Ruffian Scoundrel

Last Updated: 5/31/21

Table of Contents


About the Class

Ruffian Scoundrel is a DoT-based melee DPS class with outstanding sustained DPS and is frequently the top parsing DPS class in the game. Ruffian is best used as a DPS class that stays on the boss in an operation encounter as the class does not maintain DPS well when constantly swapping targets. In degree of difficulty, Ruffian is relatively easy to learn the basic rotation but the skill ceiling to maximize its DPS is fairly high. As such, I highly recommend it as a DPS spec for players of all skill levels given its exceptional DPS capability, as even an average Ruffian player will frequently out DPS a skilled player of classes with a lower DPS ceiling.

Role in Operations

Ruffian performs best when assigned to focus damage on the boss and occasionally DoT spread to nearby adds. As a stealth class, Ruffian is a great candidate to provide a stealth rez. In phases where healing is more important than damage, Ruffian can provide limited off-healing through a basic HoT to various players and a periodic free use of Kolto Pack.


As a melee class, Ruffian Scoundrels have various defensive cooldowns and can buff those abilities through utilities and utilize off-healing abilities. I would still rate them as slightly lower than off-tank DPS classes Guardian, Vanguard and Shadow due to their better armor and/or broader list of strong defensives. That said, Ruffian Scoundrel in particular is significantly “tankier” than Scrapper. Through skilled use of roll, Defense Screen, Dodge, and the free Kolto Pack available after a roll, as well as selective use of 10m abilities to step outside of melee range periodically, a skilled Ruffian player enjoys good survivability in all raid environments.

6.0 Impact on Discipline

The 6.0 expansion gave Ruffian a significant boost to its damage potential relative to other classes, leaving it well positioned as one of the very top DPS disciplines early in the 6.0 cycle. Hot Streak is one of the most useful new abilities that can reset cooldowns of several useful offensive and defensive abilities. The new set bonus, Tactician, provides a very strong offensive boost (+10% critical chance, +1 Upper Hand, +5% damage). The discipline also got a great combination of tactical items that can be swapped to (1) further buff the discipline’s outstanding sustained single target DPS; (2) provide very high situational burst DPS, otherwise the biggest weakness of the discipline in most circumstances; or (3) provide a very large buff to AoE sustained DPS.

As is discussed below, the overall rotation priority should not change in many circumstances, but the third Upper Hand provided by the Tactician set bonus will alter the feel of the discipline’s playstyle (generally making it easier for players in my opinion).

Utility and Mobility

Ruffian has solid mobility as all abilities are instant, has available utilities to boost movement speed, and roll and Trick Move abilities.

UPDATE: I made some rather extensive updates to the rotation / opener discussions below to add some more nuance and provided insight into potential ways to tweak your rotation from the "basic" rotation that deals very high damage and is very easy for newer players, an "advanced" rotation that is pretty close to optimal and will output higher DPS though with greater complexity, and a hypothetical "parse" rotation that I think likely comes the closest to having a true "rotation" and optimizing ability use but as a practical rule will not work very well in a real boss encounter.

I wanted to acknowledge Kamiala as a fellow guide writer on Ruffian. Kamiala's guide is located here. I believe Kamiala is updating their guide also and we had a number of discussions about the discipline about tweaks and ways to improve. We both really like Ruffian though sometimes get frustrated trying to write rotation guides for a priority discipline.

I really think Ruffian is one of the most flexible disciplines in the game in that you can run it a variety of ways and still deal really good DPS. So please make sure to check both of these guides and any others out there and figure out what works for you!!!


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.

Scar Tissue: 5% damage reduction.

This utility is always a must take, as anything you can do to increase damage mitigation is incredibly helpful.

Smuggled Get-up: 30% AoE damage reduction.

This utility is nearly always useful due to most PVE encounters having some AoE damage mechanics.

Sneaky: 15% extra movement speed and +3 to stealth level.

Due to the low cooldown of Scamper as a movement ability, I do not typically find this utility to be that helpful. However, its alternatives are even less useful as they consist of PVP utilities and a buff to a weak conal AoE attack.

Masterful Tier

You must take 6 between Heroic and Masterful.

Med Screen: Heals you for 5% of your maximum health when defense screen collapses.

You should be using Defense Screen regularly to mitigate damage, so over the course of an operations encounter this will cumulatively grant you a sizeable amount of healing. As such, this is a boost to survivability and should be taken.

Cool: Cool Head immediately restores 15 additional energy.

This utility sounds great but depends greatly on player playstyle. The ability already restores 50 energy over 3 seconds, which is boosted to 65 by this utility. Also bear in mind that you will be using abilities (that may cost energy) as well as natural energy regeneration over those 2 GCDs. This utility is only a worthwhile choice if your use of Cool Head will not cap energy. That requires a more skilled energy management, as in most cases you need to be 20-30% energy levels to activate Cool Head without capping energy.

Flee the Scene: Reduces the cooldown of your combat stealth by 30s and using combat stealth will also increase your movement speed by 50% for 6s.

This utility is mandatory for Ruffian as it enables more frequent use of a buffed Point Blank Shot.

Skedaddle: Using combat stealth grants 2 seconds of Dodge.

This can be useful to enable a second defensive/cleanse, and can be helpful when attempting a stealth rez given Dodge use as a purge of DoTs.

Heroic Tier

A maximum of 3 utilities

Scramble: Every time you get attacked, the active cooldown of Dodge is reduced by 3 seconds (can occur every 1.5 seconds).

Dodge is a great utility that makes you temporarily immune to certain types of damage and can be used as self cleanse. This should be taken nearly always.

Smuggled Defenses: Reduces the cooldown of Escape by 30 seconds, Defense Screen by 5 seconds, and Smuggle by 60 seconds.

The biggest benefit here in PVE is the Defense Screen cooldown reduction. When combined with the Med Screen utility, this benefit is even better.

Surprise Comeback: Pugnacity now also grants Surprise Comeback, reducing damage taken by 20% for its duration and restores 5% of maximum health every 3 seconds (cumulative heal of 25%).

