Plasmatech Vanguard

Last Updated: 5/31/21

Table of Contents


About the Class

Plasmatech Vanguard is a DoT based discipline that deals high sustained damage. All of Plasmatech’s rotational abilities have at least a 10m range except for Stockstrike, making Plasmatech a true intermediate range DPS discipline. Plasmatech provides strong burst windows despite its reliance on DoTs through the use of Shoulder Cannon off-GCD. Combined with all of its abilities being instant and unmatched mobility with Hold the Line, a gap closer and a pull ability, as well as cheese potential via Sonic Rebounder, Plasmatech is a strong addition to any raid team.

Role in Operations

Plasmatech is a DoT discipline so can easily lose DPS when swapping targets. In particular, Plasmatize is (one of two DoTs in the discipline) has a duration of 30s, so either opting not to use the DoT or the target dying in significantly less time can limit DPS potential. As such, Plasmatech is best left to maintain DPS on the boss and spreading DoTs to nearby enemies. Where Plasmatech needs to swap to adds, it can maintain strong overall raid-wide DPS by keeping Plasmatize (10m range) and Incendiary Round (30m range) ticking on the main boss but otherwise swapping targets.

Utility and Mobility

Vanguards have strong utility for a DPS class. They can guard and taunt, they have a 4 second hard stun, a 2.5 second AoE stun, can pull certain targets for positioning, can use Sonic Rebounder for a group reflect on various heavy hitting mechanics, and can apply an armor and tech damage debuff to targets.

Regarding mobility, Vanguards are unmatched amongst all classes. All of their abilities are instant and can be used on the move, many have a 10m range (or with a seldom-used utility can be boosted to 30m), they have a gap closer and a pull ability, and Hold the Line that can grant a huge speed boost with up to 10s of duration and only a 35s cooldown (with all utilities taken to buff Hold the Line).


Plasmatech and Vanguards in general suffer a little in survivability by comparison to their fellow off-tank classes, Guardian and Shadow. All Vanguards have Reactive Shield as a primary defensive, and Plasmatechs benefit slightly from the Adrenaline Fueled passive ability that makes Adrenaline Rush a 30% damage reduction cooldown and each attack received reduces its cooldown by 6 seconds. Plasmatechs also receive a permanent 30% DoT damage reduction via the Assault Frame passive ability. Vanguards also have heavy armor. As such, they can be serviceable emergency off-tanks while Reactive Shield and Adrenaline Rush are available.

6.0 Impact on Discipline

Plasmatech has been by far the most FotM discipline so far early in the 6.X patch cycle. It received a great set bonus in Meteor Brawler that is inarguably one of the very best in the game, matched only possibly by The Gathering Storm in my opinion. It also received a great tactical in Superheated Fuel. The combination of these make the discipline an amazing sustained damage discipline that can still provide incredible burst damage via Ionfall, to the point that it has been nerfed a few times from 6.0 through 6.1 and is still very strong.

Recent patches buffing Tactics to regain its superior burst damage capability may even out the playstyle preferences of Vanguard DPS players. That said, Plasmatech seems likely to continue as one of the disciplines atop the DPS charts in active operation content.


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.

Parallactic Combat Stims - You recharge 20 energy cells when stunned, immobilized, knocked down or otherwise incapacitated. Also, when incapacitated, your next Tech ability deals 10% damage or healing. This effect lasts for 15 seconds.

A highly useful utility for any fights with lots of physics-based mechanics, as it boosts energy regeneration and damage.

Reflective Armor - When Into the Fray is triggered, it will also deal elemental damage to the attacker if the attacker is within 10 meters.

Into the Fray is a passive ability that can be triggered from area attacks. Normally it will regenerate some energy and provide minimal healing. In any fights with lots of AoE damage this utility is worth taking. It is especially powerful in the Underlurker encounter due to the nearly constant AoE damage.

Iron Will - Reduces the cooldown of Tenacity by 30 seconds and the cooldown of Hold the Line by 10 seconds.

I usually take this utility in any situation where Hold the Line will be useful.

Shrap Satchel - Increases Explosive Surge damage by 25%.

