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SWTOR 5.0 Virulence Sniper PvE Guide by Veldix

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Intro to Virulence Sniper



Hi, I’m Veldix/Veldoodle, a nightmare raider who plays mainly on the
Harbinger server (5.0 killed all of my alts. FeelsBadMan). I am a member
of <Failure> and do a majority of my progression raiding with
them. I am a newer member to the nightmare raiding community, raiding
only since last February. In 4.0 I cleared all 8-man bosses with Failure
and Shadow Council of the Ebon Hawk, all by hopping in Jay’s backpack
(thx fam).
5.0 Changes


Aside from the discipline path changes (which is pointless for me to
cover in an endgame guide), the following are the only discipline/class
changes in 5.0 that have affected virulence:

New Passive:

Toxic Surge – Weakening Blast applies Toxic Surge to the target,
which causes X internal damage the next time the target takes damage
from your Corrosive Grenade.

Renamed Passive:

Hew has been renamed to Decay

New Utilities:




Executioner
Passive

Flash Bang and Maim grant Executioner, allowing your next Takedown
within 6 seconds to be used regardless of the target’s remaining health
and deal 15% additional damage.




Fortuitous Bedlam
Passive

For every target affected beyond the first, Diversion grants a charge
of Fortuitous Bedlam, increasing armor penetration by 15% per charge.
This effect lasts 8 seconds.




Reinforcing Retreat
Passive

Covered Escape heals you for 10% of your maximum health. Additionally, Evasion now lasts 5 seconds.




Counteroffensive Safeguards
Passive

When Ballistic Shield is activated you gain a charge of
Counteroffensive Safeguards for each enemy inside your Ballistic Shield,
up to 4. This effect lasts 20 seconds and each charge increases your
damage reduction by 5%. In addition, while inside your Ballistic Shield,
you heal for 3% of your maximum health every second and you are immune
to being pulled or knocked back.





Merged Utilities:




New Utility
Removed Utility


Stroke of Genius
Passive

Activating Cover Pulse makes the next Snipe or Lethal Shot activate instantly and increases your chance to resist Force and tech attacks by 20% for 6 seconds.


Counterstrike
Passive

Countermeasures will also purge all movement-impairing effects when activated.




Lumbering Impact
Passive

Shatter Shot reduces the movement speed of the target by 50% for 10 seconds. In addition, when Flash Bang ends it leaves behind Flash Powder that reduces the target’s accuracy by 20% for 8 seconds.


Flash Powder
Passive

Reduces target’s accuracy by 20% for 8 seconds after Flash Bang ends.




Reestablish Range
Passive

Striking a target with Shiv Countermeasures purges all movement-impairing effects when activated and grants Reestablish Range, increasing your movement speed by 50% 75% for 3 6
seconds. Additionally, the final shot of Series of Shots and
Penetrating Blasts knocks back the target if they are within 10 meters.


Counterstrike
Passive

Countermeasures will also purge all movement-impairing effects when activated.




Hold Your Ground
Passive

Reduces the cooldowns of Shield Probe and Cover Pulse by 5 seconds, and Escape by 30 seconds. In addition, when you exit cover you gain a Cover Screen that increases your ranged defense by 20% for 6 seconds.


Cover Screen
Passive

When exiting cover, you increase your ranged defense by 20% for 6 seconds.





Changed Utilities:




Calculated Pursuit
Passive

You gain 4 charges of Calculated Pursuit upon exiting cover, which reduces the energy cost of Overload Shot by 100%. allow Snipe to be activated while moving. Each use of Overload Shot Snipe consumes 1 charge, and consumption of the first charge triggers a 20 second rate-limit on this skill. This effect lasts up to 15 seconds but is also removed by consuming all charges or reentering cover. , but reentering cover removes the effect prematurely.




Over-prepared
Passive

Reduces the cooldown of Imperial Preparation by 30 45 seconds and increases your damage reduction by 10%15% for 10 15 seconds after activating Imperial Preparation.




