SWTOR - Avant-Garde DPS

Capacities match

Here is a guide to the Avant-Garde which has been sent to us, but the author wishes to remain anonymous.

Having written a small article on my Vanguard (in Assault Objective PVE 2.7 specialization), I decided to modify it and propose it for publication. Not having seen up-to-date articles on this specialization, I said to myself: "why not?" In addition, although this is only a personal opinion, it seems to me that this damage class is somewhat neglected in terms of population. I'm not even talking about the rumor that we're a bit lower in damage compared to other classes. In any case, I did not choose this specialization in this sense, but rather for a particularity, not exclusive of course, but quite funny!

I therefore present to you Canaan (Canaan-san in reality), my Vanguard who, like any good soldier, volunteered to illustrate this article. Before 2.6, it proudly displayed a mixed specialization (2/22/22), which after a simple modification in the Strategy skill tree, was no longer valid in terms of damage produced. Like any good soldier, she was able to adapt by migrating to the Assault specialization. Having wanted her to keep her good mood in the worst conditions, I opted for this specialization.



  • Introduction
  • Talent tree
  • Fighting style
  • skills
  • Rotations and order of priorities
  • Equipment and statistics
  • Final word ... break up!



Vanguard is a melee damage class with heavy armor. Having some defensive spells and provocations (taunt), you will be able to play the apprentice tank if necessary (or to generate a nice mess in an operation that is too quiet). Since most spells are instantaneous, the Vanguard is a mobile class positioned within 10 yards of its target. Although mobile, it is however not swift which imposes a reactivity and a particular anticipation during the fights.


Talent tree

4 / 6 / 36

I will not detail my choices on the skills to take in a PvE perspective in the Assault tree, they are relatively intuitive. I use 36 points to get the Assault plastic. In this skill tree, I do not put points in Sultriness (2nd line), Night vision goggles et Electrobouclier (3rd line). These skills are not interesting in operation. The only point that is unclear to me concerns the 2% alacrity associated with the passive ability. Fast charge. This alacrity is theoretically supposed to be problematic but it is not the case in reality (for reasons of reduction of the General Cooldown Time (GCD).

Regarding the 10 remaining points, I propose to share them as follows:

  • In the Shield Mastery tree, I take the 3 points in Unwavering resolve to increase aim by 9%. This increases your damage bonus and critical rate. In addition, I add 1 point in Impact brutal which increases the damage of High Impact Shot by 3%, which will be your most important ability and whose rate will be optimized.
  • In the Strategy tree, I take the 2 points in Demolition  (+ 6% critical strike chance of elemental attacks since we use a lot of them, i.e. around 50% of the total damage) and the three points in Concentrated impact (+ 3% accuracy and a High Impact Shot that pierces armor by 45%). Very practical knowing that the precision must be increased by 10% to reach 100% in ranged attack and 110% in techno. Finally the last point is put in Improvements for blaster (In the case of our Plasma Cell, the Tech Critical Hit Chance is increased by 3%).

Another solution is to put a colon in Impact brutal and remove a point in Improvements for blaster but that seems to me less efficient.


Fighting style

Canaan has a good arsenal to do great damage but all of this consumes quite a bit of ammo. As she is a thrifty woman, she keeps an eye (not easy for a Miraluka!) On her consumption, otherwise she quickly becomes useless. His arsenal is based on his ability to burn enemies throughout combat (up to three Damage Over Time (DoT), for a third degree burn). Besides, it's suddenly easier for this Miraluka to spot the position of these enemies (doesn't it smell like burnt around here?).

In addition, it does not have a means to move quickly (roll, Force jump, ...), so you will have to run across the battlefield (and in heavy armor, even not bad!). Canaan being a little lazy (who is not?), She advises to optimize her strategy and that of the group to avoid any unnecessary movements knowing that the majority of her main capacities have a maximum range of 10 meters. A good knowledge of the movement of enemies is a plus, otherwise he still has his natural anticipation. Usually positioned behind his enemy (Canaan does not like taking unnecessary blows, especially drooling, spitting ... well all the dirty stuff), we must be reactive to these movements while harassing him with blows. In reality, she harasses him with blows but also with small laughs. Yes, Canaan is always in a good mood and it's nice! The ideal being that I manage to optimize the rate of laughter of my character.

In addition, Canaan has the annoying tendency to be less than 4 meters from these enemies, which is not very smart because it favors a recovery of aggro to your tank (110% of the aggro of the tank, against 130 % more than 4 meters). Canaan is quite pretty, but she doesn't really like having the attention of these enemies (probably shy). So she often uses the Diversion, because the animation is nice and incidentally to reduce its animosity. Moreover, if it was positioned between 4 and 10 meters, in theory, it would have less chance of being targeted by these enemies! This is good, only his Lacrosse strike (and possibly its Riot strike)  requires it to be less than 4 meters.