Very situational, I only take this utility in fights where I know add control is important and I only need 2 of the 3 utilities above.

Muzzle Augs - Increases the range of Ion Pulse and Tactical Surge by 2 meters and the radius of Explosive Surge by 1 meter.

I almost never take but mention for high movement fights the additional range could be useful if no other utilities in this tier are needed.

Masterful Tier

You must take 6 between Heroic and Masterful.

Sonic Rebounder - Sonic Round protects all friendly targets in its area of impact, excluding you, granting Sonic Rebounder, which reflects the next direct, single target attack back at the attacker.

The best and only mandatory utility for Vanguards, this can provide a huge survivability boost (and in some cases even a notable DPS increase) through timely use of your AOE taunt / threat drop. Always take. See below for further discussion around potential uses of Rebounder.

Electro Shield - When activated, your Reactive Shield charges with electricity, zapping attackers for elemental damage when they deal direct damage to you. This effect cannot occur more than once per second.

A helpful DPS boost especially for tanks as they are usually taking direct damage, I usually take unless I need a utility below.

Frontline Defense - Reduces the cooldown of Riot Strike by 2 seconds. Also, damage taken while stunned is reduced by 30% for Shield Specialist, and damage taken from area effects is reduced by 30% for Plasmatech and Tactics.

A mandatory utility for DPS and a highly useful if situational utility for tanks. I always take as a DPS player and take as a tank for any encounter with notable stuns (e.g., Coratanni/Ruugar in Ravagers to reduce damage from Pearl’s stun attack).

Battlefield Training - Increases movement speed by 15%.

Can be useful on high movement fights. That said, I find between Harpoon, Storm and Hold the Line that is sufficient movement capability. Given that I frequently take utilities buffing Hold the Line, this utility seems redundant in most encounters.

Heroic Tier

A maximum of 3 utilities

Power Focus - Power Yield increases damage done by an additional 2% when attacked while Ion Cell is being utilized and refreshes its duration when attacked while Ion Cell is not being utilized. Power Yield cannot last longer than 30 seconds.

A helpful utility to all Vanguard players, as Power Yield functions as both an offensive and defensive cooldown. For tanks, Power Yield provides a slight DPS increase during its duration. For DPS, Power Yield’s duration is extended. I recommend taking this new utility in all situations.

Charge the Line - Hold the Line increases movement speed by an additional 45% while active.

I find this utility to be a much more useful choice than Advance the Line’s extra 4 seconds of duration and nearly always take it. For fights where Hold the Line is frequently useful, taking both as well as Iron Will provide a huge buff to Hold the Line.

Re-energizers - When Reserve Powercell is activated, it recharges 10 energy cells over the next 5 seconds and immediately increases threat towards all current enemies by a small amount if Ion Cell is active, or reduces threat towards all current enemies if Ion Cell is not active.

Extra energy regeneration is always useful. The additional increase to threat for tanks or threat drop for DPS is also useful. I usually take this utility, though I may sometimes opt for an extra lower tier utility for situational fights.

Advance the Line - Increases the duration of Hold the Line by 4 seconds.

I frequently take this utility if I don’t feel the need for an extra point to take a situational utility in a lower tier. The majority of movement phases in SWOTR are relatively short, so often the extra 4 seconds isn’t super useful. There are some exceptions, most notably the Rain of Pain phase in the Master/Blaster encounter in the Ravagers operation. That said, a further buff to your best movement ability is always nice so I find I frequently take it.

Aim Extensions - Battle Focus grants Aim Extensions while active, increasing the range of Ion Pulse, Tactical Surge, Flak Shell, Artillery Blitz, Energy Blast, Cell Burst, Plasma Flare and Plasmatize by 20 meters.

Very situational for fights where using abilities at range is desirable. Could be useful on fights like Master/Blaster, though in general the opportunity cost of other potential choices makes it sub-optimal.

Example Utility Build

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

Key Passives

Hyper Assault Cell - Activating Shockstrike makes your next High Impact Bolt an automatic critical hit.

This passive provides a powerful buff for High Impact Bolt. As such, the rotation should ensure that Shockstrike is used at least as often as High Impact Bolt's pre-alacrity cooldown of 15s / 10 GCDs.

