Saboteur Gunslinger

Last Updated: 5/31/21

Table of Contents


About the Class

Saboteur is a unique specialization in SWTOR as it represents a hybrid class that combines single target burst damage with several DOT abilities and rotational AoE damage. As such, it is a fairly flexible DPS class as compared to Sharpshooter or Dirty Fighting. It typically will not surpass Sharpshooter in a high target swapping environment (due to wasted DOT/AOE damage) and usually will lag a little behind Dirty Fighting in sustained single target damage. That said, it is one of the more enjoyable specs to play due to its unique nature and when played skillfully it is very powerful. It is also fun to play in unranked PVP, as most players despise the AOE damage and slow from Incendiary Grenade.

Role in Operations

Saboteur should usually strive to maintain damage on the boss and use their rotational AOE from Incendiary Grenade and Sabotage to drive heavy AOE damage on nearby adds. That said, they can swap targets more efficiently than many sustained damage specializations so provide helpful flexibility without sacrificing as much top-end DPS as many burst ranged DPS specs (e.g., Telekinetic Sage, Gunnery Commando, Sharpshooter Gunslinger).


Gunslingers have incredible survivability due to having arguably the best collection of defensive cooldowns in the game, along with their positioning as a ranged DPS allowing them to avoid many damage mechanics that endanger melee DPS. Defense Screen (should be buffed via utilities) provides moderate and frequent damage absorption, Dodge can entirely avoid melee/ranged attacks over a short duration and with a relatively short cooldown, Hightail It can be used to cheese a wide range of mechanics, Hunker Down provides incredible AoE damage reduction (with proper utilities), Scrambling Field provides the entire raid with a 20% damage reduction for 20 seconds, and Bag of Tricks can be used to immediately reset the cooldown on all these defensives save for Scrambling Field. Furthermore, skilled players can utilize Ballistic Dampers to get nearly continuous 30% damage absorption on all incoming attacks. Combined with limited self heal capabilities, Gunslingers should need much less healing than most other DPS classes.

6.0 Impact on Discipline

Gunslinger moved into 6.0 very smoothly and maintained their position as a very strong ranged DPS and the premier “turret” DPS class. The class got two good options for set bonuses, with Precise Targeter offering mobility and situational burst while Established Foothold offers superior energy management and overall DPS at the cost of becoming an immovable turret as often as possible. With respect to tactical items, the class and all its disciplines received some great options, so great in fact that several of them have been nerfed several times and the class still sits very high in DPS rankings.

Saboteur got a very nice sustained DPS tactical in Ruthless Interrogation that boosts sustained DPS via buffing Blazing Speed DoT damage and making Shock Charge a “fire and forget” DoT that is refreshed and ticked by the rotation to deal extra damage while freeing up an additional filler slot in the rotation. The discipline also got an option to further increase its already very powerful rotational AoE damage via MG-2 Polygrade Dispersal Caps, and another burst DPS option in T0-R0 Ionic Discharge. Overall the discipline is well poised to maintain a strong position on the DPS charts for the 6.x cycle. While overall it is unlikely that Saboteur will outperform Dirty Fighting on most encounters, the discipline is very viable and one of the more interesting disciplines to play given its unique mix of DoTs, rotational AoE and best-in-class mobility among the class disciplines.

Utility and Mobility

Gunslingers provide great utility via being arguably the best ranged DPS in the game and their Scrambling Field can be immensely helpful on certain boss encounters (e.g., final burn phase of Dread Council HM/NiM). Gunslingers all struggle with mobility due to the need to remain in cover as much as possible and most abilities unable to be cast on the move. Skilled player can mitigate this handicap through utilities (Snap Shot, Hot Pursuit) and by being pro-active about positioning (i.e., if you know the team will need to move East on the map, try to set up as far East as possible to minimize movement).


I usually take some combination of the following Utilities, though the optimal combination can change from fight to fight. As of 6.0, the tiers have been reorganized.

Skillfull Tier

You must take 3 to advanced to Masterful.

Ballistic Dampers: Entering covers grants 3 charges of Ballistic Dampers. Each charge absorbs 30% of the damage dealt by incoming attacks. Cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds, and this ability can only be granted every 6 seconds.

This utility grants sizable nearly continuous damage reduction by making sure to exit and re-enter cover every 6 seconds. I highly recommend it assuming the player can remember to take advantage of its benefits by periodically exiting and re-entering cover.

Snap Shot: Entering cover makes the next Charged Burst or Dirty Blast activate instantly, and can occur once every 6 seconds. This utility is situational to some degree but useful most of the time.

Being able to instant cast Charged Burst or Dirty Blast makes it easier to DPS on the move by entering cover, instant casting Charged Burst or Dirty Blast , then resuming moving. This can also be used to front-load the energy cost of Charged Burst or Dirty Blast if you would otherwise cap on energy.

Hot Pursuit: You gain 4 charges of Hot Pursuit by exiting cover, which allow Charged Burst or Dirty Blast to be activated while moving. The charges last for 15 seconds and can be gained every 20 seconds. Reentering cover removes the effect.

I find this utility very useful in movement heavy fights, as with this you can DPS on the move for 4 consecutive GCDs, which is otherwise nearly impossible for any Gunslinger.

Cool Under Pressure: While in cover, you heal for 2% of your total health every 3 seconds.

I always take his utility for any fight where Snap Shot and Hot Pursuit are not beneficial due to minimal movement. Most of this healing is typically wasted, but over the course of a 6 minute encounter, this utility will cumulatively heal you for up to 240% of your total health over time. Even if it is only 20-30% effective, that is still equivalent to a 50% heal which can be helpful.

Efficient Ammo: Increases the damage dealt by Sweeping Gunfire by 25%.

I typically do not recommend this utility, as spamming Sweeping Gunfire can quickly destroy a Sharpshooter’s energy level, and Dirty Fighting and Saboteur already have impressive AoE capability. As such, I find movement and survivability utilities to provide greater benefit for all fights except those requiring exceptionally high AoE DPS (e.g., Hive Queen in Hard Mode).

Masterful Tier

You must take 6 between Heroic and Masterful.

Hotwired Defenses: Increases the amount of damage absorbed by Defense Screen by 30%.

Defense Screen has a 30s cooldown so should be used up to 10 times per fight, so a 30% boost makes this a much better defensive cooldown.

Hold Your Ground: Reduces the cooldown of Defense Screen and Pulse Detonator by 5 seconds, and Escape by 30 seconds. In addition, when you exit cover you gain a Cover Screen that increases your ranged defense by 20% for 6 seconds.

I like this utility as it provides a range of survivability benefits. The Cover Screen is fairly limited as it only applies ranged defense but the reduction in cooldown to Defense Screen is very helpful and synergizes with Hotwired Defenses.

Pandemonium: Activating Pulse Detonator makes the next Charged Burst activate instantly and increases your chance to resist Force/Tech attacks by 20% for 6 seconds.

This utility is theoretically useful as another way to make Charged Burst instant (and improve mobility) while also providing a defensive cooldown. That said, I feel like Snap Shot is a better utility given it’s much shorter cooldown on use and the defensive buff is marginal given Gunslinger’s already very powerful damage mitigation.

Reset Engagement: Purges all movement-impairing effects when activated and grants Reset Engagement, increasing your movement speed by 75% for 6 seconds. Also, the final shot of Penetrating Rounds knocks back the target if they are within 10 meters.

Similar to Heads Up, this can be useful in certain limited circumstances but generally is more of a PVP utility.

Heroic Tier

A maximum of 3 utilities

Holed Up: Hunker Down reduces all AoE damage by 60%.

Nearly every fight has notable AoE damage, and with this utility and the buffed Defense Screen from Hotwired Defenses, Gunslingers can ignore a wide variety of AoE damage phases in order to increase DPS. For example, this utility is hugely beneficial in the final burn phase of Dread Council fight in the Dread Palace operation.

Lay Low: Reduces the cooldown of Hunker Down by 15 seconds and Pulse Detonator knocks back targets an additional 5 meters.

For any fights where Hunker Down will be useful, this is typically a good pickup for better uptime of the AOE damage reduction provided by Holed Up.

Riot Screen: Reduces all damage taken while in cover by 5% and reduces the cooldown of Scrambling Field by 30 seconds.

This is a vanilla buff to damage reduction while in cover (and you should always be in cover unless required to move for a mechanic). Always take.

Bait and Switch: Hightail It heals you for 10% of your maximum health. Additionally, the duration of Dodge is increased by 2 seconds.

