Shield Specialist Vanguard

Last Updated: 5/31/21

Table of Contents


About the Class

Vanguard Shield Specialist is a melee tank class. Overall tank balance is pretty good in 6.0 and has generally been good in past content, so Vanguards can tank any content in SWTOR though on a fight-by-fight basis they may be slightly better or slightly worse than Guardian or Shadow tanks. Vanguards do not have as many defensive cooldowns as other tanks so need to be especially strategic in their use during a fight. That said, they enjoy the highest average mitigation and have some unique tools to aid an operations team.

Role in Operations

As the tank, Vanguards should be focused on maintaining aggro on the Ops boss and as many adds as possible. Vanguards have strong energy generation even in an off-tank role and can do excellent AoE DPS (relative to tank gearing levels) to hold aggro on adds during Ops fights. Vanguards tanks will be best utilized in situations where higher average mitigation will be more beneficial than specific defensive cooldowns, and should be utilized their AoE taunt to provide Sonic Rebounder whenever it is useful to the team.

Utility and Mobility

Vanguards have strong utility for a tank class. In addition to single and AoE taunts to grab aggro, they also have stuns (Cryo Grenade for single targets, Neural Surge for AoE situations), and an interrupt. With the proper Utility, Vanguards can also use their AoE taunt to provide the Sonic Rebounder buff, which provides a one attack reflect to every nearby team member except the player. Rebounder can be used to cheese a variety of mechanics in the game to significantly reduce difficulty and damage profile.

Regarding mobility, Vanguards have arguably the strongest kit for movement on the battlefield. With a pull (Harpoon), a gap closer (Storm), and the best overall movement buff in Hold the Line (which can be buffed in both duration, cooldown, and movement speed via utilities), Vanguards are highly mobile.


Tanks have uniformly strong survivability and Vanguards are no exception. In general, their passive mitigation prior to skills and abilities is the best (i.e., Vanguard > Guardian > Shadow) though number and utility of defensive cooldowns is the worst (i.e., Shadow > Guardian > Vanguard). When taking everything into consideration, the mitigation is balanced well enough that player skill will ultimately determine which class is more successful in a given situation.

6.0 Impact on Discipline

The 6.0 expansion has been very good to Vanguard tanks. As of 5.10 they were ridiculously overshadowed by Shadow tanks in every way and while they compared much better against Guardian tanks they still suffered from having fewer defensive cooldowns and an overall mitigation profile that was on balance least effective most of the time.

Now comes 6.0 and the tank meta is returning to balance. The class got the only really good set bonus in Emergency Power (though good luck getting a full set bonus) and Shadow got nerfed through the removal of Force Speed as a crazy powerful low cooldown defensive ability. In addition, the new Dxun operation has a mix of mechanics and damage profiles that make Vanguard arguably the preferred tank. Vanguard also remains the best tank DPS discipline by a decent margin and even moreso when one considers the available options. Their one huge downside remains not having a cleanse but just convince your Shadow tank buddy to equip Friend of the Force and you’re good to go!

For the current meta, Vanguard is a great tank class to play as it is so much better than in the 5.x patch cycle. In addition, the tank discipline benefits from having access to the most broken set bonus in the game in Meteor Brawler for those that do not like Right Price and can’t get Emergency Power so decide to go full on DPS-tank.


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

Ion Cell - Loads your rifle with an ion powercell, giving range attacks a 15% change to deal additional energy damage once every 1.5 seconds. While this cell is active, armor rating is increased by 60%, damage reduction is increased by 5%, shield chance is increased by 15%, threat generation is increased by 150%, accuracy is increased by 10%, and all damage dealt is reduced by 10%.

This passive applies all your basic tank attributes to increase your ability to mitigate damage and generate threat on a target. The nerf to damage dealt is designed to discourage “skank tanking” where in PVP a player equips a shield generator and uses a tank specialization but otherwise uses DPS gear. This has no bearing on PVE content as you want as much mitigation as you can get.

Ion Overload - Dealing damage with Stockstrike triggers Ion Cell on the target and dealing damage with High Impact Bolt triggers Ion Cell on the target and up to 7 additional enemies within 5 meters. In addition, when Ion Cell deals damage, it will also shock the target for additional energy damage over 6 seconds. None of these effects damage sleeping, lifted, or incapacitated enemies. Generates a high amount of threat.

This passive primarily buffs the threat generation of Stockstrike and High Impact Bolt and adds an AoE component to High Impact Bolt for enemies within melee range. It also triggers Ion Cell with either ability, providing for generation of Power Screen to enable use of Energy Blast.

Static Field - Ion Pulse and Explosive Surge cause trauma and weaken their targets. Weakened targets deal 5% less damage with ranged and melee attacks for 45 seconds. Targets with Trauma receive 20% less healing from all sources for 45 seconds.

This passive applies a helpful debuff in Weakened. The Trauma debuff is primarily relevant to PVP though may be useful in a few specific PVE encounters.

Power Screen - Shielding an attack or triggering your Ion Cell generates a Power Screen, increasing shield absorption by 1% for 20 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds. In addition, each time you build a Power Screen or refresh your Power Screen stacks, the active cooldown of Energy Blast is reduced by 1 second.

This passive provides the basic mechanics for Power Screen that enable Energy Blast, your strongest ability as a Vanguard Shield Specialist. Due to the buffs provided by Power Screen and CD reduction on Energy Blast, maximizing generation of Power Screen is the most important rotational goal of Vanguard tanks to maximize threat and damage mitigation.

