This is a preliminary guide that provides details on abilities and skill changes and initial recommendations for skill tree choices and an overview on the changes to the rotation. I suggest reading this guide in combination with the 6.0 class guide to understand the previous rotation to then adapt to 7.0 as discussed briefly herein. More detailed guides will be forthcoming after preliminary guides are posted for all disciplines.
Combat Style Abilities & Passive Skills
Discipline Passive Skills
(Not on ability tree) Increases the damage you deal with saber attacks by 5%.
Increases armor penetration and critical hit damage by 15% and Force attack damage by 3%.
Reduces the cooldown of Zealous Leap by 3 seconds and causes Force Leap and Zealous Leap to make your next Blade Storm deal 5% more damage and generate 1 focus, rather than consume focus.
Increases all damage dealt by 5% for 6 seconds after dealing damage with Force Sweep or Focused Burst. This effect cannot occur more than once every 6 seconds.
Force Leap and Zealous Leap make your next Force Sweep or Focused Burst used within 20 seconds an automatic critical hit.
Strike, Sundering Strike, Slash, Cyclone Slash, Riposte, Blade Storm, Dispatch, and Concentrated Slice reduces the active cooldowns of Force Sweep, Focused Burst, and Zealous Leap by 1 second and Combat Focus by 2 seconds.
Combat Focus and Force Exhaustion grant Singularity, increasing the damage dealt by your next Force Sweep or Focused Burst by 15% and making your next Force Sweep or Focused Burst consume no focus. Additionally, the cooldown of Combat Focus is reduced by 15 seconds, and Combat Focus generates 6 additional focus over 6 seconds when used.
Concentrated Slice enables Riposte and beats down its target for 45 seconds. Beat Down targets take 5% more damage from melee attacks. Slash, Cyclone Slash, and Riposte deal additional Force energy damage.
Force Exhaustion grants Focused Vision, making your next Zealous Leap or Concentrated Slice consume no focus.
Activating Focused Burst or Force Sweep increases your damage reduction by 10% for 6 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every 8 seconds.
45s cooldown. Immediately reduces threat towards all current enemies by a moderate amount. Player targets deal 30% less damage for 6 seconds when attacking anyone other than you.
10m range, 1.5s channel, 60s cooldown. Subdues the target, stunning it for 4 seconds. Deals kinetic damage and builds 3 focus over the duration. This ability can be channeled while moving.
60s cooldown. Temporarily increases your maximum health by 30% for 20 seconds and removes all cleansable effects. When the effect ends, the health is lost.
Discipline Skill Tree
Zenith synergizes well with Focused Meditation to greatly increase the damage dealt by Concentrated Slice. Even without Focused Meditation Zenith should outperform Focusing Strike.
Unstable Focus is an option for multi-target encounters, though in most cases Zenith should still be taken to maximize damage on the main target.
Blade Burst is the most convenient option since Blade Storm is used rotationally.
Zealous Defense is not super powerful but the only skill that is useful here. You should not need energy from Zealous Discovery for the rotation. Zealous Annihilation is a good alternative for fights with lots of target swapping.
Focused Meditation is the best option by far since it allows double the uses of Concentrated Slice from 2 to 4 uses per 12 GCDs and provides a useful buff to energy management.
All are situational but Battlefield Command is most likely to be useful for movement purposes.
Stalwart Defense is a great choice since most fights have predictable AoE damage.
War Master adds a damage buff through extra uses of Dispatch so should be taken anytime you can live without AoE DR and are using Force Leap regularly.
Saber Reflect is situational for damage disciplines as it is typically not needed as a defensive cooldown, so Blade Blitz is the better option for movement and wider range of applications to mitigate damage.
Saber Reflect should be preferred in encounters where it can be used to increase damage.
All are situational. Gather Strength can add damage on some fights so it is the default choice for me. Purifying Sweep is useful for multi-target fights for the AoE sunder. Through Peace is good for fights with steady group damage.
Level 15 - Gain 2 Abilities
10m range, 12s cooldown, costs 3 Focus. Blasts the enemy target with a powerful burst of Force energy, dealing kinetic damage.
