Last Updated: 3/27/20
Table of Contents
About the Class
Sawbones is a very powerful healing class when played with skill. Sawbones specializes in Heal over Time (HoT) effects and powerful AoE healing. Skillful play of Sawbones will depend upon balancing the generation and use of Upper Hand, a specialized resource specific to all Scoundrel disciplines. Energy management is somewhat easier for Sawbones Scoundrels than Combat Medic Commandos but is still very challenging in high stress situations. In most circumstances, Scoundrel healers should output the highest raw healing per second (HPS). The key to mastering the discipline is balancing healing to maximize effective healing per second (eHPS), as unskilled play can result in a lot of “fluff” healing through ticking HoTs on players already at full health or AoE healing where single target healing should be utilized instead.
Utility and Mobility
Scoundrels have good mobility though overall likely rate slightly lower than the other healing classes due to the inability to burst heal on the move. Scamper is a useful roll for relocating and can be used twice when needed, but I feel it is less useful than Force Speed for Sages and Hold the Line for Commandos. Trick Move is a great option and is able to be used to teleport to a friendly or enemy player (the only gap closer in the game with that feature) but is prone to being buggy so it is generally unwise to rely on it too much. From an ability perspective, Scoundrels can do great raid healing on the move as Slow-release Medpac, Emergency Medpac and Kolto Cloud are all instant. Scoundrels cannot provide burst single target healing on the move due to the cast times required for Underworld Medicine and Kolto Pack.
From a utility perspective, Scoundrels bring their own raid buff (though it costs an Upper Hand) and have the standard suite of interrupts, stuns, slows, etc. Their greatest utility is definitely the stealth rez capability, which can be re-used during a fight as often as combat stealth is available. Skilled Sawbones players can get out 2-3 stealth rezzes on many fights, which is amazingly helpful to salvage a fight and avoid a wipe particularly in HM or progression situations.
Role in Operations
Sawbones Scoundrels excel at group healing. That isn’t to suggest that Sawbones is unable to perform well in single target or burst healing, as they can do so in any content in the game. However, more setup is required to enable strong burst healing and knowledge of mechanics is critical to predicting damage so that the Scoundrel can be prepared to heal. The mark of a truly skilled Scoundrel healer is being able to maintain strong team healing while still being able to provide burst heals on demand. When healing with a Sage or Commando, the most common (and easiest) set of assignments during stressful phases is to have the Scoundrel focus on raid healing while the other healer focuses on burst healing tanks. Sawbones Scoundrels should also endeavor to be as prepared as possible for stealth rezzes, as if the group does not include a Scoundrel DPS player then they will be the only person able to get out multiple stealth rezzes in an encounter.
6.0 Impact on Discipline
The 6.0 expansion gave Scoundrel healers some powerful buffs and a variety of situationally useful Tactical items and one very strong multi-purpose Tactical. The Tactician set bonus is hands down the ideal one for all Scoundrel players regardless of discipline (healer or DPS). The set bonus should provide buffs of +10% critical chance and +5% healing with a very high uptime, and when paired with the Diagnostics Probe Tactical the discipline’s most powerful burst heal, Underworld Medicine, will have a reduced cooldown in most situations. Altogether, the discipline should have more powerful sustained healing, more frequent procs of Upper Hand through higher critical chances, and an improved ability to burst heal.
Scoundrels offer good survivability that is best measured like their healing as incremental survivability that adds up during a fight. Via utilities buffing Defense Screen, enabling Slow-release Medpac to provide a damage resistance buff, and the frequent use of Dodge, Scoundrels can easily have the best average mitigation of healers. They lack the same ability to cheese mechanics via the Sage “god bubble” or the Commando reflect (Scoundrels have a reflect but it doesn’t mitigate damage) and they also lack a powerful self heal (Sages have an off-GCD self heal and Commandos have a self heal cooldown). As such, Scoundrels do best by being very careful to avoid big hitting mechanics and letting their superior average mitigation play out over time. They do bring situationally powerful utility and survivability for any mechanics where Dodge mitigation and self-cleanse is useful, though do to the use of Dodge being restricted to melee/ranged and its short duration it is only useful for specific mechanics.
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.
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.
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. I also find as a Sawbones player that I try as much as possible to rely on 2 stacks of HoTs, defensives, and AoE healing to take care of any self healing so I can focus on healing other team members, so I find buffs to Defense Screen to be very useful in that regard.
Cool: Cool Head immediately restores 15 additional energy.
This utility sounds great but depends greatly on player playstyle. On one side, this lets Sawbones go deeper into the red on energy before hitting Cool Head to regen. That lets Sawbones extend burst heal phases. That said, Cool Head has a long cooldown and can only be used 1-2 times per fight on average. I feel like this isn’t very helpful because (1) it breeds bad habits for Sawbones to routinely wreck their energy; and (2) a Sawbones can regen their way back from 45-55% energy with 1-2 channels of Diagnostic Scan. As such, I feel like the default regen from Cool Head is more than sufficient so long as I discipline myself to use Diagnostic Scan aggressively whenever possible.
Supplemented Medpac: While your Slow-release Medpac is active on yourself, your damage reduction is increased by 3% (can stack x2 to 6%).
This is a mixed bag of a utility. +6% damage reduction here combined with Scar Tissue and Smuggled Get-up gives you +11% damage reduction for single target damage and +41% AoE damage reduction. It is very situational for DPS disciplines as it requires trading DPS for healing (usually not a great trade-off), but is very helpful for healers and should frequently be taken in any fight that has a lot of AoE damage.