Pulse Engine - Direct damage attacks have a 50% chance to trigger Pulse Engine, which finishes the cooldown on Ion Wave or Ion Storm and causes your next Ion Wave or Ion Storm to deplete no energy cells and deal 40% more damage. This effect cannot occur more than once every 15 seconds.

This passive enables a proc of Ion Storm making it a priority in the single target rotation and a key AOE threat generation capability.

Shield Cycler - Increases shield chance by 2%. Also, shielding or defending an attack generates 1 energy cell. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds.

This passive provides helpful energy regeneration via successful shielding/defense.

Static Shield - Increases the critical chance of Stockstrike and Explosive Surge by 10%. Also, shielding or defending an attack has a 50% chance to finish the cooldown on Stockstrike. This effect cannot occur more than once every 7.5 seconds.

This passive buffs Stockstrike and provides a proc of Stockstrike. Since Stockstrike is key to generating high threat, and guaranteed to trigger Ion Cell and generate a Power Screen, increasing its use is very powerful.

Static Surge - Increases the damage dealt by Explosive Surge by 15%. Also, Storm provides 2 charges of Static Surge, which makes Ion Pulse and Explosive Surge deplete no energy cells. Each use of Ion Pulse or Explosive Surge consumes a charge of Static Surge.

This passive is great for energy management by enabling 2 free single target fillers (Ion Pulse) or AOE fillers (Explosive Surge). Try to use Storm whenever practical for this purpose for movement or on any bosses that either don’t move or follow slowly enough you can back away and Storm back in without causing positional issues (e.g., Draxus, Master/Blaster, etc.).

Ion Shield - Further increases damage reduction by 2%. Also, Energy Blast damages up to 3 additional enemy targets within 5 meters of the primary target. Does not damage sleeping, lifted, or incapacitated enemies.

This passive further buffs mitigation and makes Energy Blast an AOE ability. This provides Vanguards exceptional AOE DPS and threat generation via Energy Blast, High Impact Bolt, Ion Storm and Explosive Surge.

Soldier's Grit - Adrenaline Rush now heals you for 2% of your total health every second while above 35% of your maximum health. Also, Battle Focus increases defense chance by 35% while active.

This passive makes Adrenaline Rush a more useful defensive cooldown via a heal even above 35% health and provides a defense boost.

Shield Enhancers - Stockstrike and High Impact Bolt grant Shield Enhancers when activated, increasing shield chance by 1% for 15 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times.

This passive further buffs Stockstrike and High Impact Bolt. They already generate high threat and trigger Ion Cell (i.e., generating Power Screen that increase absorption chance and enable Energy Blast) but now provide up to 3% additional shield chance. This makes Stockstrike and High Impact Bolt top priority abilities after Energy Blast (which is off-GCD anyway).

Energized Absorbers - Energy Blast increases shield absorption by an additional 5%.

This passive further buffs Energy Blast and its contribution to Vanguard’s passive mitigation capability.

Gearing in 6.0

Gearing Stat Allocation

Please see my Gearing Guide and Alacrity Guide for a detailed overview of gearing in 6.x in SWTOR.

For Shield Specialist Vanguard, I gear as follows:

  • Set Bonus: Emergency Power (first choice), Right Price (backup choice for mitigation), Meteor Brawler (offensive gearing)

  • Tactical: Thermal Screen (Superheated Fuel for offensive gearing)

  • Amplifiers: I usually mix a variety of gold defensive amplifiers

  • Mods: Unlettered Warding Mods (I would swap to Warding B Mods if running Master Mode Dxun)

  • Relics: Relics of Avoidance & Shield Matrix (I prefer the extra raw tertiary stats)

  • Stim: Fortitude

  • Adrenal: Shield

For Shield Specialist Vanguard, I allocate my tertiary stats as follows for full mitigation. My primary goal is to divide my tertiary stats such that Shield is 1,000-1,500 points higher than Absorb.

  • Accuracy: None (tanks have 110% accuracy as a tank discipline)

  • Alacrity: None

  • Critical: None

  • Shield: At least 4,000 (I gear for spike damage mitigation so Shield > Absorb)

  • Absorb: Up to 3,000 (I gear for spike damage mitigation so Shield > Absorb)

For Shield Specialist Vanguard, I allocate my tertiary stats as follows for offensive gearing. My preference is to gear Alacrity to reach a 1.4 second cooldown, since it is a more consistent DPS increase and has some secondary benefits for increased uptime of some passive mitigation skills. I then target a minimum of mitigation stats and push the balance into Critical.

  • Accuracy: None (tanks have 110% accuracy as a tank discipline)

  • Alacrity: 1,350 (450 is fine if running the Zeal Guild Perk that provides +5% Alacrity)

  • Critical: Around 2,000 or more (I put the balance of my stat budget into Critical after hitting the other targets)

  • Shield: At least 2,500

  • Absorb: At least 1,000

Set Bonus

Emergency Power

Increased drop rate from Dxun Nature of Progress operation. Not available from Tech Frag vendor.

(2) +2% Endurance

(4) Reactive Shield's duration is increased by 5 seconds.

(6) Activating Power Yield grants a major absorb shield for 3 seconds.

(note the graphic used is from standard Mek'sha armor, as I do not have the Emergency Power chest piece, but it looks similar)


Reactive Shield is the discipline’s best overall defensive cooldown. With a 15s duration and 120s cooldown it provides +25% damage resistance (DR). Its buff is actually stronger than the raw amount once you consider the effects of other mitigation statistics.

