SWTOR Jedi Sentinel Comprehensive Guide
SWTOR Jedi Sentinel Comprehensive Guide by Maefly
- What this covers
- What this does not cover
- About me
- Help make this post better
- Advanced Class Introduction
- Stat priority
- Tips & Tricks
- Talent Trees
- Talent Builds / Guides
- Watchman PvE | Watchman PvP
- Combat PvE | Combat PvP
- Focus PvE | Focus PvP
- By Level
- Low level (10 – 25) | Mid level ( 25 – 40) | High level (40 – 50) | Level Cap (50) (coming soon)
- By Level
- Sentinel PvP Guide by Rankith
- By Level
- 10 – 14 | 15 – 19 | 20 – 24 | 25 – 29 | 30 – 34 | 35 – 39 | 40 – 44 | 45 – 49 | 50
- By Class(coming soon)
- Juggernaut | Marauder | Powertech | Mercenary | Assassin | Sorcerer | Operative | Sniper
- By Warzones
- Alderaan | Huttball | Voidstar
- End Game Gear Listing (coming soon)
- By Ability
- Overload Saber | Riposte
- By Ability
What this covers
This is intended to be a primer for the Sentinel advanced class of the Jedi Knight. At a minimum this will help you make an informed decision about the Sentinel class and hopefully provide a strong foundation for playing this advanced class well.
What this does not cover
This is not intended as an exhaustive treatise on the advanced class (yet). Gear and theorycrafting focus on end game and max level. My personal experiences are based on what I have played thus far. I’m not at the level cap as of this writing and, as such, there will be empty sections which I intend to fill in as my levels increase. While there is an obvious Jedi Knight base class involved, this thread will not cover the basics of the Jedi Knight class.
My Sentinels name is Maefly, and I play on the Death Wind Corridor PvP server. I’m a big fan of the game and enjoy long walks through Coruscant (mostly because I had no other choice). As of the initial writing, I’m in the early 30s level range and wanted to document the class and share my experiences with other Sentinels I encourage you to share yours on this thread.
Help make this post better
In no way do I know everything about the class or have I tried every possible rotation or talent configuration. So, I would ask that other Sentinels help make this post better by adding their own experience, theories, and ideas to this thread. It is also entirely possible that I have made several mistakes or misstatements in this post and would ask to be corrected. I will humbly accept constructive criticism about the ideas presented here.
Advanced Class Introduction
Advanced Class: Sentinel
Role: Melee Damage (DPS)
Weapons: Dual wield Lightsaber
Primary Attribute(s): Strength
Forms: Shii-Cho, Juyo, and Ataru
As with all classes, you will have the option to choose an advanced class after you leave your starting world and join with the fleet. At one time there was discussion of being able to change your advanced class after you choose it but as of this writing, the in game text makes it clear that your advanced class choice is permanent. Selecting the Sentinel class will lock your character into this advance Jedi Knight class for the rest of the game.
The Sentinel class fulfills the role of damage and damage only. While Sentinels can provide temporary tanking through damage reduction abilities we are by no means a tank or off tank. The Sentinel wears medium armour and can be easily spotted by their distinctive dual lightsabers. The most important stat for the Sentinel is strength.
In addition to the basic focus mechanic used by both the Sentinel and the Guardian, the Sentinel gains an additional mechanic called Centering. Centering is built in a number of ways and augmented by abilities in each of the tress. At 30 stacks of Centering, additional abilities are opened that consume the 30 stacks and provide powerful passive effects.
There are 3 forms available to the Jedi Sentinel: Shii-Cho, Ataru, and Juyo.
Shii-Cho Form: Enters a balanced lightsaber form, increasing all damage dealt and reducing all damage received by 3%.
Shii-Cho is a basic Jedi Knight form and is probably best matched with the Focus tree or any situation where damage reduction would be helpful, such as PvP.
Ataru Form: Enters an acrobatic lightsaber form, increasing accuracy by 3%. In addition, your successful melee attacks have a 20% chance to trigger a second strike that deals energy damage. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds.
Ataru is talented from the Combat tree at level 20 and should be used with a Combat talent build.
Juyo Form: Enters an offensive lightsaber form, causing your melee attacks to increase all damage dealt by 2% for 15 seconds. Stacks up to 5 times. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds.
Juyo form is trained at level 14 and is best paired with the Watchman talent build.
Zen is an ability that becomes active at 30 stacks of centering and opens additional damage / utility abilities. This ability depends on your active form and creates additional effects for each form. In addition, zen is tied to a talent tree via the talent trees form. For example, Zen in Juyo form increases DoT damage and grants a small heal for your group on each tick of damage.
We have five main stats to work with. Strength, Power, Critical Strike, Surge and Accuracy.
This is a purely theoretical priority list until we get a combat log and parser to gather empirical data. It is also worth noting that in each of the three trees, there is an ability that boosts the critical strike damage of the tree’s main damage by 30% which is approximately 250 surge rating. In addition, each tree has an active ability to activate a 100% critical chance (Zen for Watchman, Combat Trance for Combat, and Felling Blows for Focus) which really pushes down the value of critical strike.
Watchman: 100% Accuracy, Strength, Power, Surge, Critical
Combat: 100% Accuracy, Strength, Power, Surge, Critical
Focus: 100% Accuracy, Strength, Power, Surge, Critical
Strength increases your critical strike chance. It increases your critical strike chance at a much higher conversion rate than the critical strike stat and it also has diminishing returns. For a ball park figure in you’re looking at between 150 and 200 strength per 1% critical strike depending on your current strength. So the more strength you have, the more strength you must add to gain an additional 1%.
Strength also increases your bonus damage at a liner rate. For each point of strength you gain 0.2 to your base damage meaning you’re looking at 500 strength for 100 bonus damage.
Crit Scales logarithmically with Strength which means for each additional point of Strength you get it will add less and less crit. Here is an example table based on my current gear set:
Strength Crit % Strength / 1% Crit 257 2.02 127.2277227723 334 2.60 128.4615384615 400 3.08 129.8701298701 466 3.56 130.8988764045 543 4.11 132.1167883212 630 4.71 133.7579617834 705 5.22 135.0574712644 792 5.80 136.5517241379 858 6.23 137.72070626 945 6.78 139.3805309735 1020 7.25 140.6896551724 1090 7.68 141.9270833333 1158 8.09 143.1396786156
Damage Primary scales linearly with Strength at a 0.2 rate. Meaning for every point of Strength, you gain 0.2 damage.
Strength Damage Primary 257 51 323 65 389 78 466 93 553 111 640 128
Power is a flat 0.23 damage increase. If you add 1 point of power your base damage will go up by 0.23 points. It is important to note that your base damage is the damage modifier used when calculating the Critical multiplier as well as the amount of damage your normal attacks.
Power Scales linearly at a 0.23 rate. For each point of power you add, you gain an additional 0.23 primary damage.
Power Damage Primary 41 9.6 94 21.6 138 32.2 172 40 225 52 236 54.4
Critical strike increases your chance to get a critical hit thus triggering your critical multiplier damage. Given a large number of attacks, you will get a critical strike this percentage of the time. This stat is affected by diminishing returns pretty heavily.
Critical chance Scales Logarithmically with critical. For each point of critical you add it will return less and less critical strike chance. In the following table you can see that as you increase your critical it takes more critical per 1% crit chance:
Critical Crit Chance Critical / 1% Crit 44 1.92 22.9166666667 88 3.73 23.5924932976 136 5.56 24.4604316547 184 7.26 25.3443526171 194 7.6 25.5263157895 414 13.92 29.7413793103
Surge is the size of your critical strike. For example if you have a 50% Critical multiplier and you get a critical strike, your damage will be 1.5 times the normal damage from that ability. This stat is also affected by diminishing returns tho at a lesser rate than critical strike.
Surge scales logarithmically with critical multiplier. For each point of surge you add, it will return less and less critical multiplier:
Surge Crit Multiplier Surge / Crit multiplier % 48 8.81 5.448354143 75 13.07 5.7383320581 96 16.08 5.9701492537 123 19.58 6.2819203269 316 36.05 8.7656033287
Now an interesting number to me would be a 100% Critical Multiplier which would be obtained by getting 50% from Surge. I did a very rough interpolation of the data and came up with a ball park figure of 560 Surge.
Accuracy increases the chance to hit the target. This is still a bit of a mystery but it would make sense that we want 100% accuracy to not miss our melee attacks. It is worth noting that we have an inherent 100% chance to hit with Force attacks and a 90% base with Physical attacks. This stat also scales logarithmically.Accuracy Accuracy % Accuracy / % 46 1.72 26.7441860465 96 3.35 28.6567164179 144 4.88 29.5081967213 192 6.32 30.3797468354 240 7.68 31.25 288 8.97 32.1070234114
It would appear that the “hit” cap is around 320 without talents like Steadfast.