This is a situational utility but any areas where healing is challenging this utility can be helpful to ease the burden on your healers.

Perfect Scheme: Reduces the cooldown of Bag of Tricks by 45 seconds and increases your damage reduction by 15% for 15 seconds after activating Bag of Tricks.

This is also a strong utility and what I take for any fights where I don’t think Hightail It will be useful. I find this utility is helpful for fights with multiple heal-intensive burn phases, as with the CD reduction on Bag of Tricks it becomes easier to use the ability twice per fight instead of more typically once per fight.

Example Utility Build

Here is what I run for most encounters, though I frequently take other situational utilities for specific fights.

Key Passives

Saboteur's Utility Belt - Increases critical hit chance of Thermal Grenade by 10% and when Thermal Grenade deals damage to its primary target to its primary target, it restores 5 energy.

In addition to the passive boost to crit chance, this passive makes Thermal Grenade a part of your rotation due to its benefit to energy management.

Contingency Charges - After Explosive Charge detonates, it drops 2 Contingency Charges on the target. These charges explode when damaged by blaster fire, though they cannot be damaged more than once per second.

This passive is part of what makes Explosive Charge powerful but not obviously so, since it will deal initial damage that detonates the next GCD on Speed Shot and then deal additional damage over subsequent GCDs as the Contingency Charges detonate.

Insurrection - Increases the number of Contingency Charges dropped by Explosive Charge by 1. Also, when you Contingency Charges detonate you recover 6 energy.

This passive is critical to Saboteur’s energy management. You should always use Speed Shot after Explosive Charge / Explosive Probe, as it’s channel time will detonate all 3 Contingency Charges (2 base + 1 from this passive). Speed Shot costs 17 energy (normally 20 but see Jury-Rigged Mods below) and its base channel time (before alacrity) is 3 seconds and thus just long enough to detonate all 3 charges. Recall also that the “fast” energy regen rate for energy above 60 is 5 energy per second. Putting this all together, Saboteur’s net energy change during Speed Shot after Explosive Charge should be 18 (contingency charge regen 6 x 3) + 15 (base regen 5/s x 3s) - 20 (energy cost) = 16 net energy gain. Thus, you want to ensure your energy level isn’t too high or Speed Shot will cap energy. I find I usually want my energy level to be between 60-75 going into Speed Shot.

Jury-Rigged Mods - Reduces the cooldown of Speed Shot by 6 seconds, reduces the energy cost of Speed Shot by 1 per second, and reduces the energy cost of Charged Burst by 5.

This passive further buffs Speed Shot from an energy management perspective and aligns its cooldown so that it can be used twice per rotation (defining each rotation as beginning with each use of Explosive Charge). It also reduces the cost of Charged Burst to make it a useful filler.

Blazing Speed - Speed Shot burns the target, dealing elemental damage over 6 seconds, and can stack up to 3 times.

Since adding stacks to an effect also refreshes its duration, this means the duration is almost identical to the cooldown of Speed Shot. As such, this reinforces that it is optimal to use Speed Shot on cooldown Combined with the changes in other passives to reduce Speed Shot's cost, buff its energy generation, and this boost via a lingering DoT, as well as its use to detonate Explosive Charge, Speed Shot is arguably the most critical ability to Saboteur.

Hot Shot - Charged Burst, Quickdraw, and Thermal Grenade apply 1 stack of Blazing Speed effects to the primary target.

This passive can be useful when switching targets to accelerate getting a full stack of Blazing Speed, or when needing to clip Speed Shot for some reason. That said, an optimal rotation will use Speed Shot on cooldown to refresh a full 3 stack as it expires anyway, so this passive I don’t think is useful in most situations.

Spacer - Reduces the activation time of XS Freighter Flyby by 1 second and its cooldown by 15 seconds. In addition, Incendiary Grenade overwhelms the targets it damages for 45 seconds (targets take 10% more damage from area attacks).

This passive changes XS Freighter Flyby from an ability with a long (too long) cast time to being less than 1 GCD to activate. As such, its strong damage makes it a priority filler in any situation where it will hit more than 1 target. This passive also applies Saboteur’s AoE damage debuff.

Scatter Bombs - Reduces the energy cost of Thermal Grenade by 5. Also, using Hightail It will drop 5 Scatter Bombs in a trail behind you. These bombs explode soon after, dealing kinetic damage and immobilizing any nearby targets.

This passive further services to align the energy cost of abilities with the energy management profile of the specialization. Similar to Dirty Fighting, Saboteur also can use Hightail It to deal damage. That said, use this ability with care as in most situations it will not be useful.

Seize the Moment - After activating Sabotage, the next Thermal Grenade costs no energy.

This passive buffs Thermal Grenade by making it free after Sabotage, thus it should be a rotational ability. However, it should be noted that Sabotage can only be used on a target affected by Shock Charge. Thus, this passive requires that the rotation include the combo Shock Charge > Sabotage > Thermal Grenade.

Sow Chaos - When Sabotage damages a target, Sow Chaos deals additional energy damage per stack of Blazing Speed on the target. Also, Sabotage harms up to 7 other enemy targets within 5 meters if the primary target is affected by your Blazing Speed.

This passive significantly buffs Sabotage's single target damage and adds an AoE damage component based on the application of Blazing Speed stacks. Bearing in mind that Shock Charge should be used first to enable Sabotage, the Shock Charge > Sabotage > Thermal Grenade (free with Seize the Moment) should be used rotationally and as soon after Speed Shot as possible.

Gearing in 6.0

Gearing Stat Allocation

Please see my Gearing Guide for a detailed overview of gearing in 6.x in SWTOR. Please also see my Alacrity Guide for a much more in-depth look at alacrity.

For Saboteur Gunslinger, I gear as follows:

  • Set Bonus: Established Foothold

  • Tactical: Ruthless Interrogation (I usually do not swap for AoE since Saboteur has amazing sustained AoE DPS)

  • Amplifiers: Periodic Intensity

  • Mods: Unlettered Lethal Mods

  • Relics: Devastating Vengeance & Primeval Fatesealer (Serendipitous Assault & Focused Retribution for Dxun/PVP)

  • Stim: Proficient

  • Adrenal: Critical (Attack for Dxun only)

For Saboteur Gunslinger, I allocate my tertiary stats as follows:

  • Accuracy: 1,585 - 1,630 (anything outside this approximate range and I usually try to re-optimize by swapping around enhancements and augments)

  • Alacrity: around 1,600 (at least 1,895 if the Zeal guild perk applies)

  • Critical: all remaining tertiary points go into Critical

  • Shield: None

  • Absorb: None

Set Bonus

Established Foothold

Increased drop rate from conquest.

(2) +2% Mastery

(4) The cooldown of Hunker Down is reduced by 10 seconds. You gain 2 energy per second while Hunker Down is active.

(6) While Hunkered Down, you build stacks of Entrenched Offense, increasing damage by 3% per stack while you remain Hunkered Down. Stacks up to 5 times. Breaking cover or Hunker Down being removed removes this.

Analysis: Hunker Down has a 20s duration and a 45s cooldown prior to any set bonus, assuming one takes Lay Low (reduces CD from 60s to 45s). Thus, the 4-piece set bonus reduces the cooldown to 35s and makes it possible to have Hunker Down active for more than half the time and have a very high uptime. Beyond the benefit to DPS via the 6-piece set bonus, the very high uptime of Hunker Down provides amazing damage mitigation against AoE damage via the Holed Up utility.

An easily overlooked feature of the 4-piece set bonus is the energy regeneration. At “fast” regeneration you normally recover 5 energy per second, so the 4-piece set bonus increases energy regeneration 40% while Hunker Down is active. That buff is so huge that energy management is trivial for all disciplines as long as Hunker Down is used on cooldown or close to it.

Lastly, the most obvious benefit is the 6-piece set bonus. You gain one stack of Entrenched Offense per second up to a maximum of five stacks and +15% additional damage. Assuming Hunker Down is used on cooldown that should provide an average damage buff of around 7% net of the downtime while the ability is on cooldown.

Impact on Rotation: No change to the ability rotation for attacking abilities. However, it becomes critical to use Hunker Down as often as possible and to avoid moving while the cooldown is active. If you simply *have* to move, reenter cover as quickly as possible. The stacks of Entrenched Offense build around one per second, so quick movement can leave sufficient time to rebuild stacks and still deal meaningful DPS.

Otherwise, the key to maximizing the buff from the set bonus is being proactive to position oneself in a way that reduces required movement. If you know a fight involves movement, cheat in that direction as often as possible. In fights with attackers coming from multiple directions (e.g., Draxus adds), try to be set up as centrally as possible.