Canaan is also very courageous, when her tank suffers (low life, no more defense spells, 2nd tank occupied) or when it has suffered (he is on the ground and his healer, sheepishly, struggles to revive him), she does not. 'don't hesitate to take aggro from enemies (Sonic burst / neural shock). With its small heavy armor and defensive spells (Reactive shield et Adrenaline rush), it always collects better than a Consular! Here is a beautiful proof of self-sacrifice! Usually after the operation, she will be carried in triumph for her heroism. In reality, nobody cares because they all pounce on the loot!


Workforce review ... no, of our capabilities

  • Defensive abilities
  • Public utility spell
  • Offensive abilities

First of all our defensive capacities since we have just spoken of saving the skin of others.

Reactive shield (120s): + 25% damage reduction over 15 seconds.

Adrenaline rush (180s): Health point recovery when health is less than 30% of your max health. And we can treat ourselves in addition!

Sonic burst / neural shock (45s / 15s): multi-target and single-target provocation.

Diversion (45s): Reduces animosity towards all enemies. It is more to save your skin or to avoid damaging your armor, question of point of view.


Concentration in combat (105s): Increases critical strike chance (tech and ranged) by 25% for 15 seconds. For the burst damage phase.

Cell economy (90s): During the next 15 seconds, your next spell does not consume ammo.

Cell recharge (90s): recharge 50 cells over 3 seconds (50 cells out of 100 maximum).

Neural influx (45s): Stuns up to 5 enemies for 2.5 seconds around you (8 yards).

Cryogrenade (60s): Stuns the target for 4 seconds.

Immutability (30s): Grants 6 seconds of immunity against movement impacting effects. Your speed is increased by 30%.


Not to mention the Tenacity which purges the effects disabling or affecting the movements and our Hit riot to interrupt enemy spells, available every 8 seconds.

High impact shooting (15s, 15 cells, 30 meters range): this is our most powerful shot and therefore our most important ability. Having it free and as often as possible is my priority for several reasons:

  • Mighty Blow: 45% Armor Puncture (Concentrated Impact), Ignore 30% Armor (Friction Shots), + 30% Critical Hit Damage (Assault Soldier), + 3% Damage (Brutal Impact) ), + 9% damage (Rain of Fire, when target is on fire, which should be)
  • Cell Recovery: +8 cells when target is on fire! This is your best way to have cell regeneration in combat, to abuse it!

Its cooldown is reset to zero when you have the Ion Accelerator upgrade. It is also free in this case. It is then theoretically usable every 6 seconds.

Incendiary burst (instant, 16 cells, 10 yards): Direct damage ability and dealing damage over time (DoT) burn type. To be kept on the target and therefore to be renewed every 18 seconds.

  • Honest Damage: + 30% Critical Hit Damage (Assault Soldier), + 30% Damage on Targets under 30% Health (Hyper-Burn), + 6% Critical Chance (Demolition as Elemental Damage) , + 6% damage (Riot buff).
  • Increases damage of other spells when target is on fire (burn): + 9% damage from High impact shooting, Fbutt stroke, Explosive influx et Pestle shot (Rain of fire). Certainly your Assault plastic and your Plasma cell Will also do fire damage, but hey, better three burns than one. For the recovery of 8 cells by High impact shooting, the target must be on fire.

Assault plastic (15s, 16 cells, 10 meters): given the number of points put in the tree to find the Assault plastic, we had better use it! Fortunately, this demolition charge does a lot of both kinetic and elemental damage with a 12 second burn-type DoT. It is associated with a few capacities:

  • Heavy Damage: + 30% Critical Hit Damage (Assault Soldier), + 30% Damage on Targets under 30% Health (Hyper-Burn), + 6% Critical Chance (Demolition because Elemental Damage ), + 6% damage (Riot buff).
  • I consider it important to use the Assault plastic as soon as possible. Be careful though, I don't find it a priority over triggering the Ion Accelerator.

Lacrosse strike (9s, 16 cells, 4 meters): the classic butt stroke is relatively efficient. It is one of two spells that trigger the Ion Accelerator. Indeed, there is a 60% chance of triggering it against a 45% chance for Ion Pulse. I therefore consider it a priority from this perspective. In addition, it provides a 100% chance of triggering your Plasma cell (Ionized ignition). The Lacrosse strike is improved by some capabilities:

  • Increases damage dealt by 9% (Rain of Fire), increases damage dealt by 8% (Heavy Stock), + 6% damage (Riot buff) and procs your Plasma cell (available every 6 seconds) (Ionized ignition)

Ionic pulse (instantaneous, 16 cells, 10 yards): Doing moderate damage, its main advantage is that it is instantaneous and has a 45% chance to trigger Ion Boost. In addition, it provides a 60% chance of triggering your plasma cell (Ionized ignition)

  • It is affected by several talents: 60% chance of triggering our Plasma cells (Ionized Ignition), + 30% Critical Hit Damage (Assault Soldier), + 6% Critical Chance (Demolition due to elemental damage)

Pulse cannon (18s, 24 cells, 10 yards, 3s channel time): Pulse cannon forms a tapered damage zone in front of you. Although not intended for our specialization (but in that of Strategy), it remains to my taste an interesting spell to use especially in the case of grouped targets. However, having a channel of 3 seconds (it therefore consumes two GCDs), it will be necessary to be sure to stay still.