(Note this is essentially copied from the Kinetic Combat Shadow commentary on Battle Readiness, which provides a similar +25% DR buff.) So how effective is Reactive Shield in terms of its net impact to reduce the damage taken in combat. If we assume a tank is taking consistent damage of 20,000 melee/ranged damage per second with a 40% defense chance, 50% damage resistance from armor/buffs, 55% shield chance and 55% absorb chance prior to cooldowns, then they should be taking around 4,200 DTPS. If that damage is affected by Reactive Shield to buff their damage resistance from 50% up to 75%, then the result becomes 2,100 DTPS which is a 50% decrease in damage taken!!! If we assume the damage is Force/Tech (so not generally able to defend), the numbers go from 7,000 to 3,500 (a similar % change but larger aggregate change).

The duration is normally 15s so increasing it to 20s represents increasing its benefit by 33% and increasing its average uptime from 12.5% to 17%. More importantly, we saw how the cooldown should effectively halve any damage taken so extending that duration significantly makes it a more powerful cooldown for extended durations to give healers more time to recover.

With all that said, the real prize to the set bonus is the 6-piece set bonus. Power Yield is a fairly weak defensive cooldown with its stacking buff to armor but with this set bonus it provides Vanguard with a mechanism to cheese any damage that isn’t a one-shot kill mechanic. Testing has shown the absorb shield will not absorb unlimited damage, but in practice it will fully mitigate any damage that isn’t intended to be a one-shot kill mechanic.

Impact on Rotation:

Make sure to use Power Yield only for big hitting mechanics if any are present, otherwise use as an offensive cooldown. It’s important to remember that Power Yield with this set bonus will not let you cheese one-hit kill mechanics so it is not quite as useful as Blade Blitz or Saber Reflect for Guardian tanks or for Resilience or Deflection for Shadow tanks. However, your absorb shield applies to many more regular types of damage (i.e., covers AoEs unlike Saber Reflect and applies to melee/ranged damage unlike Resilience and Force/Tech damage unlike Deflection).

When to Take:

I recommend this set bonus as the best to take for mitigation purposes, though it is exceptionally difficult to obtain due to its exclusivity to the Dxun operation or random drops from loot crates or the Kai Zykken random vendor.

Right Price

Increased drop rate from conquest.

(2) +2% Mastery

(4) Battle Focus increases damage done by 20% while Ion Cells is being utilized and increases damage reduction by 10% while Ion Cells is not being utilized.

(6) Each time you take damage while under Power Yield the cooldown of Battle Focus is reduced by 3 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every 3 seconds.


This set bonus sounds like primarily an offensive set bonus for tanks from the first read. The 4-piece set bonus provides a +20% damage buff for tanks, while the 6-piece provides for a cooldown reduction on Battle Focus to have more uptime on that damage buff.

The key to the defensive impact is the Soldier’s Grit passive ability, which provides a +35% defense chance while Battle Focus is active.

Battle Focus has a 2 minute / 120s cooldown before alacrity and lasts for 15s. Power Yield has a one minute / 60s cooldown and lasts for 10s. This means we should get at least one Power Yield and often two in between each use of Battle Focus, or 10-20s of uptime on the 6-piece cooldown reduction benefit. Assuming you are taking damage continuously during Power Yield, this should yield 4 procs of the 6-piece per use of Power Yield of 18s of cooldown reduction. So in total, we would expect 18-36s of reduced cooldown on Battle Focus each time.

If we go with the average of 27s reduced cooldown, we take Battle Focus from 120s cooldown to an average 93s cooldown and a 15s duration. That increases the potential uptime of the 35% defense buff from 12.5% to 16%.

Additionally, that helps provide more overall uptime on cooldowns. Between Battle Focus (+35% defense, 15s duration, 93s average cooldown), Riot Gas (+15% defense, 10s duration, 60s cooldown), Power Yield (+40-200% armor, 10s duration, 60s cooldown) and Reactive Shield (+25% DR, 15s duration, 120s cooldown), the Vanguard tank can provide around 75-80s of uptime on defensive abilities every 120s.

The major downside with this set bonus and why I don’t recommend it relate to the nature of the Battle Focus buff to defense. Defense does not mitigate Force/Tech damage (bypasses defense) or Internal/Elemental damage (bypasses defense and shield). Riot Gas and Power Yield are already really strong cooldowns against white damage but neither provide as strong a benefit to Force/Tech damage (Riot Gas provides no benefit absent the Oil Fire tactical). Finally, Vanguard already has the best baseline average mitigation and so is the best tank already against any damage that can be mitigated by Battle Focus.

Impact on Rotation:

Be proactive in using Power Yield on cooldown as an offensive ability to maximize uptime of Battle Focus, which should be used to mitigate weapon / “white” damage.

When to Take:

I recommend running Meteor Brawler since it provides a better DPS boost until you can assemble an Emergency Power set and then run it as the main tank set.

Meteor Brawler

Increased drop rate from operations.

(2) +2% Endurance

(4) Shockstrike and Stockstrike's energy 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 uptime and the 6-piece Ionfall damage and follow-on energy cost reduction. However, it provides essentially no benefit whatsoever to mitigation.

Impact on Rotation:

Make sure to use Battle Focus as an offensive cooldown aggressively and make sure you build 7 stacks of Ionfall to maximize its burst damage and then be aggressive with energy to take full advantage of the 4-piece and 6-piece energy cost reductions.

When to Take:

I do not like the Right Price set bonus for its redundancy with the discipline’s already strong mitigation of white damage, so I ran this set until I could assemble an Emergency Power set bonus and still run it in situations where I know I can trade some mitigation for extra DPS and use it as a “skank tank” set.