30s cooldown. Instantly generates 6 focus and increases movement speed by 50% for 6 seconds.
Level 23 - Pick 1 Upgrade for Focused Burst
Unstable Focus (passive)
Focused Burst unleashes a burst of energy around the primary target dealing kinetic damage to nearby enemies.
Focusing Strike (passive)
Focused Burst deals 15% more damage and applies Trauma to targets. Trauma reduces the healing received by 20% for 10 seconds.
Dealing damage with Focused Burst or Force Sweep increases your critical hit chance and critical hit damage by 20% for 6 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every 8 seconds.
Level 27 - Pick 1 Ability or Passive Skill
Debilitating Slashes (passive)
Blade Barrage immobilizes the target for 3 seconds and generates 1 focus.
Cyclone Slash (ability)
5m range, costs 3 Focus. Slashes up to 8 enemies within 5 meters in front of you for weapon damage.
Blade Burst (passive)
Blade Storm does damage to additional enemies in a cone in front and slows them by 50% for 6 seconds.
Level 35 - Gain Ability
10m range, 12s cooldown, costs 2 Focus. Leaps to a target, dealing weapon damage and immobilizing the target for 1 second. Can be used while immobilized. Strikes with both weapons if dual wielding.
Level 39 - Pick 1 Upgrade for Zealous Leap
Zealous Annihilation (passive)
Killing an enemy within 3 seconds of dealing damage with Zealous Leap resets the cooldown of Zealous Leap, Force Sweep, and Focused Burst and increases its damage by 25% for 6 seconds. This effect can only occur once every 6 seconds.
Zealous Defense (passive)
Activating Zealous Leap puts a mini ward on yourself, which absorbs damage. Lasts up to 10 seconds.
Zealous Discovery (passive)
Activating Zealous Leap reduces the cooldown of Combat Focus by 3 seconds.
Level 43 - Pick 1 Ability or Passive Skill
Force Clarity (ability)
30s cooldown. Consumes all ability charges of Force Clarity and applies Force Clarity stacks to you. Each stack increases your next direct single target melee attack by 25% and is consumed whenever you deal damage with these attacks. Recharges 1 ability charge every 30 seconds.
Focused Meditation (passive)
Each time you deal damage with a force-based kinetic attack, you generate 1 focus. Focus spending attacks have no cooldown during Combat Focus.
Critical Conditions (passive)
Critically hitting with a force-based kinetic attack reduces the cooldown of your Combat Focus by 1 second. Combat Focus purges movement impairing effects and triggers Felling Blow, which now stacks up to 2 times.
Level 47 - Gain Ability
10m range, 18s cooldown, costs 3 Focus. Progressively slows the target from 50% to 5% movement speed over 3 seconds and deals kinetic damage each second. At the end of the duration, the target is crushed and takes additional kinetic damage.
Level 51 - Pick 1 Passive Skill
Increase the range of Blade Storm to 30 meters, but Blade Storm deals reduced damage beyond 30 meters. Additionally, Force Push deals 20% more damage and grants Unyielding Justice, allowing your next Blade Storm to deal full damage regardless of the distance from the target.
You generate 4 Focus when stunned, immobilized, put to sleep, or knocked around.
Getting attacked reduces the active cooldown of Force Leap by 1 second. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds.
Level 60 - Gain Ability
4m range, 9s cooldown, costs 5 Focus. Slices the target for weapon damage.
Level 64 - Pick 1 Passive Skill
All area effect damage is reduced by 60% for 15 seconds after Challenging Call is activated.
Force Leap grants Unremitting, granting immunity to movement-impairing effects and effects that push or pull you around for 4 seconds. In addition, Force Leap enables your next Dispatch or Whirling Blade to be used against a target with any percentage of health. Lasts up to 4 seconds.
Lowers the cooldown of Resolute by 30 seconds. Resolute also has a chance to heal you for 10% of your maximum health.
Level 68 - Pick 1 Ability
60s cooldown. Confounds up to 8 nearby enemies, preventing all action for up to 6 seconds. Damage ends the effect prematurely.