The other point to consider is when it is okay to delay using Hunker Down. For fights with periodic movement phases like Gharj, it is okay to delay the cooldown if a movement phase is imminent until after repositioning.

When to Take: Recommended for all encounters.

Precise Targeter

Increased drop rate from conquest.

(2) +2% Mastery

(4) Reduces the cooldown of Illegal Mods by 15 seconds and activating Illegal Mods restores 15 energy.

(6) Smuggler’s Luck gets 3 charges and its cooldown is reduced by 15 seconds.

Analysis: Prior to alacrity and this set bonus, Illegal Mods has a 2 minute cooldown and Smuggler’s Luck has a 1 minute cooldown. The set bonus allows around one extra use of the former and 2-3 extra uses of the latter per encounter. As such it provides a nice DPS boost.

In comparison to the Established Foothold set bonus, Precise Targeter is nice but noticeably weaker. In terms of DPS boost, it provides a slightly higher burst DPS increase but at the cost of much less uptime of the buff. It also provides a much smaller buff to energy management. Precise Targeter provides 15 energy regeneration once every 105 seconds as compared to 40 energy regeneration every 35 seconds, which means Established Foothold provides EIGHT TIMES the energy regeneration.

Impact on Rotation: No impact but the set bonus will provide additional uses of both key offensive cooldowns per encounter.

When to Take: Not recommended. Established Foothold is strictly better and provides superior buffs to damage and energy management. This set is not bad and may be preferred by players who have a difficult time using Hunker Down on cooldown and not moving for its full duration.

Ballistic Concentration

Increased drop rate from The Nature of Progress Operation on Master Mode Difficulty, and has a small chance from Unidentified items on the Spoils of War vendors.

(2) +2% Mastery

(4) When you deploy Scrambling Field, each group member within it grants a stack of Ballistic Concentration, increasing your energy regeneration rate by 1 for 20 seconds. Max 8 stacks.

(6) Each stack of Ballistic Concentration also increases the damage you deal by 5%.

Analysis: An interesting and super situational set bonus. This set bonus makes your Scrambling Field a very powerful individual offensive cooldown in addition to its group AoE defensive buffs (up to +40% damage and +8 energy regen). The challenge is that the ability has such a long cooldown that it pales in comparison to Established Foothold that provides more than enough energy regen and a +15% damage buff with more than 50% uptime. See above discussion on Established Foothold and Precise Targeter for more analysis on energy regen.

This set bonus could be useful for super stressful and tight soft enrage phases (where both the damage and mitigation are desirable) but on balance I still prefer Established Foothold especially given it being far easier to acquire.

Impact on Rotation: No impact. You should already be using Scrambling Field during high damage burn phases so it will simply provide a powerful offensive boost in addition to its significant group defensive benefit.

When to Take: Not recommended. Established Foothold is strictly better and provides superior buffs to damage and energy management. This set is not bad and may be preferred by players who have a difficult time using Hunker Down on cooldown and not moving for its full duration.

Tactical Items

Ruthless Interrogation

Increased drop rate from flashpoints.

Speed Shot refreshes Shock Charge and ticks its damage every time it hits. Blazing Speed does 75% more damage.

Analysis: This tactical provides a really nice buff to the discipline on several levels. Making Speed Shot refresh Shock Charge and tick damage makes that it a “fire and forget” DoT similar to Weaken Mind for Telekinetic Sage except even more powerful in that it can be ticked additional times. Since it only needs to be applied once on a boss (assuming no downtime), that also makes energy management easier by providing an extra filler to use a high energy filler (Charged Burst, Vital Shot, XS Freighter Flyby) or low energy basic attack or throw a grenade with its reduced cost. Either way, the extra filler further increases damage while making energy better.

The second great benefit to this tactical is the buff to damage on Blazing Speed. This DoT is applied by ticks of damage from Speed Shot and can stack up to 3 times. As discussed in the rotation area below, Speed Shot should be used every 6 GCDs / 9 seconds (without alacrity) to maintain full uptime of these DoTs. As such, a 75% damage increase makes the overall DoT damage noticeably stronger for sustained DPS.

Impact on Rotation: After Shock Charge is applied to the target in the opener, it should not be used again. See below for the rotation with Ruthless Interrogation.

This makes the rotation flow a bit easier as far as energy management. If you use two high energy fillers at the end of the rotation and are a bit low, you can use the energy regen from the Explosive Charge bombs and then throw in a basic attack in the filler spot left open from Shock Charge being a “fire and forget” DoT.

When to Take: Recommend for most encounters due to its superior sustained DPS increase.

MG-2 Polygrade Dispersal Caps

Increased drop rate from operations.

When Explosive Charge's Contingency Charges Cluster Bombs detonate, they deal damage to all enemies around their target.

Analysis: This tactical provides some extra burst AoE DPS via the bombs from Explosive Charge. The ability is already the highest damaging ability per activation and the top overall priority for damage (and super important for energy management as well) so now it becomes a priority AoE ability as well.

The downside to this tactical is largely that the discipline already has quite a bit of AoE damage anyway. Incendiary Grenade is an AoE DoT that should have full uptime absent any downtime or movement mechanics. Thermal Grenade should be used once every rotation and provides AoE damage. XS Freighter Flyby is a priority filler in AoE situations without sacrificing much from a single target perspective (primarily due to its low cooldown for this discipline). Lastly, Sabotage is an AoE ability anytime it damages a target with stacks of Blazing Speed (applied from Speed Shot), which should always be the case. That provides one steady source of AoE damage and 3 rotational sources of burst AoE damage without even relying on the very powerful channeled AoE attack.

Given the powerful rotational AoE damage, I would normally hesitate to recommend this tactical except for (1) Veteran Mode Hive Queen or Veteran Mode Dxun on the 2nd and 3rd bosses, where AoE DPS requirements are very high and key to success; or (2) if the group composition featured very little sustained AoE DPS or DoT spread disciplines.

Impact on Rotation: No change to rotation.

When to Take: Recommend for fights with very high AoE DPS requirements such as Hive Queen or the 2nd-3rd encounters in the Dxun Nature of Progress operation. The discipline already has strong rotational AoE DPS so in the vast majority of encounters Ruthless Interrogation will be preferred to boost sustained DPS.

T0-R0 Ionic Discharge

Increased drop rate from daily missions.

Explosive Charge now only triggers from Sabotage and deals 50% more damage.

Analysis: This tactical is interesting since it buffs the discipline’s most powerful ability by 50%. For sustained single target damage it competes against Ruthless Interrogation, which provides buffs to more frequent ticks of DoT damage via Shock Charge and Blazing Speed. I believe the intention is for this tactical to be the “burst tactical” option, as it consolidates its DPS increase earlier in the rotation.

With that said, I do not recommend this tactical as it provides a much weaker DPS buff than Ruthless Interrogation. The feature to make Explosive Charge trigger from Sabotage is not meaningful in comparison to being detonated by Speed Shot, so primarily we are only talking about the 50% damage increase versus the DoT buffs from Ruthless Interrogation.

If one maintains the normal rotation, the bombs actually explode later via Sabotage (i.e., 5th GCD in the rotation instead of 2nd-3rd GCDs normally) so the burst is already delayed long enough to not make as much of a difference compared to the buffs to DoTs via Ruthless Interrogation that are already ticking by this point.

The rotation could be reordered to go Explosive Charge -> Shock Charge (necessary to make Sabotage usable on the target) -> Sabotage -> Speed Shot -> Incendiary Grenade. This gets the extra damage moved up to the 2nd GCD but is still only slightly earlier, so again is entirely relying on the 50% damage buff. However, this is mitigated by the loss of DoT ticks from Blazing Speed and Incendiary Grenade.

So to summarize, I don’t think this tactical is bad but it’s difficult to recommend because it does not synergize that well with the rotation in my opinion and very few burn phases are long enough for the 50% buff to Explosive Charge to outweigh the throughput DPS buff by Ruthless Interrogation.

Impact on Rotation: No change to rotation.

When to Take: Not recommended for most encounters. Ruthless Interrogation should provide better sustained DPS in nearly all encounters. There may be some situational benefits to taking T0-R0 Ionic Discharge for any fights with LOTS of target swapping, where the frequency of target swapping makes DoT damage less effective and energy efficient.