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.
I view this utility as situational and only should be considered when the player knows that it is likely that several stealth rezzes will be needed in a fight (i.e., in a progression situation or when dealing with very new players). In 6.0 this utility is less useful due to the common availability of combat revival on a 30 second cooldown (instead of a 5 minute cooldown).
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's use as a purge of DoTs.
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.
Sly Surrender: Surrender grants Sly Surrender, causing your next Slow-release Medpac on a new target to grant two stacks. Also, Surrender heals you for 1% of your maximum health every second for 10s and makes Kolto Pack provide an upfront heal instead of its combined HoT and small burst heal.
I love this utility for Sawbones. The instant 2 stack of HoTs is amazing for jump starting burst heals and I feel gives players a lot more cushion to avoid “over-HoT’ing” players. The self heals and making Kolto Pack burstier are also very nice.
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 mentioning even for healers as in progression situations being able to use a reflect to kick out 1-2k DPS without having to sacrifice healing (apart from needing extra self heals for the damage you take while reflecting). I rarely take it but it is an option for skilled players.
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. I mention it as an FYI but never take it for Sawbones since they should be generating lots of Upper Hand anyway through HoTs and casting Underworld Medicine.
Example Utility Build
Here is what I run for most encounters, though I frequently take other situational utilities for specific fights.
Exploratory Surgery - Reduces the activation time of Underworld Medicine by 0.5 seconds and allows it to grant Upper Hand when activated.
This passive is notable for making Underworld Medicine the only casting ability that is guaranteed to grant an Upper Hand. It will not generally be your main source of Upper Hand but should be a regular part of the rotation due to its large and energy efficient heal whenever you can spare enough time to cast it.
Prognosis: Critical - Increases the critical chance of Diagnostic Scan and Kolto Waves by 10%.
This passive is notable primarily as it makes Diagnostic Scan significantly more likely to crit and restore energy via the Patient Studies passive.
Smuggled Med Delivery - Exiting Stealth grants 2 stacks of Upper Hand. Also, Diagnostic Scan can now be channeled while moving.
Due to this, every fight should begin in stealth to ensure you have 2 stacks. Combat stealth can also be used for this purpose if you have 0 stacks and need them for casting Kolto Pack.
Medpac Mastery - Each tick of Slow-release Medpac, Kolto Cloud, and Kolto Waves has a 10% chance to grant Upper Hand. This effect cannot occur more than once every 6 seconds.
This passive is very important. The more ticking heals, particularly Slow-release Medpac, on people the more efficient your Upper Hand generation. Due to this passive, strive to always have ticking HoTs on at least 3 people to ensure you get an Upper Hand every 6 seconds or so.
Patient Studies - Increases the speed at which Diagnostic Scan channels by 30%. Also, critical Diagnostic Scan heals restore 2 energy.
This reduces the effective channel time from 3.0 seconds to 2.1 seconds and makes Diagnostic Scan far more effective (if RNG dependent) to regenerating energy. Due to the reduced cast time and presence of 3 ticks, spending 1 GCD then clipping the cast will typically get 2 out of 3 ticks so is usually sufficient in most cases.
Homegrown Pharmacology - The energy cost of Kolto Cloud is reduced by 5, and targets affected by Kolto Cloud are Invigorated (+3% healing from all sources) for 45 seconds.
Notable for the Invigorated debuff, endeavor to use Kolto Cloud as least occasionally even outside of heavy AoE situations to maintain this buff on as many people as possible.
Emergent Emergencies - Increases the max stack limit of Upper Hand by 1. Also, Emergency Medpac immediately regrants Upper Hand once every 10 seconds.
This passive lets Sawbones store up to 3 Upper Hand, and just as importantly lets Emergency Medpac refund its Upper Hand once every 10 seconds. These are hugely influential to the frequency of using Emergency Medpac in the rotation discussion below.
Accomplished Sawbones - Increases the critical healing bonus of Underworld Medicine and Kolto Pack by 10%. Also, healing a target with Emergency Medpac will refresh the duration of your Slow-release Medpac on that target, if that target has 2 stacks of your Slow-release Medpac.
The critical bonus is nice but the refresh capability of Emergency Medpac is enormously powerful. See the discussion of Emergency Medpac further below, but in short Sawbones should be looking to refresh as many HoTs as possible using this process.
Healing Hand - Increases the critical chance of Slow-release Medpac by 3%. Also, Kolto Pack makes it target Resistant (+3% internal/elemental resistance) for 45 seconds.
Notable for providing a helpful damage resistance that should be maintained on tanks as much as possible. Since Kolto Pack is arguably the “best” heal for Sawbones / Medicine since it has burst and a HoT component, try to save Kolto Pack for tanks most of the time.
Bedside Manner - Exploiting an Upper Hand with a healing ability increases all healing done by 3% for 6 seconds. Also, the range of Bushwhack is increased by 30 meters.
This passive boost to all heals is very short duration but 3% is still very nice, so this should be maintained as much as possible. Generally casting Kolto Pack on cooldown, using Emergency Medpac after most casts of Underworld Medicine, and using Emergency Medpac to refresh HoTs should take care of managing very high uptime of this buff.
