So you decided that you want to play an Assassin? Excellent, you have made a good decision. Being in the thick of things, slashing and stabbing with a double-bladed lightsaber, all the while sneaking through the shadows to pick and choose your battles; these are the things that define our advanced class.
Anyway, a good place to start when discussing the fundamentals is the very thing that makes an advanced class unique: your skill tree. As a DPS, we really have two trees to choose from, Deception and Madness. This article will focus on Deception.
Note: for the purposes of this post and most others like it, remember that the Jedi Shadow is a near mirror of the Sith Assassin. Ability and skill names are different, but most of the mechanics are the same (with a few exceptions).
Insulation – Increases armor rating by 15/30% while Surging Charge or Lightning Charge is active.
Duplicity – Direct damage attacks have a 10/20/30% chance to grant Exploit Weakness, causing your next Maul to ignore 50% of the target’s armor and cost 50% less Force. Cannot occur more than once every 10 seconds.
Dark Embrace – While in stealth mode and for 6 seconds after leaving stealth mode, Force regen is increased by 25/50%.
Insulation may be somewhat useful while leveling, but if you’re getting hit a lot… well, that’s what you have Khem for, or your friendly neighborhood Powertech. Duplicity and Dark Embrace are the notable grabs here, with Dark Embrace making a comeback later on in the form of Blackout, one of our first cooldowns.
Obfuscation – Increases your effective stealth level by 1/2/3 and movement speed by 5/10/15%.
Recirculation – Reduces the cooldown of Discharge by 1.5/3 seconds.
Avoidance – Lowers the cooldown of Jolt by 1/2 seconds and Unbreakable Will by 15/30 seconds.
Recirculation is an obvious choice, but you may be asking yourself, why are you taking Obfuscation, Dan? Well… it’s a quality-of-life choice, really. I have always been a huge fan of movement speed increases. Out of combat, of course, we all have some sort of constant sprint. In combat, however, we lose this boost. Increasing in-combat speed to 115% (or in-stealth speed to 97.75%) would help tremendously with survival and DPS uptime.
All that being said, however, another viable alternative would be to go 2/2 in Avoidance (shaving 2 seconds off Jolt would be the main purpose here, but maybe we’ll be using UW in encounters too?) and 1/3 in Obfuscation. Or, if you like seeing all possible combinations, 1/2 in Avoidance and 2/3 in Obfuscation… but 2/2 in Avoidance seems like the better option.
Induction – Increases the critical strike damage dealt by Maul by 15/30%. In addition, Thrash and Voltaic Slash have a 50/100% chance to grant Induction, reducing the Force cost of your next Shock by 25%. Stacks up to 2 times.
Surging Charge – Charges your lightsaber with raw surging Force, giving your attacks a 25% chance to deal 229 internal damage. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds. Requires a double-bladed lightsaber. Does not break Stealth.
Darkswell – Blackout can now be used out of stealth mode, granting 6 seconds of Dark Embrace and restoring 10 Force. In addition, Force Cloak no longer reduces healing done and received.
Deceptive Power – Increases your total Force by 10.
Surging Charge should be the first talent you take in this tier, though you’ll be grabbing them all anyway. Induction is a direct increase to our damage potential, Deceptive Power gives us more Force to play with, Surging Charge becomes an amazing DPS charge (modified through later talents), and Darkswell turns Blackout into an out-of-stealth Force generator. All of these talents are winners, and you should not regret picking all of them up.
Entropic Field – Reduces damage taken from area effects by 15/30%.
Saber Conduit – Your Surging Charge has a 33/66/100% chance to restore 10 Force when it deals damage to an enemy. This effect cannot occur more than once every 10 seconds.
Fade – Lowers the cooldown of Blackout by 7.5/15 seconds and Force Cloak by 30/60 seconds.
Static Cling – Increases the duration of Force Slow and reduces the cooldown of Force Slow by 3/6 seconds.
Remember when I said Surging Charge would become our superior DPS charge after modified by later talents? Well, here’s Saber Conduit, the first of such talents. Also worthwhile is Fade, which lowers the cooldown on Blackout by 15 seconds. Entropic Field could find some use in heavy area damage encounters, but generally this smells like Static Cling and the rest of the PvP talents.
Resourcefulness – Reduces the Force cost of Lacerate by 5/10, and reduces the cooldown of Overcharge Saber by 15/30 seconds.
Static Charges – When your Surging Charge deals damage, you have a 50/100% chance to build a Static Charge, increasing the damage dealt by your next Surging Charge by 6%. Stacks up to 5 times.
Low Slash – Slashes the target low, dealing 1129-1259 weapon damage and incapacitating the target for 4 seconds. Damage causes this effect to end prematurely. Requires a double-bladed lightsaber.
Resourcefulness is a must, as OS is a huge DPS cooldown. Static Charges, the second of the Surging Charge-boosting talents, is another great pick. Lastly, Low Slash is more of a PvP ability, but we need to pick it up because it is the precursor to a much more powerful ability.
Crackling Blasts – Increases the critical strike damage dealt by your Discharge effects and Shock by 10/20/30/40/50%.
More crit on Discharge and Shock, what should be two of our biggest damaging abilities? Sure thing.
Voltaic Slash – Strikes the target twice, dealing 685-764 weapon damage with each hit. Each use of this ability increases the damage dealt by your next Shock by 15%. Stacks up to 2 times.
Take Thrash off your bars and put this baby in its place. While the damage isn’t exceedingly awesome, the Shock buff it provides buffs damage directly, rather than the seemingly typical critical chance buffs that permeate this skill tree.
And that about wraps it up for the Deception tree. As you can see, there are a lot of options that are pretty straightforward DPS vs. survivability choices, and naturally you should feel free to choose what you think would suit your playstyle the best. For endgame DPS concerns, of course, the survivability options most likely won’t be of much use. Therefore, here are two builds I’m recommending:
Standard build: 0/31/0 with 3/3 Obfuscation
Interrupt build: 0/31/0 with 1/3 Obfuscation and 2/2 Avoidance
Next up, where to place those last ten points!