Periodic Intensity (or secondarily, Weapon Expertise)

Saboteur is primarily a DoT-based discipline so it is not surprising that Periodic Intensity provides the biggest DPS boost by buffing DoT damage. For players looking to leverage the same gear while swapping disciplines, Periodic Intensity is also the ideal amplifier build for Dirty Fighting but is quite poor for Sharpshooter (for which Weapon Expertise is the best amplifier setup). I suggest following the optimal amplifier build for whichever discipline is played most often.

Key Abilities

Hideout (0.5s cast, free, 120s cooldown) NEW IN 6.0 - Activating this ability marks your current location for 10 minutes. When this ability is activated again, if you are within 60 meters of the marked location, you instantly return to the marked location. Hideout goes on cooldown for 120 seconds when used to return to the marked location.

The Gunslinger received their own Phase Walk in 6.0. It should be placed as needed before the fight to a location you will need to go during the fight, or during the fight at a location you will need to return to. Either way, take advantage of it to minimize movement time.

Crouch (instant, free, no cooldown) - Crouches in place to take cover. Enables certain cover-only abilities.

The defining trait of the Gunslinger in all disciplines is the need to be in cover as often as possible. This makes the class very much a “turret DPS” class as there are many passive abilities that improve DPS, damage mitigation, self healing and energy regeneration when in cover. Put simply, try to be in cover anytime you do not need to move.

Explosive Charge (instant, 20 energy, 17s cooldown) - Attaches an explosive charge to the target that detonates when the target takes damage, dealing high kinetic damage.

The biggest hitting ability for Saboteur, it should be used on cooldown. In addition, due to the Insurrection passive, when each charge detonates you recover energy.

Incendiary Grenade (instant, 15 energy, no cooldown) - Throws an incendiary device that sets the target area on fire, dealing moderate elemental damage over 9 seconds to up to 8 targets within 5 meters and slowing all affected targets by 70% while they remain in the target area. Only one Incendiary Grenade can be active at a time.

The signature ability for Saboteur and the bane of PvP players everywhere due to its slow effect, Incendiary Grenade should have 100% uptime on the boss and it functions as another DoT. In operations, skilled play most highly depends on good placement of this ability.

Speed Shot (3s channel, 20 energy, 9s cooldown) - A channelled attack that deals high weapon damage.

A strong offensive ability for Saboteur, Speed Shot also detonates charges applied via Explosive Charge, and applies a DoT via the Blazing Speed passive. These DoTs also buff Sabotage via the Sow Chaos to deal additional damage and deal AoE damage. The DoTs last for 6 seconds and Speed Shot has a 3s channel and a 9s cooldown. Thus, using it on cooldown will maintain nearly full uptime of these DoTs.

Shock Charge (Instant, 15 energy, no cooldown) - Applies a DoT dealing moderate energy damage over 18 seconds. Only one Shock Charge can be active at a time.

A DoT ability applied by Saboteur and also important in that only a target affected by Shock Charge is vulnerable to Sabotage.

Sabotage (Instant, 15 energy, 18s cooldown) - Deals high energy damage to the enemy affected by your Shock Charge and stuns the enemy for 2 seconds if it is also affected by your Incendiary Grenade.

A high damage ability that can only be used on a target affected by your Shock Charge, this naturally leads to a combo where they are used one after another to ensure the target doesn’t die before it can be used. It should be used on cooldown. The ability is also buffed and becomes an AoE ability when used on a target with DoTs applied by Speed Shot by the Blazing Speed passive ability.

Thermal Grenade (instant, 20 energy, 6s cooldown) - Deals moderate kinetic damage to the target and nearby standard/weak enemies (also knocks down standard/weak enemies).

A rotational ability for Saboteur due to the Seize the Moment passive ability. It doesn’t deal amazing damage but being free makes it a preferable filler and it also applies 1 stack of Blazing Speed DoT.

XS Freighter Flyby (20 energy, 30s cooldown) - Pre casts an AoE attack that deals high elemental damage over several seconds to up to 8 enemies within the targeted area. Can only be used from cover.

A high damage ability that is usually only used in the opener for Sharpshooter and Dirty Fighting, Saboteur benefits from the Spacer passive that reduces its activation time to 1 GCD. This reduced cast time and strong damage makes it a viable filler ability even in a single target rotation and the top priority filler in any AoE situation.

Vital Shot (instant, 15 energy, no cooldown) - Applies a DoT that deals moderate internal damage over 18 seconds.

Vital Shot is the only traditional DoT ability for this discipline, along with Shock Charge that can only be applied to one target, the AoE DoT of Incendiary Grenade and the additional DoT damage applied by Speed Shot. The fact that it deals internal damage makes it considerably more damaging due to bypassing enemy armor, making it the top overall filler ability for the discipline.

Quickdraw (instant, 15 energy, 12s cooldown) - Execute ability that deals high weapon damage and can normally only be used on enemies below 30% of maximum health.

A useful execute filler ability.

Charged Burst (20 energy, no cooldown) - Shoots a target for medium weapon damage.

A filler ability for Saboteur.

Flurry of Bolts (basic attack, instant, free, no cooldown) - Your basic attack that consumes no energy and has no cooldown.

Basic attack should only be used very infrequently. As noted in the rotation guide below, there is one filler slot per rotation cycle. In my experience, a basic attack needs to be used around every 3rd or so rotation cycle whenever Illegal Mods (if taking Precise Targeter) or Cool Head are not available.

Sweeping Gunfire (4.5s channel, no cooldown) - Channelled AoE attack that deals high weapon damage over its duration. Can only be used from cover.

Gunslingers have a great advantage in that their channelled AoE attack does incredibly high damage, but at the cost of being very energy expensive. The ability is very expensive so should be used with care. It is used very infrequently by Saboteur due to the discipline already having rotational AoE damage.

Smuggler’s Luck (60s cooldown) - Increases the critical chance of your next Aimed Shot, Explosive Charge or Wounding Shots by 100%.

One of three offensive cooldowns, it buffs your most powerful DPS ability by guaranteeing a critical hit. Make sure to use well in advance of the opening pull so that your opener is as high as possible and so it is off cooldown earlier in the encounter, then use on cooldown.

Illegal Mods (10s duration, 120s cooldown) - Increases ranged/tech accuracy by 30% and critical chance by 15%.

A powerful offensive cooldown that also restores energy with set bonus, it should be used in the opener and nearly on cooldown afterwards. It should be used regularly as both an offensive cooldown (and for energy regeneration if taking the Precise Targeter) set bonus.


Opener (without Ruthless Interrogation)















  1. Smuggler’s Luck OFF GCD - Activated here before pulling.

  2. Pre-cast XS Freighter Flyby 3s before pulling boss

  3. Explosive Charge

  4. Illegal Mods OFF GCD

  5. Adrenal OFF GCD - We delay its use until right before we really start hitting for big damage.

  6. Speed Shot

  7. Incendiary Grenade

  8. Shock Charge

  9. Sabotage

  10. Thermal Grenade

  11. Speed Shot

  12. Incendiary Grenade

  13. Vital Shot

  14. Charged Burst

[End of opener, continue rotation as discussed below]

Opener (with Ruthless Interrogation)

Note that this opener can be further refined by moving Incendiary Grenade before Explosive Charge, thereby getting more ticks of all DoTs counting in the adrenal/Illegal Mods duration. I usually pass on that opportunity since I like the simpler, if slightly sub-optimal, rotation of always applying Incendiary Grenade after Speed Shot. In a live operation environment, I find this far more reliable to maintain full uptime on Incendiary Grenade even if it loses a little DPS in the opener.





















  1. Smuggler’s Luck OFF GCD - Activated here before pulling.

  2. Pre-cast XS Freighter Flyby 3s before pulling boss

  3. Charged Burst - Pre-cast about 1 second after XS Freighter Flyby so that hopefully it deals damage just as Flyby begins ticking damage.