This utility makes Pugnacity an amazing defensive cooldown and should be taken for any fights that have difficult heal checks, though for other fights it can be substituted for utilities below if they provide more utility.

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

If taking Smuggled Defenses and Med Screen to boost Defense Screen, this utility makes a lot of sense. I take this utility over Surprise Comeback in fights where I know I am going to take steady moderate damage, as in those cases the overall mitigation from Defense Screen over a fight will outweigh Surprise Comeback’ buff to Pugnacity that can be used 1-2 times per fight.

Back at Ya: Activating Dodge grants Back at Ya, reflecting 150% of single target force or tech damage during Dodge duration.

This utility is worth taking on fights that are not exceptionally heal intensive and that present opportunities to reflect damage without dying, or in progression situations if DPS is an issue. That said, Scoundrels are fairly squishy as a melee class so I usually recommend prioritizing survivability in most of my utility selections.

Sleight of Foot: Reduces the cooldown of Trick Move by 10 seconds and allows it to be used while Immobilized, and using Trick Move now generates an Upper Hand.

This utility is great for generating Upper Hand for DPS disciplines as it enables more frequent use of your big hitting abilities.

Example Utility Build

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

Key Passives

Black Market Mods - Bushwhack spreads your Vital Shot to the targets it damages, as long as it damages at least one target already affected by your Vital Shot.

This passive makes Bushwhack your DoT spread ability. Note that Bushwhack uses an Upper Hand and only spreads Vital Shot, whereas Shrap Bomb is an AoE DoT ability so it spreads itself upon application.

Rough and Tumble - Reduces the energy cost of Brutal Shots by 5 and causes damage by Blaster Whip to make its target susceptible for 45 seconds, making it take 5% more damage from tech attacks.

This passive makes Blaster Whip apply your tech debuff.

Unfair Advantage - Blaster Whip triggers Unfair Advantage, which makes your next Brutal Shots regrant Upper Hand and cost no energy. This can occur once every 10 seconds.

This passive is huge for energy management while making balancing Upper Hand slightly more complicated. It is difficult in practice to time this ability, but in general Blaster Whip should be utilized as close to every 10 seconds as possible to maximize this benefit.

Concussion - Periodic damaging effects don’t tick on sleeping targets. Also, you take 30% reduced damage from all DoTs and your damage reduction is increased by 15% for 6 seconds after Defense Screen ends.

This passive is part of why Ruffian Scoundrels have really strong survivability when played well. Utilities should generally be chosen to buff and reduce the CD of Defense Screen anyway, which maximizes the benefit of this passive.

Mortal Wound - Vital Shot has a 10% chance to tick twice. Also, Shrap Bomb makes its targets assailable for 45 seconds, making them take 7% more elemental and internal damage.

This passive makes Shrap Bomb apply your second debuff for elemental/internal damage.

Fighting Spirit - Reduces the CD of Cool Head by 15 seconds. Dealing damage with a bleed effect restores 1 energy.

This passive helps with energy management, as each time your DoTs tick you get energy back. This makes full uptime on both DoTs (Vital Shot & Shrap Bomb) absolutely critical to energy management.

Scurry - Increased duration of Dodge by 1 second and your effective stealth level by 2. Also, when you active Scamper you gain Scurry. Scurry makes your next Kolto Pack activate instantly, cost no energy and not require/consume an Upper Hand. You can receive Scurry once every 10 seconds.

This passive further helps Ruffian Scoundrel survivability. Note that using Scamper < Kolto Pack takes 2 GCDs away from dealing damage. However, this can be a good way to help healers while letting your energy regen for 2 GCDs, during a transition phase where you are not dealing damage, or when you would otherwise die due to stress on healers.

Cut to the Quick - Point Blank Shot grants Cut to the Quick, increasing critical chance and critical multiplier of your damaging and healing periodic effects by 30% for 6 seconds.

This crit buff means Point Blank Shot should be used on cooldown. Skilled players should attempt to utilize Brutal Shots as often as possible within the 6 second window of Cut to the Quick.

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 Ruffian Scoundrel, I gear as follows:

  • Set Bonus: Tactician

  • Tactical: Synox Shots (Viral Elements for very heavy AoE fights)

  • 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 Ruffian Scoundrel, 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 1,400 (at least 1,895 if the Zeal guild perk applies)

  • Critical: all remaining tertiary points go into Critical

  • Shield: None

  • Absorb: None

Set Bonus


Increased drop rate from conquest.

(2) +2% Mastery

(4) Hot Streak additionally resets the cooldown Tendon Blast and Triage. Gaining an Upper Hand increases your Critical Chance by 10% for 10 seconds. Can only happen once every 18 seconds.

(6) Upper Hand gets an additional stack. Having an Upper Hand increases your damage and healing by 5%.

Analysis: A really great set bonus, Tactician provides a +10% Critical Chance and +5% damage buffs. There will be some downtime on the 10% critical buff due to its rate limit, though due to the low cooldown and high rotational priority of Blaster Whip (4 GCD cooldown) to generate Upper Hand, more than half uptime should be possible.

Impact on Rotation: Minimal change in priority. Maximizing the use of Brutal Shots via generating Upper Hand as quickly as possible has always been a rotational priority and will continue to be so in 6.X. Running the same priority system as in 5.X will take full advantage of this set bonus.

With that said, the flow of the discipline will change due to the additional Upper Hand increasing to a maximum of 3 versus 2 as in 5.X. This should make it easier to use Sanguinary Shot and Blaster Whip on cooldown. Given the need to use Point Blank Shoton cooldown to maintain the Cut to the Quick buff on DoTs, re-applying both DoTs as they expire, and keeping maximum uptime of Sanguinary Shot, many rotations would frequently find themselves forced to delay Blaster Whip either due to higher priority abilities or to first use Brutal Shots once (or twice if the Unfair Advantage buff applied) to spend an Upper Hand to free up a space to generate another via Blaster Whip.

Now with the extra Upper Hand, the rotation will have more “cushion” to stack these buffs to enable more sustained spam of Brutal Shots, particularly right after Point Blank Shot when the Cut to the Quick passive ability will buff DoT ticks by +30% (+40% with the Tactician set bonus).