Pulse Generator - Ion Pulse, Explosive Surge, and Plasma Flare grant Pulse Generator, increasing the damage dealt by your next Ion Wave by 50% and causing it to slow affected targets by 45% for 3 seconds. This effect stacks up to 2 times.

This passive provides a powerful buff to Ion Wave. Ion Wave should only be used with 2 stacks of Pulse Generator. Due to Plasma Flare being used on the same cooldown and its proc of a free Ion Pulse via the Plasma Barrage passive ability, Ion Wave should be useable on cooldown and should always have 2 stacks causing its damage to be buffed by 100%. This elevates Ion Wave from a non-rotational ability to a key element of the Plasmatech rotation.

Rain of Fire- Increases the damage dealt by Incendiary Round by 10%. Also, Ion Wave spreads your periodic Incendiary Round effect to the targets it damages, as long as it damages targets already affected by Incendiary Round.

This passive buffs Incendiary Round and enables Ion Wave to spread the Incendiary Round DoT. Ion Wave is used on cooldown in the Plasmatech rotation so it doesn’t affect the priority rotation, but players should be aware so that Ion Wave is faced in the right direction to optimize DoT spread.

Adrenaline Fueled - While Adrenaline Rush is active, your damage reduction is increased by 30%. Also, the active cooldown of Adrenaline Rush is reduced by 6 seconds when you are attacked. This cannot occur more than once per second.

This passive makes Adrenaline Rush a better defensive ability by providing damage reduction in addition to healing and reducing its cooldown dramatically depending on the frequency of incoming damage.

Plasma Barrage - Plasma Flare makes your next Ion Pulse or Explosive Surge deplete no energy cells. Also, Ion Wave will now overwhelm the targets it damages. Overwhelmed targets take 10% more damage from AOE attacks.

This passive aids in energy regeneration by providing for a free Ion Pulse following each Plasma Flare. As such, the base rotation should include at least 1 Ion Pulse per each Plasma Flare. Given the rotation’s cycling between core abilities and fillers (with Ion Pulse being the #2 filler), Ion Pulse should be used within 1-3 GCDs of each Plasma Flare anyway.

Overcharged Plasma - Ion Wave causes the next Plasma Flare to deal 40% more damage and increases its critical chance by 10%.

This passive further buffs Ion Wave. Given that both abilities have a 15 second cooldown (before alacrity), this leads to a natural Ion Wave > Plasma Flare > Ion Pulse combo ordering within the rotation based on this passive and Plasma Barrage passive. Again, since all three abilities share a 15s / 10 GCD cooldown, outside of the opener these buffs should happen automatically.

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 Plasmatech Vanguard, I gear as follows:

  • Set Bonus: Meteor Brawler

  • Tactical: Superheated Fuel

  • Amplifiers: Tech Wizardry

  • 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 Plasmatech Vanguard, 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

Meteor Brawler

Increased drop rate from operations.

(2) +2% Endurance

(4) Shockstrike and Stockstrike's energy cost is reduced by 4. Energy Blast, Shockstrike and Tactical Surge increase damage dealt by 10% for 15 seconds, this effect cannot occur more than once every 30 seconds.

(6) Activating Battle Focus gives you Ionfall for the duration of Battle Focus. During this time, dealing damage with Ion Wave, Ion Pulse, Tactical Surge, Stockstrike or Shockstrike builds up to 7 stacks of Ionfall. When Battle Focus ends, it detonates dealing elemental damage to all enemies around that scale with Ionfall stacks. After it explodes, your energy-using abilities cost 50% less energy for 20 seconds.


Meteor Brawler is an amazing set bonus for DPS between the 4-piece energy cost reduction and +10% damage buff that should have very high uptime and the 6-piece Ionfall damage and follow-on energy cost reduction.

Honestly I could go on and on about how strong Meteor Brawler is, but I’ll just leave it as an amazing set bonus that combines fantastic energy management with great burst DPS and a very nice 10% overall damage buff that should have nearly 100% uptime.