Tactical Items

Thermal Screen

Increased drop rate from flashpoints.

Power Screen now stacks up to 6 times. Activating Power Yield immediately generates 6 Power Screens and finishes the cooldown of Energy Blast.


So this one is a bit complicated, so let’s revisit all the relevant facts before analyzing the impact.

Power Screen is a passive ability and a buff granted by that passive ability. The buff grants +1% shield absorption and is granted either by Ion Cell triggering or by successfully shielding an attack, with a rate limit of generating a Power Screen once per second. Each time you proc this passive ability, the cooldown of Energy Blast is reduced by 1 second. Normally the maximum number of stacks if 3.

Worth noting is that Stockstrike and High Impact Bolt also each generate a stack of Power Screen by triggering Ion Cell. Stockstrike has a base cooldown of 9s before alacrity (and can have its cooldown reset every 7.5s via Static Shield passive with a 50% chance to trigger from shielding/defending an attack), while High Impact Bolt has a 15s cooldown before alacrity.

Energy Blast is the signature ability of the discipline and provides some pretty amazing buffs. It consumes 3 Power Screen stacks (normally it consumes all when the maximum is 3 prior to this tactical), deals moderate damage, regenerates 10 energy, has +25% threat generation, is off-GCD and most importantly provides +25% shield absorption for 6 seconds.

Finally, Power Yield has a 1 minute cooldown and normally provides +40% armor and +2% damage for 10 seconds and can stack up to five times.

So what does all this mean for the benefits of the tactical? Firstly, increasing the maximum number of Power Screen stacks from 3 to 6 means your maximum shield absorption buff goes from +3% to +6%. Energy Blast consumes these stacks so they will not have full uptime but should provide a consistent 1-3% higher average shield absorption most of the time.

Secondly, Power Yield providing a free 6 stacks of Power Screen and resetting the cooldown of Energy Blast means you should get 2 extra uses of this powerful ability every minute. That means higher uptime on the energy regeneration and on the +25% shield absorption buff.

My testing with this tactical suggests that it allows Energy Blast to be used once every 9s or so based on average shield chance and triggering of Ion Cell, while without the tactical it can be used every 12s or so. That may not sound huge but consider the implications. With the +25% absorption buff lasting 6s, using it on average every 9s means you have 75% uptime of a +25% absorption buff instead of 50% uptime normally. That means noticeably less burst damage taken over the course of a fight.

Another neat trick for this tactical is the ability to use Energy Blast as a strategic defensive cooldown via Power Yield. You wait until you have just used Energy Blast then trigger Power Yield. You get 6s of +25% absorption and you already have +6% absorption from the 6 stacks of Power Screen for a total of +31% absorption. This should mean an effective absorption rate of >80%. If you wait to use Energy Blast for 6s then trigger it, you get another 6s for 12s of consecutive >80% absorption for any shielded attacks.

What is the major downside of this tactical? Absorb chance only benefits you if you are successfully shielding attacks, so its effectiveness is reduced for melee/ranged attacks (since you can dodge them, meaning absorb stat was wasted) and is ineffective against internal/elemental damage that bypasses defense and shield chance. In this way, the tier of mitigation stats is DR > Shield > Absorb > Defense so even a noticeable boost to Absorb is not as strong boosts to DR like Oil Fire.

With all that said, in single target situations I think this tactical will be a strong performer unless the damage profile is heavily internal / elemental or if there are lots of enemies (where Oil Fire will provide a very large boost to overall DR).

Impact on Rotation:

Try to use Power Yield right after a use of Energy Blast to avoid capping stacks of Power Screen. If you are taking heavy damage by tanking an enemy at that time, try to delay that bonus use of Energy Blast for 6s to maintain a longer duration on the +25% absorption buff.

When to Take:

I suggest taking in any encounters with primarily one boss and low uptime on multiple targets, provided that the damage profile does not weigh too heavily towards internal/elemental damage. In those cases, I suggest Oil Fire. If running tank DPS and wanting to prioritize offensive damage then I suggest Superheated Fuel as the clear go-to for Vanguard DPS.

Oil Fire

Increased drop rate from operations.

Riot Gas makes targets susceptible to Ion Storm. For each enemy affected by Riot Gas hit with Ion Storm, your damage reduction is increased by 2% and the cooldown of Riot Gas is reduced by 1.5 seconds.


So this tactical is the Vanguard AoE mitigation tactical similar to Ancient Tome of Wrath for Shadow and Leviathan’s Hide for Guardian tanks.

I rate this tactical as being in the middle of those two and is nice to have for heavy AoE fights but not amazing enough to use in most encounters.

Riot Gas has a 1 minute cooldown and lasts for 10s. It applies a 15% accuracy debuff to melee/ranged attacks, so it effectively functions as a 15% defense buff. The DR buff applied by Ion Storm to a target affected by Riot Gas lasts for 10s.

Relatively few fights have lots of adds but those that do tend to alternate between just the boss and groups of adds, with the exception of very few fights where adds are nearly continuous (e.g., Hive Queen, Dxun Holding Pens, Dxun Control Center). So let’s consider how this tactical performs in mostly single target and in situations where there are 6 overall targets grouped up.

In single target the performance is predictably bad. Each time you use Riot Gas you can hit Ion Storm and get a +2% DR buff for 10s and reduce the cooldown on Riot Gas by 1.5 seconds from 60 seconds to 58.5 seconds before alacrity. That is quite weak compared to Thermal Screen which provides a nearly permanent +1-3% shield absorption buff and noticeably higher uptime on a +25% shield absorption buff.