The other nuance added for advanced players is watching the +10% critical chance buff and keeping it active as often as possible. In particular, ensuring that Brutal Shots is only used while the buff is active will be key to maximizing DPS.

When to Take: All situations. Of the other available choices, Aggressive Treatment is primarily a healer-focused set bonus, Debilitator is a PVP set bonus, and only Authority offers a decent PVE DPS boost.

Authority makes Bushwhack refund its Upper Hand provides a buff (and is in turn buffed by) Lacerating Blast. This could have situational use in very high AoE DPS fights, but as a practical matter there are no operations in the game where it is optimal to sacrifice single target DPS for AoE DPS (i.e., even the Hive Queen in Hard Mode is really more about doing really high single sustained DPS while maintaining good AoE DPS).

As such, it will be optimal in all situations to take the Tactician set bonus and utilize the Viral Elements tactical for fights where increased AoE DPS is useful.

Tactical Items

Synox Shots

Increased drop rate from flashpoints.

Sanguinary Shot does 75% more damage. Whenever Sanguinary Shot critically hits, it restores 2 energy.

Analysis: Sanguinary Shot deals damage any time the target takes damage from a DoT, which is doubled in most instances as the target should always have Vital Shot and Shrap Bomb ticking on the target. Doubling its damage (which given 2 DoTs means it is dealing 4 times the base damage) elevates it in DPS priority to the higher overall damage dealing ability for the discipline.

The energy regeneration is especially powerful given how the Tactician set bonus impacts the discipline. Having an extra Upper Hand enables more frequent and more sustained usage of Brutal Shots, which often can be damaging to energy levels for the discipline. Given that Sanguinary Shot should be ticking twice per DoT tick, this set bonus should trigger frequently especially given the +30% critical chance from Point Blank Shot (via the Cut to the Quick passive) and the +15% critical chance from the Tactician set bonus.

Impact on Rotation: Sanguinary Shot becomes the top priority ability due to its buffed damage and effect on energy regeneration. Ideally, the rotation should be spread out such that using it on cooldown never results in delaying re-application of a DoT or delaying Point Blank Shot by more than 1 GCD.

When to Take: Should always be taken except for specific situations where Viral Elements (AoE damage priority) or Catalyzed Toxins (burst DPS) are used. Synox Shots provides by far the largest increase to sustained DPS of Ruffian tactical items.

Viral Elements

Increased drop rate from operations.

Bushwhack spreads Sanguinary Shot’s effect and Point Blank Shot does additional damage to all nearby targets affected by Bushwhack.

Analysis: This tactical provides a large buff to the discipline’s AoE DPS capability. Sanguinary Shot causes the target to take extra damage every time a DoT deals damage. Of the discipline’s two DoTs, Shrap Bomb is an AoE effect so automatically applies to nearby targets while Vital Shot is spread by Bushwhack via the Black Market Mods passive ability. Being able to also spread its DoT buff as well should significantly increase the AoE DPS by DoTs ticking on targets.

The second effect making Point Blank Shot an AoE effect provides some additional powerful AoE burst damage. Point Blank Shot does the most damage by the discipline independent of other effects (i.e., Brutal Shots requires both DoTs to be applied to deal stronger damage) so enabling it to deal AoE damage is very strong.

Impact on Rotation: When taking this tactical, the key change will be to ensure that Vital Shot and Sanguinary Shot is on the target prior to using Bushwhack to spread its effects as well as properly positioning oneself (the ability’s AoE is centered on you when you activate it) to maximize the spread. Otherwise the rotation should be followed normally.

When to Take: Fights where really high AoE DPS will be beneficial.

Catalyzed Toxins

Increased drop rate from flashpoints.

Sanguinary Shot finishes all your bleed effects on the target and deals their remaining damage immediately. Sanguinary Shot’s cooldown is extended by 9 seconds.

Analysis: This is a troublesome tactical that is difficult to recommend in most situations. The tactical compresses the remaining damage of Vital Shot and Shrap Bomb into one GCD. These DoTs have a duration of 24 seconds, so applying both DoTs and immediately using Sanguinary Shot would compress the vast majority of their damage into one GCD. This provides for some strong burst.

However, there are severe downsides to Catalyzed Toxins. Accelerating the DoT damage will require re-applying both DoTs (taking two GCDs) before resuming use of Brutal Shots. If the burst window extends more than 3-4 GCDs, this is likely to be a DPS loss due to the trade-off of reapplying DoTs versus use of Brutal Shots or Blaster Whip.

The DPS loss can be mitigated somewhat by using Brutal Shots and the normal rotation until the end of the burst window and then using Sanguinary Shot. Doing so is likely a DPS loss due to being unable to use Sanguinary Shot and benefit from its additional ticking damage per DoT tick.

The much longer cooldown on Sanguinary Shot is also a significant DPS loss. It deals damage over 10 seconds and has a 15 second cooldown, which is increased to 24 seconds by this tactical. That changes the uptime of its buff, a strong DPS buff, from 67% to 42%, which is a major DPS loss.

Even assuming the burst window damage was neutral to sustained DPS and positive to burst DPS (neither of which are likely the case), the cooldown change and enforcement of a wonky rotation outside burst windows makes the tactical a large DPS loss.

Impact on Rotation: N/A, do not take this Tactical.

When to Take: Not recommended. It accelerates DoT damage but over most burst windows in operations it is likely to be a DPS loss due to the need to re-apply DoTs after Sanguinary Shot in order to resume using Brutal Shots. Over any sustained DPS window the tactical is a DPS loss, and thus not recommended in comparison to Synox Shots (sustained/single target DPS) or Viral Elements (AoE DPS).


Periodic Intensity (or secondarily, Tech Wizardry or Weapon Expertise)

Ruffian has a mix of abilities that cross nearly the entire spectrum of attack types and damage types (excluding Force types, of course). Around half the damage effects are tech type attacks with the rest weapon type attacks. With respect to damage dealt, around half is internal damage with the rest kinetic/energy damage. The class is primarily a DoT spec so most of its heaviest DPS abilities deal periodic damage.