Vital Regulators
Passive

While in cover, you heal for 1% 2% of your total health every 3 seconds.





Gear/Stats


Currently in all 240s except for armorings and relics, and my current stating is:

  • 6192 Mastery
  • 3285 Power
  • 1704 Crit
  • 1370 Alacrity
  • 733 Accuracy

I am not anywhere near BiS right now and cannot give a definitive
gear setup that I will use, so I am recommending following Bant’s theory
crafted numbers:

242 Gear

9748+-144 DPS @ 37.7 APM | 8205 Endurance | 6536 Mastery (1xC) | 3694 Power

1719 Critical (5xE, 4xA, 1xC) | 1532 Alacrity (4xE, 7xA) | 743 Accuracy (1xE, 3xA, Stim)

240 Gear

9365+-136 DPS @ 37.6 APM | 7881 Endurance | 6327 Mastery (2xC) | 3506 Power

1648 Critical (7xE) | 1466 Alacrity (2xE, 11xA) | 733 Accuracy (1xE, 3xA, Stim)

236 Gear

9071+-129 DPS @ 37.4 APM | 7741 Endurance | 6259 Mastery (1xA, 1xC) | 3424 Power

1602 Critical (1xE, 12xA, 1xC) | 1400 Alacrity (7xE) | 736 Accuracy (2xE, 1xA, Stim)

234 Gear

8610+-119 DPS @ 37.1 APM | 7440 Endurance | 6128 Mastery (Stim) | 3337 Power

1434 Critical (13xA, 2xC) | 1236 Alacrity (6xE, 1xA) | 760 Accuracy (4xE)

230 Gear

8294+-112 DPS @ 36.9 APM | 7167 Endurance | 5901 Mastery (Stim) | 3183 Power

1417 Critical (1xE, 11xA, 2xC) | 1182 Alacrity (6xE, 1xA) | 735 Accuracy (3xE, 2xA)

Utilities


There are many utilities that are worth taking, and this section will
cover the ones that I think have the most use or could be used in
certain situations in operations. I usually spec into a 3/1/2/2 setup.

Skillful





Ballistic Dampers: – See defensives section. It is a must take at all times.



Snap Shot – Entering cover makes the
next Snipe or Lethal Shot activate instantly. This effect cannot occur
more than once every 6 seconds.
Snap Shot allows you to front load your lethal shots, which helps
with energy management. It also let’s you be a little more mobile.





Imperial Efficiency – Increases the damage dealt by Suppressive Fire by 25%.
Take this on any fight where you are going to be using suppressive fire.





Calculated Pursuit – You gain 4
charges of Calculated Pursuit upon exiting cover, which allow Snipe to
be activated while moving. Each use of Snipe consumes 1 charge, and
consumption of the first charge triggers a 20 second rate-limit on this
skill. This effect lasts up to 15 seconds, but reentering cover removes
the effect prematurely.
This utility simply allows us to be very mobile for a short period of
time. However, Lethal Shot will suffer from major push back with it.
You can use this utility situationally.





Masterful





Seek Cover – When Entrench ends or
you leave cover while Entrench in active, you gain Seek Cover, which
increases your movement speed by 50% and grants immunity to movement
impairing effects. Lasts 6 seconds.
Seek Cover is a personal favorite of mine. It lets you reposition
much faster with entrench active so you spend less time out of cover.





Stroke of Genius- Activating Cover
Pulse makes the next Snipe or Lethal Shot activate instantly and
increases your chance to resist Force and tech attacks by 20% for 6
seconds.
Mac brought this to my attention, and I must say he was right about
this utility. Instant Lethal Shot is a nice thing to have in case you
need to be mobile, and the resist chance for force/tech attacks can help
healers out in certain situations





Heroic





Pillbox Sniper – Reduces the cooldown of Entrench by 15 seconds and Cover Pulse knocks targets back an additional 4 meters.
The Entrench CD reduction goes great with the other recommended utility in this tier.





