Date: Dec 7, 2011  |  Written by Elicas  |  Posted Under: Article, Guides, SWTOR  |  DISQUS With Us: 8 comments

SWTOR Bounter Hunter Tank

Hello all, and welcome to another guide by your friendly neighbourhood meatshield. In this guide I’ll be discussing my build of choice and priority lists. In addition, I’ll show you how to calculate your current Effective Health, how to calculate your current Total Mitigation, and how to choose which piece of gear is an upgrade for you. This will all be done from the Bounty Hunter Powertech Tank perspective.

1 – Abbreviations and Desired Stats
2 – Skill Specialisations
3 – Effective Health and Mitigation
4 – Threat and the Priority System
5 – BH Resource Management and Proffessions

Abbreviations and Desired Stats

BH – Bounty Hunter!
PT – Powertech!
AoE – Area of Effect
CD – CoolDown.
EH – Effective Health
AM – Armour Mitigation
VH – Vent Heat
TM – Total Mitigation
DEF – Defense
RP – Rocket Punch
IGC – Ion Gas Cylinder
FB – Flame Burst
FS – Flame Sweep
FT – Flame Thrower
RS – Rail Shot
JC – Jet Charge
HB – Heat Blast
CTS – Chance To Shield
OS – Oil Slick

BH PT Primary Stats:

Our Primary Stats are Endurance and Aim, which increase our Health and Damage (Threat).

Aim gives 0.2 ranged damage while Endurance gives 10 HP per point. Aim will always give Ranged + Tech, so a BH will get a tech bonus from Aim.

BH PT Secondary Stats:

  • Presence – Boosts companion health, damage, and healing.
  • Tech Power – Found on weapons, increases Tech damage, but not Ranged damage.
  • Accuracy – Gives +hit and gives armour penetration when over 100%
  • Crit – Gives Ranged and Tech critical chance.
  • Surge – Increased critical damage.
  • Armour – Reduces physical and kinetic damage (all Tech and Force powers unless otherwise specified are Kinetic)
  • Defense – Increases Parry/Deflect.
  • Shield – Increases chance to be shielded on attack
  • Absorption – Increases the % of damage shaved off shielded attacks
  • Alacrity – Cast/channel Haste

The most important of these will depend on what you currently have the most of. A well balanced and varied build is always preferable to heavily stacking in one area, so for example the more DEF you have the less value it has, and the more you want to increase your Shield or Accuracy. A good rule of thumb to follow is the following;

Accuracy to 105% > DEF/Shield/Armour > Endurance/Absorbtion > Aim > Secondary Stats.

The reasoning behind this is simple, all mobs have a 5% base chance to avoid your attacks, to rule this out of the combat table we need to get a 105% chance to hit your enemy. This guarantees you will always hit and will therefore always be generating threat from your abilities. Def/Shield and Armour are all mitigation stats of around the same equivalent worth, depending on how much of each you have. Keep these stats roughly balanced and you won’t be going wrong.

Many tanks like to simply stack health, and while it is an important stat if you have 10,000 health and 0 mitigation you’re going to die faster than a tank with 8,000 health and 40% TM. Finding a good balance between mitigation and pure health is the art of maintaining a good EH tank.

Aim is the least important of the main stats, as it doesn’t provide any survivability. It does however increase our threat generation, which makes it much more useful than any of the other secondary stats we could choose.

Skill Specialisations


First up, we’ll have a look at a build, including my reasoning behind which talents I have chosen.  We’ll also go over my ability priority system and how to get the best out of your cooldowns. The build I have been testing and am currently planning to use at release is:

Tier 1 Abilities

  • Combust: 4% reduced damage for 15 second, costs 25 heat for Flame Sweep to hit up to 5 targets or 16 heat for Flame Burst to hit one target. Worth 2/2 points to keep up the 4% reduced damage at all times. This will factor into our mitigation calculations later on in the guide.
  • Intimidation: 6% extra damage on our fire damage abilities, which make up the majority of our damage. That’s 6% bonus threat on all of these abilities. 3/3 points.
  • Prototype Brun Enhancers: 6% bonus crit chance for our fire damage abilities. Mostly a filler talent to help us get to tier 2 of the Advanced Prototype tree. 2/2 points, that can be swapped with Prototype Electro Surge if you prefer the reduced CD for the stun, personal preference.
  • Puncture: 60% armour penetration for Rail Shot, filler talent to help us get to tier 2, though Rail Shot does hit hard and will be being used at every available chance. Bonus threat, 3/3.
  • Iron Fist: 8% extra damage and therefore extra threat on one of our most used abilities, 2/2.