  4. Shock Charge - Apply DoT

  5. Explosive Charge - Highest damage ability so front-load before hitting cooldowns

  6. Illegal Mods OFF GCD - Use here as we are about to begin dealing big damage

  7. Adrenal OFF GCD - We delay its use until right before we really start hitting for big damage

  8. Hunker Down OFF GCD - We want to activate Established Foothold's set bonus to get a stacking damage buff as we begin dealing burst damage

  9. Bag of Tricks OFF GCD - Bag of Tricks resets the cooldown of Hunker Down so we use it immediately to get its cooldown ticking and it lets us overlap Hunker Down to maintain the +10% damage buff through our opener

  10. Speed Shot - High damage and detonates our bombs from Explosive Charge

  11. Incendiary Grenade - Activating another DoT that we will refresh after Speed Shot

  12. Sabotage - Big burst damage we should be using on cooldown

  13. Vital Shot - Adding our last DoT that we will usually refresh on cooldown

  14. Thermal Grenade - Free due to Sabotage, very energy efficient damage and no better option available since XS is on cooldown and we just applied Vital Shot

  15. Speed Shot - Use on cooldown

  16. Incendiary Grenade - Refresh as it expires, which in this rotation is easy to track since it falls right after Speed Shot

  17. Thermal Grenade - XS is not off cooldown quite yet and Vital Shot is still ticking, so we can use again here

  18. Charged Burst - Our only filler option here apart from a basic attack and we have plenty of energy right now

  19. Explosive Charge - Starting another core rotation but mentioned for the next GCD

  20. Hunker Down OFF GCD - Around here is when you need to hit Hunker Down before the first one expires, this lets you bridge them back to back and maintain the full stacks of the Established Foothold set bonus rather than needing to build up again

[End of opener, continue rotation as discussed below]

Rotation Theory

Saboteur has a very specific rotation per the outline above. That said, some additional discussion as to why the rotation works how it does may be helpful.

1. Explosive Charge is the highest damaging ability and should open the rotation.

Explosive Charge is your maximum damage ability and should be used to open the encounter and each rotation. In the example parse I linked above, Explosive Charge (and the damage from the Contingency Charges it dropped that were detonated by Speed Shot) combined was the third highest DPS. However, the two abilities above it (Speed Shot was #1 and Incendiary Grenade was #2) are utilized twice per rotation instead once, leaving Explosive Charge as top damage per activation. Also, Explosive Charge will proc your set bonus, so using it first will maximize the set bonus impact. Lastly, using Explosive Charge as the beginning to each rotation makes it easier to remember.

2. Speed Shot should always follow Explosive Charge and be used on cooldown for its second activation in the rotation.

Speed Shot is guaranteed to detonate the 3 Contingency Charges dropped by Explosive Charge, so Explosive Charge > Speed Shot ensures you are getting maximum damage from your top damaging ability and capturing the energy regeneration provided as well. Also, the various passives above to Speed Shot make it very energy efficient (net positive when detonating Contingency Charges), deals high single target damage, deals DoT damage via the Blazing Speed DoT, and significantly buffs Sabotage as well (Sow Chaos passive). As such, it is your top overall damage ability and probably your most important ability so make sure to use it on cooldown.

3. Incendiary Grenade should be used after every Speed Shot.

Incendiary Grenade is the signature ability for Saboteur (and the most recognized - and despised - ability in PvP warzones). It’s position in the opener is to apply the 10% AOE damage debuff. Otherwise, it does not deal as much damage as Shock Charge or Sabotage but deals more damage than any fillers thus its place in the rotation. In any AOE situations, Incendiary Grenade will frequently be the top damaging ability. Saboteur players should use after every Speed Shot, as this aligns the duration of the Incendiary Grenade lingering AoE field so that is has 100% uptime.

4. Shock Charge should be used in each rotation, ideally right after Incendiary Grenade.

Incendiary Grenade follows Speed Shot as an easy way to ensure 100% uptime on its AOE effect. That said, Shock Charge is a very high damaging ability so takes next priority. Most of the time, it deals the second most damage per activation (i.e., does less damage than Speed Shot but over 1 activation and 1 GCD instead of 2 and 2 for Speed Shot, respectively).

5. Sabotage should be used after Shock Charge, every time.

Sabotage is only usable on a target affected by Shock Charge, so it should always follow. Sabotage benefits from a lot of buffs in the skill tree, so it usually is #3 in damage per activation.

6.0 NOTE - If using the BiS tactical Ruthless Interrogation, this rule only applies during the initial opener to apply Shock Charge or when swapping targets, as the DoT is automatically refreshed via the rotation.

6. Thermal Grenade should be used after Sabotage, when it is free to use.

Thermal Grenade does less damage per activation than any ability other than your basic attack. However, the Seize the Moment passive makes it free. Any rotation not using Thermal Grenade with the proc would have to substitute a basic attack to maintain a stable energy level, thus Thermal Grenade is a strict increase in DPS and should always be used after Sabotage.

Rotation (without Ruthless Interrogation, or when swapping targets with Ruthless Interrogation)











  1. Explosive Charge - Higher damage ability so used first. Also used right before Speed Shot to ensure its explosives are immediately detonated.

  2. Speed Shot - Detonated Explosive Charge charges and applies 3 stacks of Blazing Speed DoT.

  3. Incendiary Grenade - Next priority ability used to refresh as it expires.

  4. Shock Charge - Used to refresh Shock Charge as it would otherwise expire, as this is its spot in the opener.

  5. Sabotage - Used on cooldown.

  6. Thermal Grenade - A very energy efficient attack, the ability also applies a stack of Blazing Speed DoT, which can be helpful to ensure the DoTs do not fall off prior to Speed Shot the next GCD.

  7. Speed Shot - Used on cooldown for damage and to maintain full uptime of the Blazing Speed DoTs.

  8. Incendiary Grenade - Used to refresh as it expires.

  9. FILLER - See Filler Priority

  10. FILLER - See Filler Priority


Rotation (with Ruthless Interrogation)











  1. Explosive Charge

  2. Speed Shot

  3. Incendiary Grenade

  4. Sabotage - Used one GCD earlier since Shock Charge should always be active on the target outside swapping targets.

  5. FILLER - See Filler Priority

  6. FILLER - See Filler Priority

  7. Speed Shot

  8. Incendiary Grenade

  9. FILLER - See Filler Priority

  10. FILLER - See Filler Priority


Filler Priority







  1. XS Freighter Flyby - Deals huge damage due to the many buffs to AoE damage in the Saboteur skill tree. This ability should be used as the top priority filler as close to on cooldown as possible.

  2. Vital Shot - Vital Shot deals significantly more damage than Charged Burst at an identical cost, thus it should take priority over Charged Burst unless the target will die before Vital Shot finishes ticking. Vital Shot should have a stable spot in the rotation as its duration is the same as the rotation length, so I usually refresh it in the same filler spot.

  3. Quickdraw (If below 30% boss health) - Deals significantly more single target damage than XS Freighter Flyby, or Charged Burst and has an identical energy cost. It deals less damage than Vital Shot due to the DoT dealing internal damage and bypassing enemy armor, but is otherwise the preferred filler.

  4. Thermal Grenade - Thermal Grenade does less base damage than Charged Burst but it has a lot going for it that make it a preferred filler most of the time. Once per rotation cycle you can use Thermal Grenade free after Sabotage due to the Seize the Moment passive ability. Also, Thermal Grenade only costs 10 energy due to the Scatter Bombs and Saboteur's Utility Belt passive abilities versus 15 energy for Charged Burst. So it is either slightly cheaper or way cheaper than Charged Burst. The Saboteur's Utility Belt passive also gives Thermal Grenade a +10% critical buff. All of this makes Thermal Grenade preferable to use most of the time.

  5. Charged Burst - Generally the lowest priority filler. Charged Burst advantages are that (1) via Hot Pursuit utility you can cast this up to 4 times on the move (though note Vital Shot and Quickdraw are mobile abilities as well); and (2) Charged Burst applies its damage and energy cost at the end of the GCD. As such, in some situations Charged Burst may be preferred to Vital Shot (which frontloads the energy cost) as using Vital Shot would drop you below 60 energy.

  6. Flurry of Bolts - Basic free attack that deals around 50% of the damage of Charged Burst. I usually find that in any rotation where no energy abilities are available (or about to be available), I usually use Flurry of Bolts in one of the filler spots to keep energy levels stable.

Offensive Cooldowns

Smuggler’s Luck (60s cooldown prior to alacrity) - Increases the critical chance of your next Aimed Shot, Explosive Charge or Wounding Shots by 100%.

Smuggler's Luck should be used on cooldown in most instances. The buff it applies lasts for 20 seconds. The pre-alacrity cooldown of Wounding Shots is 9 seconds or about 6 GCD's, so at a minimum the duration of the buff should be enough for 2 Wounding Shots.

The cooldown can be saved for specific burn phases when necessary though given its relatively short cooldown make sure to use it as often as you can before/after any hard burn phases.

Illegal Mods (10s duration, 120s cooldown) - Increases ranged/tech accuracy by 30% and critical chance by 15%.

Illegal Mods is a stronger cooldown with double the cooldown and a defined duration, so it should be timed a bit more carefully. Apart from using it early in the opener for high early damage, it's use should be timed within the rotation when we deal the most damage. The best time to apply will generally be right after Explosive Charge while buffed by Smuggler's Luck and during Hunker Down.

