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Battlemaster's Corner
Hey guys!

If you haven't looked at the new blog entry for update 2.4, you can do so here

I'd like to point out a few different things and give my thoughts on them, as well as maybe spur some discussion on the changes coming soon. First:

-Arenas
I think the game has needed something like this for quite some time. It's hard enough to get players to focus on objectives during the regular warzones and I think this will be a nice addition for newer players (and those that aren't the greatest at the game) who want to just deathmatch, and not have to worry about watching a door or passing a ball.

On the other hand it seems like this might get boring for people who like to play objectively and at a highly coordinated level.. Speaking of which..

-Removal of 8 man ranked warzones
As stated in the blog post, ranked definitely has some issues as it is currently. it's tough to get 8 people together at once, it's even tougher to find another team of 8 that's queing at the same time, and more often than not if the teams are even then the match typically turns into a stalemate. However, when you do get an exciting match where there is a lot of back and forth, victory seems within grasp for both teams, defeat hinges on a single fantastic play or egregious mistake, THAT is what makes 8 man ranked so special with objective based PVP. I'm sad to see it go, but happy that they are making ranked more accessable.

-Arena maps
If you look at the screenshots, the first one is clearly Makeb, second is a space station, and third is Tattoine. But in the blog post it says the maps will be "Corellia, Space Station, Tattoine". Typo maybe?

-Changes to the PVP Que
You can now solo-que for ranked, which I assume since 8 man ranked PVP is going away, will only put you in arena maps. I could be wrong here.

-New Huttball map
YES PLEASE!

So what say you, gladiators of the Ebon Hawk?
PhantomSheep I actually had missed the bit about a new Huttball map. That's exciting! I've been eagerly awaiting something...
The purpose of this guide is to give a comprehensive overview of how to effectively play the Focus/Rage spec in PVP. Please note, this guide is for Juggernauts/Guardians only. Marauders and Sentinels are not my area of expertise, so I will not attempt to cover these classes.

Gearing

Basics first, right?

Stat priority should be as follows:

STR > Power/Surge > everything else
Obviously, for PVP, you will want the max amount of Expertise as well, which is 2018.

You do not need Crit or Alacrity for focus spec, because Smash is an auto crit, and a lot of our other abilities can be specced for extra crit chance. Alacrity, in my opinion, is pretty useless for smash guardians. For some classes/specs, it’s important to be able to activate abilities faster like a scrapper scoundrel’s opening burst. For us however, it is far more advantageous to have harder hitting smash crits rather than have the ability to lower the CGD by a small amount.

For augments, you’ll want the Advanced Might Augment 28 in every slot.
Finally, this may be obvious to most but you will also want the Vindicator gear as it contains the best set bonuses for this spec. More on these later.

Rotation

As far as rotation goes, as you probably already know PVP is very fluid so there is never really a set rotation that absolutely guarantees murdering any and all opponents. But if I were to nail down a typical 1v1 rotation that I use it would be as follows:

Combat Focus/Enrage > Force Leap/Force Charge > Force Sweep/Smash

Boom, insta 6-7k crit (I've gotten as high as 10K on noobs who don't know how bolster/expertise work. I believe the current record on the Ebon Hawk forums is 11K)

Immediately after that first sweep: Blade Storm/Force Scream > Force Exhaustion/Force Crush > Sundering Strike/Sundering Assault > Zealous Leap/Obliterate > Sweep/Smash

After your first two sweeps, you need to wait for Exhaustion/Crush or Combat Focus/Enrage to come off CD for your next sweep bomb. I like to use Force Stasis/Force Choke to hold them in place (and typically make them use their CC breaker) until I can build my next sweep bomb.

Special notes on Abilities

Challenging call/Threatening Scream - AOE taunt. Use it often, healers appreciate it plus you get medals for protection. I will typically use this after leaping in to a group of enemies and laying down my first Sweep bomb.

Single target taunt – Again, use this as much as possible. A good smasher will not only wreak havoc on his enemies, but will also protect his teammates from damage as much as possible.

Bladestorm, Slash/Force Scream, Vicious Slash- Use these to lower the CD of Sweep/Smash. They have the ability to hit pretty hard since we spec into the additional crit chance of these abilities. Use as filler between building Smash bombs.

Guardian Leap/Intercede – Because of our Vindicator set bonus, this ability provides a little heal when you're in trouble, and it also gives protection. Great for using on healers or other teammates who are hanging on by a thread. Its also invaluable in Huttball.