Tier 2 Abilities

  • Ion Overload: 100% chance to proc Ion Shock from your Cylinder when using Rocket Punch, our main threat generator. 2/2.
  • Steely Resolve: 3% Aim increase per skill point, which directly increases our damage done by 9%. That’s basically a 9% threat boost to our abilities before our additional threat modifiers are added to our abilities. 3/3.
  • Rebraced Armour: Absolutely a no brainer, 16% bonus Armour Rating. 2/2.
  • Prototype Cylinders: 8% extra threat and damage from our passive tanking proc. Well worth the one point as we’ll trigger the proc 100% chance every time we RP.
  • Power Armour: Power Armour 1% reduced damage from all sources per point. Well worth the points, 2/2.

Tier 3 Abilities

  • Shield Vents: 2% extra chance to shield an attack, and every attack shielded has a 50% chance of venting 8 heat. 2/2.
  • Oil Slick: Avoid 20% more attacks for 18 seconds every minute for just one point. Invaluable and a must have for all tanking Powertechs. 1/1.
  • Ablative Upgrades: Our shields absorb 6% more per hit, plus a 60 second reduction to our main CD. 2/2.

Tier 4 Abilities

  • Supercharged Ion Gas: Filler skill to move to the higher trees, 25% extra damage and a longer duration on the shock component of our tanking passive. Not bad at all for a 1 point investment. 1/1.
  • Ion Screen: Any time our main tanking passive is up, we take 2% less damage. As we should always be tanking with IGC up, that’s 2% reduced damage from all sources at all times. No brainer, 2/2.
  • Flame Shield: Increased crit chance for FS and RP, two of our main abilities. Plus shielding an attack gives a 50% chance to reset the CD for RP. Well worth taking, 2/2.

Tier 5+ Abilities

  • Jet Charge: Initiator and clutch interrupt. Use it to get quick aggro on a boss at the start of a fight, or to interrupt if Quell is on CD, 1/1.
  • Flame Surge: Even more bonus damage for RP. Filler talent to get to Tier 6, 2/2.
  • Empowered Tech: Increases our chance to shield by 10%. Invaluable, 5/5.
  • Heat Blast: Signature ability, vents 8 heat and does a significant amount of fire damage. Number 1 on our threat ability priority table, 1/1.

Effective Health and Mitigation.


EH and Mitigation are two very important concepts to balance out when choosing gear and talents on any end game tank. EH is how much raw Health Points (HP) you have modified by the damage reduction of your Armour Mitigation (AM). The maths is; Health / (1-AC%). Therefore a level 50 tank with 10,000 HP and an AM of 50%, would have (10,000 / 0.5) 20,000 effective health.

Important – This only affects physical damage taken by mobs melee swings, not damage done by non-physical special abilities and spells.

Total Mitigation is the sum of our Avoidance and our Shielding. Avoidance in TOR is our chance to parry/dodge an attack, which is boosted by the DEF stat, while our Shield stat is our chance to absorb an amount of damage, similar to the Block stat in many other MMO’s.

Here’s good rule of thumb for tanks trying to be a mitigation tank: you want to aim for as close to 100% total mitigation as possible. This doesn’t mean that you’ll never take damage, it instead means that anytime you do take damage, part of it is resisted. TM works with EH, meaning that your EH is increased even further every time you avoid or absorb an attack.

Calculating your Mitigation is incredibly simple, you simple take your DEF Avoidance chance percentage and add it to your Shield chance percentage. I’ll show you exactly what this means in the following part of this guide.

Hovering over your DEF stat in the character pane will show you what your DEF % is. Howevering over your Shield stat will show you what your Shield % is. Combining the two like thus:

DEF + Shield = Mitigation.