Impact on Rotation:

The main aspect to consider is energy management. It can be tricky to ensure 7 stacks of Ionfall during the Battle Focus duration without totally wrecking your energy. During this window you should use either Shockstrike or Ion Pulse for every filler ability slot in the rotation and avoid using your basic attack or you may not reach 7 stacks.

Ideally this should all be done without using an energy cooldown, as you should be able to recover energy during the post-Ionfall 20s window where energy costs are reduced by 50%. You can safely go into stage 2 energy regeneration (4 energy per second instead of 6 in stage 1) and still recover easily. You need to avoid going into stage 3 though or the rotation can become very difficult.

When to Take:

Take in all situations.

Tactical Items

Superheated Fuel

Increased drop rate from flashpoints.

Battle Focus increases all elemental and kinetic attacks critical chance by 100%.


This is a great tactical that synergizes amazingly well with Plasmatech. Nearly all of the discipline’s damage dealt is elemental damage, so the tactical essentially takes Battle Focus and increases the critical chance buff from +25% to +125%. Combining that with the follow-on Ionfall burst damage from the Meteor Brawler set bonus and the extra damage made possible by the huge energy cost reduction following Battle Focus, this all synergizes to provide amazing burst potential for a sustained 35s window on a discipline that already has great overall sustained damage.

Impact on Rotation:

No change in rotation, Superheated Fuel just makes everything hit harder.

When to Take:

Take any time another tactical is not situationally superior for AoE damage. Given that relatively few fights can afford to sacrifice single target DPS in exchange for AoE DPS, in practice I run Superheated Fuel all the time.

Flame Dissipation

Increased drop rate from flashpoints.

When Pulse Generator reaches or refreshes to 2 stacks, it applies Pulse Activation to you, lowering the cost of Ion Wave by 3 energy. Stacks up to 5 times and is consumed by Ion Wave at 5 stacks. When consumed, Pulse Activation increases your periodic elemental by 10% for 20 seconds.


This is an interesting tactical that provides a combination of energy management and damage increases. Unfortunately, the uptime on the direct damage increase is relatively low and not noticeably better than Superheated Fuel’s uptime via the cooldown of Battle Focus. As such, it’s not going to be optimal on nearly any circumstances.

Impact on Rotation:

N/A as not recommended.

When to Take:

Not recommended.

Explosive Weaponry

Increased drop rate from operations.

During Battle Focus, Shockstrike, Ion Pulse and Plasma Flare do damage to all nearby targets and Ion Wave hits twice.


This tactical synergizes well with the Meteor Brawler set bonus to provide consistent AoE damage during Battle Focus then to be followed up by the huge burst of Ionfall.

Impact on Rotation:

No change, the tactical takes the base rotation and makes it deal AoE damage.

When to Take:

Can be taken for AoE heavy fights, though I prefer taking Superheated Fuel anyway in most instances.


Tech Wizardry

Tech Wizardry is an easy choice since the Vanguard disciplines deal primarily Tech damage and so get the largest DPS increase and the only increase that is consistent across both Tactics and Plasmatech.

Key Abilities

Power Yield (60s cooldown, instant) NEW IN 6.0 - Applies a stack of Power Yield to you, increasing your armor by 40% and your damage done by 2% for 10 seconds. Whenever you take damage, an additional stack of Power Yield is applied, up to 5 times.

Power Yield is a new cooldown ability in 6.0. It provides both an offensive and defensive boost and excels during phases where the player is taking damage.

Plasmatize (10 cells, no cooldown, range 10m) - Drenches the target with plasma, melting them for elemental damage over 30 seconds. Plasmatize also makes the target Susceptible for 45 seconds, increasing the damage the target takes from tech attacks by 5%. When a target affected by Plasmatize dies, Plasmatize spreads to the closest enemy target within 10 meters that is not already affected by Plasmatize.

Plasmatize is Plasmatech’s longer DoT ability, lasting a whopping 30 seconds and making it the longest lasting DoT (excluding DoTs from other disciplines that are refreshed automatically). It should always be applied on a target unless the target will live substantially less than 30 seconds.

Plasma Flare (12 cells, 15s cooldown, range 10m) - Emits an energetic plasma burst, dealing elemental damage to the target.