Given this mix, Periodic Intensity emerges as the best DPS buff as it buffs the abilities that typically output the highest percentage of overall damage. Fully min-maxed amplifiers can provide a 7-8% DPS increase. Weapon Expertise ((buffs weapon type attack damage) is a reasonable alternative and provides only a slightly smaller DPS increase. Tech Wizardry (buffs tech type attack damage) provides around a 1% less in DPS increase potential but is still pretty good. If the player plans to frequently re-spec between Ruffian and Scrapper, Tech Wizardry is a good choice because it provides by far the best DPS buff to that discipline at a relatively small trade-off for Ruffian.

Key Abilities

Hot Streak (instant, free, 3 minute cooldown) NEW IN 6.0 - Resets the cooldown of Pugnacity, Kolto Cloud, Blood Boiler, Point Blank Shot, and Defense Screen and increases your Mastery by 20% for 15 seconds.

A new cooldown in 6.0, it provides both offensive and defensive boosts.

Brutal Shots (10 energy, 12s cooldown) - Exploits Upper Hand, dealing moderate weapon damage and causing your periodic bleed effects on the target to also deal damage. Requires and consumes an Upper Hand.

The signature ability of the Ruffian Scoundrel, the rotation revolves around the usage of this ability. It should be used as often as possible.

Shrap Bomb (10 energy, 24s duration, no cooldown, range 30m) - Hurls a bomb that explodes and places a DoT on all nearby enemies that deals moderate damage over the duration.

Ruffian shares this DoT with Dirty Fighting Gunslinger. As an AoE DoT it will automatically spread to nearby targets. It should be refreshed as it expires to avoid wasting any ticks.

Vital Shot (15 energy, 24s duration, no cooldown, range 30m) - Deals moderate damage over the duration.

Scoundrel shares this DoT with Gunslinger. The second DoT of the discipline, it can be spread via Bushwhack via the Black Market Mods passive ability. It should be maintained on the target at all times and refreshed precisely as it expires.

Point Blank Shot (15 energy, 12s cooldown) - Deals moderate kinetic damage and moderate internal damage. If used while stealthed, does extra damage and generates an Upper Hand.

Ruffian uses this ability as a high damage filler, but its main benefit is the buff provided by the Cut to the Quick passive ability to provide a 30% critical chance / multiplier buff for 6 seconds. Players should use on cooldown and strive to fit in as many Brutal Shots into that buff window as possible.

Sanguinary Shot (10 energy, 15s cooldown, range 10m) - Deals low damage and for the next 10 seconds causes the target to take extra weapon damage whenever it takes damage from one of your bleed effects. Generates an Upper Hand.

This ability should be used on cooldown to buff the damage from your DoTs.

Blaster Whip (15 energy, 6s cooldown, range 4m) - Strikes the target with your weapon for moderate kinetic damage. Builds an Upper Hand.

The main filler for Ruffian and primary means to generate Upper Hands to enable use of Brutal Shots. It should be used as often as possible without delaying higher priority abilities that buf DoT damage or if its use would cap / waste an Upper Hand.

Quick Shot (10 energy, no cooldown, range 10m) - Spammable filler ability that deals moderate weapon damage.

This ability should not be used often in the Ruffian rotation but in some places may be appropriate where insufficient time exists to apply / re-apply DoTs to a target.

Flurry of Bolts (free, no cooldown, range 30) - Free ranged filler.

The free filler has one big advantage over most other melee DPS (along with Vanguards) in that its free filler has a 30m range. Use this ability when at range or when energy drops below 60% (or even at 75% when several costly abilities are about to come off CD).

Thermal Grenade (20 energy, 6s cooldown, range 30m) - Ranged ability that deals AoE damage to the target and those nearby.

A more expense ranged filler option and should be used in AoE rotations.

Bushwhack (15 energy, 15s cooldown) - Consumes 1 Upper Hand and deals AoE damage around the player.

Bushwhack is a more expensive AoE ability that should be used on CD in AoE situations to deal damage and to spread the Vital Shot DoT.

Lacerating Blast (15 energy, no cooldown) - Deals low kinetic/internal damage to up to 8 targets within 5 meters.

Scoundrel’s spammable AoE ability though it only deals damage in a frontal cone. Should be spammed in AoE situations.

Cooldowns & Other Abilities

Disappearing Act (free, no cooldown) - Removes you from combat and enter stealth.

A combat stealth ability, it should be paired with Back Blast to deal more damage and generate an Upper Hand. Depending on utility choice, it can also function as a self-cleanse.

Pugnacity (15 energy, 120s cooldown) - Grants 1 Upper Hand and increases alacrity 10% for 15s.

A key offensive cooldown that grants an Upper Hand and boosts alacrity. Should generally be used in the opener and then on-demand later on.

Trick Move (free, 45s cooldown) - Instantly teleports you to the target and increases your movement speed by 75% for 3 seconds. Can be used for either friendly players or enemies.

The Scoundrel's gap closer in addition to their roll, the ability is typically used to generate an Upper Hand via the Sleight of Foot utility.

Cool Head (free, 120s cooldown) - You recover 50 energy over 3 seconds.

The main energy cooldown for the discipline. Due to its heavy energy regeneration, it is important to not waste any regeneration due to its lengthy cooldown.

Stack the Deck (1 Upper Hand, 5 minute cooldown) - Exploits Upper Hand to increase critical chance by 10% for 10 seconds.

The class raid buff. It is expensive due to its Upper Hand requirement and thus I usually ask a Scoundrel healer to trigger their raid buff if possible. That said, it is a clear group DPS increase so use it when necessary in ops.

Defense Screen (free, 30s cooldown) - Projects a defense field around yourself for 10 seconds, which absorbs low damage.

The discipline's low cooldown defensive ability that shields against all damage, use it aggressively to mitigate predictable damage. Just do not expect it to save you from a big hit if you are already low health.

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

Dodge is a tricky cooldown as it only applies to certain damage types and has a very short duration. I primarily find it useful as a self-cleanse/purge to avoid wasting a GCD on a cleanse ability (which is why the cleanse is not even listed in this guide). Use it for mitigating heavy damage when it is useful.