This gives us your chance to avoid all or part of the incoming damage. This can be further refined however by adding in our current EH, as well as the straight damage reduction skills.. A BH, from skill specialisations alone, will have a minimum of:

5% base CTS + 15% CTS from IGC + 2% CTS from Shield Vents + 10% CTS from Empowered Tech + Power Generator Stats

5% base DEF.

5% base reduced damage taken from IGC + 2% reduced damage taken from Power Armour + 2% reduced damage taken from Ion Shield +4% reduced damage from Combust Debuff

This totals as 5% DEF + 32% Shield when naked at level 50, with the resulting damage being by 13%. Now, instead subtract that hit from your EH total after factoring armour, and you’ve got a heck of alot of survivability on a BH. Let me give you an example, with the formula and the math behind it. I’ll be using a BH with easy to use defensive numbers:

A = Avoidance
B = Shield Chance
C = Shield Absorption
D = Armour and Modified Damage Reduction

((((100-A)*B)*(1-C))*(1-D)) + (((100-A)-((100-A)*B))*(1-D)) = Z

100 – Z = Average Mitigation

A= 15
B= .47 (Shield Base 20%) + (IGC 15%) + (Shield Vents 2% + Empowered Tech 10%) = 47%
C= .26 (Shield Base 20%) + (Ablative Upgrades 6%) = 26%
D= .5000 (Easy to work with round number, 50.00% reduction)

((((100-15)*.47)*(1-.26))*(1-.5000)) + (((100-15)-((100-15)*.47))*(1-.5000)) = 37.30

100 – 37.30 = 62.7% Average Mitigation

Currently we are not sure if TOR does use a single roll for the hit table or not. If it does, then it makes calculating our defensive capabilities even easier, as we simply aim for a total combined shield/avoidance score of 100% + boss level bonus.

Usually a one roll hit table will work out as;

Avoidance (Dodge and Parry)
Critical Hit
Normal Hit

We then plug in our calculated BH defensive stats naked at level 50 with all the talents detailed above and a basic 20% generator off hand and come out with;

Miss 5.00% 0.01 – 5.00
Avoidance 15.00% 5.01 – 20.01
Shield 47.00% 20.02 – 67.03

Now we get to the part that is hypothetical again, presuming that mobs have the same base 5% crit chance as we do;

Critical Hit 5.00% 67.04 – 72.05
Normal Hit 27.95 72.06 – 100.00

Threat and the Priority System.


A PT tank does not use a set rotation like a dps class, but instead uses a Priority System, similar to an if statement flow chart. Simplified, it looks like the following:

Mitigation > Heat Dump if >40 else High Threat > Heat Dump if >40 else Procs > Filler

This means that you most important abilities are those that increase your survivability or mitigation, most notably FB and FS. This is followed by dumping heat with HB if you have more than 40, otherwise using our highest threat abilities, which are RS and RP. This is again followed by dumping heat with HB, otherwise we use any RP procs or return to mitigation, if everything is on CD and we don’t need to dump then we use filler abilities, such as our basic blaster attack. A typical single target combination would look like this:

FB -> RP -> RS -> RP/HB -> Filler

Whereas a typical multi-target combination would look like this:

FS/OS -> RP -> RS/HB -> FT/HB -> RP/HB -> Filler

You’ll notice that the multi-target combination has a much higher reliance on using HB. This is due to the fact that AoE attacks cost more heat and you’ll therefore need to dump more often than when you’re tanking single-target.

BH Resource Management and Proffessions.

Resource management as a PT tank is going to be exceptionally important. We start with zero heat and build heat as we use certain abilities. Heat dissipates faster, the less heat we currently have. This means either trying to weave in zero heat abilities into your priority list or spending several seconds doing nothing after using abilities. Obviously, doing nothing as a tank is a bad thing, so liberal usage of your Rapid Shots filler is recommended. You can see your current heat dissipation level under your health bar and to the right of your heat bar, as a set of little arrows that range from 1 arrow to 4 arrows.