Now let’s consider the AoE situations. Each time you use Riot Gas you can hit Ion Storm and get +12% DR for 10s and reduce the cooldown of Riot Gas by 9s. This would mean that you can get +12% DR for every 10s out of 51s, which is fairly high uptime on a really nice DR buff. If you read the commentary above on the Emergency Power set bonus and how the DR buff from Reactive Shield is amplified in terms of the reduction in actual damage taken, this means you should be getting a reduction in actual damage taken of more like 20-25% roughly one-fifth the time.

This makes the tactical a no brainer for any fights with heavy AoE add presence and where the tank takes heavy damage during these phases.

Impact on Rotation:

Make sure to time the use of Riot Gas only during add phases and make sure that it isn’t used right after Ion Storm. The 10s duration of Riot Gas and 15s cooldown on resetting the use of Ion Storm means its possible to miss them if Ion Storm was used shortly before hitting the cooldown.

When to Take:

This tactical should be optimal for fights with heavy add phases with heavy damage taken. Single tanking Grob’thok, Hive Queen, or some fights in Dxun are great examples. However, the tactical appears to be bugged and does not provide as much benefit as the tooltip suggests. As such, I suggest Thermal Screen for all encounters.


Increased drop rate from flashpoints.

Transposing a guarded target gives them a large amount of damage reduction for 6 seconds, taunts enemies, and places a benign presence on you. After 6 seconds, you swap back.


This tactical sounds nice as a way to take a never-used ability and make it a sort-of defensive cooldown. In practice, the results are difficult to align in a useful manner and so I do not recommend it as other tacticals provide far more consistently useful benefits.

Impact on Rotation:

If utilizing this tactical one should prioritize using your swap ability right before a heavy incoming burst attack to the tank, ideally when you do not have a good defensive available. The key will be to apply a guard to your fellow tank and swap with them before doing so, and to remember to remove the guard afterwards.

When to Take:

Not recommended. The tactical is fairly gimmicky and will not be worth the effort in most circumstances. In most instances it will be far simpler to use your AoE taunt to apply Sonic Rebounder and then have the other tank taunt to take aggro before a big hit, which should reflect the damage and provide similar mitigation.


Aural Resistance (or Tech Wizardry for offensive gearing)

Picking tank amplifiers can be frustrating due to the overly specialized nature of the options. You can pick amplifiers that mitigate any specific type of damage (weapon attacks, Force, Tech, DoT or AoE) along with some other options. Some fights have lots of certain types of damage but no fight has all of them, which makes picking tank amplifiers feel much weaker in terms of their impact. This is unique from DPS or healer amplifiers where any viable choice should help you on every fight in a relatively consistent manner.

The general consensus among theory crafters is either (1) set up two complete sets of gear and go heavy Force mitigation on one set and Tech mitigation on the other, and swap sets from fight to fight (e.g., Dread Palace has lots of Force damage, Gods has lots of Tech damage); or (2) go with Aural Resistance for all encounters. The first option is definitely optimal but much more expensive. The second is what most folks do outside of NiM progression (if any are left after the Veteran’s Edge / level cap fiasco).

Nearly every encounter has notable and sizable AoE damage. Most healers are stressed by four ways: (1) high burst damage to tanks (usually unavoidable); (2) high continuing damage to tanks (usually unavoidable); (3) high burst damage to DPS (usually avoidable); and (4) high consistent and/or burst AoE damage to the entire raid (sometimes avoidable, sometimes not). In this sense, getting a nice buff to AoE mitigation can help minimize the overall raid healing that is necessary from your healers and free them up to better burst heal you through tank-only mechanics. It’s not as good as an amplifier buff to overall DR or shield chance, but it’s still likely the best option available unless you want two different sets of gear.

As an alternative, tanks can go with offensive amplifier builds. You get more “bang for your buck” there and extra DPS = extra Threat and the boss goes down faster too. For this purpose, Tech Wizardry is an easy choice since the Vanguard tank deals primarily Tech damage.

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.

Energy Blast (15s cooldown, range 10m) - Fires a shot that consumes all Power Screen to deal elemental damage, regenerate 10 cells, and increase shield absorption by 25% for 6 seconds.

This ability is only useful with 3 Power Screen, generates 25% additional threat, and does not respect the global cooldown. Best ability for Shield Specialist tanks, it provides enormous energy regeneration and mitigations buffs. Due to a passive it also deals AOE damage up to 3 additional targets. Use whenever available.

Stockstrike (15 cells, 9s cooldown, range 4m) - Strikes the target with the buff of the rifle, dealing kinetic damage.

Shield Specialists benefit greatly from this ability due to passives buffing it. Stockstrike is guaranteed to trigger Ion Cell (which generates a Power Screen to increase shield absorption and enables Energy Blast), trigger high threat, and generates a stack of Shield Enhancers that increases shield chance by 1% and up to 3%. Can also be procced every 7.5 seconds to reset the CD. Use on cooldown.

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 key to the Shield Specialist rotation. It is guaranteed to trigger Ion Cell and generate a Power Screen (buffing absorption and enabling the use of Energy Blast, but also does AOE damage due to a passive ability and generates high threat. Use on cooldown

Ion Pulse (15 cells, no cooldown, range 10m) - Fires an Ion Pulse at the target, dealing elemental damage.

Basic spammable single target filler ability. Applies Weakened debuff (-5% melee/ranged damage dealt).