Prolonged Prescription - Increases the duration of Slow-release Medpac by 3 seconds. Also, Pugnacity grants Prolonged Prescription when activated, making your next Kolto Pack or Underworld Medicine activate instantly.
The duration is helpful to get more power out of HoTs and have to refresh them less often. The key to this passive is the buff to Pugnacity. I try to save Pugnacity for unexpected burst situations as my “oh s**t” button. Using Pugnacity to instant cast Underworld Medicine (grants 1 UH) then Kolto Pack provides a really powerful combo of single target heals that rivals any punch Sages or Commandos can offer.
Bootlegged Remedy - Kolto Pack grants Bootlegged Remedy, increasing the critical chance of your next Emergency Medpac by 100%.
This effect can only occur once every 18 seconds. This passive explains why Emergency Medpac will glow every so often. If the Upper Hand are available, this makes Kolto Pack > Emergency Medpac (glowing) a powerful and very energy efficient healing combo.
Gearing in 6.0
Gearing Stat Allocation
Please see my Gearing Guide for a detailed overview of gearing in 6.x in SWTOR.
For Sawbones Scoundrel, I gear as follows:
Set Bonus: Tactician
Tactical: Diagnostics Probe (I sometimes take Critical Surgery instead and may swap to Regenerative Waves for heavy AoE healing encounters)
Amplifiers: Medtech & Periodic Restoration (I usually run mostly Periodic Restoration and a couple Medtech)
Mods: Unlettered Lethal Mods
Relics: Devastating Vengeance & Primeval Fatesealer (Serendipitous Assault & Focused Retribution for Dxun/PVP)
Adrenal: Critical (Triage for Dxun only)
For Sawbones Scoundrel, I allocate my tertiary stats as follows:
Accuracy: 264 (Heals don't miss! However I run a Proficient Stim in capped content so get some Accuracy, and may occasionally run a bit more Accuracy for a few prog fights like Revan where healers need to get an interrupt and want to avoid their interrupts missing.)
Alacrity: >2,204 for the 1.3s GCD w/ guild perk or 1.4s GCD w/o guild perk. At this level of alacrity you reach a breakpoint in energy regeneration that can be very helpful and is conveniently very nearly the same regardless of whether you are running the guild perk or not! The alternative (standard) approach is 1,895 w/ guild perk for 1.3s GCD or >1,213 w/o guild perk for 1.4s GCD.
Critical: all remaining tertiary points go into Critical
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 should provide high uptime on both the +10% Critical Chance buff and the +5% damage/healing. Sawbones should always have HoTs ticking on multiple targets that lead to frequent procs to generate Upper Hand via the Medpac Mastery passive. In addition, healers can and should be regularly using Emergency Medpac to refund an Upper Hand via the Emergent Emergencies passive. Finally, healers should be casting Underworld Medicine regularly for baseline heals, which also generates an Upper Hand to proc the 4 piece set bonus. Given these many sources, healers should have high uptime on the +10% Critical Chance buff and should always keep at least 1 to maintain the 5% healing buff.
In addition, the extra charge is very helpful as well. For healers, it makes running HoTs on multiple targets more energy efficient via an extra charge to refresh a double stack of Slow-release Medpac. It also makes it easier for healers to avoid over-healing by using Emergency Medpac to refresh HoTs on players more often in lieu of Underworld Medicine or Kolto Pack, more powerful heals that may not always be needed to top off someone at 80% or so health.
Impact on Rotation: No change in priority. Generating Upper Hand as quickly as possible has always been a rotational priority. Running the same priority system as in 5.X will take full advantage of this set bonus.
When to Take: All situations. The Aggressive Treatment set bonus has some interesting potential options for AoE healing by making Bushwhack free and causing it to provide an AoE healing effect similar to Kolto Waves. This could give Sawbones out-of-this-world AoE sustained healing via spam of Kolto Waves, Kolto Cloud and Bushwhack (while also providing some additional DPS). With all that said, Scoundrel is already really strong at AoE healing, so Tactician’s broader healing buff is optimal in nearly all circumstances.
Increased drop rate from operations.
(2) +2% Alacrity rating
(4) Bushwhack refunds all its energy.
(6) Bushwhack heals any allies standing inside it by a minor amount.
Analysis: This set bonus offers a substantial increase to the already-impressive AoE healing capability of Sawbones Scoundrel. Early testing indicates that with the set bonus Bushwhack over its duration heals for approximately the same as Kolto Waves. It has a 15 second cooldown that is slightly longer than Kolto Waves, but is still fairly low. The capability for a healer to apply HoTs to 4 players via Kolto Cloud, drop a Bushwhack for its AoE heal, then channel Kolto Waves (all while HoTs are ticking on 3-4 targets), is really powerful for sustained AoE healing. It is also worth noting that if the group stacks near the boss (which usually will be optimal so as to include the tank(s) and melee DPS in the AoE healing), that a decent amount of damage will be done by Bushwhack without sacrificing any healing.
The downside is that outside of very heavy AoE damage phases (e.g., Gharj in hard mode, Dread Council burn phase, Red encounter in the Dxun operation), in any other case the extra AoE heal has very low utility and likely will result in lots of overhealing and ineffective heals. It still provides some utility via its free energy cost, making it a good way to provide some heals while energy is tight.
Impact on Rotation: Use on cooldown in any AoE situations. Outside AoE, save its use for when energy is relatively low and try to always place it so that it provides effective heals for its full amount on at least 3 players.