Siege Bunker – Reduces all area effect damage taken by 60% while Entrench is active.
Turns Entrench into a great defensive CD. Incredibly useful for many fights.





Legendary





Defensive Safeguards – When
Ballistic Shield is activated you gain a charge of Defensive Safeguards
for each enemy inside your Ballistic Shield, up to 4. This effect lasts
20 seconds and each charge increases your damage reduction by 5%. In
addition, while inside your Ballistic Shield, you heal for 3% of your
maximum health every second and you are immune to being pulled or
knocked back.
This utility makes Ballistic Shield more OP than it already was. Take it.





Deployed Shields – Reduces all damage taken while in cover by 5% and reduces the cooldown of Ballistic Shield by 30 seconds.
The 5% damage reduction in cover is very helpful, as is the 30 second CD reduction on Super Ballistic Shield.





Controlled Chaos – Diversion grants a
charge of Controlled Chaos for every target initially affected beyond
the first. Each charge increases armor penetration by 10%. This effect
lasts for 8 seconds.
This has the potential to allow you some massive AoE damage while
providing some defensive help for your group. Only take this on heavy
AoE fights.





Abilities and Passives



Defensive Abilities






Shield Probe (30 second CD): Summons a probe droid that projects a shield around the Agent, absorbing a moderate amount of incoming damage for 10 seconds.
This is very useful for blocking some incoming damage that you know is coming (like heave on Revan)





Entrench (45 second CD with right utilities): Entrenches you into cover, becoming immune to all controlling effects. Only grants protection while in cover. Lasts 20 seconds.
Entrench is an incredibly useful tool. If you take the right
utilities, it can be used to mitigate huge amounts of AoE damage, as
well as prevent knockbacks/stuns.





Evasion (1 minute CD): Increases your chance to dodge melee and ranged attacks by 200% for 3 seconds. Does not break Stealth.
Evasion can be a very situational defensive. You can completely avoid
some attacks, but others it do nothing. Try to learn where it can and
can’t be used to effectively mitigate .





Covered Escape (20 second CD): Roll
forward 18 meters, purging movement-impairing effects and landing
crouched behind cover. While rolling, your chance to dodge attacks is
increased by 100%.
Covered Escape is an amazing defensive. While it can be used
offensively due to corrosive mine being attached to it, it should
primarily be used to mitigate all of the damage of a single attack or to
get out of damage quickly.





Imperial Preparation (3 minute CD): Immediately finishes the active cooldowns on Evasion, Countermeasures, Shield Probe, Cover Pulse, Entrench, and Covered Escape.
Our defensive were already great, but now we can have even more of
them! Imperial Prep. resets the CD’s of the 4 defensives I listed above
and can allow you to mitigate so much damage in a short window of time.
Healers will love you.





Ballistic Shield: Deploys a
ballistic shield that spans 10 meters around you, reducing the damage
taken by all allies that remain inside by 20%. Lasts 20 seconds.
Rather than getting an offensive raid buff, snipers got a defensive
one. This shield is absolutely amazing for phases when a group is taking
massive amounts of damage. With the Counteroffensive Safeguards
utility, you can be pretty much unkillable (or at least until the pvp
players get it nerfed). Drop this shield on council burn and you are
mitigating 20% for everyone else and 40% for yourself while healing
yourself 3% every second. It can also prevent knockbacks, which is
useful on brontes.





Ballistic Dampers: absorbs 30% of
the damage dealt by incoming attacks. This effect cannot occur more than
once every 1.5 seconds. Ballistic Dampers can only be gained once every
6 seconds.
This is a passive utility, but it is worth mentioning here because it
is so useful and you should always have this utility and is one of your
best defensives. Make sure you are constantly reentering cover to keep
them up. If you are specced into snapshot, Ballistic Dampers will
refresh when it does as well.