Shoulder cannon (90 s, 0 cells, 10 meters): this is an original ability for our Vanguard. The gun gradually loads with 4 missiles ready to be fired (1 second delay between each missile and available for 3 minutes) and not being affected by the GCD (general cooldown of 1,47s with us). You can also use it when you are controlled by an enemy (rare in PvE). I only use it during the Damage burst phase and I avoid forgetting to charge it before the fight. Note that the cooldown (90s) begins after the last missile fire.


Rotations and order of priorities

Here are, in my opinion, the abilities in order of priority according to their damage:

High impact shooting> Assault plastic >Incendiary burst> Lacrosse strike >Ionic pulse

In fact, the main goal being to make Canaan laugh, so I have to maximize the trigger of the Ion Boost (to reset the High impact shooting). To do this, I use theIonic pulse or Lacrosse strike with a priority for the latter. The Ion Accelerator is available every 6 seconds, i.e. 4 GCD (4 * 1.5s = 6s). Counting the High impact shooting, I have three left. To increase the trigger, I prefer the Lacrosse strike (65%) in last position of GCD (the 4th therefore) and follow a Ionic pulse if necessary for triggering. Anyway, my 4th GCD has to be either one or the other for triggering. So there are two GCDs left to my liking. I actually use them either to maintain the burn (with the Incendiary burst to be used every 18 seconds = 12 GCD) or to launch the Assault plastic (10 GCD). About the Lacrosse strike on a 9 second cooldown, it is offset from the 6 seconds of Ion Boost. If it is available in 3rd GCD, I prefer to wait 1.5 seconds (I use another ability) and use it in 4th (to maximize chances of triggering). On the other hand, if it is in 2nd GCD, I prefer to use it immediately. If none of these three abilities are available, I use two Ionic pulses or a Pulse cannon for 3 seconds (equivalent of two GCDs). Personally, I easily use the Pulse cannon, a remnant of my old hybrid specialization no doubt. In addition, it is slightly more interesting (damage) and it is less expensive in ammo (24 instead of 32 (twice 16)), and can be used for free with theCell economy. In this case, you must be sure to be still for 3 seconds and not to be interrupted.

Here is therefore an example of the principle which is based on triggering the ionic accelerator every 6 seconds:


Let us note two things all the same:

  • the triggering of the Ion Accelerator is not certain, that is why it seems difficult to me to speak of a cycle. I would say it is volatile in the sense that the 4th GCD does not automatically trigger your Ionic Accelerator, so you will have to shift its trigger if needed. Triggering it remains my priority!
  • I don't have to use the High impact shooting immediately after triggering the Ion Accelerator, I prefer a Assault plastic if it is available or a Incendiary burst to maintain the burn (every 18s or 12 GCD). In this case, I decrease the next trigger attempt by 2 or by a GCD.

An example is given here:

Taking into account the previous remarks, here is a good way to start the fight with, above all, the Shoulder cannon charge. Here I include the Combat concentration for the Damage burst. Of course, the use of relic / dopant is done in this case at the same time as the Concentration of combat. During these 15 seconds, we take the opportunity to include the Shoulder cannon excluding GCD.

In this case, we manage to trigger the ionic accelerator every 6 seconds, to maintain the burn (every 18s by the Incendiary burst) and optimize the use of Assault plastic (every 15s).

For burst phases, keep the Shoulder cannon available as well as the Combat concentration.


Area damage

During phases where a multitude of enemies are present, the Vanguard has some interesting abilities to maximize damage. The Volley of mortar is clearly to be favored, thus the Pulse cannon and finally theExplosive influx which will trigger your cell on all enemies (via the Cell Hyperattack passive ability). On the other hand, pay attention to the management of your ammunition with that.


Ammunition management

One of the important points, in my opinion, of this specialization is to keep an ammo level above 60% in order to keep an ammo regeneration of 5 per second. Below 60%, your regeneration will only be 3 ammo per second. I'm not even talking about 2 ammo per second below 20%. If we consider a cycle of 6 seconds with a High impact shooting and three capacities (to choose Ionic Pulse, Assault Plastic ou Hello incendiaire), counting the triggering of the Ion Accelerator is a High impact shooting free and 8 additional ammunition, we see that we are in deficit of ammunition every 6 seconds. This implies the necessary use of both abilities to regenerate ammunition and also Pestle shot. Cell Charging and Cell Saving are available every 90 seconds, which means you need them.