Scamper (free, 8s cooldown) - Roll forward 12 meters. While rolling, your chance to dodge melee and ranged attacks is increased by 30%. Scamper has 2 ability charges and recharges one charge every 8 seconds.

The great and unique strength of Scrapper Scoundrel is its roll. Having a low cooldown, the Scrapper has far higher uptime on an ability that can effectively cheese nearly all one-shot damage mechanics in the game due to the SIippery Devil passive ability. Master the timing of the "roll cheese" and your progression healers will greatly appreciate it.

Slow-release Medpac (10 energy, no cooldown) - Injects the target with slow-release medicine that heals a low amount over 18 seconds. Stacks up to 2 times.

Your HoTs deal a respectable amount of healing over time and with a utility can even provide a decent mitigation boost of up to +6% damage resistance. I use these semi-frequently during downtime or transitions to pre-apply HoTs to help out my healers a little bit.

Kolto Pack (20 energy, 9s cooldown) - Exploits your Upper Hand to heal the target immediately for a low amount.

An expensive heal ability that requires and consumes an Upper Hand. I generally avoid using this ability at all as a result, and instead rely on my HoTs, mitigation abilities (especially roll for high damage burst hits) and my healers. That said, in some instances when healing gets really tough and the boss is shielded or something this can be useful to help out.


Basic Rotation Priority System

The Ruffian Scoundrel class has a defined rotation that should be followed as much as possible. The overall goals in order of priority are

1. Refresh Vital Shot and Shrap Bomb as they expire.

2. Point Blank Shot on cooldown for its damage and to buff DoT damage.

3. Sanguinary Shot on cooldown to buff DoT damage. (Note that with the Synox Shots tactical in 6.0, this ability becomes the #1 priority.)

4. Blaster Whip when at 0-2 Tactical Advantage.

5. Brutal Shots as often as possible.

The Ruffian Scoundrel class has a defined rotation that should be followed as much as possible. The overall goals in order of priority are

1. Refresh Vital Shot and Shrap Bomb as they expire. All of the discipline's abilities revolve around dealing damage by triggering DoTs, so these must be applied and kept to 100% uptime on the target or as close to it as possible. Both DoTs have a 24s / 16 GCD duration and that corresponds to exactly double the cooldown of Point Blank Shot, thus the rotation discussion will address how tracking and re-applying these DoTs exactly as they expire is relatively straightforward.

2. Point Blank Shot on cooldown for its damage and to buff DoT damage. Point Blank Shot does good burst damage and is valuable for that in a DoT-based discipline. However, it's best strength is via the Cut to the Quick passive that buffs the critical chance and critical multiplier of all DoT damage by 30% for 6 seconds. This buff is huge and we need to benefit from it absolutely as often as possible. Lastly, the cooldown of Point Blank Shot is really helpful to track when to re-apply DoTs (every other use of Point Blank Shot) so using it on cooldown ensures we stay on schedule to refresh DoTs without clipping or without any loss of DoT uptime.

3. Sanguinary Shot on cooldown to buff DoT damage. (Note that with the Synox Shots tactical in 6.0, this ability becomes the #1 priority.) Sanguinary Shot does minimal damage but provides a powerful increase to damage while DoTs are ticking and it also generates an additional Upper Hand. Sanguinary Shot should NOT be delayed when capped in Upper Hands (2 without the Tactician set bonus, 3 with the Tactician set bonus), as the damage buff is powerful enough to "waste" an Upper Hand if needed, though ideally that should be avoided through an earlier use of Brutal Shots to spend the "extra" Upper Hand.

4. Blaster Whip when at 0-2 Upper Hands. As discussed more fully at the end, maximizing the rate at which we can generate Upper Hands is the biggest driver to our potential DPS by enabling more frequent use of Brutal Shots. Thus, we want to be using Blaster Whip on cooldown or as close to it as possible without delaying any higher priority abilities.

5. Brutal Shots as often as possible. It may feel weird that the top damaging ability of the discipline is at the bottom of the rotational goals list but it is true. The earlier goals are all set up to ensure that when we start spamming Brutal Shots we can do major damage. The earlier goals made sure DoTs are ticking so Brutal Shots can trigger them (goal #1), gives us a short-term powerful buff to critical chance on DoTs triggering (goal #2), provides additional DoT damage (goal #3), and ensures we are generating the resources we need to spam Brutal Shots as quickly as possible (goal #4).

Basic Opener (# of Upper Hands)


























  1. Stealth - Being in stealth buffs your first Point Blank Shot to do significantly more damage

  2. Pugnacity (1) - I like to use early to help accelerate my ramp-up time applying DoTs and get to the high damage earlier, even if this may be slightly suboptimal on a parse it typically lines up better with operations and use of other group raid buffs and offensive cooldowns.

  3. Point Blank Shot (2) - Buffed from stealth and applies Cut to the Quick

  4. Hot Streak OFF GCD (2) - I use right after Point Blank Shot to reset its cooldown and enable two free buffed uses. This is sub-optimal by clipping the DoT damage buff and is not how I handle the rotation when parsing. I recommend it for non-experts in the discipline since it enables you to keep your rotation aligned as discussed below where you always refresh DoTs after every other Point Blank Shot.

  5. Point Blank Shot (2) - Second use via Hot Streak, did not use stealth here as we would waste the UH generation

  6. Shrap Bomb (2) - Apply Dot #1

  7. Vital Shot (2) - Apply DoT #2

  8. Adrenal OFF GCD (2) - Use here as we begin to do big damage

  9. Stack the Deck OFF GCD (1) - Use here as we start to do damage.

  10. Sanguinary Shot (2) - Buffs your DoT damage and grants an Upper Hand

  11. Brutal Shots (1)

  12. Blaster Whip (2) - Grants Upper Hand and should grant Unfair Advantage passive

  13. Brutal Shots (2) - Uses Unfair Advantage so doesn’t cost an Upper Hand

  14. Brutal Shots (1)

  15. Disappearing Act OFF GCD

  16. Point Blank Shot (2) - Stealthed Point Blank Shot does more damage and grants an Upper Hand

  17. Pugnacity OFF GCD (3) - Used here as the first Pugnacity buff expires to maintain uptime on our high DPS, this also allows use to substitute a Brutal Shots for delaying Blaster Whip during Point Blank Shot’s buff to DoT critical chance/damage

  18. Brutal Shots (2)

  19. Trick Move OFF GCD (3) - I try to fit in as soon as I can do so to generate an Upper Hand without capping. Using this opener this seems to be the earliest I can safely do so.