Plasma Flare is Plasmatech’s high damage burst ability. It buffs Ion Wave (and is in turn buffed by Ion Wave) and its use enables 1 free use of Ion Pulse or Explosive Surge. It should also be used on cooldown.

Incendiary Round (15 cells, no cooldown, range 30m) - Launches an incendiary projectile, setting the target ablaze for elemental damage and additional elemental damage over 15 seconds.

Incendiary Round is Plasmatech’s second DoT that deals less total damage but over half the duration. It should be applied on cooldown.

Ion Wave (15 cells, 15s cooldown, range 10m) - Blasts everything in a 10-meter cone with ionized energy, dealing elemental damage to up to 8 targets.

This ability is heavily buffed by passives to make it a key element of the rotation. It should always have 2 stacks of Pulse Generator buffing damage +100%. It also spreads your Incendiary Round DoT via the Rain of Fire passive ability. The Plasma Barrage causes Ion Wave to apply a debuff to take 10% more damage from AoE attacks. Finally, Ion Wave buffs the damage dealt by Plasma Flare by 40% and crit chance by 10% via the Overcharged Plasma passive.

High Impact Bolt (15 cells, 15s cooldown, range 10m) - Fires a very powerful round at the target, dealing weapon damage.

High Impact Bolt is a high damage rotational ability that should be used on cooldown. It is buffed by Shockstrike to be an automatic crit.

Shoulder Cannon (1.5 minute cooldown, range 10m) - Deploys a shoulder cannon that gradually loads 4 missiles over time. Once loaded, the shoulder cannon can be triggered again to fire against an enemy target within 10 meters, launching 1 missile that deals kinetic damage. A missile can be launched up to once per 1.5 seconds. Loading and launching the shoulder cannon does not respect the global cooldown and can be done while controlled. Once all missiles have been loaded, depleting all missiles puts the shoulder cannon on cooldown for 1.5 minutes.

Shoulder Cannon provides a lot of Plasmatech’s opening burst while DoTs are being placed on the enemy. It should always be pre-loaded before a fight and its use should always be timed within the use of Battle Focus to benefit from the +25% critical chance.

Shockstrike (15 cells / 11 cells with set bonus, 9s cooldown, range 4m) - Strikes the target with an overcharged rifle butt, dealing kinetic damage and releasing a powerful discharge that deals elemental damage. Replaces Stockstrike.

Shockstrike is Plasmatech’s best filler ability and procs Hyper Assault Cell that makes the next High Impact Bolt an automatic critical hit. This should be used very nearly on cooldown. A major part of the rotation structure is to leave a GCD open in between each major ability to ensure Shockstrike can be used on CD or at worst delayed 1 GCD.

Hammer Shot (no cooldown, range 30m) - Basic attack.

Your free ranged filler. Use it whenever you are at range and without a gap closer or occasionally for energy management purposes.

Ion Pulse (15 cells, no cooldown, range 10m) - Fires a concentrated surge of energy at an enemy target, dealing energy damage.

Plasmatech’s spammable filler ability, Ion Pulse should be used as a filler whenever Shockstrike is on cooldown and energy permits. Ion Pulse should be usable once per rotation cycle after Plasma Flare without energy cost.

Artillery Blitz (channeled over 3s, 30 cells, 15s cooldown, range 10m) - Calls down artillery strikes while unleashing plasma blasts that deal kinetic and elemental damage to up to 8 enemies in the targeted area while depleting 30 energy cells over the duration.

A useful AOE offensive ability. Should be paired with Reserve Powercell whenever possible.

Explosive Surge (15 cells, no cooldown) - Emits an Explosive Surge, dealing elemental damage to up to 8 enemies within 5 meters.

Plasmatech’s AOE filler ability, should be substituted for Ion Pulse in any AoE situation.

Storm (15s cooldown, range 10-30m) - Leaps to a distant target, dealing kinetic damage, interrupting the current action and immobilizing the target for 2 seconds.

Vanguard’s gap closer that deals low damage and can interrupt certain abilities. The immobilizing effect is not relevant in PVE content.