Key Passives






Corrosive Dispersion: Corrosive
Grenade spreads your Corrosive Dart to the targets it damages, as long
as it damages at least one target already affected by your Corrosive
Dart.Finally, DoT spreading! Unfortunately this is only a 4 meter
radius, but if there are 4+ targets this is great to take advantage of.



Decay: Increases the damage dealt by
Snipe, Lethal Shot, Series of Shots, and Cull by 5%. Additionally, when
Corrosive Grenade and Corrosive Dart end they are replaced by a
lingering version for 5 seconds that will only deal damage when Cull
deals damage.



Lethal Purpose: Reduces the cooldown of Adrenaline Probe by 15 seconds. In addition, critical hits with poison effects restores 2 energy.



Devouring Microbes: Increases the
damage dealt by poison effects by 15% on targets below 30% of max
health. In addition, if a target dies with Weakening Blast, it finishes
the cooldown of Weakening Blast.



Lethal Takedown: Damage dealt by
Cull has an 80% chance to trigger Lethal Takedown, which finished the
cooldown of Takedown and makes your next Takedown usable on a target
with any health level.



Corrosive Mine: Increases the
duration of your Ballistic Shield by 5 seconds. In addition, when you
activate Covered Escape, you detonate a Corrosive Mine that deals X
internal damage to all nearby enemies over the duration. Targets that
remain within are additionally slowed by 70% for the duration. Lasts 8
seconds. Does not affect sleeping or incapacitated targets



Rotation



The 5.0 Virulence rotation is still that same as it was in 4.0 and 3.0:

Opener




*Broken down by GCD and NOT ability activated, hence Cull and Series of Shots take up 2 consecutive CGD’s

*Precasts are ideally Orbital Strike > (wait .5 seconds) Lethal
Shot (hard casted), but if you cannot get both off (because tanks are
evil) just try to precast lethal shot to proc your set bonus.


*Filler should be either Lethal Shot or Rifle Shot/Roll depending on energy.

*Replace Series of Shots with 2x Lethal Shot or Lethals Shot + Roll (if on dummy)

Core Rotation




*Broken down by GCD and NOT ability activated, hence Cull and Series of Shots take up 2 consecutive CGD’s

*Replace Takedowns and Lethal Shots with Rolls/Rifle Shots when you are low on energy.

Special Note: I delay dots by 1 GCD to get 1 extra tick of
weakening blast in in the first row. This is probably very unnecessary
and feel free to apply dots in the first two GCD’s instead

This rotation assumes 100% uptime on a boss, which is indeed very
possible in a lot of situations, but not all the time. When we do not
have 100% uptime, we resort to a priority system:

  1. Keep Corrosive Dart + Corrosive Grenade or their Decay (Hew) effects up
  2. Weakening Blast (Almost always used the GCD before Cull)
  3. Cull
  4. Lethal Shot (only if under Weakening Blast or sub 30%)
  5. Takedown (unless sub 30%)
  6. Series of Shots (if not under Weakening Blast)
  7. Covered Escape (situational)
  8. Rifle Shot

You should never delay a higher priority ability except under rare
circumstances (such as precasting on the Kell Dragon on Styrak or
Kephess 2.0: Kephess Harder).

Special notes on some of these priorities:

2. If you use Weakening Blast in the GCD right before Cull, you can
fit the first tick of the following the Cull within the WB window,
resulting in an extra boost to damage

4. Lethal Shot causes more damage than Takedown while the Weakening
Blast debuff is on the target, but less without it. Lethal Shot also
does more damage than Takedown on sub 30% targets and should be
prioritized 100% of the time then. You can also do a hard casted Lethal
Shot before a Weakening Blast and the Lethal Shot with hit after
weakening blast applies.