1 Strength = 0.0076 Critical Strike % at 500 Strength
1 Strength = 0.0071 Critical Strike % at 1000 Strength
1 Strength = 0.0066 Critical Strike % at 1500 Strength
1 Strength = 0.2 Bonus Damage
1 Power = 0.23 Bonus Damage
1 Critical = 0.041 Critical Strike % at 100 Critical
1 Critical = 0.039 Critical Strike % at 200 Critical
1 Critical = 0.033 Critical Strike % at 400 Critical
1 Surge = 0.131 Critical Multiplier % at 100 Surge
1 Surge = 0.085 Critical Multiplier % at 300 Surge
1 Surge = 0.057 Critical Multiplier % at 560 Surge
In order from highest affection gain to lowest (left to right). Note that courting only applies to opposite gender characters and I will admit, I did indeed try to court Kira with my female Miraluka…
- Technology, Cultural Artifacts, Republic Memorabilia, Military Gear, Weapons
- Kira Carsen
- Luxury, Underworld Goods, Technology, Courting, Military Gear, Trophy, Cultural Artifacts, Republic Memorabilia, Imperial Memorabilia
- Luxury, Courting, Weapon, Underworld Goods, Military Gear, Technology, Trophy, Cultural Artifacts
- Sergent Rusk
- Military Gear, Weapon, Republic Memorabilia, Luxury, Technology, Trophy, Cultural Artifacts, Imperial Memorabilia
- Lord Scourge
- Trophy, Technology, Imperial Memorabilia, Weapon, Underworld Goods, Military Gear, Cultural Artifacts, Republic Memorabilia
Tips & Tricks
I have been an avid reader of this forum and do my best to look for great ideas from the Sentinel community that I can help organize into the Primer thread.
While many of these tips and tricks can be found in the various anecdotes posted by myself and other Sentinels, I thought it would be useful to have a simple listing of these play styles and techniques. Please note that some of these may seem very basic and simple but we have a Sentinels ranging from brand new to MMOs, to seasoned 10+ year players.
Please feel free to post your own tips and tricks on this thread or in a new one. You can also PM me with your tips and I’ll do my best to organize them here
- Consumables! Health Packs, Stims, Adrenals, PvP consumables. Carry them, use them often, restock when you can.
- Buff your group. Each of the 4 classes has a significant Buff, get in the habit of just buffing to ensure everyone in your group has Force Might.
- If you’re having trouble with “you cant see your target” as your trying to leap to them, try jumping and hitting leap at the top of your jump. It seems line of sight is determined from your characters eye level.
- Many damage buff abilities are off the global cooldown meaning you can activate all of these in rapid succession. For example, Valorous call, Relic, Stims, Rebuke, and Blade Ward can all be activated by quickly tapping all of their respective hotkeys without triggering a global cooldown
- Use Opportune strike after a force leap for free damage at no focus cost
- Use Pommel strike after a Blade Storm or Force Sweep for free HIGH damage at no focus cost.
- Try not to delay using a Zen too long. It’s good to set up an ideal time such as after OS or with pooled focus for Blade Rush but after 30 stacks, you gain no more centering until AFTER the 6 stacks of Zen has been consumed. Make sure you’re activating Zen very soon after reach 30 stacks of centering and also consuming the Zen stacks quickly to start building centering again.
- Activate Surge Relics and Surge adrenals before a guaranteed critical. Use before Zen in Watchman, Combat Trance Blade Storm in Combat, and Felling Blows Force Sweep in Focus.
- Force leap interrupts casting.
- Riposte is off the global cooldown and can be used in conjunction with a focus generator for increased DPS while leveling or in PVP
- Pacify reduces the targets accuracy by 90% which actually causes the Sentinel to execute a successful defense allowing for on demand Riposte activation.
- Force Camouflage is a threat dump and on Hard Mode an Operation bosses should be used frequently to avoid pulling off the tanks.
- Try to stagger your defensive cooldowns. Activate Rebuke at the first sign of damage, activate Blade ward at 75% or 50% depending on the fight, and activate Guarded by the force under 20% to finish off your target.
- Guarded by the force then immediately use a health pack for increased survivability.
- Don’t forget your 20 min Call on the Force cooldown for a tough encounter. This ability resets Blade Ward and grants small healing over time but requires a companion to use.
- At level 50, the initial conflict in a warzone usually involves a 5+ on 5+ situation. Use Valorous Call with Transcendence or Inspiration to give your team an edge.
- Force Camouflage in a large conflict in PvP means those that were attacking you will instinctively pick a new target rather than wait for you to appear again. Use this to open on someone again or sneak behind to capture an objective.
- Force Camouflage with the ball will reset it to neutral. If you kill the enemy carrier near your goal line, don’t try to be a hero and bring it back, just Force Camo and reset it to the middle.
- Valorous Call + Transcendence in Huttball ensures your team gets to the center (and usually the ball) first.
- A well timed Awe can lock the other team down or buy you enough time to defuse the bomb in Voidstar.
- Use Guarded by the force + pvp health stim + health pack to make that last push to the goal line with the ball.
- If it looks like you’re going to get stunned on the fire in huttball, use Guarded by the force just before you step on the fire pit. This should buy you enough time to wait out the stun and keep going.
- Stasis as someone steps on the fire in hutball and watch them melt.
- Defensive forms from Tier 1 in the Combat tree has great passive benefits and increased centering generation. This is a must for any PvP build.
- Burns ignore armor.
- Use Zen immediately after applying your third stack of Overload Saber. The base damage of OS is high than the base damage of Cauterize and will do more damage for its 3 ticks than the 6 from Cauterize.
- Overload Saber is off the Global Cooldown and costs the same amount of focus generated by force leap. Use OS in flight so it is ready for your first melee attack to start its damage.
- Merciless Slash and Slash have a chance to reset your Cauterize cooldown. Watch for this but don’t clip the existing cauterizes. In other words, cauterize may still be available but don’t use it again until the previous cauterize has completed.
- It is possible to keep overload saber at 3 stacks for a short time without sacrificing damage output by adjusting the order in which you use Melee and Force abilities. See OS Theorycrafting for more details.
- Use Force Camouflage to run through hazards in Hutball (don’t do this with the ball) to get in a great position to recieve a pass.
- Zen is best used with 10 pooled Focus. The first 3 are used for Precision Slash then hit Zen and the next 6 (actually requires 7 to activate) are used for Blade Rush.
- Blade Storm is a force attack but does benefit from the 100% armor reduction of Precision slash. Use Blade Storm while both Precision Slash and Combat trance are active for optimum damage.
- Defensive roll is a good spot for those preference talent points in end game operations. Less damage means less stress on your healers.
- The Inner Focus Talent actually returns 10 centering per application which means in a group of 3 or more (companions count) you can have an endless Transcendence Speed boost. Great for running through those endless caves or moving your team quickly down to the next door in Voidstar.
- The biggest damage for this tree comes from both Felling Blows (15 second buff after a leap) and 4 stacks of Singularity (generated by Force Exhaustion or Stasis). Using a Sweep with these two buffs puts out some big numbers.
- Unless you’re in a close quarters fight with several other enemy melee, Centering is better used for Endless Transcendence (damage reduction and speed boost).
- Try not to clip Singularity from Force Exhaustion, let it build to 4 for maximum damage. By clip I mean use Force Sweep before Singularity stacks to 4. If you must clip it, do so at 2 stacks so another 2 will continue to build and be available to you later.
As you progress from level 10 to 50 you will train both the base Jedi Knight abilities as well as the Jedi Sentinel abilities. I have removed actual damage numbers from the ability descriptions because they are only placeholders and should be dealt with in theorycrafting. The following is a list of Sentinel trained abilities by level:
Centering: Activating an attack that spends focus and defeating opponents builds Centering. When 30 stacks of Centering are built, you become Centered, enabling the use of Zen, Transcendence and Inspiration.
Dual Wield: Allows you to wield two one-handed weapons.
Rebuke: Reduces all damage taken by 20% and deals energy damage to attackers. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds. Lasts 6 seconds. Rebuke refreshes to its full duration when attacked, but this effect cannot last more than 30 seconds in total.
Zealous Strike: Strikes the target multiple times with both lightsabers, dealing weapon damage and building 6 focus. Requires two lightsabers.
Zen: Requires and converts 30 stacks of Centering to enter a Zen state. Lasts for 6 charges. This effect varies based on your current lightsaber form:
Shii-Cho Form: Slash costs no focus and strikes 1 additional nearby enemy.
Juyo Form: Increases the critical chance of your burn attacks by 100% and causes burn damage to heal your party for 1% of max health each tick.
Ataru Form: Reduces the focus cost of Slash and Blade Rush by 1 and reduces their global cooldown by 0.5 seconds.
Cauterize: Strikes the target for damage and deals additional elemental damage over 6 seconds. Requires two lightsabers.
Juyo Form: Enters an offensive lightsaber form, causing your melee attacks to increase all damage dealt by 2% for 15 seconds. Stacks up to 5 times. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds
Leg Slash: Deals weapon damage and slows the target’s movement speed to 50% for 12 seconds. Attacks with both weapons if dual wielding.
Crippling Throw: Delivers a crippling attack with the main-hand lightsaber, dealing weapon damage and inflicting trauma for 15 seconds, reducing all healing the target receives by 20%.
Transcendence: Requires and converts 30 stacks of Centering to issue Transcendence to you and your party, increasing movement speed by 50% and melee and ranged defense by 10%. Lasts 10 seconds.
Pacify: Pacifies the target, reducing its melee and ranged accuracy by 90% for 6 seconds.
Disable Droid: Shuts down the target droid, incapacitating it for 60 seconds. While disabled, the droid’s systems reboot, causing non-standard and non-weak droids to heal rapidly. Damage causes this effect to end prematurely. Only one droid can be disabled at a time.
Force Camouflage: Obscures yourself with the Force, becoming difficult to detect, reducing your threat towards all enemies and increasing movement speed by 30% for 4 seconds. Dealing direct damage ends the effect prematurely.