60s cooldown. Reflects all single target ranged, Force and tech attacks back to the attacker for 5 seconds. The damage done by each reflect is capped, and the cap rises with each new rank of the ability. In addition, Saber Reflect generates a high amount of threat on all engaged enemies within 30 meters when activated.
35s cooldown. Quickly rush forward 20 meters, dealing weapon damage to enemies in your path and increasing your defense chance by 100% while blitzing. Can be used while immobilized and purges movement-impairing effects when activated.
Level 73 - Pick 1 Passive Skill
For the Defense discipline, Force Sweep slows the targets it damages by 60% for 10 seconds. For the Vigilance and Focus disciplines, Force Sweep and Vigilant Thrust sunder the targets they damage for 45 seconds.
Whenever your movement is impaired, you gain a 10% damage bonus to your next ability that consumes focus. This effect can stack up to 5 times and lasts 15 seconds.
Reduces the cooldown of Focused Defense by 30 seconds.
Gearing in 7.0
Please see my initial 7.0 Gearing Guide for more information on gearing.
Preliminary gearing targets for Focus Guardian should be as follows:
Legendary: Fearless Victor and Champion's Precision
Tactical: Cauterized Coronary
Relics: Focused Retribution and either Serendipitous Assault or Devastating Vengeance
Crystal: Eviscerating or War Hero
Stim: Proficient stim (Versatile works too but Proficient is more convenient for Accuracy)
Adrenal: Critical or Attack adrenal
Regarding Relics and Crystals, Critical Rating will be more valuable in lower tiers of gear or gear that has not yet been augmented. As the player moves through Rakata gear up to item rating 330 and beyond, it is expected that Mastery will be preferred. As such, I'd mostly suggest using whichever is most convenient as the impact on performance will be relatively low.
Tertiary stats and augments should be allocated as follows:
Accuracy Rating: 2,694 (110% accuracy)
Alacrity Rating: 2,250 - 2,400 (1.4s GCD assuming no Zeal perk)
Critical Rating: All remaining tertiary stats
Fearless Victor Package
Whenever you use a focus spending damage ability, your melee damage is increased by 10% for 10 seconds. Package contains Critical Rating.
Comments: Fearless Victor is a simpler and better version of the 6.0 Descent of the Fearless 10% damage buff. This bonus is really good and should have very high uptime so is a must take for damage disciplines and tank builds prioritizing damage.
Champion's Precision Package
Activating Combat Focus, Burning Focus or Challenging Call grants Champion’s Precision, increasing your critical hit chance by 20% for 8 seconds. Package contains Critical Rating.
Comments: Champion's Precision is a new gear bonus that adds a new offensive cooldown element to the combat style's energy generation and AoE taunt / threat drop abilities. Good synergy between burst damage windows and this bonus will provide a nice overall damage boost. Great option for damage disciplines.
Concentrated Slice causes its targets to burn.
Comments: This tactical is the best option for Focus in all situations.
Focus Guardian sees its rotation change in 7.0 due primarily to the Focused Meditation passive skill, which removes the cooldown from Focus spending attacks during the 6 second Combat Focus duration. Concentrated Slice deals the most damage and so should be spammed during Combat Focus.
This leads to a modified rotation where Combat Focus is used after Focused Burst to then spam x3 Concentrated Slice. Focused Burst should not consume Focus due to the Singularity passive skill and thus why Combat Focus is used after it.
The rotation should still begin each block with Focused Burst for its 5% damage buff from Heightened Power and the Zenith passive to buff critical hit chance and damage by 20%. These buffs synergize to let Focus deal high damage while spamming Concentrated Slice. The rotation should also use Zealous Leap every 6 GCD rotation block and alternate blocks with Combat Focus and Force Exhaustion just as in 6.x.
Focus Guardian cannot use Blade Storm more than once per 12 GCD rotation due to the extra uses of Concentrated Slice and thus it, Riposte and Sundering Strike are each used once per 12 GCD rotation.
Core Rotation - 1st Block
(opener only in parantheses)
Core Rotation - 2nd Block
*replace Riposte with Dispatch sub-30%