Hunker Down (20s duration, 60s cooldown / 35s with utility + set bonus) - Hunkers you down into cover, becoming immune to all controlling effects. Only grants protection while in cover.

Hunker Down is a very powerful offensive cooldown for all Gunslingers. Its offensive buffs come from gear:

  • Heads Up (Masterful Utility) - When Hunker Down ends or you leave cover while Hunker Down is active, you gain Heads Up, which increases your movement speed by 50% and grants immunity to movement impairing effects for 6 seconds.

  • Lay Low (Heroic Utility) - Reduces cooldown of Hunker Down by 15 seconds.

  • Holed Up (Heroic Utility) - Reduces all area effect damage taken by 60% while Hunker Down is active.

  • Established Foothold (4 piece set bonus) - The cooldown of Hunker Down is reduced by 10 seconds. You gain 2 energy per second while Hunker Down is active.

  • Established Foothold (6 piece set bonus) - While Hunkered Down, you build stacks of Entrenched Offense, increasing damage by 3% per stack while you remain Hunkered Down. Stacks up to 5 times. Breaking cover or Hunker Down being removed removes this.

If you are running Established Foothold (and you should be), you should generally use Hunker Down on cooldown unless you are about to enter a period of downtime or movement.

Defensive Cooldowns

Crouch (no cooldown) - Crouches in place, taking cover if used behind an object that provides cover. Crouching enables the use of cover-only abilities, and so long as you remain behind a cover object, most ranged attackers strike your cover instead.

Crouch provides a LOT of benefits through passive abilities and utilities:

  • While in cover the player receives +20% ranged defense and is immune to ability activation pushback via the Hold Position passive ability.

  • Hunker Down can only be activated while in cover and with utilities and set bonus has very high uptime and provides 60% resistance to AoE damage while active.

  • Using Dodge while in cover adds 75% damage resistance to Force or Tech attacks via the Hold Position passive ability.

  • If taking the Ballistic Dampers utility, each time the player enters cover they receive 3 charges of Ballistic Dampers that absorb 30% of the next 3 damaging attacks to the player.

  • If taking the Cool Under Pressure utility, while in cover the player will heal 2% of total health every 3 seconds.

  • If taking the Snap Shot utility, each time the player enters cover they can immediately activate Dirty Blast and can trigger this utility once every 6 seconds.

  • If taking the Hot Pursuit utility, by entering cover the player can gain 4 charges of Hot Pursuit for 15 seconds after exiting cover, which enable the player to cast Dirty Blast on the move.

  • If taking the Riot Screen utility, while in cover all damage taken is reduced by 5%.

Gunslingers are a cover-based ranged damage class and gain many defensive benefits from being in cover and so should be in cover as often as possible.

Hunker Down (20s duration, 60s cooldown / 35s with utility + set bonus) - Hunkers you down into cover, becoming immune to all controlling effects. Only grants protection while in cover.

Hunker Down is a very powerful defensive cooldown for all Gunslingers. See above for the complete listing of potential benefits via gear and utilities. The key defensive benefit for Hunker Down is it's 60% AoE damage reduction. This gives Gunslingers up to 57% uptime on 60% AoE damage reduction. When combined with the Gunslinger's other defensive cooldowns, this lets players ignore most AoE damage mechanics if necessary.

Hunker Down's cooldown can be reset by Bag of Tricks.

Defense Screen (30s cooldown / 25s with utility) - Projects a defense field around yourself for up to 10 seconds, which absorbs moderate damage.

Defense Screen can benefit from the Hotwired Defenses Masterful utility that increases the damage it absorbs by 30%, and the Hold Your Ground Masterful utility that reduces its cooldown by 5 seconds. The Concussion passive ability also causes Defense Screen to grant 30% damage resistance for 6 seconds after it ends.

Defense Screen is a great low cooldown defensive ability for any predictable instances of low to moderate damage. Since it projects an absorb shield it is effective against nearly all types of damage mechanics.

Defense Screen's cooldown can be reset by Bag of Tricks.

Dodge (60s cooldown) - Increases your chance to dodge melee and ranged attacks by 200% for 3 seconds.

If Dodge is used while the player is in cover then it also benefits from the Hold Position passive ability, which causes Dodge to reduce damage taken by Force and Tech attacks by 75% for Dodge's duration.

Dodge is a really powerful defensive cooldown is used smartly. It can let Gunslingers entirely mitigate melee/ranged attacks regardless of whether the player is or is not in cover. If the player can anticipate heavy Force or Tech damage mechanics, the player can enter cover and use Dodge to mitigate 75% of the damage. Combining Defense Screen and Dodge while in cover is frequently enough to survive nearly any damage mechanics outside of "one shot" mechanics.

Dodge's cooldown can be reset by Bag of Tricks.

Hightail It (20s cooldown) - Roll forward 18 meters, purging movement-impairing effects and landing crouched behind cover. While rolling, your chance to dodge attacks is increased by 100%.

Hightail It can benefit from the Bait and Switch Heroic utility that causes Hightail It to heal you for 10% of your maximum health on activation.

Hightail It is a situational defensive ability that is more consistently useful as a movement cooldown. I primarily use it to quickly reposition and get back into cover. However, it can be used to completely mitigate most damage mechanics if timed correctly, but it is fairly challenging given the brief window of damage resistance. The keys to success are (1) aim yourself to make sure you don't roll into trouble or off a ledge; and (2) try to time Hightail It as close as possible to the damage tick.

Hightail It's cooldown can NOT be reset by Bag of Tricks.

Diversion (60s cooldown) - Reduces the accuracy by 45% and exposes from cover of up to 8 enemies with 8 meters for 8 seconds. Cannot be used on operation bosses.

Diversion can benefit from the Opportunity Knocks Heroic utility that applies a +10% armor penetration buff for every additional enemy affected by Diversion (so a maximum of +70% armor penetration) if Diversion affects the maximum of 8 enemies.

Diversion is not usually very useful in operations. I can occasionally be useful on fights with lots of adds to debuff them to deal less damage to the team, and has a niche use in the Thrasher encounter in the Scum and Villainy operation in Veteran or Master Mode to force the snipers on the elevated platform out of cover.

On fights with lots of adds near the boss the Opportunity Knocks utility makes Diversion an offensive cooldown. Diversion consumes a global cooldown though so it really needs to affect close to the maximum for the armor penetration buff to make it worthwhile to buff DPS, which is pretty rare in operations outside of trash pulls.

Diversion's cooldown can NOT be reset by Bag of Tricks.

Scrambling Field (180s cooldown / 150s with utility) - Deploys an acquired scrambling field that disrupts the energy signatures of conventional weapons. The field spawns 10 meters around you, reducing the damage taken by all allies that remain inside by 20%. Lasts 20 seconds.

Scrambling Field can benefit from the Riot Screen Heroic utility that reduces it cooldown by 30 seconds. I often take this utility but primarily for its other benefit that adds a permanent 5% additional damage reduction while in cover. The cooldown reduction is only useful for fights where you need to use Scrambling Field more than once and need the 30 second cooldown reduction to time it correctly.

Scrambling Field is an AMAZING ability and serves as a defensive "raid buff" for Gunslingers since they do not have an offensive team cooldown. It has a long cooldown so needs to be timed correctly, but can make a massive difference to help teams survive high group damage phases. Some examples include the burn phase in the Dread Council fight in the Dread Palace operation, the burn phase in the Master & Blaster fight in the Ravagers operation and the Red boss fight in the Dxun Nature of Progress operation.

Scrambling Field's cooldown can NOT be reset by Bag of Tricks.

Hunker Down & Bag of Tricks

As discussed above, Hunker Down provides a really strong boost to damage when you have the Established Foothold set bonus equipped. Except during downtime or when downtime is imminent, players should try to activate Hunker Down on cooldown to get the maximum benefit of the damage buff. Players can further optimize the buffs from Established Foothold via the Bag of Tricks ability.

When Hunker Down is activated, it builds stacks of Entrenched Offense that increase damage by 3% per stack. Entrenched Offense builds 1 stack every second, so it takes 5 seconds to build from 0 stacks to the maximum of 5 stacks. So instead of receiving 20 seconds of +15% damage, instead we have +3-12% damage for 5 seconds and +15% damage for 15 seconds.

Bag of Tricks resets the cooldown on various abilities including Hunker Down. This means we can squeeze in some extra uses of Hunker Down during a fight, as long as we do not expect to need Bag of Tricks to enable extra uses of other applicable abilities.