5. Takedown is a higher priority than lethal shot even when the
Weakening Blast debuff is on a target IF AND ONLY IF weakening blast
will expire before lethal shot hits. i.e. if you use
WB>Cull>Lethal Shot>Lethal Shot>Lethal Shot>Takedown>Cull,
Takedown is used in the bolded spot because a hard casted lethal shot
would not hit before the WB debuff expired, and therefore TD will do
more damage. If you are running high enough alacrity, you should be able
to get a lethal shot in if you do not have much ability delay (Using
Snap Shot and Stroke of Genius instant cast can help with this as well).
Takedown should also be used if you need to be mobile.

6. Series of Shots should be replaced by 2x Lethal Shots if you have
excess energy during raid, which often happens if you are double
dotting. On a dummy and on a few fights, you can replace it with Lethal
Shot + Covered Escape, but it is often going to be more efficient to do
this on a 4x Lethal Shot Block instead.

7. Covered escape should only be used if you do not need it to mitigate any damage or quickly move out of something soon.

As far as energy regen abilities like Target Acquired (refunds 15
energy with the set bonus) and Adrenaline Probe (recovers 50 energy),
you should generally use them when they are available to use more Lethal
Shots and Takedowns. You should hold these if you are coming up on a
burn phase, however.

Multi-Dotting


Multi-Dotting is a great dps increase when it can be used. It not
only increases your DPS but also makes your energy management easier due
to dot crits refunding energy. Fights that allow for effective
multi-dotting include bosses such as Sword Squadron, Firebrand and
Stormcaller, Master and Blaster, Coratanni, Brontes, Council, and a few
others. When multi-dotting, the rotation looks like this:

2 target multi-dotting:



3 target multi-dotting (Pretty much exclusive to Dread Council):



You should use all of your normal attacks (like WB, Cull, Lethal Shot, Takedown) on your main target.

DoT Spreading


You should try to spread your DoTs whenever possible onto targets
that actually need to be damaged. For example, DoT spreading from Styrak
to Brontes on Council phase 2 you should do, but on dread guards you
should not do so (at least on purpose) except to Ciphas on 1st phase.
You should be able to replace a Takedown or Lethal Shot in the rotation
with Corrosive Grenade to do so, or you could slightly delay Corrosive
Grenade if it won’t delay a Cull. Sometimes it works out that you will
dot spread without needing to change the rotation at all. Be happy when
this happens.

AoE Rotation


When you have the ability to AoE, you can do massive damage. Your
priorities will depend on much health the enemies have/how will die. If
they will die relatively quickly, you should just use a Suppressive Fire
or Covered Escape if you don’t need it soon. If they will live for a
bit, you should

Spread DoTs > Suppressive Fire > Covered Escape > Rifle Shot

Spread your corrosive dart of of your main target with corrosive
grenade if possible, otherwise just do corrosive dart > corrosive
grenade on a pack of ads to spread. If there are more than 4 enemies and
you are taking the new Fortuitous Bedlam utility, you should throw a
diversion right before suppressive firing. Sometimes we can precast as
well, and if that is the case (like in Corruptor Zero), you should
precast Orbital Strike.

Misc Tips


Regarding Energy Management

Use snapshot if you will come out of a Cull with high energy (like
95%+) so you don’t cap/stay capped on energy. Try to never go below 60%
energy unless you have an energy cooldown to instantly bring it back
over.

Clipping Your Channels

You can clip your Cull and Series of Shots channels to squeeze out an
extra bit of dps. You can clip and 0.0 or 0.1 seconds remaining and
still have all 4 hits of each hit. This helps your DPS in two ways: 1)
decreases the time it takes to do the same abilities, and 2) helps to
make sure you get the first tick of a second cull under Weakening Blast.

Precasting on an in Combat Target

The key place this is important is on Brontes. Since you are already
in combat, you can precast your dots on her before she is damageable. I
have two precast methods that are dependant on whether I have the energy
for orbital strike or if it is off cooldown. My timing for precasting
on Brontes is as follows:

(Time Left on Channel / Time into Cast) -because the initial immunity
phase is her channeling and when shields are active it is a cast, I am
listing both times here.