  20. Brutal Shots (2)

  21. Sanguinary Shot (3) - Using on cooldown while not capping an Upper Hand

  22. Brutal Shots (2)

  23. Blaster Whip (3) - Should grant Unfair Advantage passive here

  24. Brutal Shots (3) - Free due to Unfair Advantage passive

  25. Point Blank Shot (3) - End of opener, time to re-apply DoTs

[End of opener, continue priority rotation as discussed above]

Opener Comments - This opener assumes one has the Tactician set bonus active and thus can stack up to 3 Upper Hands. Given that we are now a ways into 6.0 this seems a safe assumption. This opener is also deliberately sub-optimal with respect to its use of the free Point Blank Shot provided by Hot Streak and the back-to-back application of both DoTs.

As discussed below in the rotation, a more optimal application places 1-2 GCDs between DoT applications to allow for use of Sanguinary Shot on cooldown as well as an earlier use of Blaster Whip on cooldown for Upper Hand Generation (or Brutal Shots to burn an Upper Hand if Blaster Whip is about to come off cooldown) without delaying DoTs.

However, I feel in most operations content and for folks that are newer to this discipline, it makes more sense to be slightly sub-optimal when doing so makes following the rotation MUCH easier. This opener should still be strong and allows you to flow into a very easy steady priority rotation where you can use Point Blank Shot to keep the time for DoT application.

It is definitely not optimal (especially for parsing) but it facilitates high APMs without any loss of uptime on DoTs and thus will likely perform better for players until they master this discipline and are comfortable trying out more advanced opener/rotation strategies.


















  1. Point Blank Shot

  2. Shrap Bomb

  3. Vital Shot

  4. Filler 1 - See Filler Priority below

  5. Filler 2 - See Filler Priority below

  6. Filler 3 - See Filler Priority below

  7. Filler 4 - See Filler Priority below

  8. Filler 5 - See Filler Priority below

  9. Point Blank Shot

  10. Filler 1 - See Filler Priority below

  11. Filler 2 - See Filler Priority below

  12. Filler 3 - See Filler Priority below

  13. Filler 4 - See Filler Priority below

  14. Filler 5 - See Filler Priority below

  15. Filler 6 - See Filler Priority below

  16. Filler 7 - See Filler Priority below

[Repeat] at beginning with Point Blank Shot

Why such a simple rotation, you ask?

My general playstyle approach is to maximize my DPS while also maximizing my margin for error. Operations in Veteran or especially Master Mode can be quite difficult and involve lots of mechanics to watch for and execute successfully. If I have to choose between a rotation that is easy to remember and keep track of during a fight and a rotation that is significantly more complicated but offers a little bit more DPS, I'll usually take the slightly sub-optimal but reliable rotation. If I am running a specific encounter in Veteran or Master Mode that has a really tough DPS check, then maybe I'll tinker with the rotation to get a little more DPS and just take the risk.

Ruffian's DPS depends a lot on keeping high uptime on Sanguinary Shot and the buff from Point Blank Shot. It also absolutely requires having your DoTs ticking all the time. Brutal Shots does a lot of damage if DoTs are ticking but only tickles if your DoTs were not re-applied.

Using Point Blank Shot as the guidepost for your rotation makes it really easy to track during an op. Use Point Blank Shot on cooldown, refresh DoTs every other Point Blank Shot, and then follow the ability priority (Sanguinary Shot on CD, Blaster Whip on CD, stay above 60 energy, spam Brutal Shots).

Below is an example of how you could flex the rotation to make it more effective at generating DPS but in exchange for a lot more complexity and risk of forgetting something.

Advanced Opener (# of Upper Hands)



















  1. Point Blank Shot (stealthed) (1)

  2. Pugnacity OFF-GCD (2)

  3. Shrap Bomb (2)

  4. Sanguinary Shot (3)

  5. Hot Streak OFF-GCD (2)

  6. Vital Shot (2)

  7. Blaster Whip (3)

  8. Adrenal OFF-GCD (3)

  9. Stack the Deck OFF-GCD (2)

  10. Disappearing Act OFF-GCD (2)

  11. Point Blank Shot (3)

  12. Brutal Shots (3)

  13. Brutal Shots (2)

  14. Blaster Whip (3)

  15. Brutal Shots (2)

  16. Brutal Shots (1)

  17. Pugnacity OFF-GCD (2)

  18. Sanguinary Shot (3)

[End of opener, continue priority rotation]

Summary: This opener changes two things to set up the advanced rotation. It spaces out the application of DoTs so they can be refreshed on cooldown with a filler in between. The opener also delays the "free" extra use of Point Blank Shot 4 GCDs instead of using it immediately. These tweaks let us line up our opener so we naturally flow into the advanced rotation discussed below.

Advanced Rotation

















  1. Point Blank Shot

  2. Filler 1 - See Filler Priority below

  3. Filler 2 - See Filler Priority below

  4. Filler 3 - See Filler Priority below

  5. Shrap Bomb

  6. Filler 4 - See Filler Priority below

  7. Vital Shot

  8. Filler 5 - See Filler Priority below

  9. Point Blank Shot

  10. Filler 6 - See Filler Priority below

  11. Filler 7 - See Filler Priority below

  12. Filler 8 - See Filler Priority below

  13. Filler 9 - See Filler Priority below

  14. Filler 10 - See Filler Priority below

  15. Filler 11 - See Filler Priority below

  16. Filler 12 - See Filler Priority below

[Repeat] at beginning with Point Blank Shot

Not too big a change, right? Yes and no.