With all applicable utilities taken, Hunker Down has a 20 second duration with a 35 second cooldown, while Bag of Tricks can be used every 150 seconds with a utility. Without using Bag of Tricks for extra Hunker Down uses and ignoring downtime, we can achieve 20s / 35s = 57% uptime on Hunker Down. Over the course of a 6 minute fight we can potentially use Bag of Tricks 3 times to get 3 extra uses of Hunker Down, which would increase our overall uptime on Hunker Down to around 67%. Getting +10% more uptime on a +15% damage buff should equate to around a 1.5-2.5% increase in overall damage. (The math indicates +1.5% but we should be looking to use offensive cooldowns, burst windows in our rotation and synergizing with group raid buffs to increase the benefit of this additional uptime.)

An advanced option for Bag of Tricks is to use it to bridge together two uses of Hunker Down. This strategy involves using Bag of Tricks right after Hunker Down is used initially, the activating the second Hunker Down just before the first expires. If we execute this strategy correctly, we can carry over our 5 stacks of Entrenched Offense for the second full duration instead of building back up from 0 to 5 stacks.

Movement as a Gunslinger

Gunslingers are a cover-based class by design, so we want to avoid movement whenever we can and minimize it when it is unavoidable.

Let's first discuss relevant abilities, passives and utilities that can help Gunslingers quickly relocate from position to position, then go over some strategic considerations and how those can apply in operations encounters that involve lots of movement.

Hideout (0.5s cast, free, 120s cooldown) - Activating this ability marks your current location for 10 minutes. When this ability is activated again, if you are within 60 meters of the marked location, you instantly return to the marked location. Hideout goes on cooldown for 120 seconds when used to return to the marked location.

Hideout is a great ability for any fight where you will have to move to a pre-determined location. Place it before the fight if possible. You can also place it mid-fight if you run past an area you will need to return to later in the fight.

Hightail It (20s cooldown) - Roll forward 18 meters, purging movement-impairing effects and landing crouched behind cover. While rolling, your chance to dodge attacks is increased by 100%.

I primarily use Hightail It for relocation, as most of the time moving 18 meters is sufficient to get into the class' 35m range on most abilities.

Hot Pursuit (Skillful Utility) - You gain 4 charges of Hot Pursuit by exiting cover, which allow Charged Burst or Dirty Blast to be activated while moving. The charges last for 15 seconds and can be gained every 20 seconds. Reentering cover removes the effect.

I always take Hot Pursuit. A bunch of other abilities and utilities are great for momentary relocation but Hot Pursuit is the only way to let you hard cast your filler while moving. For any operations that may include sustained movement phases I have found Hot Pursuit to be an amazing utility.

Reset Engagement (Masterful Utility) - Surrender purges all movement-impairing effects when activated and grants Reset Engagement, increasing your movement speed by 75% for 6 seconds. Also, the final shot of Penetrating Rounds knocks back the target if they are within 10 meters.

Reset Engagement is a situational utility that can be taken when you need periodic but infrequent big bursts of speed. Surrender has a 45 second cooldown so can provide quite a few on-demand speed boosts in a fight. The Master and Blaster fight is a good example for this utility, where if you are running in phase 1 this utility can help you quickly relocate.

Snap Shot (Skillful Utility): Entering cover makes the next Charged Burst or Dirty Blast activate instantly, and can occur once every 6 seconds.

I find Hot Pursuit to be more useful for mobility but Snap Shot can be helpful to "stick and move" to get an extra instant cast in while moving.

As discussed above, the key to maximizing Gunslinger DPS is to stay in cover (and Hunker Down) as often as possible. When you have to move you should try to move as quickly as possible and pre-position yourself to minimize the travel distance.

Here are some quick tips for each operation encounter to maximize your DPS uptime as a Gunslinger:

Eternity Vault

  • XRR-3 Annihilation Droid - Enter cover 20m from boss to avoid stun/knockback then Hightail It under the boss for AoE healing, then Hightail It back out when it comes off cooldown.

  • Gharj - Hot Pursuit and Reset Engagement are great to get a speed boost and mobile DPS each time an island collapses.

  • Ancient Pylons - Enter cover next to the consoles so you can click while in cover. No movement necessary.

  • Infernal Council - Enter cover next to your assigned boss. No movement necessary.

  • Soa - Enter cover on the west side of the room and stay there. Use Hightail it and Hot Pursuit to reposition if needed to DPS mind traps.

Karagga's Palace

  • Bonethrasher - Try to set up a little out of the middle but far enough from the edge to be safe, and reposition any time you get knocked back by the boss. If you avoid moving to maximize uptime on DPS, make sure to use defensives prior to boss cleaving in your direction.

  • Jarg & Sorno - Set up near max range from boss starting position but out of the middle to avoid damage when bosses leap to middle. The fight should not involve any movement except dodging purple circles.

  • Foreman Crusher - Set up in the middle of the room within range of the door. The fight should not involve any movement except dodging red circles.

  • G4-B3 Heavy Fabricator - Set up close to max range away from team members to avoid splash damage from grenade. No movement necessary.

  • Karagga the Unyielding - Set up in the middle of the room to avoid boss cleave attacks. Re-position as needed if you get pulled by the gravity mechanic.

Explosive Conflict

  • Zorn & Toth - Try to set up >28m from both bosses to avoid taking damage from bosses. Reposition if needed due to boss movement. Should be minimal movement unless you get targeted by boss' throw mechanic.

  • Firebrand & Stormcaller - Set up on the side of the tanks and only move during defensive systems. Try to avoid being the runner on the ground if possible since your DPS will suffer a lot more than other ranged DPS.

  • Colonel Vorgath - This fight involves a lot of periodic movement, so time your Hunker Downs as each probe droid is summoned and move with the group.

  • Warlord Kephess - Try to set up near but not underneath the big walker. You can often reach every enemy from this position with minimal movement. You still need to run under the pulsar droids though.

Terror From Beyond

  • Writhing Horror - Set up in the middle of the room near but not on top of the flowers. Only move if you need to stand in a flower to pacify adds.

  • Dread Guards - Set up in the middle of the room to maintain range on your targets. You are much more at risk to stand in green circles when they spawn under you while attacking Ciphas, so keep a close eye on your feet for the green swirls and move out of green circles. Apart from green circles or if you get marked for death by Kel'sara, the fight should involve minimal movement.

  • Operator IX - Use speed buffs and Hideout to move from side to side when attacking cores. During phase 2, time your use of Hunker Down so if is on cooldown when you need to run around standing in colored circles or for color deletion.

  • Kephess the Undying - Set up a bit out of the middle of the room so you can maintain range on Kephess but avoid lightning puddles. Try to be aware of when you can safely be mobile in your rotation and Hunker Down is on cooldown, and use that time to reposition to be near Kephess in case you need to stand near the pillar.

  • Terror from Beyond - This fight involves a lot of movement in both phases. The key thing to consider in phase 2 is whether you can safely survive tentacle slams to avoid jumping off the platform. As long as Hunker Down is active and through other defensives you usually can do so safely.

Scum and Villainy

  • Dash'roode - Hot Pursuit and Snap Shot are great for filler cast DPS on the move while moving the generator. The Reset Engagement utility speed boost along with the Hightail It and Pulse Detonator abilities are great for knocking back the adds if you get lost and quickly getting back to the group.

  • Titan 6 - Set up at max range and right next to your assigned rock. As Titan 6 relocates, use your mobility phases in your rotation and Hot Pursuit to relocate early for the next launch sequence. Setting Hideout pre-pull can help with one of the relocations.

  • Thrasher - I suggest setting up near a wall so if you get Firebug then you only have to move when the add gets to you instead of moving to and from the wall. If you have to relocate to DPS adds then try to avoid moving after that unless more adds spawn elsewhere or the boss is out of range. Reset Engagement and Hightail It are great for rapid relocation at these points or if you go up top to kill adds.

  • Operations Chief - This fight has a lot of movement but not during battles. On the boss, set up in the middle of the room so everything is in range and you should never have to leave cover.

  • Olok the Shadow - No movement should be necessary in phase 1 except when you get a token or to move out of fire. During phase 2, move between shield phases and once you reach the boss set up near the middle of the room so you have the boss in range no matter where he appears.

  • Cartel Warlords - Set up near the bosses starting position and no movement should be necessary except possibly to attack Sunder, for which Hightail It should be plenty to reposition.

  • Dread Master Styrak - Set up in the middle of the room where the big ghost spawns and you should only have to move if you need to get into melee range on the little ghosts.