With Orbital:

(7.4 / 2.6) Corrosive Dart

(6.0 / 4.0) Corrosive Grenade

(4.6 / 5.4) Orbital Strike

(2.7 / 7.2) Weakening Blast

(1.3 / 8.6) Lethal Shot (Casted, not instant)

Without Orbital:

(5.6 / 4.4) Corrosive Dart

(4.2 / 5.8) Corrosive Grenade

(2.8 / 7.2) Weakening Blast

(1.4 / 8.6) Lethal Shot (Casted, not instant)

And from there I go into a Cull and usually a 3x Lethal Shot + Takedown Block.

Raiding



Playing Virulence In Raid


Virulence is a viable spec on every fight if you can play it right,
although it is definitely less ideal on certain fights. This list has
been created as a recommendation for when to play each of the sniper
specs (subject to nerfs and buffs).

Explosive Conflict

  • Zorn and Toth: Virulence
  • Firebrand and Stormcaller: Virulence
  • Colonel Vorgath: Virulence
  • OG Kephess: Virulence

Terror From Beyond

  • Writhing Horror: Virulence
  • Dread Guards: Virulence
  • Operator IX: Virulence or Marksmanship
  • Kephess II: Return of the Meme: Virulence
  • Terror from Beyond: Virulence

Scum and Villainy

  • Darude, Sandstorm: Engineering
  • Titan 6: Any spec works
  • Thrasher: Virulence or Marksmanship
  • Ops Chief and his Skittles Squad: Marksmanship
  • Olok the Shadow: Virulence
  • Cartel Warlords: Virulence
  • StyrAIDS™: Virulence if NiM, Marksmanship if HM

Dread Fortress

  • Nefra: Virulence
  • Draxus: Any spec works
  • Grob’thok: Virulence or Engineering
  • Corruptor Zero: Any spec works
  • Brontes and Mini Kephess: Virulence

Dread Palace

  • Bestia: Virulence
  • Tyransasaurus Rekt: Virulence (or Engineering if you’re feeling gutsy and want to run with the melee like a champ)
  • Calphayus: Virulence or Engineering
  • Raptus:Marksmanship
  • Council: Virulence

Ravagers

  • Sparky: Virulence
  • Bulo: Virulence
  • Torque: Marksmanship
  • Master and Blaster: Virulence
  • Coratanni: Virulence

Temple of Sacrifice

  • Malaphar the Savage: Virulence
  • Sword Squadron: Virulence
  • The Underlurker: ANy spec works
  • Revanite Commanders: Marksmanship
  • Revan: Virulence

How to Be Great Raider


You can be able to put out fantastic numbers on a dummy and easy
bosses, but none of it matters if you can’t execute mechanics. To be a
good raider, you need to but mechanics ahead of DPS. The key to being
the best is being able to execute mechanics while maintaining great DPS.
Learn to be aware of the things that are happening around you and
prepare for mechanics in advance. Know when you need to move and be
prepared to save a few abilities or pop defensives in advance.

Fluffing

There are two types of “fluff”. The good kind is when Mercs/PT’s use
pyro shield or Marauders use cloak of pain and stand in things to add
some dps to the boss when healing isn’t an issue. The bad kind is when
you damage adds that you never need to damage, like reaches on brontes
are the pirates on bulo. Don’t be a bad fluffer.

Being Ahead of the Tanks

Make sure you know where your tanks are tanking the boss. When a tank
decides to taunt a boss far away from you when you just activated a
Cull, it FeelsBadMan. Make sure you know the tanking pattern that will
be used to make sure you have as much uptime as possible.

Also, don’t compare yourself to the logs on parsely for every fight.
Your dps is going to be heavily dependant on the group composition for
every fight. Lots of fights have AoE potential, and having a group of
low AoE potential DPS allows you to get more AoE damage. There are only a
few fights where RNG or Group composition will not have a large factor
on dps.

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