This rotation spaces out your two DoTs with a spacer in between and 4 GCDs after Point Blank Shot. This rotation is much more efficient to allow you to use key abilities on cooldown. In exchange, you have to remember when in the rotation to refresh DoTs and to remember to leave a filler in between refreshing DoTs.

Here are the main pros of this rotation:

  • We remove the 3 GCD block of Point Blank Shot / Shrap Bomb / Vital Shot. There will be times when Sanguinary Shot and/or Blaster Whip come off cooldown early in that 3 GCD block and get delayed 2-3 GCDs. For relatively low GCD abilities, that is a significant delay we want to avoid if possible.

  • We can use Sanguinary Shot without delaying Point Blank Shot or our DoTs. Sanguinary Shot has a cooldown of 15 seconds / 10 GCDs. Since the core rotation is based on Point Blank Shot's 8 GCD cooldown, this means Sanguinary Shot will float +2 spots into the next 8 GCD rotation or skip ahead in the subsequent 8 GCD rotation block. If we are using the 2-block rotation above as an example, this means Sanguinary Shot used first in GCD #2 will then go 2 -> 12 -> 6 -> 16 -> 10 -> 4 -> 14 -> 8 -> 2. This is fairly elegant and means we can utilize this rotation and never delay Sanguinary Shot at all, which is hugely beneficial since that is our top damaging ability!

  • We can use Blaster Whip more often to get more UHs. Blaster Whip has a cooldown of 6 seconds / 4 GCDs. If not for Sanguinary Shot floating through the rotation it would have a static position in an 8 GCD rotation (either 2/6/10/14 or 4/18/12/16). As is, Sanguinary Shot will sometimes come off cooldown at the same time as Blaster Whip and cause us to delay Blaster Whip 1 GCD or at most 2. That will only happen infrequently and is way better than delaying 3-4 GCDs on occasion.

  • We get a LOT more DPS from Point Blank Shot's Cut to the Quick passive ability. Point Blank Shot applies Cut to the Quick that buffs critical chance and critical damage multiplier for DoTs by 30% for 6 seconds / 4 GCDs. Point Blank Shot deals its damage at the beginning of the GCD so that means the next 3 GCDs have a significant buff to DoT damage. Using the Basic Rotation, every other Point Blank Shot we use 2 of those 3 GCDs refreshing DoTs and sometimes use the 3rd for either Sanguinary Shot or Blaster Whip. Using the Advanced Rotation, we will typically use at least 2 of 3 GCDs after Point Blank Shot on Brutal Shots that tick DoTs and thus will deal more damage during Cut to the Quick.

The big downside to this advanced rotation is that it places much more pressure on the player to keep track of their DoTs and refresh them on time. The "refresh DoTs every other Point Blank Shot" rule still applies except now you have 3 fillers after Point Blank Shot before refreshing DoTs. Losing track of the count and accidentally going several GCDs without DoTs ticking is likely to lose more DPS than the advanced rotation otherwise gains over the basic rotation. I suggest practicing this rotation or maybe setting up starparse timers to track DoT duration as a helpful aid.

Parse Rotation

















  1. Point Blank Shot

  2. Filler 1 - Sanguinary Shot > Flurry of Bolts (if low on energy) > Brutal Shots

  3. Blaster Whip - Use on cooldown

  4. Filler 2 - Sanguinary Shot > Flurry of Bolts (if low on energy) > Brutal Shots

  5. Shrap Bomb

  6. Filler 3 - Sanguinary Shot > Flurry of Bolts (if low on energy) > Brutal Shots

  7. Blaster Whip - Use on cooldown

  8. Filler 4 - Sanguinary Shot > Flurry of Bolts (if low on energy) > Brutal Shots

  9. Point Blank Shot

  10. Filler 5 - Sanguinary Shot > Flurry of Bolts (if low on energy) > Brutal Shots

  11. Blaster Whip - Use on cooldown

  12. Filler 6 - Sanguinary Shot > Flurry of Bolts (if low on energy) > Brutal Shots

  13. Vital Shot

  14. Filler 7 - Sanguinary Shot > Flurry of Bolts (if low on energy) > Brutal Shots

  15. Blaster Whip - Use on cooldown

  16. Filler 8 - Sanguinary Shot > Flurry of Bolts (if low on energy) > Brutal Shots

[Repeat] at beginning with Point Blank Shot

This rotation is as close as Ruffian can get to the ideal "parse rotation". We break down the Ruffian rotation into 4-GCD blocks. Each block begins with either Point Blank Shot or one of your DoTs and alternates Point Blank Shot / Shrap Bomb / Point Blank Shot / Vital Shot.

This rotation design is really neat since it aligns Sanguinary Shot and Blaster Whip where they can be used on cooldown without any delay. Blaster Whip (4 GCD cooldown) occupies the third slot in each 4 GCD block and Sanguinary Shot (10 GCD cooldown) will float amongst the 2nd and 4th GCDs in the various blocks.

The downsides? There are a few:

  • There will be some instances where Sanguinary Shot comes off cooldown around the same time as the Unfair Advantage passive procs (Blaster Whip procs it and causes Brutal Shots to refund its UH). In those cases, you may cap UHs because Sanguinary Shot and Blaster Whip will grant +2 UHs and using Brutal Shots will not cost one. This may lead to capping UHs or delaying Blaster Whip.

  • Setting up this rotation is a bit annoying. You would have to delay applying your DoTs in the opener and that could cost some DPS and could be really problematic in fights with virtually any target swapping. In those cases, you would either have to abandon this rotation or clip one of your DoTs to get it placed correctly.

As neat as this idea is, I prefer the Advanced Rotation when you really need the extra DPS and mostly run the Basic Rotation except for very tough Veteran and Master Mode operation DPS checks. The Advanced Rotation can flex pretty easily to target swapping and the only real downside to it versus the Parse Rotation is occasionally delaying Blaster Whip a GCD (or rarely, two GCDs).