Flak Shell (15 cells, 9s cooldown, range 10m) - FIres a high impact shell that instantly explodes on contact with the target, spraying the area with searing bits of slag that deal kinetic damage to up to 8 enemies within 8 meters of the initial target.

A useful AOE filler, though depending on utility choices Explosive Surge may still be preferable.

Cooldowns & Other Abilities

Harpoon (45s cooldown, range 10-30m) - Pulls target to your location and generates high threat.

Hold the Line - Grants 6 seconds of immunity from movement-impairing effects, knockdowns and physics and increases movement speed by 30%. 45s cooldown.

Sonic Round (45s cooldown, range 30m) - Fires a Sonic Round that taunts your target and all nearby enemies, forcing them to attack you for 6 seconds, if Ion Cell is active. If Ion Cell is not active, threat towards all current enemies is immediately reduced.

Battle Focus (2 minute cooldown) - Increases ranged and tech critical chance by 25% for 15 seconds.

Reserve Powercell (1:30 minute cooldown) - Your next ability depletes no energy cells. Effect lasts 15 seconds.

Recharge Cells (1:30 minute cooldown) - Recharges 50 energy cells over 3 seconds.

Reactive Shield - Increases damage reduction by 25% for 12 seconds. 2:00 cooldown.

Adrenal Rush - Applies a Health Monitor that lasts 60 seconds, which triggers Kolto Overload when your health is reduced to 35% or less. If your health is already 35% or less, it triggers immediately. Once triggered, it goes on cooldown for 3 minutes and rapidly heals you up to 35% of your max health for 10 seconds but will not exceed 35% of your max health.



The Plasmatech rotation is fairly straightforward due to the ability cooldowns. The discipline has 5 key abilities, of which Plasmatize has a 30s / 20 GCD cooldown, while the other 4 (Incendiary Round, High Impact Bolt, Plasma Flare, Ion Wave) all have a 15s / 10 GCD cooldown or their DoT has that duration. As such, the rotation naturally falls into a 10 GCD block with 4 key abilities taking permanent spots in the rotation, Plasmatize being used every other rotation, and the remaining abilities being fillers.

The second wrinkle to the rotation is the need to maximize use of Shockstrike as a high damage filler. To minimize any delays, the rotation places each of the 5 core abilities with a 1 GCD filler buffer in between. This ensures that Shockstrike is only delayed at most 1 GCD. Ion Pulse should be used once per rotation to take advantage of the free use provided by Plasma Flare, and otherwise used as energy permits.

Also note that there is very little difference between the opener and the core rotation, differing only slightly with the use of more Ion Pulse due to the availability of energy cooldowns, use of offensive cooldowns and a very small difference in the ability ordering in the first few GCDs as compared to the core rotation.




























  1. (Pre-fight) Load Shoulder Cannon missiles - Make sure to begin loading early enough that all are ready to go 2s into the fight.

  2. (Pre-fight) Ion Wave - Pre-casting Ion Wave applies the Plasmatize passive ability to buff the first use of Plasma Flare by 20%. Since Plasma Flare is used first in the opener, this is necessary to maximize damage. Ion Wave will be used rotationally after the opener so subsequent Plasma Flares should always be buffed.

  3. Storm - Gap closer if necessary.

  4. Plasmatize - Starting by applying the longest duration DoT as it is the first GCD in the core rotation.

  5. Incendiary Round - Next GCD is to apply the second DoT, to ensure both DoTs are ticking when we start burst damage.

  6. Battle Focus OFF GCD - Now that we have both DoTs ticking, we are going to start dealing heavy damage so we will hit all our cooldowns.

  7. Adrenal OFF GCD - With both DoTs ticking and all the non-DoT high damage abilities available, this is Plasmatech’s very strong burst window (especially for a DoT discipline).

  8. Shoulder Cannon BEGIN SPAM OFF GCD

  9. Power Yield OFF GCD - Used here to apply its damage dealt buff that gives 2% more damage for at least 10 seconds and possibly more if we are taking damage during the opener.

  10. Shockstrike - Used here as a high damage filler and to proc High Impact Bolt via the Hyper Assault Cell passive ability.

