate to delay/prevent Acid Blade triggering Volatile Substance. Give chase or trigger Volatile Substance with Corrosive Dart (Vital Shot).
Q: When should I play aggressively?
A: There are key windows during which to play aggressively. These correspond to your buffs, CCs and offensive cooldowns. In particular:
- During a full, 4-second Debilitate (Dirty Kick) stun. With Debilitate on a 30-second cooldown and Volatile Substance (Blood Boiler) on an 18-second cooldown, you can set up a Volatile Substance burst every other Debilitate window.
- During a Crippling Slice (Shank Shot) root. At some point, your opponent will be unable to cleanse or purge Crippling Slice’s root, during which time you can burst without fear of them mitigating/reflecting your damage.
Q: When should I play defensively?
The safest way to approach this mirror matchup is to
- maintain two stacks of Kolto Probe (Slow-release Medpac) on yourself
- use Kolto Infusion (Kolto Pack) when you see an opportunity, rotating it with every Debilitate and Crippling Slice
- burst in the Debilitate and Crippling Slice windows, as described above
- use Exfiltrate (Scamper), Crippling Slice and Sever Tendon to create distance, avoid their burst windows and wait for the right moment to strike.
Keeping these mechanics and strategies in mind will give you an edge but it’s only the first step. Don’t expect to beat more experienced players straightaway and don’t get discouraged by defeat: loss and failure are inevitable if you want to improve. Regular, focused practice is essential to hone your reactions and stay cool under pressure. Duel other operatives you know and trust and don’t be afraid to ask better players for opinions and advice. Do this and you’ll see progress in no time!
Owing to Lethality’s powerful self-healing, this matchup is the longest in the game. Your objective is to wear your opponent down enough to set up—and finish them within—a Debilitate burst window.
- Weakening Blast (Sanguinary Shot), which sounds nearly identical to Cull, applies a short debuff. You need to either Exfiltrate (Scamper) to resist or (easier) use Evasion (Dodge) to cleanse yourself. Otherwise, your opponent will Debilitate and Cull you for your health bar.
- Shadow Operative Elite (Slippery Devil) is a passive exclusive to Concealment so Lethality operatives don’t have dodge/resist on Evasion. Stick to your opponent, keeping them slowed/rooted as much as possible to maintain pressure.
- Instead of dodge/resist, Lethality operatives get an instant, free Kolto Infusion on Exfiltrate (from the Quickening (Scurry) passive).
- Save your offensive cooldowns (including Tactical Superiority (Stack the Deck), if available) for the final burst window. Aim to get your opponent down to about 50% of their HP: this should secure a kill.
Firstly, I would like to thank doc for helping to structure this guide. Without him, it would probably read like a Monster-fuelled college essay, submitted at 3am.
Secondly, I have to thank and credit KissingAiur (Hottie) for encouraging me to write this guide and for her wonderful ideas, which I have tried to bring to fruition.
Finally, I have to thank STI (Sick Twisted Individuals) for being like a second family. Thanks particularly to my boy Currik, who spent countless hours dueling me and helping me hone my skills in Concealment. Without you, I wouldn’t have come this far—thank you so much for the continued support.
About the Author
I am known across servers as Knin. I mainly play on The Harbinger, with one lone operative on The Red Eclipse. I coauthored a Concealment guide for 4.0 with Dr. Gf (now known as doc). I am passionate about gaming, PvP and all things Concealment. I don’t want to know how many thousands of warzones or how many hours of solo and team ranked I’ve played throughout the seasons: I’d probably cry. I also try to take part in as many dueling tournaments as my time permits. More recently, I have picked up streaming (mostly ranked PvP as Concealment). Although my 1.5MB upload speed makes my stream look 8-bit, I find a way to laugh about it. If you are interested in watching the only retro, 8-bit SWTOR stream in existence, you can catch me over at twitch.tv/kninxd.