Guarded by the Force: Spends 50% of current health to grant 99% damage reduction for 5 seconds.
Inspiration: Requires and converts 30 stacks of Centering to inspire you and your party, increasing all damage and healing dealt by 15%. Lasts 15 seconds.
Valorous Call: Let loose a valorous call, immediately building 30 stacks of Centering.
After choosing the Sentinel class, you will have the option to add your skill points to one of three trees: Watchman, Combat, and Focus.
The current speculation is that Watchman will be the sustained single target PvE tree, Combat is geared toward multiple target or burst PvE, and the focus tree lends itself to group PvP offering multiple control options.
The Watchman tree relies on damage over time (DoT) mechanics through burns. The management and up time of the DoT abilities will be the basic playstyle of a Watchman Sentinel. In general, the focus dump for this tree involves overload saber, cauterize, and Merciless slash.
Tier 1 (Level 10 – 14)
Focused Slash: Slash, Dispatch, Blade Rush and Merciless Slash have a [33.33 / 66.67 / 100]% chance to refund 1 focus when used.
Quick Recovery: Reduces the focus cost of Force Sweep and Cyclone Slash by [1 / 2] and reduces the cooldown of Force Sweep by [1.5 seconds / 3 seconds].
Recompense: Each use of Riposte reduces the active cooldown of Rebuke by [3 seconds / 6 seconds].
Tier 2 (Level 15 – 19)
Inflammation: Cauterize has a [50 / 100]% chance to also reduce the target’s movement speed by 30% for the duration.
Juyo Mastery: Your burn effects are [1 / 2 / 3]% more likely to critically hit per stack of Juyo Form.
Merciless Zeal: Critical hits with burn effects heal you for [1 / 2]% of your maximum health.
Tier 3 (Level 20 – 24)
Blurred Speed: Lowers the cooldown of Force Leap by [1.5 seconds / 3 seconds].
Searing Saber: Increases the critical strike damage of your burn effects by [15 / 30]%.
Overload Saber: Charges your lightsabers with deadly energy for 15 seconds, causing your next 3 successful melee attacks to make the target burn for 402 elemental damage over 6 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds.
Tier 4 (Level 25 – 29)
Close Quarters: Reduces the minimum range of Force Leap by [5 / 10] meters.
Repelling Blows: Increases the direct damage dealt by Cauterize by 30%.
Valor: Increases the Centering built by [1 / 2] when activating abilities that spend focus, and reduces the cooldown of Valorous Call by [15 / 30] seconds.
Watchguard: Reduces the cooldown of Pacify by [7.5 seconds / 15 seconds] and Force Kick by [1 second / 2 seconds].
Tier 5 (Level 30 – 34)
Focused Pursuit: Further increases your movement speed by [15 / 30]% while Transcendence is active.
Force Fade: Reduces all damage taken by [50 / 100]% while Force Camouflage is active.
Mind Sear: Slash has a [11 / 22 / 33]% chance and Merciless Slash has a [22 / 44 / 66]% chance to finish the cooldown of Cauterize. This effect cannot occur more than once every 6 seconds.
Tier 6 (Level 35 – 39)
Burning Focus: Your burn effects have a [15 / 30]% chance to generate 1 focus when dealing damage. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds.
Plasma Blades: Increases the damage dealt by your burn effects by [2 / 4 / 6]%.
Tier 7 (Level 40)
Merciless Slash: Strikes the target with both lightsabers for 528 – 808 weapon damage. Each use of this ability grants Merciless for 15 seconds, lowering the cooldown of your next Merciless Slash by 1.5 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times. Requires two lightsabers.
The Combat tree focuses on focus pooling for large burst damage. Focus management and damage enhancing procs combined with quick focus dumps will be the basic playstyle of a Combat Sentinel.
Tier 1 (Level 10 – 14)
Defensive Forms: Builds [1 / 2] Centering when attacked. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds. Additionally improves the effect of your lightsaber forms while they are active:
- Shii-Cho Form: Further increases damage reduction by [1 / 2]%.
- Juyo Form: Reduces internal and elemental damage taken by [2 / 4]%.
- Ataru Form: Increases your movement speed by [7.5 / 15]%.
Dual Wield Mastery: Increases the damage dealt with offhand lightsaber attacks by [12 / 24 / 36]%.
Jedi Crusader : Rebuke has a [50 / 100]% chance to generate 1 focus when it reciprocates damage to an attacker. This effect cannot occur more than once every 3 seconds.
Tier 2 (Level 15 – 19)
Defensive Roll: Reduces damage taken from area effects by [15 / 30]%.
Focused Leap: Force Leap has a [50% / 100%] chance to generate 1 additional focus.
Steadfast: Increases melee and Force accuracy by [1 / 2 / 3]%.
Temperance: Increases Centering built by defeating opponents by [1 / 2].
Tier 3 (Level 20 – 24)
Ataru Mastery: Increases the damage dealt by your triggered Ataru Form attacks by [15 / 30]%.
Opportune Attack: Your Ataru Form hits have a [50 / 100]% chance to make your next focus spender deal 10% more damage.
Ataru Form: Enters an acrobatic lightsaber form, increasing accuracy by 3%. In addition, your successful melee attacks have a 20% chance to trigger a second strike that deals 229 energy damage. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds.
Tier 4 (Level 25 – 29)
Combat Trance: Hits from Ataru Form grants Combat Trance for 6 seconds. When Combat Trance ends, you generate 1 focus. This can only occur once every 6 seconds.
Displacement: Crippling Throw has a [50 / 100]% chance to immobilize the target for 3 seconds. Additionally increases the range of Pacify by [3 / 6] meters.
Immaculate Force: Increases the critical strike chance of Blade Storm by [50 / 100]% while Combat Trance is active.
Righteous Zeal: Reduces the cooldown of Zealous Strike by [1.5 / 3] seconds.
Tier 5 (Level 30 – 34)
Fleetfooted: Force Camouflage has a [50 / 100]% chance to break all movement-impairing effects.
Swift Blades: Reduces Blade Storm’s cooldown by [1.5 / 3] seconds and focus cost by [1 / 2].
Precision Slash: Slashes the target for 253 – 387 weapon damage and grants Precision for 6 seconds, which increases armor penetration by 100%. Requires two lightsabers.
Tier 6 (Level 35 – 39)
Debilitation: Master Strike has a [50 / 100]% chance to immobilize the target for the duration of the ability.
Saber Storm: Increases the critical strike damage bonus of Blade Storm, Ataru Form and Blade Rush by [10 / 20 / 30]%.
Tier 7 (Level 40)
Blade Rush: Strikes the target with both weapons for 247 – 378 weapon damage and automatically triggers an Ataru Form strike. For 6 seconds after using Blade Rush, your Ataru Form has an extra 30% chance to be triggered. Requires two lightsabers.
The focus tree is a control tree, offering additional slows, stuns, and rooting abilities. Keeping targets in place, slowed, or otherwise controlled will be the playstyle of a Focus Sentinel. This tree is shared with the Guardian advanced class.
Tier 1 (Level 10 – 14)
Insight: Increases the critical strike chance of your Force attacks by [2 / 4 / 6]%.
Master Focus: Reduces the cooldown of Master Strike by [1.5 seconds / 3 seconds] and Force Stasis by [5 seconds / 10 seconds].
Stagger: Increases the duration of Force Leap’s immobilize effect by [0.5 second / 1 seconds].
Tier 2 (Level 15 – 19)
Blade Focus: Reduces the focus cost of Blade Storm by 1 while in Shii-Cho Form.
Second Wind: Resolute has a [50 / 100]% chance to heal you for 10% of your maximum health.
Swift Slash: Increases the critical strike chance of Slash by [7.5 / 15]%.
Zephyr: Reduces the cooldown of all Force abilities while in Shii-Cho Form by [1.5 seconds / 3 seconds].
Tier 3 (Level 20 – 24)
Pulse: Reduces the pushback suffered while channeling Force Stasis by [50 / 100]%.
Zealous Leap: Leaps to a target, stabbing it for 342 – 523 weapon damage. Strikes with both weapons if dual wielding.
Saber Strength: Increases the damage dealt by Slash and Zealous Leap by [3 / 6]%.
Tier 4 (Level 25 – 29)
Felling Blow: Force Leap and Zealous Leap have a [50 / 100]% chance to make your next Sweep used within 15 seconds an automatic critical hit.
Inner Focus: Builds [5 / 10] Centering when Transcendence ends.
Singularity: Each tick of Force Stasis and Force Exhaustion grants you Singularity, increasing the damage your next Force Sweep deals by [12.5 / 25]%. Stacks up to 4 times.
Unwavering Focus: Master Strike is now uninterruptible.
Tier 5 (Level 30 – 34)
Agility Training: Increases movement speed by [20 / 40]% for 5 seconds after using Zealous Leap.
Gravity: Reduces the focus cost of all movement-slowing effects by 1.
Shii-Cho Mastery: While in Shii-Cho Form, your attacks ignore [10 / 20]% of your targets’ armor.
Tier 6 (Level 35 – 39)
Enduring: Increases damage reduction by [1 / 2]%. Additionally reduces the cooldown of Guarded by the Force by [15 / 30] seconds.
Focused Resonance: Increases the critical strike damage of all Force attacks by [10 / 20 / 30]%.
Tier 7 (Level 40)
Force Exhaustion: Progressively slows the target from 60% to 10% movement speed over 5 seconds and deals 302 kinetic damage each second. At the end of the duration, the target is crushed and takes an additional 804 kinetic damage.