When to Take: Fights with very heavy AoE damage. This set will be strictly inferior to Tactician in the vast majority of encounters, so it is only recommended when/if a player has excess Tech fragments to have a second set bonus or if it is acquired naturally through RNG drops (and when/if augmenting and min-maxing amplifiers on a second set bonus set is affordable). In all honesty, Aggressive Treatment will likely see its primary use for prog healers for AoE healing fights or for memes to see how ridiculously high they can push healing parse numbers on AoE heavy fights.
Increased drop rate from flashpoints.
Activating Emergency Medpac reduces the cast time of your next Underworld Medicine by 0.25 seconds. At 3 stacks, Underworld Medicine can be cast instantly and consumes all stacks.
Analysis: As discussed below in Key Abilities, Underworld Medicine is the discipline’s most powerful single target heal. A really common “filler combo” for Sawbones is to chain together Underworld Medicine + Emergency Medpac, since it comes very close to energy neutral and immediately spends the Upper Hand generated by the cast (hopefully to refresh a double stack of HoTs on someone).
Even if that is the only use of Emergency Medpac, that still essentially guarantees each use of Underworld Medicine will have its cast time reduced (pre-alacrity) from 2.0 seconds to 1.75 seconds. That alone will improve the HPS provided by your biggest heal by 14% due to the reduced cast time! When you consider that you should be using Emergency Medpac more often to burn excess Upper Hand and to refresh HoTs on players, the benefit is even more!
It is worth noting that there is no difference in HPS provided between 2 and 3 stacks of this Tactical. At 2 or 3 stacks, the cooldown of Underworld Medicine is reduced to the global cooldown. At this cooldown, the HPS increase should be 33%!! The third stack is useful only to make the ability an instant cast that can be used on the move.
Impact on Rotation: Healers can follow the same priority or “rotation” as in 5.X and should see a strong benefit from the reduced cast time on Underworld Medicine. That said, optimal play will usually be to only cast Underworld Medicine at 2 stacks from this Tactical, as that provides the greatest increase in HPS relative to the number of uses of Emergency Medpac required. When predictable burst healing is required, pre-emptively stacking 3 charges of this Tactical to enable an instant Underworld Medicine may be situationally useful. Finally, in any high movement fights either 2 stacks (to minimize the cast time) or 3 stacks (to be instant) should be leveraged based on the need to refresh HoTs to improve burst healing on the move.
When to Take: Diagnostics Probe should be optimal on most fights. Combat Medic Training is very helpful for movement but does not provide any direct increase in healing output. Critical Surgery is helpful for emergency triage healing when players are below 50% health but its buff is to the weakest individual heal in the Sawbones healing kit and due to the discipline’s playstyle they perform best by pro-actively keeping players above 50% health anyway. Lastly, Regenerative Waves is nice for some extra punch to AoE healing but Sawbones is already very strong for AoE healing so that is unnecessary.
Increased drop rate from operations.
Emergency Medpac always critically hits on targets below 50% health.
Analysis: This tactical is helpful for triage situations. Emergency Medpac being used on a player with 2 stacks of Slow-release Medpac is by far the most energy efficient heal between the ability base heal, the extra tick from both HoTs, and refreshing the HoT duration. Where Scoundrel can sometimes struggle is trying to balance burst healing while maintaining HoTs on various targets, as not using Emergency Medpac to refresh HoTs will reduce overall sustained healing but on its own is usually not enough burst healing as compared to a hard cast of Kolto Pack or Underworld Medicine.
This tactical makes Emergency Medpac much more reliable in triage situations by guaranteeing it will do at least 50% more healing. That along with the additional HoT ticks and refreshing the duration on HoTs should be enough to stabilize any non-tank in most fights (where big hits are usually infrequent and predictable). The more often a Scoundrel healer can rely on HoTs and Emergency Medpac to their healing the better their energy situation (and reserve for burst healing) will be to handle the unexpected.
The downside to this Tactical is that it runs counter to the overall goals of the discipline. Scoundrel healers are most powerful focusing their heals on players in the 50% - 80% range. At those levels, players are unlikely to die in the next GCD but still have enough room to heal that overhealing is not a major concern as HoTs play out. In most phases of a fight, you would only expect the tank(s) to be consistently and regularly below 50% and to need much more powerful burst healing than Emergency Medpac can provide on its own.
Impact on Rotation: In situations where you need to refresh HoTs and have insufficient Upper Hand for everyone, prioritize using Emergency Medpac to refresh HoTs on players with health below 50% to maximize the usage of the tactical buff. Manually refresh HoTs on anyone left using Slow-release Medpac.
When to Take: It is a good choice if Diagnostics Probe is not available.
Increased drop rate from flashpoints.
Kolto Waves consumes an Upper Hand and heals 20% more per tick.
Analysis: Regenerative Waves provides an AoE healing buff to Scoundrel healing that is already very strong at AoE sustained healing. This tactical synergizes well with the Tactician set bonus providing a fourth Upper Hand, which makes the change in Kolto Waves cost barely noticeable in practice.
With respect to AoE healing, Regenerative Waves + Tactician set bonus is unlikely to provide as strong AoE healing as Regenerative Waves + Aggressive Treatment set bonus, but will definitely provide stronger throughput single target healing. Also, the Tactician set bonus’ high uptime 15% critical chance buff and 5% healing buff go a fair way towards offsetting the lack of a Bushwhack free AoE heal provided by the Aggressive Treatment set bonus.