There are a number of ways to manage our heat dissipation. 2 points in Shield Vents gives us a 50% chance to vent 8 heat every time we shield an attack. This ties in very well with our general tank role as a shield tank. The higher our shield chance is, the more heat we will dissipate, consequently the more abilities we can use. The other major way to vent heat in our priority list is Heat Blast, which vents 8 heat and does a hefty chunk of damage to our target. This skill should be kept on cooldown at all times, once we have it and will really help to keep our heat at a manageable level.

We have one CD ability to really help manage heat in those moments where it’s really important, called Vent Heat. This dissipates 50 heat over 3 seconds, with a 2 minute CD. It is worth noting that this ability allows us to frontload damage in a boss pickup situation. Throw everything you can at the boss until you’re at 75 heat, hit VH and then settle into your usual heat priority list, maintaining heat between 25 and 50.

Professions for the BH comes down to a case of playstyle. There are four main crafting professions that work well with the BH. These are:

  • Armourmech – Crafting of Medium/Heavy armour for non force users.
  • Armstech – Crafting of Blaster Rifles and Pistols, as well as Weapon Mods.
  • Biotech – Consumables and Implants.
  • Cybertech – Droid components and Armour Mods.

Certain resource collection skills work well with each of the above. Each crafting crew skill has a gathering skill and a mission skill that compliments it. Each crafting skill has two skills that are labelled as ‘primary’. This means they will gather the items most useful for the BH. Each crafting skill has the possibility of having a secondary skill. Secondary skills gather items that can be used to level the main crafting skill, but aren’t necessarily BH focussed.

Every BH can also take Slicing regardless of whether or not it goes with your main crafting skill or not. The reason behind this is that Slicing is the fastest of the Credit gathering skills and our first companion, Mako, has 15 Slicing Efficiency. This means she completes Slicing missions 15% faster than usual. Slicing can also be used in flashpoints to bypass certain trash or to activate certain quest objectives and story arcs.  The main skill combinations are:

  • Armourmech – Scavenging primary and Underworld Trading secondary.
  • Armstech – Scavenging primary and Investigation secondary.
  • Biochem – Bioanalysis primary and Diplomacy secondary.
  • Cybertech – Scavenging primary and Underworld Trading secondary.

Personally, as a high-end PvE raider, I will be choosing Biochem in addition to Bioanalysis and Slicing.  This will allow me to use Slicing and Mako to build fast credits while selling raid buffs, using the influx of credits to buy any materials I will lose out from not taking Underworld Trading. In beta, I found the leveling of Biochem to be no more difficult with this method, while I had many more credits that when I leveled with Underworld Trading.

  • Hamato

    Very interesting read, thanks.
    The professions section isn’t up to date. In the Thanksgiving beta weekend at least, Biochem didn’t use Underworld trading as secondary (as it did before) but Diplomacy. And as far as I know, Slicing does not support any crafting skill now. Don’t know if anything else changed.

  • Jasko Maughann

    Great info.
    Would you mind if I linked to this from my blog?

  • Nico Abate

    The link to your build isnt working mate.

  • Wimdeg

    Please replace the abbreviations with the full words, I don’t know what they mean and having to check every time what the abbreviation means makes this guide unreadable for me.

  • guest

    Good post.

    One error I noticed: You accounted for Ion Gas Cylinder’s bonus twice – there is a 5% base shield chance which turns to %20 with ion gas cylinder on.  You used 20% + 15% for IGC, which let you get up to a 47% shield chance.  You it right a few lines above that where you said “5% base CTS + 15% CTS from IGC”

  • Tank Odom

    just wondering y you dont take the 3% extra endurance in the tier 1 pyrotech tree 

    • Asdkfh

      Better to go with Puncture, Power Armor, and Prototype Cylinders. If you take the 3% extra endurance you will have 3 points left that will go to waste since you can’t get to Tier 2 Advanced Prototype.

    • Vynastus

       Remember, this isn’t about endurance stacking, it’s a mitigation build. The 3% endurance is actually less beneficial than Power Armor and Prototype Cylinders. At first I had the same issue coming off of WoW, but after testing I have noticed the PA and PC talents are better.