Other great posts / guides on Watchman Builds and Rotations
Watchman build, end game flashpoint / operations (PvE) – Juyo form
- 0 meter force leap for force generation and damage
- Huge damage reduction through force camouflage
- Increased centering and reduced cooldown on Valorous Call
- Reduced Force Kick cooldown for interrupting
- Increased offhand damage and increased accuracy (probably some form of hit cap exists)
I’ll break the rotation into two parts, the focus generators and the focus spenders.
The generators will primarily be Force Leap and Zealous Strike. These two together generate 10 focus every 12 – 15 seconds and if you need to throw in a strike between force leap and zealous strike (cool down timers) then you’re focus capped in three globals. Because of the cooldowns, you’re probably looking at something like Force Leap, force spender, Zealous Strike.
With a Watchman build, there doesn’t seem to be a reason to pool focus like a Combat build would so its better to spend your focus as soon as you can in order to maximize dot up time and direct damage.
Your main spenders will be Overload Saber, Cauterize, Merciless Slash and Blade Storm. Strike might be useful to get that third stack of overload saber on the target quickly but once the rotation is up and running, those stacks should stay put.
A sample rotation would probably go something like Force leap, overload saber, zealous strike, cauterize, Blade Storm / Merciless Slash, non-spender fillers or utility, strikes if you need focus or 1 minute cooldowns like force stasis then back to force leap.
The trick will be to keep your dots ticking and keeping the Merciless buff on yourself while watching for Cauterize cooldown resets and extra focus from your dots. Tracking all of these things happening will be challenging without some type of addons but the sustained damage output should be very competitive.
Please feel free to comment on this build and discuss alternative rotations or talent point allocations.
Other great posts / guides on Combat Builds and Rotations
As of this writing, all these builds are speculation and will likely change as level 50 approaches. However, given the available information, these are the ones I’ll start with and adjust as needed.
Combat build, end game flashpoint / operations (PvE) – Ataru form
It’s worth noting that there are 4 points that can be spent on preference talents such as Fleet footed, Temperance, Defensive Roll, etc.
- Ataru form, free damage
- Precision slash grants 100% armor penetration for 6 seconds
- Crit focused build, talents that increase crit chance and increase crit damage
- Focus is pooled for a zen burst
I’ll break the rotation into two parts, the focus generators and the focus spenders.
The generators will primarily be Zealous Strike, and Strike. Zealous Strike is now on a 12 second cooldown and add two this the 2 free focus you get from Combat Trance every 12 seconds, you can create a decent stream of focus.
The Combat build won’t generate as much centering in a group setting as it does when you are solo but you will still have your zen button active many times in a sustained fight.
Your main spenders will be Precision Slash, Blade Storm, and Blade Rush. It is important to try to keep Precision slash on cooldown because of the 100% armor penetration. In addition to this you will want to use Precision before using any other physical damage abilities. Blade Rush grants 6 seconds of increased Ataru form procs and should be used immediately following Precision Slash to take full advantage of the armor penetration.
A sample rotation would probably go something like Force leap, Zealous Slash to get a nice stockpile of focus then unload it with Precision Slash, Blade Rush, Blade Storm, Blade Rush. After that initial focus dump you’re looking at about 6 seconds before Zealous Slash resets which you should fill with non-spenders like Master Strike or utility. When your nonspenders are on cooldown, Strike is not a bad option since it has a chance to get an Ataru Strike and builds some focus for a Blade Rush or two.
The trick to this build will be to pool 10 focus for a zen burst in which you use Precision Slash, hit zen then Blade Rush until you run out of zen stacks.
Please feel free to comment on this build and discuss alternative rotations or talent point allocations.
Focus level 50 Warzone PvP build – Shii-Cho form.
The Focus tree starts to shine around level 45 and is very powerful at level 50. I found myself able to take out any other class 1v1 and inflict massive damage on large group of enemies in warzones.
- Force Exhaustion – learn it, love it, live it, use it every cooldown
- Agility Training allows you to stick to those ranged classes
- Inner Focus for chaining Transcendence
- Singularity is an amazing damage modifier
- 6 Free focus from Zen Slash
Focus PvP is built around Force Sweep. While it does have some utility outside of Force Sweep, the other abilities just pale in comparison to the raw damage output of a properly built Force Sweep. There are two things that must be in place to make this build reach its full potential. First, you must have the Felling Blow buff which you get from using either of your two leaps. It last for 15 seconds and makes your next Force Sweep a 100% crit. Second, you want as many (preferably 4) stacks of Singularity as time allows. Singularity is a stacking buff generated from Force Exhaustion or Force Stasis. It stacks 4 times and increases the damage done by Force Sweep by 12.5% each stack for a maximum of 50% increased damage. With those two things in place your next Force Sweep will generally hit in 2k – 4k range depending on gear and external buffs.
Note you have two leaps and two ways to generate singularity. A typical encounter will open with Force Leap followed by Force Exhaustion. Zealous Strike and pause half a second or so to let the 4th stack of Singularity build from Exhaustion then Force Sweep. Against most players, this is half their HP gone in the span of 4 global cooldowns and the best news is you can load it back up again. Zealous Leap then Stasis. Fill with Slash or Strike and Force Sweep as soon as it comes off cooldown. Dead player.
I ran into some focus generation issues and then picked up Jedi Crusader which builds focus via Reubke. I also found my damage output to be severly lacking when those 4 abilities were on cooldown but the cooldown is relatively short and after about 10 seconds your cannon is reloaded and ready to explode in someones face. During this down time, I ran interference, interrupted people, and generally harassed the other team until I was ready to unload again. Use defensive cooldowns, build some focus, use your 30 stack centering on Inspiration or Transcendence, Crippling throw the healer or the target of the healer, so many things to help pass the time.
In addition to stacking Felling Blows and Singularity, you will also wan tto be using your relics (specifically a Crit / Surge relic), Expertise Stims, and Inspiration to put up some huge numbers.
Your Zen state will allow you Slash to hit an additional target and costs no focus. In fact, with this build it will build one focus for a total of 6 free focus. If you find yourself in the middle of a large group, pop Zen and spam that Slash key while weaving your Force Sweeps for some impressive AoE damage. Also regarding Zen, Transcendence (which is currently bugged returning more centering than it should – confirmed by MBirkhofer) is an amazing utility ability especially for Huttball and Voidstar. The damage reduction and speed boost is a huge benefit to your entire team. Use it as often as you can!
The Sentinel class is one of the four true melee classes meaning the majority of offensive abilities are only available in melee range. For all Sentinel trees a typical encounter involves focus generation and focus spending.
Combat generally opens with force leap since it not only puts the Sentinel in melee range but it also generates focus. Strike and Zealous Strike are the main active focus generating abilities with several talents in the three tress that help generate focus passively. As your focus pool grows additional abilities become available to consume the accrued focus. While the Sentinel does have some utility, you will want to spend focus to maximize damage on target.
The choice of your focus spender is largely determined by your combat situation. Against multiple targets, you can quickly eliminate them one at a time or damage all of them with area of effect abilities. You can also place damage over time from abilities like cauterize. Against single targets an efficient rotation involving generating and spending focus ensures the target dies before you do.
The tree specific focus consumers will create the highest damage per focus but when all of these are on cooldown the go to focus spenders are slashes, storms, and sweeps. The strikes (Master, Pommel, Opportune) are a great way to do damage while letting cooldowns reset without consuming focus.
In addition to offensive abilities, there are several active and passive defense abilities. Saber ward is a flat damage reduction and Rebuke reduces damage and also damages enemies attacking you. Passive damage reduction from forms and talents will help keep you alive and some abilities grant a small heal when you damage enemies.
The Focus tree does not augment damage abilities as much as Watchman and Combat – leading to the assumption that this is the utility / pvp tree. As such, I’ll only be discussing PvE gameplay in the context of the Watchman and Combat trees. See the PvP section for more information and gameplay using the Focus tree.
Low level game play (10 – 25)
At these levels, the game play is generally very a fast paced, in your face, whirring lightsaber experience. Levels 10 – 17 play basically the same regardless of the talent tree you select and begin to diverge as you reace level 20. Your primary focus (get it) will be on focus management. Almost every encounter begins with Force Leap followed by Strike and Zealous Strike as your primary focus generators. During these levels, Slash and Blade Strom are the primary focus consumers along with force sweep for groups of enemies. You’ll be using very little offensive Sentinel specific abilities until the end of this play range.
Against packs of enemies, a typical fight will involve a force leap, activate rebuke, force sweep, zealous strike, focus dump such as Blade Storm and Slash, master strike to clean up the stragglers. When things get tough, Saber ward is the go to button.
Against a single target, the talent tree selected comes into play a bit more. A typical single target fight will involve force leap, zealous strike, focus dump (talent tree specific) to set abilities on cooldown, and utility / control abilities or strikes to kill time and continue to do or reduce damage while the rotation resets.
During single target sustained fights you will often hit 30 centering multiple times and it is important to weave zen or transcendence into the fight as quickly as possible since this is free damage / damage mitigation.
Mid level game play (25 – 40)
Mid level game play is where the selected talent trees start to make an impact. Around this range the Sentinel also gains multiple control and utility options to augment both solo and group content. This level range becomes more rotational and strategic and less “spammy”. Focus generation shifts away from Strike and uses more of the selected talents to create focus. The talent trees start to impact focus dumps more significantly and damage per focus transitions toward talents in the talent tree and away from base Jedi Knight abilities.