Impact on Rotation: No change. This tactical item buffs Kolto Waves but does not change the analysis as to when it should be employed.
When to Take: Encounters with heavy AoE healing (e.g., Underlurker in Temple of Sacrifice, Red in Dxun). This tactical is a must-have since it provides a heavy boost and lets Scoundrel really carry an operations group through heavy AoE healing checks, and is a much better alternative given the cost of obtaining one tactical item versus grinding (and augmenting and min-maxing amplifiers) for an Aggressive Treatment set.
Medtech or Periodic Restoration
Sawbones is a tech-based healing class so Medtech (increases tech healing) is a good choice for amplifiers to buff all healing output. Running Medtech amplifiers on all armoring/barrel items modifications and with one item being an Amplified Champion piece getting an extra Amplifier at reduced benefit, the discipline can see up to a 9% or so increase in healing output via Amplifiers. Theorycrafting generally suggests Medtech is the optimal choice.
An alternative is the Periodic Restoration amplifier buff that applies a stronger base increase to healing but is limited to heal-over-time (HoT) effects. The maximum buff can exceed 20%. As such, it is up to the player whether they prefer significantly stronger HoTs or a smaller increase to all healing abilities. If going with this set-up, the player should be aware and try to emphasize Slow-release Medpac and Kolto Cloud especially when healing to maximize the benefit.
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.
Diagnostic Scan (2.1s channel, free, no cooldown, range 30m) - Heals a friendly target for a low amount over 3 seconds.
Diagnostic Scan is Sawbones’ free filler heal. It is notable for the Patient Studies passive which makes crits restore 2 energy. As such, Diagnostic Scan should be used whenever energy drops below 60%. The ability ticks three times, so it is possible to clip the cast after 1 GCD if just using for energy regen purpose.
Slow-release Medpac (10 energy, 21s duration, no cooldown, range 30m) - Heals a low amount over 21 seconds. Stacks up to 2 times.
Slow-release Medpac is the foundation of the Sawbones healer as a HoT healing discipline. The HoT provides gradual heals, as with 2 stacks it should heal for around 7-9% of max health over 21 seconds.
Best At: Providing energy efficient raw healing over time
When to Use: Anytime you are not in a “stressful” healing situation, apply to other players. The more the encounter leans towards AoE damage, the most players you should keep on.
When Not to Use: In the middle of high stress burst healing situations.
Emergency Medpac (5 energy, no cooldown, range 30m) - Exploits Upper Hand to instantly heal the target for a low amount. Requires and consumes 1 Upper Hand.
Emergency Medpac is a really powerful ability when used correctly due to (1) its very low energy cost (half that of Slow-release Medpac); (2) its periodic refund of an Upper Hand every 10 seconds; and most importantly (3) its ability to refresh a 2 stack of Slow-release Medpac. Using Emergency Medpac to refresh 2 stacks of HoTs does the base heal for Emergency Medpac and forces the 2 HoTs to tick immediately, which provides a reasonable amount of instant healing and is arguable the most energy efficient heal in the game when considering the long term HoT healing for 2 stacks of HoTs. A good rotation looks to maximize the use of Emergency Medpac without delaying Kolto Pack.
Best At: Providing instant moderate burst heals, providing energy efficient heal through its own heal plus the additional heals provided by refreshing 2 stacks of Slow-release Medpac. topping off a player without HoTs when at 90% or so health.
When to Use: (If HoTs not on player) use in lieu of a HoT when at 85-90% to mostly heal them to full health. (If HoTs on player) use at the beginning of a burst heal combo to get some instant heals (since Kolto Pack and Underworld Medicine both have cast times), use to refresh HoTs instead of recasting Slow-release Medpac since it costs less energy and provides more overall healing.
When Not to Use: Any time you are certain you can complete a cast of Kolto Pack or Underworld Medicine before the player dies, or anytime you can predict damage and can pre-cast those abilities.
Kolto Pack (20 energy, 9s cooldown, range 30m) - Exploits your Upper Hand to heal the target for a medium amount. Requires and consumes 1 Upper Hand.
Kolto Pack is the most well rounded healing ability in a Sawbones’ kit, as it provides a powerful heal in a 1 GCD cast time. The only negative is the requirement for an Upper Hand, though given the abundant ways to generate Upper Hands for Sawbones this isn’t a huge issue. Kolto Pack is the one ability that should be used very nearly on cooldown. As it grants a helpful I/E damage resistance buff, it should be prioritized for tanks most of the time.
Best At: Best overall cast healing ability.
When to Use: Anytime you need burst healing and an Upper Hand is available.
When Not to Use: In very high AoE damage phase, it may be preferable to avoid its use to save the Upper Hand for using Emergency Medpac to refresh HoTs in between casts of AoE heals.
Underworld Medicine (20 energy, 2s cast time, no cooldown, range 30m) - Heals a friendly target for a large amount.
Underworld Medicine is a very powerful but long cast time heal. It also generates an Upper Hand and (due to the longer cast time) is relatively energy efficient due to natural energy regeneration during its cast time. A healing combo of Underworld Medicine > Emergency Medpac (to refresh a 2 stack of HoTs) is a good healing combo to get a tank from half to mostly full health. When Kolto Pack is on cooldown, Underworld Medicine is the Sawbones only way to burst heal. Knowing when to cast Underworld Medicine v. HoTs (and knowing which one should go first in which situation) is a big key to successful prog healing as a Scoundrel.
