Thursday, April 4, 2013

Darkness Assassin Tank in Patch 2.0

Darkness Assassin Tanks in SWTOR Game Update 2.0

Darkness Assassin Tank w/ HK-51

Recommended Builds

Darkness (37/5/4) is the currently accepted raiding build as of July 2013. I need one of the database sites to update their calculator for 2.5.

New Stat Targets

Use the following stat targets to balance your gear for most encounters.
  • Defense - 584 Rating
  • Shield Chance - 972 Rating
  • Absorption - 1244 Rating

These figures are from the work done by KeyboardNinja and dipstik at the Dread Master gear stat budget (including a stim) where high mitigation variants of mods and augments are used instead of Endurance-heavy ones. Avoid "lettered" mods to achieve this. Relics of Fortunate Redoubt and Reactive Warding are assumed in the calculations.

Enemies have Force resist now, so you'll want to pick up some Accuracy through talents.

Force and Tech abilities can be shielded in update 2.0. Shield rating makes you shield more often (assuming you wear a Shield Generator and use Dark Charge), while Absorb is the amount a shield can prevent out of the incoming damage.

Defense increases your chances to dodge or parry attacks.

PvE Skills for Darkness Tanking

  • While in Dark Charge for extra Armor and threat
  • Open from stealth
  • Refresh Dark Ward
  • Use defensive skills as needed
  • Energized Shock with Recklessness when possible
  • Wither - does not break crowd controlled enemies near your target
  • Discharge - to apply debuff, not a smart AoE; can break crowd control
  • Force Lightning at 3 Harnessed Darkness buffs
  • Assassinate when the enemy is under 30% health
  • Maul if Conspirator's Cloak procs
  • Thrash
  • Saber Strike when low on Force

Wither makes enemies deal 5% less damage and Discharge in Dark Charge is an Area of Effect (AoE) skill that reduces accuracy by 5%. Both hit up to five enemies, so multi-target tanking is simple.

Every tank has a taunt and AoE taunt to get aggro back if you lose it or need to switch with another tank. These are Mind Control and Mass Mind control, respectively.

Some enemy abilities only hit what is in front of them, so the rule of thumb is to point them away from the group you're playing with.

Use Recklessness with an Energized Shock and/or Force Lightning to do significantly more damage (and threat) than normal via crits and Energize's bonus 50% critical damage.

Darkness Assassins can opt into Conspirator's Cloak to Maul from the front of a target now, potentially increasing your threat and damage output. Situationally, you can start a fight with Crushing Darkness on an enemy placed away from a group to hold aggro on an initial pull.

Guard decreases a friendly target's threat generated and redirects some of the damage they would have taken to you. It has a limited range, so pick somebody who will be near you and protect them with it.

Defensive Cooldowns

Dark Ward

Increases your Shield chance by 15%. Dark Ward should be kept up but not spammed. Most ability types can now be shielded, and consuming a Dark Ward buff temporarily increases your Absorb amount.


Deflection increases your defense by 50% for 12 seconds.

Force Shroud

Shroud cleanses harmful effects from you and makes you 95% resistant to Force and Tech attacks for 5 seconds as Darkness. You can avoid many player abilities and some boss mechanics with it, making it a very strong tool.

Overcharge Saber

In addition to increasing your Dark Charge healing done, this will heal you and reduce the damage you take by 25% - a welcome addition.

Phase Walk

Phase Walk is our new level 51 skill that places a warp point then teleports you back to it on the second press of the button. Tanks have a talented perk to increase healing received and done if you're standing on the warp point. Set up camp where you plan on tanking and get some bonus healing.

In a situation with multiple healers standing in close proximity, placing your Phase Walk point where they'll stand helps out the entire raid, not just you.

Note to non-Assassins: it's another purple ground effect that's actually beneficial to stand in. 

Recommended Companion Types

Inquisitors are somewhat limited by companion availability, but once you have the option I recommend you try pairing with a DPS or Healing companion. Extra DPS will let you kill enemies faster. For long or tougher fights, Tank & Healer can stand up to a lot of punishment - it will just be slow going.


Darkness doesn't take too long to get used to. The adjustments you'll make for 2.0 are minor compared to some other specs.

For veterans making a switch from another spec, the different skills lend themselves to be bound pretty naturally to the slot they're replacing. From there, you just shift your awareness to things like positioning and debuffs that require you to react. Assassin tanking is still fun in Rise of the Hutt Cartel.