Filler Priority







  1. Sanguinary Shot Use on cooldown.

  2. Flurry of Bolts Use if below 60 energy and Cool Head is not available.

  3. Blaster Whip Use if 0-2 Upper Hand.

  4. Bushwhack See discussion below as Bushwhack is very situational to use in single target rotations.

  5. Brutal Shots Use as often as possible.

  6. Quick Shot Only use if nothing else is available and >80 energy.

Use of Bushwhack in Single Target Rotation

Bushwhack can be used to increase DPS in the single target rotation but it should be used carefully.

Bushwhack is an AoE ability that functions as a DoT to affected enemies. As a DoT, it increases the damage dealt by Sanguinary Shot while both abilities are active. Brutal Shots also deals increased damage by having an additional DoT to trigger damage.

Early in 6.0, Bushwhack was a huge DPS increase even in single target rotations. Synox Shots was nerfed to address this unintended rotation impact, leaving Bushwhack a very situational DPS increase in single target situations. Bushwhack remains Ruffian's best AoE damage ability.

So when can you use Bushwhack as a single target DPS increase and should you do so?

We want to use Bushwhack when its status as a DoT deals the most damage. This generally means the best time to use it is immediately after Point Blank Shot (+30% crit chance/damage for 6 seconds) while Sanguinary Shot is active (deals damage based on # of DoTs ticking) and when we can spam Brutal Shots (ticks all DoTs to deal damage) after applying Bushwhack. Thus Bushwhack benefits from Point Blank Shot's crit buff and leads to increased damage from Sanguinary Shot and Brutal Shots.

Please recall that Sanguinary Shot lasts for almost 7 GCDs and has a 10 GCD cooldown. If you are using the Advanced Rotation above, that makes it pretty easy. The simple rule of thumb is that if you used Sanguinary Shot since the last use of Point Blank Shot, then you should go [Point Blank Shot] -> [Bushwhack] -> [Brutal Shots] -> [Brutal Shots] when Point Blank Shot comes off cooldown.

Should you use Bushwhack? I know some Ruffian players that swear by its use in single target. I agree it can be a DPS increase. With that said, Bushwhack is not required to deal really high Ruffian DPS. I personally do not typically use Bushwhack in single target situations. Many fights have AoE potential and I prefer to save Bushwhack for those situations, and I have not noticed a substantial DPS increase when using Bushwhack so feel like it is nice but is really a playstyle choice outside of min-maxing discussions.

Advanced Rotation Tips

  • Make sure to note that Point Blank Shot has exactly half the cooldown (12s / 8 GCDs) of both DoTs employed by the discipline (24s / 16 GCDs for both Shrap Bomb and Vital Shot). Thus, the concept behind the rotation above is that every other use of Point Blank Shot, you should refresh your DoTs. This makes timing DoT refresh much easier to avoid clipping DoT duration or re-applying late.

  • Whenever Disappearing Act (combat stealth) ability is off cooldown it can be used immediately before Point Blank Shot to buff that ability's damage and gain an Upper Hand. Make sure you are not already at the maximum number of Upper Hand's to avoid wasting it, though. In some progression encounters you may want to avoid doing this if the team may need a stealth revive, such as if your team does not have Scoundrel healers or any other Shadow or Scoundrel DPS players.

  • It is important for players familiar with this discipline but seeking to master it to understand the key to maximizing DPS is Blaster Whip. This seems counter intuitive to most, as maximizing DPS requires as frequent use of Brutal Shots as possible. However, ultimately the rate at which we can spam Brutal Shots is entirely dependent on our ability to generate Upper Hand to make that ability useable.

Thus, the true goal of the rotation is to maximize the rate at which we can generate Upper Hand while maximizing uptime of our DoTs (Vital Shot and Shrap Bomb) and our DoT buffing abilities (Point Blank Shot and Sanguinary Shot). The more Upper Hand, the more we can use Brutal Shots to deal big time damage.

This aspect of the discipline is why the filler priority above has Sanguinary Shot and Blaster Whip above Brutal Shots, because they both generate Upper Hand! In situations where you are capped on Upper Hand (2 normally but 3 with a 6-piece Tactician set bonus), you would prioritize Brutal Shots to spend an Upper Hand so that you can then use the other abilities to gain more Upper Hand.

  • The rotation discussed above is intended to be the simplest rotation that accomplishes the primary goals of (1) using Point Blank Shot on cooldown; (2) keeping full uptime of both DoTs; and (3) using Sanguinary Shot and Brutal Shots on cooldown or as often as possible, respectively. However, a more advanced rotation will require spacing out both DoTs (Shrap Bomb and Vital Shot) with GCDs in between them. This will allow for more frequent use of Blaster Whip to generate Upper Hand, more frequent use of Brutal Shots to spend Upper Hand when capped, and/or using Sanguinary Shot on cooldown without delaying any rotational abilities. I recommend starting with just 1 GCD in between DoTs to keep it easy to remember, but if possible an optimal solution would be 2-3 GCDs.

  • In 6.0, the rotation changed in a subtle but powerful way. All of the information above about priorities is true with the 6-piece Tactician set bonus. However, having the cap on Upper Hand increased from 2 to 3 makes the rotation feel much more fluid. You should find yourself much more comfortable in using Sanguinary Shot and Blaster Whip on cooldown without frequently having to burn Brutal Shots first due to being capped.

Also, if you are using the Synox Shots tactical, the only key change is that Sanguinary Shot becomes your top overall DPS ability and so takes precedence over every other ability.

  • An advanced tip that is somewhat more difficult to balance amid the various rotational priorities is bunching together as many uses of Brutal Shots in the 6 seconds / 4 GCDs after using Point Blank Shot. Due to the Cut to the Quick passive ability, DoTs receive a 30% buff to critical chance and critical damage, so your damage will be noticeably higher during this mini-burst phase.

Ideally a rotation should be set up to re-apply DoTs immediately before Point Blank Shot rather than AFTER it, as this would allow for more free GCDs to use Brutal Shots. In practice, I find this makes timing the re-application of DoTs much more difficult and easy to mess up, so I typically do not strive for this type of rotation except when dummy parsing or on fights with very high sustained DPS requirements.