One thing to practice during this level range is a damage reduction chain since you have no healing abilities in combat. This type of chain includes stasis, pacify, Saber ward, and some talent specific stuns. I also like to work on fully utilizing my focus bar especially if Zealous strike is about to come off cooldown. For example if you have low focus and only another global until Zealous strike work in a Cauterize or a Crippling throw. Also keep an eye out for times to use things like Pommel Strike and Opportune Strike which cost no focus, deal damage and kill some time while your main abilities cooldown.
Toward the end of this bracket, you’ll get your top tier talent that should be worked into your rotation as often as possible. See the High level game play for rotations involving the top tier talent.
Multiple Targets – Watchman
Against packs of enemies, a typical fight again opens with force leap, and activate rebuke. However, the Watchman tree diverges away from an immediate force sweep in order to get the dots started. I prefer to spend my first three focus points on overload saber which applies dots on the next three strikes. After this, zelous strike becomes the go to force generation in addition to force leap (talent it down to 0 meters range). Focus dumps involve keeping cauterize and overload saber on cooldown weaving blade storm, force sweep, and cyclone slash.
Dealing with multiple targets means lots of target switching, spreading dots around, and keeping aoe abilities on cooldown. I have found that force leap (0 meter range) and zealous strike generally give me enough focus to keep my dots ticking on multiple targets. Strike has very low damage output but is an option if you need additional focus.
Single Target – Watchman
The most important factor in maximizing damage on a single target is keeping the dots ticking. The rotation around these levels utilizes force leap and zealous strike as the primary focus generation while cauterize, overload saber, and blade storm are the spenders. Because of the cooldowns on the two primary dots, I found that staggering them provides a balanced spending of focus. When your focus generators are on cooldown fill the time with non-spenders like master pommel and opportune strikes.
Strike does not seem to scale well. Around these levels it does marginally better damage than the previous 15 levels and as such I try to avoid using it unless I really need extra focus. However, if you manage your focus generators, your non-spenders and sprinkle in utility (kick, stasis), you should have enough global cooldowns for leap and zealous to reset. Both of these generate more focus and do more damage than strike.
As with the single target in the early levels, use zen in Juyo form as often as possible. The double damage from the dots is a significant damage increase and the heal adds a small amount of free utility.
Multiple Targets – Combat
Centering and focus flow pretty freely against multiple targets and it helps to chain packs before accrued stacks of centering fade. Use zen with a full focus bar and unload Slashes to quickly burn down a target or multiple targets. With Ataru procs and the increased damage after a proc, individual targets melt quickly. Against multiple targets you should have no problem with focus generation and simply burning one target down at a time will be your general modus operandi.
Standard force leap, rebuke opening and zealous strike to get a decent focus pool started. Force Sweep and then focus on your first burn target. Blade storm and cauterize will set you back to 1 focus and then you can start in on your strike strike, slash rotation. Keep an eye on centering and start pooling focus when it gets close to 30. At full focus and 30 centering, zen will quickly burn down 3+ targets with Slash and Blade Storm. Be sure to work master strike in to allow abilities to come off cool down without spending focus.
Single Target – Combat
Against a single target hitting you back it’s a race and usually one you can win by pooling focus for a large unload. You won’t have the steady damage that the watchman tree offers but the raw burst output should allow you to kill your target before it kills you.
Standard force leap, rebuke opening and zealous strike to get a decent focus pool started. From here it’s Precision Slash, Blade storm, then master strike and into the basic rotation. Again, keep an eye on your Centering and try to pool focus for a zen burst.
Always try to use Precision Slash before other focus spender abilities since those abilities will benefit from the armor penetration. At the upper end of this range your master strike will stun the target for its duration so you can set up a pretty nice damage reduction chain involving master strike, stasis, pacify and damage reduction cooldowns.
High level game play (40 – 50)
As you hit level 40 your top tier talent opens in the selected tree. I tried all three trees at this level range and found all of them to be competitive. Unlike the previous 40 levels, Focus becomes a solid PvE choice at this level because you can generate singularity from Force Exhaustion every 20ish seconds. I found the watchman top tier talent to be a bit underwhelming for leveling but I think it will be a valuable tool for operations. Blade Rush from the combat tree is one of the harder hitting single target abilities and when used in a Combat Zen burst it pumps out a lot of damage quickly.
In this level range you get two new Sentinel specific tricks. Inspiration is a great group damage / healing boost and Valorous call gives you 30 instant centering on a relatively short cooldown (shorter in Watchman). You do, however, get some nice things from the base Jedi Knight class. Awe is an AOE 6 second stun and Dispatch is a sub 20% execute ability on a short cooldown. Both of these abilities add quite a bit of utility to the Sentinel class and allow for us to take on some more challenging situations.
This level range becomes more about augmenting existing abilities rather than adding new ones. By level 40 you should have your top tier talent and now you can backfill some of the nice leveling talents like Merciless Zeal and Temperance. You should also start picking up things like Defensive Forms, Master Focus, and Jedi Crusader. The remaining 10 points you gain during this level range are pure preference and until 50 should aim to aid your leveling speed, focus generation, downtime reduction, and damage output.
Multiple Targets – Watchman
The general rules apply from the earlier levels, lots of target switching and try to spread your dots around. The key during this level range is to work in the new abilities you have acquired. Also, your talent tree should be filling out and you can start picking up some of the talents from the other trees.
Standard open with force leap and overcharge saber + rebuke in flight, Zealous Strike, Cauterize and switch targets. Blade Storm on the way over to set up a Pommel should take out the second target, switch targets to the third and stasis. The dots and your companion should have taken care of the first target and both of you should be on the third. Master strike after Stasis to finish it off. Obviously this is just a general outline and you can mix things up how ever you like. This chain generally causes whole packs to die at about the same time within 14 or so seconds.
If you’re dealing with the silver and friends group, I generally send Kira on the silver and let her tank it while I take care of the standard mobs. I burn them down a little harder often times putting all the dots on one target and then Blade Storm, Pommel, Master strike on the third. The quicker you take out the standard mobs, the better you can control incoming damage since you only need to deal with one target.
At this level range you also have the Awe ability which I try to use often. Eliminating several mobs from a large pull for 6 seconds can give you the time you need to thin the group down to a manageable size. It is important to remember that damage breaks this effect so if you’re in the habit of Sweeping, you will need to watch your positioning so you don’t break Awe early.
I try to use dispatch as often as I can but I find this ability to be more useful in PvP and on long single target fights where you have a solid stream of focus and <20% is a lot of health.
Single Target – Watchman
Similar setup to the earlier levels. You’ll hit harder but so will the mobs so you’ll still need to work on damage reduction chains and keeping your dots on cooldown. Force leap, overload saber, rebuke are often the first three buttons I hit and it starts both the damage and damage reduction going. Zealous, Cauterize, and a Slash will get all the dots on target and then its time for non-spenders, Stasis is a good one here since your dots will be ticking away and you can remove the targets damage. After Stasis, pacify and restart your cycle. Next non-spender throw in Master Strike and look for zen to be available.
After you have exhausted your damage reduction chain, don’t forget about Force Camouflage to dump aggro to your companion. This nearly doubles your time on target and should allow you to handle just about every single target enemy. Also remember your 20 minute cooldown and try to use it right after Blade Ward whenever its available. Free healing and an instant reset on your big damage reduction ability is a great thing to use as often as possible.
The Sentinel has a large amount of utility most important of which is Force Kick. Interrupting abilities is the best way to mitigate damage to your party. As a watchman you also have a 0 meter Force Leap which interrupts abilities as well. These two abilities in addition to an emergency stasis should be able to prevent most enemies from every completing a cast. The challenge is to maintain high damage output while interrupting as many (read: all) casts as possible.
On a prolonged single target fight, there are two ways to go about using zen.
- Activate it as soon as possible to get the 6 stacks consumed and once again building centering.
- Hold Zen until you can set up a rolling 3 stack of Overload Saber and use it then to get the maximum potential damage.
In addition to good centering management, you will want to spend a stack on Inspiration during difficult phases of the encounter.
Multiple Targets – Combat
The single biggest change during this level range will be the use of Blade Rush instead of Slash. They cost the same, do roughly the same base damage, and with Focused Slash from the watchman tree will both refund 1 focus for a net cost of 2 focus. The difference is the 100% chance to trigger an Ataru form strike for free extra damage. The side effect of an additional 30% chance to trigger an Ataru strike on other abilities is an added bonus to things like Zealous Strike and Precision Slash.
It is very important to use Precision Slash on cooldown especially against heavily armored targets. Blade Rush and Zealous Strike will both benefit from the armor penetration. However, as confirmed by kickrock, Blade Storm does not benefit from the armor penetration.
A general encounter will involve killing one target quickly and moving on to the next and the next in rapid succession. Force Leap, Rebuke, Zealous Strike then a Precision Slash followed by Blade Rush. You will have an Ataru form strike which puts you in a Combat Trance at this point. Blade Storm should finish off any standard mob and you can move on to your next target. You should have one focus left over so you may need to use Strike until Zealous Strike comes off cooldown. Combat is the only tree in which Strike is not a terrible global cooldown filler since it also has a chance to proc an Ataru form strike. Once Zealous Strike is back up Precision, Blade Rush, Blade Rush, Blade Storm will be the general rotation.