Dread Fortress

  • Nefra - Set up near max range in case you need to pick up the exploding add. Use Hightail It to reposition quickly if a red circle spawns under you.

  • Draxus - Try to set up in the front middle of the room cheating towards which side you are assigned. From this position you should be able to reach Draxus, adds on your side and adds in the back. I also suggest setting up a Hideout in the back for teleporting there while shields are up, though otherwise Hightail It should very nearly cover the distance instantly. Make sure to stay out of the middle anytime Guardians are up to avoid their cleave, though Gunslingers can handle the cleave if Hunker Down is active plus either Defense Screen or Dodge.

  • Grob'thok - Set up in the middle of the room and you should have range on the boss and adds as they run in.

  • Corruptor Zero - Set up in melee range of where the tank will hold Corruptor Zero. If you are asked to stand out for concussion mines, try to set up right at 18-20m range so Hightail It can immediately roll you into melee range. Make sure to watch your position heading into any big laser beam phases.

  • Dread Master Brontes - In Phase 1, try to set up in the middle of the room where you can reach most enemies without moving. In Phase 2, set up just a bit behind Brontes where you can reach Kephess at all 3 spawn points. Heading into the clockwork lightning phase, I suggest setting up as close to max range of the first add as possible. Once it dies I use Hightail It and Hot Pursuit to quickly relocate and DPS on the move to stay ahead of the lightning beam. In the 6 finger phase you should stand near your finger. In burn phase stay near a wall and watch our for purple circles. Hunker Down is great to avoid the knockback.

Dread Palace

  • Dread Master Bestia - I suggest setting up near the throne since you can keep the entire room in range apart from weird LoS directly opposite the throne. Be careful though of yellow circles as they clip over/under the ground near and on the throne.

  • Dread Master Tyrans - Try to set up at max range so you have to move as little as possible to drop platforms or to move out of fire.

  • Dread Master Calphayus - Set up outside the group with Hunker Down if you are kiting the big red AoE or stand with the group depending on your strategy. Very little movement is required during any of the active damage phases in this fight.

  • Dread Master Raptus - Coordinate with your tanks on where they will hold Raptus but make sure you position yourself to naturally avoid all cleave damage. Tanks doing a good job keeping Raptus in place will be huge for your DPS. If Raptus gets too far to one side, use Hightail It to reposition and try to keep Hideout on the throne for quick returns once the boss gets back to a normal position.

  • Dread Council - Try to set up very near the holocron in the middle of the room unless you are asked to kite Raptus. If you have to grab any crystals make sure to use all mobility buffs like Hightail It and Reset Engagement to get your crystal quickly and back down to attack the bosses.


  • Sparky - Set up in the middle of the room so you can keep Sparky in range no matter how much he punts the tank around.

  • Quartermaster Bulo - Set up near the back of the room. This helps you drop the burst volley blue AoE near a wall in a safe location and you should still keep Bulo in range. Use Hunker Down and defensives during mass barrage to stand in 3-4 circles as they stack then move one time out of circles and then get back into cover and resume attacking.

  • Torque - Set up near the console to summon repair droids so you minimize downtime and reduce your chances of getting fire. This room is really small so range should not be an issue.

  • Master & Blaster - If you have to run then you will need to make full utilization of mobility abilities and utilities. Hideout, Hightail It and Reset Engagement are all great to quickly reposition out of orange circles, while Snap Shot and Hot Pursuit help you DPS while dodging orange circles or while chasing Master.

  • Pirate Captains - Set up near the middle of the room in both phases to keep the bosses in range.

Temple of Sacrifice

  • Malaphar the Savage - Stand inside the red circle to DPS. Try to time your use of Hunker Down so you reset stacks in between uses of Hunker Down so you do not have to interrupt it. Watch our for Malaphar's spear throw red AoE.

  • Sword Squadron - Set up as far back as possible while keeping Unit 1 and Unit 2 in range for easy target swapping. If possible, ask teammates to move away from you if you get the big grenade so you do not lose uptime. For the gravity pull-in mechanic, use Hightail It or Hideout to get back into position. You should avoid red circles as often as possible though with Hunker Down active and another defensive you can periodically eat one in order to maintain uptime (make sure your healers are okay with that first though!)

  • Underlurker - Set up at a position equidistant from the three adds and near your other ranged DPS and healers for efficient AoE healing. Quickly reposition near a rock and then resume DPS next to it until you need to hide. In Story Mode you can stay out during rage storm with Hunker Down but do not do so in Veteran Mode. Use Hightail It and Reset Engagement to quickly get to the boss during the cross mechanic.

  • Revanite Commanders - Set up near Sano's spawn point but cheat a little towards the middle of the room. Apart from moving out of cleaves or AoEs from adds, this should let you stay inside Sano's shield when he spawns but keep Kurse and Deron in range nearly all the time. Use Hightail It to chase a boss while Snap Shot is great to quickly move out of a cleave or AoE then resume DPS.

  • Revan - You should generally set up near max range to kite the lightsabers near an edge and use Pulse Detonator to knock them off. That range can also help if you need to break the tether beam, especially if the other player will let you stay in cover and do all the running. If not, Hightail It can often be enough along with your range to break the beam. During the HK-47 phase on first floor, do not mess around with uptime and get out to drop the grenade damage. On 2nd floor stay with the group and time your use of Hunker Down carefully. On 3rd floor you can use Hunker Down on cooldown in Story Mode, but in Veteran Mode you should time your use to cheese each pull-in so you can maximize uptime on the core.

Gods from the Machine

  • Tyth - Try to set up relatively close to Tyth for inversion, after inversion use Hightail It to get back close to Tyth for the next one.

  • Aivela & Esne - Set up on the side of the platform near your Countermeasure for most of the fight so minimal movement is required except to stand between the boss and the Nexus in phase 2 or to dodge wiper beams in phase 3.

  • Nahut - During Phase 1, try to time your use of Hunker Down when Nahut is not being moved. During Phase 3, put your back to a generator for the pull in. During Phase 4, make sure to stay ahead of Nahut and move during mobility phases to when you can Hunker Down you can stay put for its full duration.

  • Scyva - This fight involves very little movement until the last phase with Scyva. In that phase, try to be very quick in relocating from side to side or between inner and outer rings to dodge purple floors.

  • Izax - This fight involves a lot of movement at times so all your abilities will be useful, especially during "Master/Blaster" phase late in the fight.

Nature of Progress

  • Red - Use your mobility abilities while moving Red but hopefully your tank will move the boss in spurts rather than continuously.

  • Holding Pens - Use all your mobility abilities to damage adds on the move, as this fight is particularly tough for Gunslingers.

  • Control Center - Use mobility abilities while moving into the Control Center. Once inside the Control Center you should not have to move much at all the rest of the boss fight.

  • Trandoshans - Try to set up in the middle of the room to keep all bosses in range. I suggest setting Hideout near the train terminal if you need to summon a train.

  • Huntmaster - This fight does not involve a lot of movement except for the yellow fire grenade. I suggest running out to drop the grenade then Hightail It back into the spotlight.

  • Apex Vanguard - Apex moves regularly as acid blast puddles are dropped, so time your use of Hunker Down to avoid clipping it and Hightail It to relocate as needed as the boss is moved around the room. In Veteran Mode you should time your use of Hunker Down so you do not have to clip it to move into position to be cleansed.

Other Tips & Tricks

  • Given how strict the rotation is for Saboteur to maintain a stable energy level, and how punishing it can be to wreck your energy without Illegal Mods (15 energy regen if taking Precise Targeter) or Cool Head (50 energy over 3 seconds), the key to success in this specialization is optimizing your selection of fillers. See the discussion above regarding fillers.

A common misperception of players is that running the Established Foothold set means that energy management can be ignored. The set definitely makes energy management very easy most of the time. However, it IS possible to run into energy issues if you are regularly prioritizing Charged Burst over Thermal Grenade. Using Vital Shot once per rotation and XS Freighter Flyby on cooldown takes up a lot of energy, which is why Thermal Grenade (free once per rotation and 5 energy cheaper on a second use) has great synergy with those abilities.

I usually avoid using Charged Burst entirely unless (1) I am DPSing on the move and using the Hot Pursuit utility; or (2) I have Cool Head available so can afford to burn some energy in exchange for slightly more DPS.

  • Movement is the bane of Gunslingers. It is really critical to be proactive about thinking through positioning. If you know the group will need to move in a certain direction, cheat that way as far as possible to minimize your movement. Take utilities to use Charged Burst on the move as well.