Best At: Most energy efficient cast healing ability
When to Use: When you are need burst healing and are sure the target will live the 1.5 GCD cast time, any time healing is not stressful (due to it being very energy efficient), any time you are not capped on Upper Hands. Situationally, it is a great ability to use within an AoE rotation to provide some burst healing to the tank.
When Not to Use: When the target may die before the cast completes, during AoE healing it should be used very sparingly.
Kolto Cloud (15 energy, 15s cooldown, range 30m) - Heals the target and up to 3 allies within 10 meters for a low amount over 9 seconds.
Kolto Cloud provides the second primary HoT ability for Scoundrels and is very energy efficient when it is affecting at least 3 (preferably 4) players and is providing effective healing. In AoE situations it should be used on cooldown. In single target situations, it is recommended to use on a tank to provide some healing to melee DPS that are nearby.
Best At: Low level AoE healing, AoE healing on the move
When to Use: When at least 2 players will benefit from its HoT, when needing to AoE heal on the move, any AoE sustained healing situation, when primarily single target burst healing but a little AoE healing would be helpful (but not enough to warrant stacking HoTs or Kolto Waves)
When Not to Use: It should be used after Kolto Waves in burst AoE healing situations, it doesn’t have much place in single target rotations
Kolto Waves (28 energy, 3s channel, 10s cooldown, range 30m) - Heals up to 8 allies that remain within 8 meters of the targeted area for a medium amount over the channel duration.
Kolto Waves and its very short cooldown are the primary reason Sawbones Scoundrels are the kings of AoE healing. In AoE situations where the 8 person team is grouped up (e.g., burn phase in Dread Council fight in Dread Palace operation), Sawbones can output amazing healing. The challenge outside of large AoE situations is knowing when it should be used versus Kolto Cloud and spreading single target healing. I usually feel like Kolto Waves is fine to use when it hits at least 4 players or when 2 players need moderate healing immediately or they will die.
Best At: Powerful channelled AoE healing
When to Use: When AoE healing is needed and the AoE will affect at least 3-4 players, use to stabilize in AoE healing if HoTs are not rolling on players
When Not to Use: Any single target healing situations
Triage (10 energy, 12s duration, range 30M) - Cleanse ability that will cleanse up two 2 Tech/Mental/Physical debuffs or DoTs. Does not cleanse Force debuffs/DoTs.
The Scoundrel cleanse is notable for not cleansing Force debuffs but can cleanse the overwhelming majority of cleanseable debuffs in operations. The main point to note is that Sawbones should generally use Triage to cleanse other players, as Dodge and potentially combat stealth (with utility grants Dodge as well) can be used to self-cleanse.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE ROTATION BELOW IS BASED ON THE 5.X ROTATION AND DOES NOT INCLUDE ANY CONSIDERATIONS FOR 6.0 SET BONUS AND/OR TACTICAL ITEMS UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED. PLEASE SEE THE ‘GEARING IN 6.0’ DISCUSSION ABOVE FOR DETAILS OF HOW TO MODIFY THIS ROTATION DEPENDING ON YOUR USE OF 6.0 SET BONUS AND/OR TACTICAL ITEMS.
Healing is a very reactive class compared to tanks (defined high threat rotation intermingled with taunts) and DPS (very defined rotation/priority system). As such, it is easier to think in terms of healing “combos” that will vary depending on the situation. Here are some of the most common situations and how a Sawbones might generally approach them.
Two quick caveats though. First, healers have different philosophies that guide their choice of heals in any given situation. Sawbones especially has to choose between highly efficient healing over time via HoTs and Emergency Medpac use, and stronger but more expensive burst healing through Kolto Pack and Underworld Medicine. Some healers prefer to be proactive and try to get everyone relatively high quickly, thereby saving time later to regen energy if needed. Other healers try to maintain great energy states even if it means letting health levels go a little lower than average, trusting in their knowledge of fights to predict damage phases and letting HoTs do the work.
My philosophy is to try and split the difference. I try to prioritize healing people into the 80-90% health range and then letting HoTs do the rest of the work. I also try to be aggressive in healing even if it means going a little below 60% energy when I know the fight will permit me some recovery time.
A second and related point is managing effective heals. Some healers prefer again to be proactive in healing to full and maintaining HoTs on as many players as possible, usually due to a philosophy that having HoTs ticking on many targets will provide a cushion for healing that enables Sawbones to get their big casts of for Kolto Pack and Underworld Medicine. This is certainly needed to a degree but when overdone can lead to massive overhealing and wasted energy that can leave the player without enough energy to heal through difficult burn phases.
Again, my philosophy is to split the difference. Having HoTs ticking when damage hits is critical to effective, timely and efficient healing. That said, I hate overhealing and try to hoard my energy as much as I can. I keep HoTs on the main tank, off-tank (if the fight results in them tanking a second boss or taking steady damage), and maybe 1 other player (or 2 if the off-tank doesn’t need HoTs). I only HoT up a lot of players if I know a big damage phase is coming.
All of this is to simply emphasize that the below works for me but may not work for your philosophy to healing, approach to fights, and comfort level with players being less than 100%. Especially if you are not as familiar with operation mechanics and damage phases, it is usually best to err on the side of being more aggressive and tolerating more overhealing in order to maximize the healing when you need it. Just be aware that overhealing wastes energy so try to pick your spots.