The Zen for Ataru form requires some focus pooling to get the full effect. You will have 6 charges which means you will want at least 7 focus (Blade Rush requires 2 focus to be present but will refund 1 for a net of 1 during Zen). The global cooldown is also “supposedly” reduced to 1 second allowing the 6 Blade Rush strikes to be used in 6 seconds. I don’t know if this part of Zen is currently functioning as of 12/28.
The best use of your centering would be to pool focus to 10, Precision Slash, Zen, Blade Rush x 6.
Single Target – Combat
The combat rotation revolves around keeping Precision slash on cooldown and following it up with Blade Rush’s to get the maximum effect. As stated, Blade Storm does not benefit from the armor penetration but does have a 100% chance to crit during a combat trance. At this level in the Combat Tree, you should almost always been in a combat trance so the best time to Blade Storm is when Precision Slash falls off and you’re waiting for it to cooldown.
Force Leap, Rebuke, Zealous Strike standard focus opener. In Combat you’ll have 10 focus to play with which lends itself nicely to a Precision Slash (3), Blade Rush x 2 (4), Blade Storm (2), with 1 focus and 2 gcd left until Zealous resets. After this point you’ll be generating 2 free focus every Zealous Strike cooldown from Combat trance which means you’ll basically have 8 Focus to work with every 12 seconds unless you mix in some Strikes. That 8 Focus is only going to allow you to work with a Precision Slash, Blade Rush, non-spender / strike, Blade Storm rotation until some of the remainder focus starts to pool then you can Blade Rush x 2 or work in some utility. Remember to use your non-spenders and utility to fill the time until Zealous Strike resets.
Start pooling for Zen around 20 centering. When you reach 30 you want to have 10 focus to get the most out of your zen burst.
If you find yourself short on focus, use strike within 6 seconds of your base rotation to try to proc an additional Ataru form strike.
Multiple Target – Focus
At level 40 Focus has access to Force Exhaustion which is a great PvP ability but also allows Focus to really start to compete with Combat and Watchman in terms of PvE. This is of course not to say that Focus is not a viable leveling tree from 10 – 40 but it becomes much more effective at 40 and even more so at 42 and 45. The key to this tree is big crits. Both leaps provide the 100% crit on next sweep while Exhaustion and Stasis provide singularity which increases the damage of force sweep by 50%.
Prior to 40, your only way to generate singularity was through Stasis on a 45ish second cooldown. Exhaustion is on a short cooldown which allows you to chain 100% sweep crits and makes post 40 Focus a great choice for multi-target leveling.
Zealous Strike will be your main focus generator and it is important to note you won’t have any passive focus generation until the late 40’s when you can pick up Jedi Crusader from the Combat Tree.
The general opener for a Focus build starts with Force Leap, Rebuke, then Force Exhaustion on your first target. Zealous Strike while trying to get as many targets in your 10m sweep radius as possible and Force Sweep. Just prior to Force sweep, I would recommend using a Relic that boosts surge since you’re going to have a 100% crit it will make the crit that much larger. Force sweep will stun standard targets and they should be just about dead but you can Pommel to take one out of the fight and then Stasis another to start up singularity again. Zealous leap to your third target and Sweep should be just about back up. Sweep again to finish off the pack. Slash will use up any extra focus you have since it has a solid chance to crit and does additional damage over the other two trees.
In addition to your great sweep AOE, your Zen state allows you to hit two targets with slash giving you even more multi-target efficiency. As described by Mbirkhofer, after level 45 or so your zen state will actually generate 6 additional focus making Focus the most efficient damage / focus Zen state post level 45.
Single Target – Focus
Against a single difficult target, Focus has good burst damage output but relies heavily on inflicting maximum damage early on since it lacks sustained damage output. I did find that Focus allowed me to quickly eliminate the standard mobs that usually accompany a gold or champion target which let me spend more time on the main target. It’s very important against a single target to let this last stack build to get the maximum out of your sweep after you use Exhaustion. Sometimes I clip the fourth stack on standard pack mobs since the damage wouldn’t change the outcome.
The general rotation for a single target will be Force Leap, Rebuke, Exhaustion, Zealous Strike, Cauterize, Force Sweep then Stasis. Cauterize doesn’t gain anything from Focus but you’ll have the focus to use it and it will do damage during your Stasis. After Stasis, Zealous Leap, Strike if you need focus, Master Strike then Force Sweep. You’re now in a 15 second zealous leap rotation alternating between Exhaustion and Stasis to build your Singularity. While you can Force Sweep about twice in one Zealous Leap, your best bet is to pair Sweep with Singularity and Felling Blow for maximum damage. Slash will be your extra focus dump. And don’t forget to use your Relics whenever they are off cooldown to bump up damage. Use damage reduction chains similar to the other trees involving Rebuke, Blade ward, Pacify, Guarded by and Call on the Force and be ready to dump aggro to your companion with Camouflage if you’re not running a tank.
Until the late 40’s I found myself running out of focus quite a bit. Around 47 I picked up Jedi Crusader from the Combat tree which gives me 10 free focus every 60 seconds. This passive focus generation in addition the 6 free from Zen gave focus the feeling of more sustained damage but I found it wasn’t competitive with Combat or Watchman sustained damage output – numbers still to come when they give us a combat log. I did find myself with less downtime for standard packs since I could kill them in about 12 seconds as compared to watchman’s 14 and combat’s 18.
Level Cap game play (50)
I’m there, coming soon…
Be sure to check out a nice write up on Sentinel PvP play by Rankith here.
Early levels (10 – 15)
Sentinel PvP at low levels is a lot of fun. At this range Sentinels have solid damage and great mitigation compared to other classes. Topping damage charts regularly should not be a problem and if you have a healer you can do some serious damage in a warzone.
There are 6 melee advanced classes and 10 ranged advanced classes. This means the majority of classes will be trying to stay away from you while you struggle to stay in range. At this level range you don’t have any abilities to slow a range opponent but the damage abilities coupled with Rebuke and Saber ward make jumping into a pile of enemies blowing defensive cooldowns and smashing face rewarding and useful.
Late Teens (16 – 20)
When you reach 16, you get leg slash which slows a target by 50% at the cost of 2 focus. It can be applied indefinitely provided you have the focus to do so. For the next four levels or so, I didn’t have much of a problem killing any other class 1v1. I played this level range as Combat and found the tier 1 talents suited to charging into a group of enemies. Toward level 20, Ataru form procs with the almost always available Zen created a lot of damage.
Early 20s (20 – 25)
As you reach the early twenties, things take a turn for the worse. Other classes get significant control abilities, big damage abilities, and some decent heals. The focus tree offers some counter allowing you to stun for longer and even get an additional leap but until the late 20s, expect to spend most of your time respawning. This was the most frustrating bracket as ranged classes could literally stand toe to toe with me in melee range, stun, control, and burn me down. The bounty hunter / trooper are particularly damaging during this range often topping charts and have the ability to heal themselves. The Sorcer / Sage are in a similar position with the added bonus of an impressive array of roots, stuns, and aoe control.
I found at this level range my best option was to run interference for the team and basically present myself as a target, blow defensive cooldowns, have a med pack ready and simply be a distraction while the more powerful members of my team burned down the opposition or other players took objectives. I had a very difficult time sticking to a target even while applying leg slash simply because all the other classes had gained several rooting and slowing abilities. So, I switched from Combat to Watchman and tried to apply as many dots as possible before getting kited to death.
I also had limited success with the Focus tree. The extra leap made closing after a quick stun better and the additional stun time on force leap allowed me to get about 2 of 3 seconds of a master strike in but the lower tiers in the focus tree lack damage modifiers and added only marginal control abilities.
Don’t fear though, things get better as you reach the late 20s and early 30s.
Late 20s (25 – 30)
The late 20s is where the Sentinel starts to blossom. At level 25 you get force stasis from the base Jedi Knight class which is a 3 second channeled stun that builds focus and does damage, trifecta. At level 28 you get pacify which neuters all but 2 advanced classes for 6 seconds.
I still had trouble with the myriad of stuns and slows the other classes had acquired but force stasis and pacify helped even the playing field. I went down the watchman tree to take advantage of these two new abilities. Encounters still open with a force leap (now talented to 0 meters) -> rebuke followed quickly with a leg slash then zealous strike to create the focus needed for the dots to start. Overload saber, cauterize, leg slash, strike gets all the dots ticking on the target then it’s time to put the new abilities to work. Force stasis here allows those dots to do their work and should drain most of their health pool (unless they break it with their “trinket”) and if not, pacify to neutralize their damage and restart the process. It never hurts to throw in a force sweep for 1 focus.
The only class that can get around this setup during these levels is the sorcer / sage with their cc, sprint, and heals. Most other classes have trouble and will be hard pressed to counter a watchman Sentinel.
Level 30 bring force camouflage which only adds to the Sentinels growing bag of tricks.
I dabbled briefly in the combat tree during this level range but found that even though I had significantly more burst damage available I just couldn’t keep a target still long enough to unload on it.
The focus tree adds some additional damage during this level range and an uninterpretable master strike is great against those classes who have gotten used to just stunning a Sentinel when they see the animation but I still found myself just out of range most of the time, less so than Combat because of the additional leap and I felt I could return to my level 10 – 15 play leaping into large groups of enemy players with the enhanced aoe and 0 pushback on force stasis.
The Sentinel is finally starting to feel like a competitive class. The watchman tree is still my preference but both Combat and Focus are basically on par. Combat brings Precision slash which puts out good numbers especially against the Sith Warrior who is also starting to make an impact in warzones. Focus adds control, moment speed increase and additional damage (through armor penetration). At this range all three trees feel good and perform well depending on play style.