  11. High Impact Bolt - Should be a guaranteed critical hit due to Shockstrike's use in the previous GCD.

  12. Ion Pulse - Used as a filler to (1) proc Pulse Generator to maximize Ion Wave's damage in 2 GCDs and (2) as a general purpose filler to ensure we don’t overly delay abilities when we get to the core rotation.

  13. Plasma Flare - Its damage is buffed +20% due to Plasmatize passive via the per-casting of Ion Wave.

  14. Ion Wave - Should have its damage buffed by +100% due to Ion Pulse and Plasma Flare being each used earlier (each grants +50% damage per the Pulse Generator passive ability).

  15. Ion Pulse - All big hitter abilities are on cooldown as well as Shockstrike. This Ion Pulse should be free due to Plasma Flare's use earlier proccing the Plasma Barrage passive ability.

  16. Shockstrike - Used off cooldown.

  17. Ion Pulse

  18. Ion Pulse - The end of the first mini-rotation, the first Ion Pulse takes the place of Plasmatize since it is still on CD for 10 more GCDs.

  19. Incendiary Round - Used on cooldown.

  20. Ion Pulse - Shockstrike is still on cooldown so Ion Pulse is used.

  21. High Impact Bolt - Used on cooldown.

  22. Shockstrike - Used on cooldown.

  23. Plasma Flare - Used on cooldown.

  24. Ion Wave - Used on cooldown. In the opener Ion Wave is being used 1 GCD earlier than in the core rotation, so in the first regular rotation post-opener it will be delay 1 GCD to align the rotation to ensure maximum use of Shockstrike.

  25. Ion Pulse

  26. Ion Pulse - End of mini-rotation, Plasmatize should be the first ability used next as part of the regular rotation.

(continue core rotation)

Core Rotation

As noted above in the Summary, the Plasmatech is all about using your key abilities on cooldown. These all have a 10 GCD cooldown except for Plasmatize that has a 20 GCD cooldown. Thus we have a very static rotation of 10 GCDs that only fluctuates to use Plasmatize every other rotation block, and then situational decision making about fillers that should prioritize Shockstrike on cooldown and then use Ion Pulse as often as energy permits without delaying any higher priority abilities.

For simplicity, I have presented the Filler spots with Hammer Shot as that can be done every time safely and is a good way to get used to the rotation early on without worrying about energy. Please do note the comments below about fillers and further commentary below about fillers - the top priority is to use Shockstrike on cooldown as it floats through the rotation, so use of Ion Pulse should be limited to its free use via the rotation and as energy permits.

Rotation Block #1 - Refreshing Plasmatize











  1. Plasmatize - Re-applying DoT on cooldown

  2. FILLER - See filler discussion below

  3. Incendiary Round - Re-applying DoT on cooldown.

  4. FILLER - See filler discussion below

  5. High Impact Bolt - Used on cooldown, Ion Pulse should have been used in one of the two earlier filler spots such that High Impact Bolt is a guaranteed critical hit

  6. FILLER - See filler discussion below

  7. Plasma Flare - High damage ability used on cooldown

  8. FILLER - See filler discussion below

  9. Ion Wave - High damage ability used on cooldown

  10. FILLER - See filler discussion below

Rotation Block #2 - Plasmatize is still ticking











  1. FILLER - See filler discussion below

  2. FILLER - See filler discussion below

  3. Incendiary Round - Re-applying DoT on cooldown.

  4. FILLER - See filler discussion below

  5. High Impact Bolt - Used on cooldown, Ion Pulse should have been used in one of the two earlier filler spots such that High Impact Bolt is a guaranteed critical hit

  6. FILLER - See filler discussion below

  7. Plasma Flare - High damage ability used on cooldown

  8. FILLER - See filler discussion below

  9. Ion Wave - High damage ability used on cooldown

  10. FILLER - See filler discussion below

Note that the ONLY difference here is the first GCD of our rotation has a FILLER in place of Plasmatize since its longer duration means it is still ticking on our target and so does not yet need to be refreshed.

Filler Priority





  1. Shockstrike - Classified as a filler ability, Shockstrike is a key part of the discipline's sustained damage and is listed as a filler primarily because it is the only key ability that will "float" through the rotation. It should never be prioritized over the other key abilities in order to maintain the rotation, but should ALWAYS be prioritized in any filler GCD when it is available to use.