Cell Recharge allows you to regain 50 cells, or half of your magazine, which means that to use it best you need to be under 50 ammo, in the range of 25-35. This will typically be the case after your opening combat phase or Damage burst phase. Cell Saving allows you to have a free spell. I prefer to use it before a Pulse cannon allowing me to save 24 cells while gaining 15 (the Pulse cannon lasts 3 seconds). I avoid using these two skills at the same time or in the near future, I will not have a way to raise my ammunition easily for 90 seconds which will seem like an eternity.

When your ammunition is low, one last solution, the Pestle shot (which I place in 2nd or 3rd GCD). You will also be required to use the Pestle shot several times, it's not terrible but, to my knowledge, we have no choice.


Equipment and statistics

The first thing, and the most important (or not), is the appearance! Correct outfit required ! You have chosen a soldier and in view of the amount of heavy armor available, we have something to be happy about. Canaan thus chose a discreet and, it seems, regulatory armor. You might say she tastes bad, but let's be frank, it's not easy for her to make good clothing choices when you're of the Miraluka breed!

So let's be indulgent. After choosing your appearance, it's time to pop in our super high level gear to become a war machine.

The four shields with PvE set bonuses are nice, so I would rather have less health (Stamina) and have those set bonuses. We must take the Combat Technician set since the 2-piece bonus decreases the cooldown of the weapon by 15 seconds. Concentration in combat and the 4 pieces increases the damage of the High impact shooting. That's good, we use these two abilities. In terms of buffs, our main stat being Aim, the 14 will all be Reflex buffs. Indeed, the Damage Bonus (techno and ranged) being linked to Power (weighting factor of 0.23) and Aim (0.2), they must be increased. With 14% more Aim (9% tree + 5% buff) we can consider a weighting factor of 0.2 * (1 + 0.14) = 0.228, i.e. a value close to 0.23 for power. However, the Aim is also involved in the calculation of the critical rate (for both techno damage and ranged damage) by a decreasing formula, which is not the case for Power. In short, taking into account all the parameters, the damage is very slightly higher when we put improvements in Aim compared to the power. Likewise, the same calculations show that it is a priority to increase your damage bonus with Aim and then Power. Note also that the techno damage bonus is also increased by Hack and techno power, so it is a priority to equip yourself with a generator with the best possible armor (which increases techno power).

Regarding the other parameters by compiling my own calculations and my little experience:

  • Precision : + 10% accuracy. With 3% in the tree + 1% partner, I will seek 6% with the equipment (around 410 index points). In the end 100% remote precision and 110 techno.
  • Critical : approximately 250 index points. My choice to put the critical index may seem surprising because few classes need it. As it turns out, part of the explanation comes in the Assault Soldier ability which increases critical hit damage by 30% for our more powerful abilities. So, I prefer to increase my chances of making critical hits.
  • Aim and Power at most in this order of priority. Like I said, it's best to crank up your damage bonus to the maximum.
  • Influx : between 70 and 75%. Beyond 75% (Hard cap at 30% + base of 50% = 80%, for our decreasing formula), the increase in the percentage no longer seems very interesting to me because it is too expensive in terms of inflow index.
  • Alacrity : alacrity index of 0. We already have 2% and that is already a lot. By increasing the alacrity, we would risk reducing our GCD and therefore having to wait for one more GCD for the triggering of the Ion Accelerator (6s). It would not be positive for us.
  • Defense, shield, absorption .... how to say .... index at 0!

For relics, I use an automatic (main skill so Aim) and the other manual (Power). Having a significant Damage burst phase, activating a relic at these times is, in my opinion, more interesting.


Final word ... break up!

Canaan is funny, she laughs all the time, runs behind her enemies (and often in all directions), burns her targets, throws explosive charges that beep, beep, beep then boom! We can even use provocations and attract (harpoon) enemies towards us, a nice panoply to put madness in our most boring operations. In short, I find the Soldier Vanguard DPS Specialization Assault a pleasant class to play although not very swift. The order of priority of spells is easy to grasp, although I find the implementation harder to do properly.

You will understand, I do not play with Canaan on the most difficult operations currently in play (the Nightmare therefore), which is also why I do not claim that this article is flawless. In fact this medium is an excuse to put Canaan images everywhere!

To conclude, I'm having fun with her, and that's the most important thing. Moreover, I chose this specialization for its endearing little laughs. It's part of the little things, which sometimes make the difference!


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