Ion Storm (20 cells, 18s cooldown, range 10m) - Sprays waves of ionizing energy in a 10-meter cone, dealing elemental damage to up to 8 enemy targets. Affected targets are impaired for 45 seconds, reducing the Force and tech damage they deal by 5%.

Replaces Ion Wave. Shield Specialist’s conal AOE ability, with the Pulse Engine passive that procs Ion Storm, it becomes a high damage component of a single target rotation as well.

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

Your pull ability. It should not be used as a DPS specialization except when there is a need to position targets for AOE damage (e.g., pulling Caustic adds near boss in Hive Queen encounter). With the Pull and Pummel utility, Harpoon becomes a free filler that does more damage than Hammer Shot, though to use it requires backing out of melee range.

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. Due to Static Surge passive that enables 2 free uses of Ion Pulse or Explosive Surge, frequent non-mobility based use of Storm is recommended to aid with energy regeneration.

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

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 should be pre-loaded before each fight and used during the opener. As much as possible, it should be used at the same time as the Battle Focus offensive cooldown to maximize its damage.

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

AOE filler ability. In an AOE rotation, Explosive Surge is should be used in place of Ion Pulse.

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 in some situations.

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.

Neural Jolt (15s cooldown, range 30m) - Taunts your enemy and forces them to attack you for 6 seconds and also grants sufficient threat to place you on top of the enemy's aggro table.

Single target taunt.

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.

The AOE taunt for Shield Specialist and threat drop for Tactics and Plasmatech. With the Sonic Rebounder utility, Sonic Round provides a one-attack reflect for all nearby friendly enemies. Should be utilized on cooldown if doing so will not prevent mechanic issues.

Battle Focus (2 minute cooldown) - Increases ranged and tech critical chance by 25% for 15 seconds. Also provides +35% defense chance per a passive ability in the tank discipline tree.

The most useful offensive cooldown. Should time use of this ability to coincide with the use of Shoulder Cannon for maximum DPS. It can also be used as a defensive for melee/ranged attacks.

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

Enables one free ability.

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

Your major energy regen ability.



Please note that the opener for Shield Specialist Vanguard is extremely fluid. The availability of Energy Blast, Stockstrike and Ion Storm can float several GCDs based on how frequently the player is shielding attacks and overall RNG. A player who is not taking regular damage will have those abilities available far less often, and even a player actively tanking enemies can see some float.

As such, I view this rotation as a general guide of how an opener could go and that the key focus should be understanding how to build threat in the opener through your ability priority and then how to properly prioritize abilities later, which generally is fairly simple. The main reason I extended this many actions (but only 15 GCDs) is to show how taunts can be layered into the opener. That is also fairly fluid depending on preference and playstyle. On some fights I will taunt earlier (like fights where losing aggro for a split second is a wipe) while on others I may delay a little longer to get a second Ion Storm in to let me build a bigger lead in threat generation coming out of the opener).



























  1. (Pre-Fight) Load Shoulder Cannon

  2. Harpoon - Harpoon generates sizable threat in a manner comparable to Shadow’s Force Pull. As such, it is worth it to use Harpoon before using a gap closer or while running into melee range.

  3. Storm - Storm isn’t necessarily needed as a gap closer, as it’s usually possible to run into melee range during the Harpoon GCD. The real benefit is proccing Static Surge, which will provide 2 free uses of Ion Pulse or Explosive Surge.

  4. Battle Focus OFF GCD - Used to maximize our burst DPS in the opener to also maximize threat generation. If the Thermal Screen tactical is not being taken, I suggest also using Power Yield off GCD here for an additional damage increase.

  5. Shoulder Cannon missiles until exhausted OFF GCD

  6. Ion Storm - Ion Storm is a powerful damage ability that also builds heavy threat and is useful for front loading threat/damage. It can be used on its regular cooldown as the first "regular" ability activation, then it should be procced by Pulse Engine and used on that basis for the remainder of any encounters absent downtime.

  7. Stockstrike - Best overall ability when Energy Blast isn’t available so use first and on cooldown.

  8. High Impact Bolt - Next best ability after Stockstrike. Also use on cooldown.

  9. Energy Blast OFF GCD - Stockstrike and High Impact Bolt are guaranteed to generate 1 Power Screen each, so if the tank has successfully shielded an ability then a third Power Screen will be generated and Energy Blast will be available and should be used. If Energy Blast is not procced by this spot in the rotation, simply use off GCD as soon as it procs.

  10. Neural Jolt OFF GCD - Now 5-6 GCDs into the opener and having used the top 3 threat abilities (Energy Blast, Stockstrike, and High Impact Bolt) and completed spam of Shoulder Cannon missiles, the greatest risk of losing aggro is the next several GCDs. A taunt locks in aggro on the boss.

  11. Power Yield OFF GCD - Assuming the player is taking the Thermal Screen tactical, I use Power Yield here. By resetting its cooldown we can get a second off GCD Energy Blast in the opener. As noted below, I typically delay its use to provide maximum overlap of the absorb buff. Technically that wastes Power Screens versus those we might generate during those 4 GCDs but I still prefer it for the mitigation benefit. If Energy Blast has not been used yet, delay Power Yield until immediately after its use.

  12. Ion Storm (should be procced by Pulse Engine) - High damage/threat ability should be used as soon as possible without delaying Stockstrike or High Impact Bolt.

  13. Ion Pulse (should be free via Static Surge) - Use Ion Pulse as a filler for all GCDs until Stockstrike is procced via Static Shield or High Impact Bolt comes off cooldown.

  14. Ion Pulse (should be free via Static Surge) - Use Ion Pulse as a filler for all GCDs until Stockstrike is procced via Static Shield or High Impact Bolt comes off cooldown.