  2. Ion Pulse (free proc) - Each rotational use of Plasma Flare triggers the Plasma Barrage passive ability that makes your next use of Ion Pulse or Explosive Surge free. As such, it can always be your next priority filler.

  3. Hammer Shot (cells <75 AND NO energy cooldowns) - The trickiest part of the Plasmatech rotation is deciding between #3 and #4 on this filler list. Over-use of Ion Pulse is the most common cause of messing up energy levels in the rotation. If you have no energy cooldowns available (or soon to be available) and ANY DOUBT WHATSOEVER about whether you can afford an extra Ion Pulse, then use your basic attack as a filler.

  4. Ion Pulse (cells >75 OR energy cooldowns available) - Your spammable filler should be used when you have high energy levels, energy cooldowns are available, during Battle Focus burst windows or in the short period afterwards when energy costs are reduced. Be very careful not to over-use Ion Pulse until you are comfortable with how your energy levels fluctuate in the rotation.

Defensive Cooldowns




  1. Reactive Shield (all damage) - Reduces all damage taken by 25% for 15 seconds. Reactive Shield is a good multi-purpose defensive but is not well suited to mitigating high burst damage, which really is Vanguard’s only weakness as compared to Guardians and Shadows who can cheese many Force/Tech attacks via Saber Reflect and Resilience, respectively. Care should be taken when to utilize this defensive. Recommended use is not necessarily to mitigate single burst damage abilities. Try to time your defensive to include a big hitting attack but also any high damage phases before or after depending on boss mechanics. Using it to mitigate one attack after which there is substantial down time is a huge waste of a Vanguard’s precious defensives.

  2. Adrenaline Rush (all damage) - When health goes below 35% it will provide a continuous heal for 8s, or if above 40% health will heal for 2% per second. Unique to the Plasmatech discipline, the defensive also provides 30% extra damage resistance. This makes the ability a very powerful defensive cooldown.

  3. Sonic Round (raid utility) - Not helpful to the Vanguard tank directly, Sonic Round is extremely useful to help mitigate raid wide damage or potential one-shot attacks to non-tanks via the Sonic Rebounder utility. See the section at the end for some examples of potential effective use of Sonic Rebounder.

Tips to using Sonic Rebounder

  • KP Jorn & Sarg - Unload

  • KP Karraga - fire puddles

  • EC Zorn & Toth - all circles

  • EC Tanks - Double Destruction, Lightning Pylons, Adds

  • EC Vorgath - turrets

  • EC Kephess - Add damage inside reflect bubble (reflects to Warrior), Walker (stand under it while it is immune after popping reflect)

  • TFB Dread Guard - Doom

  • TFB Kephess - red laser

  • TFB Terror - slam, Scream

  • S&V Thrasher - firebug AOE

  • S&V Operations Chief - terminate

  • S&V Warlords - Sunder

  • S&V Styrak - add’s channeled lightning attack, orange debuff during lightning AOE

  • DF Draxus - Subteroth explosion, Draxus non-cleave attacks, Guardian thundering blast, Guardian cleave

  • DF Grob’thok - raidwide Roar

  • DF Corruptor Zero - chest laser, missile Barrage, ranged add attack’s

  • DF Brontes - orbs (note you can taunt someone else’s orb then use reflect to pop without damage)

  • DP Tyrans - fire at the door (not inferno), though be very careful doing this

  • DP Raptus - force execution

  • DP Council - burn phase AOE

  • Ravagers Sparky - brutal punch, add jump

  • Ravagers Bull - scatter blaster, mass barrage, ore carts, add attacks

  • Ravagers Torque - turrets, fire device, shoots lasers, knockback from panel destruction

  • Ravagers Master/Blaster - rain of pain

  • Ravagers Cora/Ruugar - most boss attacks

  • ToS Malaphar - spear throw

  • ToS Commanders - Kurse smash

  • ToS Revan - heave, Saber overcharge, HK mines, Core’s AOE

  • Toborro - purple circle

  • Monolith - slam, first tick of Curse