After a miserable adolescence, middle age brings some welcome relief to pvp Sententials.
Warzones are objective based and usually require a good amount of teamwork to accomplish. With the vast array of tools available for the Sentinel, its important to do more than just nuke other players.
Abilities like Force Camouflage allow you to sneak in near an objective or vanish from a large fight. A defensive cooldown chain allows you to stay alive long enough to keep the other team from capturing an objective. Sticking to healers and interrupting as many casts as possible allows your team to burn down others quickly.
During this level range I played both Watchman and Combat. Watchman gave the 100% damage reduction during a force camouflage allowing me to vanish from combat without dots killing me, walk through the fire in hutball, and avoid a lot of AOE during large fights. Combat brought Precision Strike which allows this tree to do some serious damage to those heavy armored targets.
I had my fair share of topping the damage charts at the end but found the utility of the Sentinel class to be far more useful than its damage capabilities especially when capturing or defending objectives.
The late 30’s is a great spot for a Sentinel. I had little trouble killing anyone 1v1 and with guarded by the force (level 38) you have a great ability to either finish off that close fight or cause a serious distraction allowing your team to capture objectives.
We’re on tier 6 of our talent tree which is a damage buff tier for the main tree abilities. I found myself doing quite a bit more damage in this range due to the talent trees and the new ranks of some main abilities.
This level ranged played very similar to the early 30’s but it felt stronger. Opponents melted a bit faster and our defensive chain is more powerful allowing us more utility regarding objectives.
I played Watchman during this level range mostly because the respec costs had risen to about 64,000 credits. Thankfully it resets to 0 every week.
The early 40’s brings some great new things to the Sentinel. First and most important is you get your top tier talent assuming you spend all your points in a single tree. From a pvp perspective, Focus shines here followed closely by Combat. Watchman’s top tier talent is underwhelming but I think it will be a great PvE tool. Second, you get Inspiration at level 44 which is invaluable during a large fight. There were several occasions where I used this ability in a 5 v 5 situation and have no doubt that the increased damage and healing won the battle for us.
As soon as I hit 40, I switched to Focus to try out Exhaustion. This is a great low cooldown control spell that also adds a pretty significant damage buff to the already amazing force sweep aoe. After playing Watchman for 40 levels, I started to see that 2.5k damage medal every match where it was rare before. I lost a good deal of survivability and some huttball utility due to force camo no longer having 100% damage reduction, but made up for this by putting out much larger numbers. I did have some focus management issues that I didn’t have as watchman which meant more time Striking. I think to get the full effect out of the Focus tree you would want to have both Focused Slash and Quick Recovery from the Watchman tree (level 45 to get the full effect). Defensive forms will help with Centering as well but we’re pushing into the upper 40s to really make this tree work in PvP.
I also played Combats top tier talent and found that to really make this tree work you had to have focus slash from the Watchman tree (level 43 to get the full benefit.). A Zen burst of Blade Rush can do some serious single target damage especially on heavy armor after a Precision Strike. In terms of raw burst, Blade Rush spam + Ataru procs can’t be topped at this level range.
In the Watchman tree (still my personal favorite), I picked up Merciless Slash and then respect’d to actually drop it. It costs too much and has too long a cooldown to really be useful in PvP. Instead I started going down the focus and combat tree adding things like Stagger for the increased stun (can apply more dots before they knock you away) and Defensive forms for a nearly endless supply of Centering.
Of course at this level range, the other classes also get their top tier talents and some other pretty nasty abilities. Sticking to a target was still as difficult as it had been in the late 30’s but some of the extra damage / utility made up for this. I did run into several classes who had devolved into a one button wonder – Bounty Hunters in particular seem to love spamming Tracer Missile and it hits hard. This made me a little sad that I had to still use 15+ abilities to really do some damage while other classes we’re using 3 – 5.
Overall it wasn’t a bad level range. With the exception of the Watchman top talent, the level 40 talents we’re a nice new thing to add into my bag of tricks and Inspiration is a great boost to those large fights.
I played all three trees during this level range and found all of them to be competitive. Watchman was starting to slip to second place behind Focus for me at this point simply because I had far more destructive AOE and felt it was more powerful given my levelling gear.
This level range allows you to start picking up those utility talents from the other trees. Talents that reduce focus costs, refund focus, allow passive focus generation, decrease cooldowns, etc make the chosen tree that much more powerful each level.
The focus tree becomes much more powerful with the passive focus generation from Jedi Crusader (Rebuke allows for focus generation while active and taking damage). The damage output from a Felling Blows, Singularity x 4, Force Sweep really did make me feel like I could mow down almost anyone. However, as I played more and more matches, I noticed myself missing the sweep quite frequently. I would get knocked back mid jump or the animation would hitch and by the time it landed (damage calculated after the animation) my victim would be out of range.
So, I went back to the tried and true Watchman tree. I didn’t feel quite like the destroyer of worlds that the focus tree empowered me to be, but I was still able to put out solid numbers. This level range also allowed me to pick back up Merciless Slash since I now had passive focus generation from Jedi Crusader and I added Stagger to help keep players rooted for that extra second. I still felt that it wasn’t on par with the other two trees top tier talents but it did add a nice focus dump as the battle went on and seems to scale well with gear – more gear bigger hits.
Combat was the usual build-it-up-and-dump-it routine but some of the Watchman talents made a big zen burst much more efficient. I also picked up Stagger from the focus tree to help keep people in range longer. Of the three trees, I felt Combat was the weakest at this level range. The armor penetration is amazing and the increased speed from Ataru form makes chasing people down easier but I just didn’t feel like I could hit as hard as Focus or have the Survivability of Watchman. I think this will be the tree that scales best with gear however, which means as I start getting Champion and Battlemaster gear I’m going to try it out again.
Overall, all three trees preformed well and I feel like any one of them could be competitive in end game PvP.
At the level cap, I found little change from the previous few levels with the exception of having the big 50 next to my name which strikes fear into the hearts of lowbies…well not really. Level 50 did bring out Valorous call and a new rank for just about all the abilities. I ended up spending something silly like 125,000 credits to train everything but it was all well worth it. New ranks on just about every main damage ability made level 50 seem much more powerful.
All three trees play just about the same from the 45 – 49 level range but I tried to work in Valourous call at the best times to really take advantage of an on demand Zen, Inspiration, or Transcendence.
At the start of almost every warzone match, I use this ability + Transcendence to help push my group closer to the objectives. This helps us get to the center faster in huttball, to the right node to interrupt their cap in Alderaan, and to help push down to the next door in voidstar.
In addition to on demand Transcendence, using Valorous Call and Inspiration can give your group the bump needed in a large fight. I also try to time Valorous Call when I’m at very low centring or just after I have consumed my 6 zen stacks.
As Watchman it is possible to keep those 100% crit dots (and heals) going for an additional 6 stacks by using Zen then as soon as you consume your Zen stacks, VC + Zen again just melts someone health.
As Combat, you can create a long train of damage through Zen, consume but also build up another 10 focus, then Precision Slash, VC + Zen, and do it all again. This allows you to shred through 2+ people very quickly.
As Focus I found the best use for VC was to start a Transcendence train. Assuming you took the +10 centring refund (remember +10 per application), you can keep Transcendence up almost indefinite as long as you use it near your group members. I’m also a big fan of using VC to trigger Inspiration. The +15% damage boost along with Relics, Stims, and Felling Blows + Singularity x 4 Sweep can get you that 5k damage medal pretty regularly.
Level cap beings the quest…well grind…for gear. By now you will have developed your own playstyle and your preferred tree and aside from the theory crafting section, there is little more I can help you with Sentienl mechanics. Here are a few helpful tips I found to make the grind a little more bearable:
- Do your dailies. Just get them done every day.
- PvP with friends / guild members and shoot the sh…makes the time go by faster and is relaxing
- Enjoy PvP. You are not going to win every match and stressing out or yelling at people is just going to make the game unfun for you and those you’re playing with
- Focus on objectives. Matches are generally not won through raw damage.
- Focus on Medals. Try to secure your medals early so you can focus on objectives later. The following is a list of easily obtainable medals by Sentinels, note it is possible to get all of these in one warzone but highly unlikely. If you average 6 or 7, you’re doing great:
- 2.5k Damage in a single blow
- 75k total damage
- 300k total damage
- Killing blow
- Slay 10 enemies
- Slay 25 Enemies
- Solo Kill
- 1k Defender
- 3k Defender
- 2.5k single heal (Health Pack or sometimes from the talent Second Wind)
- Get the buff from Ilum. If you don’t know what this is, go to Ilum and get your daily done there. You’ll notice a buff that says “Help the War Effort x 5” and it lasts 30 minutes. This buff increases valor gained for killing Empire in Ilum AND gives you an additional 200 valor per warzone. The trek to valor rank 60 is long an painful. This helps speed it up.
- Find a healer and treat them like a princess. A Sentinel with a healer in his / her pocket is a killing machine. You also have some pretty amazing peels compared to the other classes. You can slow, stun, and mez anyone who gets close to your healer. Take good care of them and they will easily help you get that 300k damage medal.
- Try out the other trees. All of them are viable end game PvP and they all bring different utility to the warzone. While you will still love your main tree, there are times when runnig focus will just obliterate people in Voidstar or running Watchman in Huttball allows you to Force Camo through the fires to get into scoring position.