Everyone has Max Health:
Slow-release Medpac - 2 stacks on both tanks, self, and may be any other players likely to take sustained damage in upcoming mechanics
Diagnostic Scan - If not at max energy or to quickly recover after setting up the HoTs
Need to provide larger burst heals to a single target (w/ 2 HoTs on target):
Emergency Medpac - Refreshes HoTs, provides a small immediate heal and causes both HoTs to tick, collectively gives them a little immediate recovery and hopefully enough cushion to get a cast off to provide larger heals
Kolto Pack - Most effective heal and in 1 GCD
Underworld Medicine - Thanks to earlier heals, should have enough cushion to get the bigger cast heal off here
Emergency Medpac - Underworld Medicine generated an extra UH so using here to get a little extra cheap heals to compensate for the high energy cost of Kolto Pack + Underworld Medicine
Summary - This is a relatively energy efficient combo that can heal for easily half of a player’s health bar or more. It should also leave the player with a fresh 2 stack of HoTs that can gradually heal another 10-15% of a health bar while you move on to other players needing triage.
Need to provide large burst heals to a single target (w/o HoTs):
Kolto Pack - Most effective heal in 1 GCD, gives cushion for a larger cast heal
Underworld Medicine - Bigger heal over a longer time
Slow-release Medpac #1 (if tank or likely to take additional damage soon) - This depends on the circumstances but if there is a need to burst heal (player is below 50-60%) the 2 previous GCDs are unlikely to have healed them to full. As such, the best course of action is to get a 2 HoT stack going to cover another 10-15% healing while you move on to other players.
Slow-release Medpac #2
Diagnostic Scan - These four abilities collectively will take a lot of energy, which will mandate a quick channel of Diagnostic Scan to recover energy
Summary - This is a less effective healing combo due to the lack of HoTs and provides significantly less healing over the same 4 GCDs at a much higher cost. It is okay but the key takeaway is the importance of having HoTs on several players.
Need to provide a medium burst heal and small heal to 2 players, low/medium stress:
Underworld Medicine - Provides a large burst heal
Emergency Medpac - Spending the Upper Hand generated by Underworld Medicine
Summary - This is a small combo but one that should be used regularly as it is very close to energy neutral and Upper Hand neutral.
Need to provide burst heals to tank with low steady AoE damage (w/ 2 HoTs, medium stress):
Emergency Medpac - If am Upper Hand is available, provides some immediate heals and refreshes HoTs
Underworld Medicine - Big burst heal to tank
Kolto Pack - Second burst heal to tank, spending UH generated by Underworld Medicine
Kolto Cloud - Providing some low AoE healing now that tank is topped off
Diagnostic Scan - Will need to regen some energy after this combo
Summary - This provides some heavy burst healing and slips in some AoE. Depending on how much AoE healing is needed and how many players are nearby, Kolto Waves could be substituted for Kolto Cloud.
Need burst heals to tank with high steady AoE damage (w/ 2 HoTs on several players):
Kolto Waves - Provides strong burst AoE healing and collectively about as much immediate healing to the tank as Emergency Medpac
Pugnacity - Used to proc an instant cast heal in the next GCD
Underworld Medicine (Instant) - Providing an instant Underworld Medicine heal gives the tank some needed cushion, which along with Kolto Waves should provide 1-2 GCDs of stabilization to steady energy levels and move to efficient healing
Emergency Medpac - Refreshes HoTs and gives some less expensive healing
Diagnostic Scan - Using another cast ability here would likely go below 60% so a Diagnostic Scan channel is required unless Cool Head is available
Kolto Cloud - Providing another set of AoE HoTs to nearby players
Kolto Pack - More burst heals for the tank
Emergency Medpac - We are relatively low on energy at this point, so a cheap heal provides some incremental healing and refreshes a 2nd stack of HoTs
Diagnostic Scan - Regenerating energy for more casts
Emergency Medpac - Refreshing HoTs on 3nd player to avoid expiration
Kolto Waves - Adding more burst AoE healing
Diagnostic Scan - Regen of energy
Underworld Medicine - Providing burst heals to tank
Diagnostic Scan - More energy regen
Emergency Medpac - Refreshing HoTs on 1st player
Kolto Pack - Final burst healing in rotation
Summary - This is an example of a much more extended healing phase while trying to manage burst single target heals, HoTs on 3 players, and AoE healing for the group. The key takeaway is that there is no way to burst heal without sprinkling in some Diagnostic Scans every 3-4 GCDs. In a lower stress scenario, it is likely possible to sprinkle in more Emergency Medpac and trying to add more HoTs.
Energy management for Scoundrels depends mostly on a healer’s ability to judge how many HoTs can and should be maintained on players at a time as well as when single target burst heals are needed versus letting the HoTs gradually top off health bars. The biggest downfall for Scoundrel healers in energy management is trying to maintain HoTs on the entire ops team. This leads to wasted energy, overhealing, and leaves relatively few GCDs for burst healing. The next biggest downfall is being afraid to use Diagnostic Scan or to temporarily dip below 60% for 1-2 GCDs. When HoTs are ticking, taking a GCD off in between damage phases to regen is doable in every fight in the game as long as you now when it is safe to do so.