  15. Energy Blast OFF GCD - We should use Energy Blast again 4 GCDs after its earlier use to maintain uptime on the absorption buff. This use is still within the Battle Focus and Power Yield duration so delaying it should not be a DPS loss. We may waste Power Screens that could have been generated if we were not capped via Power Yield and the Thermal Screen tactical, but as a practical matter we will always have plenty of Power Screens so that is not a huge issue.

  16. Ion Pulse - Filler while key abilities are on cooldown.

  17. Sonic Round - Using an AoE taunt as the taunt debuff from our initial taunt wears off. This helps us guarantee aggro on the boss, multiply our threat in the opener to build as big a lead in threat as possible, and should provide a Sonic Rebounder buff to help DPS a little bit for other players.

  18. Stockstrike - Static Shield passive can proc Stockstrike every 7.5 seconds via shielding an attack, so it should become available around now. If not then delay its use and continue the rotation and use it as soon as it procs.

  19. Ion Pulse - Filler while key abilities are on cooldown.

  20. Ion Pulse - Filler while key abilities are on cooldown.

  21. Ion Storm - Assuming it is available here it should be used. If it procs earlier it should be used in place of Ion Pulse. If it does not proc until a GCD when High Impact Bolt or Stockstrike is available, it should be delay to use those first then used immediately.

  22. Neural Jolt OFF GCD - Our third taunt in the opener used as soon as the AoE taunt debuff expires, this helps us further guarantee aggro and build threat.

  23. High Impact Bolt - Use off cooldown

  24. Ion Pulse - Filler while key abilities are on cooldown.

  25. Stockstrike - Estimated availability via its proc. It should be used on cooldown and takes priority over every other ability that triggers the GCD.

  26. Energy Blast OFF GCD - It should be available here via the cooldown reduction provided by generating Power Screens. If so, use off cooldown right before we use our single taunt again to wrap up the opener. If available earlier, use off cooldown.

(continue priority rotation)

Ability Priority

Note this priority ignores all off GCD abilities and cooldowns except for Energy Blast.







  1. Enery Blast - An off-GCD ability, it does solid damage and provides your best damage mitigation via its +25% absorption buff. This should be used as often as possible except for very occasionally when a predictable damage spike is coming and delaying its use 1-2 GCDs will fit it into the buff window.

  2. Stockstrike - Deals high damage, has a threat multiplier and provides strong mitigation benefits. It is not your top DPS ability but should be your top on-GCD priority.

  3. High Impact Bolt - Deals high damage (and AoE) and contributes to mitigation.

  4. Ion Storm - Top damage ability. It is this low in priority because it does not directly provide any mitigation benefits and due to its Pulse Engine proc cooldown can always be delayed for Stockstrike and/or High Impact Bolt without delaying its overall frequency of use.

  5. Ion Pulse - Filler ability, nothing special but better than Hammer Shot.

  6. Hammer Shot - Basic free attack. Is used very infrequently but occasionally.

Threat Generation

Highest to lowest. This is pretty close to your ability rotation most of the time. The 1st job of a Tank is to hold aggro, so stick to this most of the time.








  1. Ion Storm - Does not have a threat multiplier but deals very high damage and base threat.

  2. Energy Blast - Does very high damage and threat off GCD.

  3. Harpoon - Does not deal any damage without a utility but generates very high threat.

  4. Stockstrike - Does high damage and has a threat multiplier.

  5. High Impact Bolt - Does high damage and has a threat multiplier.

  6. Ion Pulse - Spammable filler generates decent threat.

  7. Hammer Shot - Basic attack generates minimal threat.


This is similar to the Threat Generation. Use these abilities AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE to maximize your mitigation.






  1. Energy Blast - Shield absorption +25% for 6 seconds

  2. Stockstrike - Shield chance +1% (stacks to max of +3%), grants Power Screen (absorption +1%)

  3. High Impact Bolt - Grants Power Screen (absorption +1%)

  4. Ion Storm - Applies Impaired debuff (-5% force/tech damage dealt)

  5. Sonic Round - AoE taunt, grants Sonic Rebounder for everyone else in group

AoE Situations

Combined with effective use of your AoE taunt, Vanguards should be capable of really strong AoE DPS and easily hold aggro in most situations.







  1. Energy Blast - An AoE ability and provides great defensive benefits.

  2. High Impact Bolt - Due to a passive ability, does AoE damage and generates Power Screen

  3. Ion Storm - Strongest hitting AoE ability, just recall that it is a conal not a 360 degree AoE

  4. Artillery Blitz - AoE filler

  5. Flak Shell - AoE filler

  6. Explosive Surge - Spammable AoE

Summary - Vanguards have the strongest overall AoE DPS while in a tank role compared to the other classes, especially when skillful positioning can enable use of Static Surge to get free uses of Explosive Surge.

Defensive Cooldowns









  1. Riot Gas (melee/ranged “white” damage) - Reduces enemy accuracy by 15% for 10 seconds for all standing in its radius, as well as receiving a 70% slow though that is less relevant in PVE content. This defensive is very useful on bosses that have a very powerful basic attack (e.g., Draxus). Unlike most tank defensives, Riot Gas can be used to benefit other players and is a great defensive to use in an off-tank role to help the main tank. Two Vanguard tanks can maintain a very high uptime of this ability when coordinating its use. Unfortunately, most highly dangerous abilities are force/tech and not affected by this defensive.

  2. 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.