Force Push - Resets the CD on Force Leap/Force Charge. I tend to be a bit of a bully in warzones, so I use this on people all the time. Very useful when you're murdering a healer and your interrupt or stasis/choke is off CD. A favorite move of mine in huttball is to leap to the moron standing on the catwalks, push him into his own endzone, then leap to him again.

Master Strike - On intelligent opponents, you'll never get the full thing off. You might get the first two hits but people with two brain cells to rub together will either stun you, knock you back or run away so they're out of range for the final big hit. Should only be used on people who are stunned/immobilized/dumb.

Riposte/Retaliation - Basically a free attack that does not respect the global cooldown. Meaning you can hit Bladestorm, while the GCD is ticking hit Riposte, then hit Slash. I don't use it often, but it has its uses.

Saber Reflect - Reflects single target damage. Useful against basically every single class except other smash guardians. Has a merc knocked you back, electronetted you, and started to go PEW PEW? Saber reflect bitch! Scrapper knocked you down with the opening blast and is starting to sucker punch you to death? SABER REFLECT THAT SHIT! Are you getting hit with that annoying Cull/Wounding Shots that goes Click click click DEAD? SABER REFLECT LOLZ STOP HITTING YOURSELF!

It's really useful. Learn to time it so your opponents hardest hitting abilities are reflected right back at them. My own personal record for reflected damage is 10K on a gunslinger's Aimed Shot.

Advanced tactics

Stance switching: You can switch from your smashing/tanking stances instantly. In order to put a guard on someone you need to be in tank stance. Keybind these stances so you can switch on the fly and put a guard on someone. I do this all the time in huttball to guard the carrier. You should still switch to the tanking stance if you have the ball since it provides increased dmg reduction. It’s not as good as a full tank specced Guardian/Jug, but it’ll do in a pinch.

Zealous Leap/Obliterate - Can be used even if rooted(when specced). It's also a leap that can be used against opponents in cover. Additionally, if you jump just before using it, you can use it to jump to an opponent/sniper that's on the catwalks in huttball. I don't know how many snipers I've embarrassed because they're in cover on the edge of their goal area and I leap to them from the pit and score.

Aiming your knockback - Get good at this. Being able to aim the knockback is useful in all kinds of situations like voidstar, huttball, even novare coast (knock them off the back of the cliff at east/west)

Positioning - Smash spec is, in my opinion, one of the hardest hitting and easiest specs to play in the game. Because of this, it's also the easiest spec to counter. Most of your opponents will knock you back IMMEDIATELY following your leap. For this reason you need to work on positioning yourself to anticipate this. Put yourself between the opponent and a wall of some sort before attempting to hit them with a Smash. So when they knock you back, you hit the wall/post/some sort of obstacle and are still within striking range.

Talent Build

This is the current build I use today for PVP.  http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#5000MZsMMZfrrkbGkRcfz.3  (It's actually 2/8/36, torhead displays the link wrong)
PhantomSheep Question. Why would you want Might augments instead of power augments? If crit is basically useless, like you said, why ...
Lately I've been really enjoying the content that Skyrush puts out and this particular video is no different.  For those of you who are new to Ranked PVP or who have yet to experience it, this is a very good example of what it's supposed to look like.

Some particular things I liked about their gameplay here:  Notice the position of his camera at all times.  Even though he's trying to focus his DPS on a sage that's ripping his healers apart, he still keeps his camera pointed toward the node to watch for sneaky cappers.

Secondly, I like their strategy of 'mass stun and then cap'.  I believe that's really the meta game of this warzone in a ranked setting:  Timing your CC properly and capping all at once.  Even if 5 out of 7 people get stopped right away, there's still the 1 or maybe 2 ticks that are capped in your favor.  The goal being to continually chip away at the node until it flips to your team.

Enjoy!!

Some people are just plain assholes in warzones.  Others are assholes in a funny way.  Bradley is definitely the latter.  If you've never seen his videos, they are pretty entertaining if nothing else.  Enjoy!
Yeah, I know I've been slacking lately.  Here's a fun video featuring some pretty awesome gameplay by a player named Skyrush.

As a sidenote:  Many people have asked me for advice on how to play Focus/Rage spec effectively so I've finally decided to write my own guide.  It will be featured here on the Ebon Hawk website, and I might even get brave enough to endure the trolls and post it on the official forums...  We'll see.  :)

For now, enjoy this video!


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