Come up with a strategy to monitor the duration of Slow-release Medpac and know when to refresh them (preferably relatively close to their expiration but without letting them expire). There are various ways and some even create timers in parsing tools. Personally, I usually maintain 2 stacks of HoTs on myself (to get the extra DR via utility) and then monitor the stacks on my bar to determine when to refresh them. By putting mine on first, I know whenever I refresh mine I need to refresh the other HoTs.
Be extremely careful about when to HoT more than 3 or so targets (preferably both tanks, yourself, and maybe a melee DPS if you know they will be taking consistent damage that a periodic Kolto Cloud can’t handle). Some Scoundrel healers insist you should HoT at least 5 if not the entire 8 person ops group. Let me be very clear....THEY ARE WRONG.
Outside of really big AoE healing situations (in which Scoundrels already have really strong AoEs), putting HoTs on more than 3 targets (4 with the Tactician set bonus or maybe 5 at the very most) is a bad idea for several reasons. It becomes very difficult logistically to track them and refresh them on time, and if you can’t refresh 2 stacks with 1 Slow-release Medpac or Emergency Medpac then the efficiency of the strategy is lost. The real power of Slow-release Medpac is when you can refresh most with Emergency Medpac, which simply isn’t possible with more than 3 HoTs in most instances due to the internal rate limit on proccing Upper Hands. Also, HoTs on so many targets nearly always leads to significant over-healing that isn’t useful, as relatively few fights have such intense AoE healing on the entire raid. Lastly, it leaves the healer unable to provide burst heals to players because they are spending 8 out of every 14 GCDs refreshing HoTs.
Try to use Emergency Medpac as often as possible and try to always use it to refresh 2 stacks of Slow-release Medpac. The more often you can use this strategy for HoTs versus using Slow-release Medpac to refresh, or worst of all by having to recast 2 stacks, the better and more energy efficient your healing will be.
Avoid putting just 1 stack of Slow-release Medpac on targets whenever possible. You can’t refresh just 1 stack with Emergency Medpac, as 2 are necessary for it to work. You can’t always predict when damage will go out so it is usually best to put the extra stack so that later you can refresh with the highly efficient Emergency Medpac.
The only exception to the above is a non-tank player in the 85-95% HP range. Assuming the operation does not have any impending high AoE damage or other mechanics that might expose them to lots of damage, I find putting 1 Slow-release Medpac is enough to mostly top them off. That approach is more energy efficient than using 2 HoTs (would overheal) or casting Kolto Pack or Underworld Medicine (as those would take more energy, may use an Upper Hand and likely overheal).
Try to be very proactive in using Diagnostic Scan. I always want to be in the 80-85% energy range on average, as it leaves me close enough to full to leave room to burst heal but avoiding capping energy that could be spent healing. Any time I get into the 60-75% range, I look really hard for a single GCD where I can channel Diagnostic Scan safely.
I find as a Scoundrel healer that dipping into the high 40’s or low 50’s on energy isn’t a big deal if you burst heal and can afford to channel Diagnostic Scan twice in a row afterwards. A full channel of Diagnostic Scan in the middle energy regen area should regen 7 energy naturally plus anywhere from 4-8 energy from crits, so 11-18 total energy. If you can channel Diagnostic Scan fully twice consecutively, you can go from 50% to 72-86% depending on your crits.
That said, being proactive is key here. You can output a LOT of healing going from 85% energy to 45% energy, but far far less going from 65% to 45%, so try to be ahead of the game on energy management.
I highly suggest the Sly Surrender utility both for burst healing and for energy management. Using your threat drop ability causes Slow-release Medpac to grant 2 stacks the next time you use it on a target that doesn’t have any stacks. This gets you double the healing for the same cost. I find it incredibly useful to jump start burst AoE healing phases by letting me put a double stack on a player. That energy efficiency lets me handle burst phases for longer before energy levels get so low to force me to start sprinkling in Diagnostic Scan.
Get familiar with triage in stressful healing situations. Overall healing output isn’t an issue for Scoundrels - if you see a group that is all taking damage, that is when Scoundrels really shine compared to their counterparts. That said, it means you need to be really careful about identifying players in danger of dying before your HoTs and AoEs can heal them up. Tanks getting below 50%, DPS/healers getting below 30% when no major damage is expected or below 50% where high damage is possible. Be as strategic with healing as possible and know your fights to know when the DPS at 50% health will be fine by leaving 2 HoTs on them and refreshing periodically with Emergency Medpac.
As much as possible, try to use the Underworld Medicine > Emergency Medpac combo. Underworld Medicine is reasonably energy efficient given its longer cast time and Emergency Medpac is very cheap. Especially if the target has 2 HoTs going, heals by this combo (as well as ongoing heals from the HoTs, and the future healing by the refreshed HoTs) are very powerful and energy efficient. It also works great to divide up a big heal and small heal to two players - Underworld Medicine on the player needing a bigger heal and Emergency Medpac on the player needing a top off.
Be thoughtful about when to use Kolto Waves as it is expensive. Based on your gear, learn how much of a player’s health bar it will typically heal (including the potential for several crits during its channel). Then you can visually determine if 3 or more players are close enough and low enough to make it worthwhile. If 3 players will benefit from its full channel, then it is fairly neutral and provides good burst compared to other healing options. If 4 or more players will benefit, it is an amazing heal and should be used on cooldown as long as that continues to be the case.