PvP Class by Class
End Game Gear Listing
More to come at the level cap!
A Treatise on Overload Saber
Been working with this ability quite a bit throughout the leveling process and in some flash points I have had the opportunity to practice keeping the dot rolling on a Champion target. I thought it would be a good opener to the theory section to discuss.
Overload Saber: Charges your lightsabers with deadly energy for 15 seconds, causing your next 3 successful melee attacks to make the target burn for elemental damage over 6 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds.
This ability costs 3 focus and has a cooldown of 12 seconds. I found it interesting that the overload effect actually lasts longer than the cooldown leading me to wonder if it was possible to keep those three stacks rolling. As it turns out, I was able to maintain the stacks through 2 rotations before they fell off.
It’s important to note that Overload Saber doesn’t respect the global cooldown which means you can activate it at the same time (just before) a physical melee ability and apply the first stack in that global cooldown.
Standard Rotation Opener
Force Leap, Overload Saber (in flight), Zealous Strike, Cauterize, Merciless Slash, Master Strike, Force Stasis. This gets three stacks of Overload Saber on the target and ticking.
Modified Rotation Opener
Force Leap, Zealous Strike, Overload Saber, Cauterize, Force Sweep, Merciless Slash, Force Stasis, Master Strike. Notice I simply delayed applying the first stack until after Zealous Strike and added Force Sweep (1 focus) to the rotation. I did this for two reasons. First, it uses all of the focus (note this is pure damage, you can use the 1 focus point for kick if the encounter requires it). Second, it adds some filler global cooldowns into the rotation to set up the rolling OS stacks.
How stacking works
Overload Saber puts a 3 stack buff on your player and when you use a physical Melee ability, it consumes one of these stacks and places a stack of Overload Saber on the target. It’s important to note that only physical melee abilities apply this effect. Force Abilities like force sweep, Blade Storm, and utilities (Kick) do not.
Each time you apply a stack, the 6 second timer resets and starts counting down again with the new stack size. This means you could, in theory, apply a stack, wait 5 seconds, apply another, wait 5 seconds, and apply the third which would effectively allow Overload Saber to tick for 15 seconds. As you can see a cooldown of 12 seconds allows you to use the ability again (at the 12 second mark) and maintain the 3 stacks.
In practice of course you don’t want to be sitting around for all that time not doing damage but at the same time you don’t want to frontload all three stacks and have them fall off after only doing 9 seconds of damage (1.5 at 1 stack, 1.5 at 2 stacks, and 6 at 3 stacks). Ideally you would be able to reactivate overload saber to carry the 3 stacks for another 9 seconds allowing 6 extra seconds of full stacks.
To accomplish this, I mixed in force and non-spenders to space out my applications of Overload Saber. I also activated the ability after Zealous Strike so my first stack would be applied at Cauterize. After Cauterize, Merciless Slash will apply the second stack and Master Strike will add your third. In between these three stacking abilities, I used Force sweep and force stasis. Force sweep delays the application of the second stack by 1 global and stasis by 2. After Master Strike applies the 3rd stack, we only have 5 seconds until Overload Saber is up and just prior to OS coming back up, Force Leap is back to provide the needed 3 focus. As soon as OS is back up, trigger it and a Melee damage ability to allow the 3 stack to continue for the next 9 seconds.
It is not possible (as far as I can tell) to keep the stacks rolling throughout the encounter simply because your force and non-spenders are on longer cooldowns and the only other abilities you have at your disposal are physical melee. However, this should possible every 30 seconds (with some utility mixed in) or at the worst every minute of the fight.
I have no hard numbers (since we have no combat log) to verify this will provide more damage but it would make sense that they intended Overload Saber to roll since the stacks reset and the actual overload buff is 15 seconds while the cooldown is only 12. The above illustrates an option for making that happen.
Please feel free to comment.
A Treatise on Riposte
There is a good discussion thread here on the merits of Riposte. I’ll summarize some of the key points here but for the details make sure you read over that thread.
Riposte: Ripostes a parried or deflected attack, striking back at the target for weapon damage. Riposte can only be used after a successful melee or ranged defense and does not respect the global cooldown. Attacks with both weapons if dual wielding. Cannot miss, be parried or dodged.
There are three key things to understand about Riposte. First, it is off the Global Cooldown which means activating this ability does not trigger the 1.5 second wait until you can use additional abilities. Second, it cannot be dodged or parried which means it is guaranteed damage. And finally it can only be used after you yourself make a successful defense which means you have a base 5% chance to have this ability light up or you can force it to light up using Pacify on your target to cause them to miss (which apparently is a defense on your part).
Riposte is considered a physical attack so it has both a chance to proc an Ataru strike and applies a stack of Overload Saber.
Riposte will rarely if ever be available during an Operation. Sentinels are not built to take much damage and, at level 50, there are not only better uses of 3 focus but also far too many abilities to manage and track. Now of course when Macros become available you may choose to macro this ability into a Zealous Strike or Strike and it becomes far easier to manage. However, spending that three focus on almost any other ability will simply do more damage / focus – note, not necessary damage / second since it is off the GCD.
As you are leveling, especially early on when this ability is one of the few at your disposal, it is worth considering some schools of thought.
- Keep 3 focus floating and try to use it as often as possible.
- Second, “macro” this ability right after a Strike or Zealous Strike.
- This ability is not worth using as a Sentinel
The first thought on Riposte is to maintain a constant pool of at least 3 focus in the event that Riposte becomes active. For all three trees, this may mean delaying some damage abilities to get the pool started. Assuming you have little downtime, this is much easier because you may carry over focus from previous fights. As described by MBirkhofer, you can manage this by simply viewing this as your 0 point and 0 focus as -3 – shifting your thought on your focus pool.
As of this writing, macros are not available so we’re talking about habitually hitting both Zealous Strike orStrike and immediately hitting Riposte. Training yourself to do this isn’t difficult and could improve not only your burst but your overall dps as described by EasymodeX on page one of the Riposte post. The thought here is that you don’t necessarily need to keep 3 focus floating since you will have just used a focus builder and immediately tried to activate Riposte. If you have the focus and Riposte is active, it will strike the target, if not, it will simply fail.
Not worth it
As you progress toward the level cap you will gain many abilities. Almost all of these abilities will do better damage / focus than Riposte but Riposte has the benefit of being off the GCD which means while less damage / focus, using this ability frequently could produce more damage / second. The downside is we would need to not only have this ability take up a hotkey slot but we would also need to watch for it to be active (or anticipate when it would be) and then factor it into our focus management and rotation. As you level, solo quest, or PvP, this ability will frequently be available and may allow for a small amount of extra burst damage. However, in an operation you will be focused on maintaining an effecient rotation and will likely not be in a situation where you would ever make a sucessfull defense.
The thought here is that the odds of this ability activating in a situation where you would need to push dps (boss fight) are very low and would not justify the focus cost at a very marginal dps increase. Also, tracking this ability on top of the many other timers and cooldowns simply over-complicates is more trouble than the potential gain it would bring.
Damage / Focus vs Damage / Second
In the interest of full theory crafting, Riposte provides a good medium for DPF vs DPS. As far as I can tell, all focus-spending abilities provide more Damage / Focus than Riposte. However, when paired with a Zealous Strike, Strike or a meticulously managed floating 3 focus, this ability will provide more Damage / Second. The key here is that it is off the global cooldown which means both the Primary ability and Riposte will land at the same time for a single GCD. Of course if spending the additional 3 focus throws off a rotation or leaves you focus starved and forced to use Strike, you may actually lower your DPS. But assuming that an efficient rotation can be maintained, using Riposte will bring slightly higher numbers.
EasymodeX has done some very rudimentary calculations and, assuming all other things equal, has shown that adding Riposte does improve identical rotations. However, the rotation presented is not optimal and far higher DPS rotations exist. The concern I have is can you maintain an optimal rotation and still balance the extra focus from Riposte? Only a combat log and some serious spreadsheeting will tell.
In PvP we frequently use (well should be using) Pacify which lowers a targets accuracy by 90%. The interesting thing I have noted is that the reduced accuracy isn’t simply them missing but the Sentinel sucessfully defending. Slightly difficult to understand but the bottom line is Pacify allows us to activate Riposte “on demand”. This means we can add Riposte into our PvP bag of tricks for some additional burst. From my experience, Riposte is not a target specific ability so once it’s active, you can use it at your discretion on any target at any time.
For example a typical Focus tree burst involves Rebuke, Zealous Strike, Stasis which should pool us to about 10 or 11 focus and put 4 stack Singularity on us. From here we unload with Zealous Leap, Force Sweep, Blade Storm, Slash. This should put out close to 9k damage in 3 global cooldowns and leaves us with at least 3 focus (probably closer to 4 from Rebuke) which is just enough for another slash or could be used for Riposte. Using another slash means another global cooldown or 10k in 4 GCD. If we use Riposte with Slash (since we know we’ll be in melee range) that’s roughly 10k in 3 GCD (Numbers are not concrete just examples). The point is we can put out more burst (DPS) by adding Riposte.
Given what I have seen in flashpoints thus far, I don’t think this ability will be useful for a Sentinel during operations. We should not be taking many direct hits and other than Pacifying the odd add here and there, we won’t have this ability on demand. In addition, I don’t see efficient rotations having much room to either Macro this ability or float 3 focus in anticipation of using Riposte. In almost all circumstances (with the exception of Combat Zen) pooling focus means lower DPS.