  3. 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. This isn’t a defensive ability precisely but functions similarly by helping you recover from damage. Not useful against big spike damage, it is extremely useful against steady damage during a burn phase. Some examples include Draxus’ or add attacks, the tank challenge in Raptus, or burn phase in Dread Council.

  4. 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. This should still be considered a tank defensive because the less healing that is needed for non-tanks means the more healing energy is available for you! See the section at the end for some examples of potential effective use of Sonic Rebounder.

  5. Adrenal (various) - Use the best available tanking adrenal, which will absorb 30% of incoming damage up to a certain limit. Lasts 15s and a 3 minute cooldown. Most fights last between 5-7 minutes, so in difficult fights try to time an adrenal as an additional defensive cooldown early in the fight so you can use it twice. Since Vanguards have relatively few defensive cooldowns, a shield adrenal is noticeably more helpful.

  6. Shrouded Crusader Relic (all damage except elemental/internal) - Provides a buff to Shield and Absorb stats for 20s depending on item level. Not normally optimal for tanks, Vanguards may benefit from equipping this relic to provide another defensive. Given Vanguard’s already very high shield chance (especially for 6s following Energy Blast), the duration of the relic defensive buff should get very close to 100% shield chance for 20s.

  7. Battle Focus (melee/ranged "white" damage) - Provides +35% defense chance for its duration of 15s. 2 minute cooldown. This one is commonly forgotten by newer tanks as it also functions as a powerful offensive cooldown, especially if you are wearing a Meteor Brawler set. That said, this buff will take your average defense chance from the 40's to the upper 70's and can be situationally very useful for fights with extended phase with damage that can be mitigated by defense.

  8. Power Yield (all damage except Internal/Elemental damage) - Increases armor by +40% per stack up to 5 total stacks. 1 minute cooldown. Armor is helpful to mitigating all melee/ranged attacks (white damage) and Force/Tech attacks dealing kinetic/energy damage. Armor does not help mitigate internal/elemental damage. This makes Power Yield a useful low-cooldown defensive ability, doubly so when using the Thermal Screen tactical to enable an extra use of Energy Blast to provide an extra 6s of +25% shield absorption.

How to use your taunts

The biggest difference between a skilled tank and an unskilled tank is their use of Taunts. A skilled tank will nearly always have a taunt available if needed and doesn’t rely on taunts to maintain aggro on the boss, whereas an unskilled tank will frequently lose aggro and say “my taunt is on cooldown!!” leading to a DPS or healer getting killed.


Use Taunt in your opener. Your opener should be focused on building maximum threat. When used optimally, you should NOT need a taunt to hold aggro in the opener. However, using a single target Taunt after your heavy hitters should help give you cushion. The single taunt has a short cooldown and few Ops require target swaps in the first 20 seconds, so in almost every case using Taunt in your opener is a best practice.


Use Taunt as the first ability in your opener. Taunt has two functions: (1) forces target to target you for 6 seconds; and (2) boosts you to the top of the Threat table plus a small cushion. Using Taunt to pull grants virtually no aggro at all, so the only benefit is it makes the Boss target you for 6 seconds. Since you should be using your heavy hitters up front, this makes you much more likely to lose aggro 10-15 seconds into the pull. NEVER USE YOUR TAUNT TO PULL. Sorry, that can’t be stressed enough. Optimally, you should use your taunt around 10-15 seconds into the pull when your heavy threat abilities are on cooldown and you start using lesser abilities. This will give you extra Threat and cushion, carrying you until your threat builders come off cooldown. After 2 sequences of threat building, you should generally be in good shape from a Threat perspective.


Taunt whenever you lose Aggro. This is simple and should be easily tracked via Target of Target. If you are tanking a boss and they swap to a DPS, Taunt immediately and call it out in voice chat to remind the DPS players so they can use a threat drop ability.


Taunt on cooldown. As long as you can maintain Aggro on the boss, you should try to conserve Taunts. Many fights require tank swaps and having a single Taunt can be great to help control adds. The worst thing that can happen is to need a Taunt and it be on cooldown.


Remind DPS to let Tank pull. It’s fine to remind people that tanks should pull first. This enables you to grab initial Aggro and flow into your threat building abilities to maintain Aggro on the boss. A DPS pulling early can mess that up and cause a group wipe. On PUG’s, I will give one or two reminders then the next time I will let the DPS die on a trash pull to remind them. Don’t do that to guild members, but if you’re having issues do let an officer or the Op leader know and they will deal with the situation.


Communicate when you Taunt. DPS should be using threat drop abilities on cooldown, but communicating when you Taunt is a good reminder. It is also very helpful for the second tank so they know what you’re doing and don’t accidentally taunt at the same time.


Complain about DPS losing aggro or ask them to “go slow on DPS”. DPS should always be trying to do maximum DPS. Period. The classes are balanced such that tanks should be able to maintain aggro on the boss without using a Taunt. Combined with a single Taunt and an AoE taunt, there is no excuse for an experienced tank to need DPS to hold back. That said, I would make an exception for gearing runs where a new tank with poor gear is running with over-geared DPS players.

Other Tips and Tricks

Use Target of Target. This enables you to see who is targeted. If you lose aggro, you will see it when the boss swaps to a DPS or a healer. You can then Taunt back immediately instead of waiting for them to complain, die, or take massive damage.

Use Guard effectively. You should guard the highest DPS. Period. You should not guard the healer. Their heals build inconsequential threat on any enemy who is taking damage. The only way a healer should pull aggro is on adds not taking any damage. Depending on the fight, responsibility for those adds should fall on the off-tank or assigned DPS.

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