Infiltration | Deception
Infiltration is perhaps my favorite spec in the game, for PvP. In operations, however, I find it to be very outclassed, have little utility and parse very low in comparison to Serenity, of which I can typically double its damage output on. I do not recommend playing this spec in anything above story mode operations. Infiltration is the shadow's Burst DPS spec. It can put out some pretty incredible damage in a very short amount of time. The problem in operations is that it cannot sustain those DPS levels. It is handy when burst is needed in a fight, though. The spec can be very RNG dependent as a lot of the procs depend on critical, as such there is no simple 1-2-3 system for what to press and when. I have outlined the basic goals of the spec below, and remember, sometimes you just have to get lucky.
Gearing up for Infiltration
Below are the gear selections, legendary implants, tactical and skill point choices I recommend for this class.
Knowing Your Goals
Goal 1 - Build 2 Clairvoyance Stacks and maintain them indefinitely
Two Clairvoyance stacks increases your Critical Chance by 20%. This buff must be running 100% of the time. To build this buff, simply use Clairvoyant Strike Twice on a target. Continue to use it at least once every 15" to maintain uptime on the buff. Note that using Whirling Blow will put the Clairvoyance buff on your bar, but it is believed to not count toward the "Vision Engine" Passive due to the specific wording. You can use Whirling Blow prepull to stack the Clairvoyance buff, but it may not count. Two Stacks of Clairvoyance will make your Psychokinetic Blast Proc (consumes less force)
Goal 2 - Build 3 Stacks of Breaching Shadows to Proc Force Breach
There are a number of ways to Build Breaching Shadow Stacks.
Use Melee Attacks like Clairvoyant Strike - 50% chance to Generate a Stack
Use a proc'd Psychokinetic Blast - Generates 1 Stack
Use Force Potency - Immediately Generates 3 Stacks
Use Shadow Stride - Immediately Generates 3 Stacks
The Ultimate Goal - Use the heck out of Vaulting Slash
This choice of passive is a must for me. Vaulting Slash is our HIGHEST damage ability, and we want to use it on cool down. It has a 16" cool down and if we wait for that every time, we are losing out on some massive DPS. The essential goal is to Crit on your Force attacks to reset Vaulting Slash's Cool Down. This does not always happen, so our uses of Vaulting Slash become very based on Crit RNG. This also sets the Infiltration Shadow up into a Priority System, as listed Below.
From Left to Right (or Top to Bottom for Mobile users) Aside from Clairvoyant Strike, all of these abilities should only be used if they are proc'd (Glowing)
Force Potency is a big time offensive cool down for the Infiltration Shadow. It gives us 3 charges that increase our Critical Chance of our next three force attacks (Force Breach and Psychokinetic Blast) by 60%. Force potency also gives us an immediate 3 stack of Breaching Shadows that Proc's Force Breach. Take care when using Force Potency that you are not already about to proc force breach. If I see I am at two stacks of Breaching Shadows, I delay Force Potency until I have used that Proc to immediately proc Force Breach again. This helps to get more uses of Vaulting Slash. Otherwise, Force Potency should be used on cool down.
Using Shadow Stride immediately generates 3 stacks of Breaching Shadows and proc's Force Breach. Being able to use Shadow Stride while in melee range of your target means you can use this ability as well to get an instant proc of your force breach and help get more uses of Vaulting Slash. As mentioned above, I wait until just after I have fired off a Proc'd Force Breach before using this to get maximum effect.
This is your sub 30% execute ability. While it may be cool to use, it's a DPS loss to use it in the execute phase. I know it is sad, but a proc'd Shadow Strike does more damage vs spinning strike. It is frankly hard to find room for Spinning Strike in the priority system. It is an extremely low priority ability and I do not recommend using it.
Force Cloak will reduce the cool down of Force Potency by 60". More Force Potency, more Crits.
Quick Reference Guides (Well, sort of)
The below is an example of Infiltration's Priority system at work. This is one of those specs that you will want to just start pressing buttons and get a sense of what lights up and when. After a few reps on a target dummy, you will start to see a bit of a pattern emerge.
Infiltration's Defensive Abilities
We use this against force/tech damage types. This ability completely resists force/tech damage for 3" but will do nothing for kinetic/energy damage. Also, a self-cleanse.
Deflection increases your Defense chance against Melee/Ranged attack types by 50%. Does nothing against internal/elemental attack types.
Infiltration gets superior usage out of Mass Mind Control. This is a choice of passive at level 51 and is my recommended go to
Trade stalker's swiftness @ 73 to take Cloak of resilience instead. This gives us 2 seconds of resilience, a second cleanse for those cleanse heavy fights.
This passive we gain at level 78 makes Infiltration quite a bit "tankier" vs serenity. This gives us huge uptime on a potential 9% DR from just going through our normal abilities.
Legendary Implants and Tactical
Our Legendary Implants are shared with Serenity, which is a nice synergy between the shadow's DPS classes.
We have a choice of Three Potential Tacticals.
Blade of the Elements is my pick for PvE content where burst DPS is needed. This just further adds to Vaulting Slash's damage output and will be a noticeable DPS increase.
Option 2 is Two Cloaks. This one I use in PvP for the obvious reasons. It has the added benefit of allowing you to cloak out more and thus lowering the cool down of Force Potency more frequently. More Force Potency means more DPS, but it does not beat Blade of the elements in PvE content to make it a viable first choice. If you have two cloaks, but not Blade of the Elements, use it until you can afford the tech fragments to pick it up.
Lastly, the Awakened Flame. This gives the Infiltration shadow a DoT with Psychokinetic Blast. It provides less burst DPS, but gives us more damage in damage over time. If you are in a fight where you are just parsing against a boss, this may slightly pull ahead, but it and Blade of the Elements are both very close in a DPS increase for the class.
My lean is heavily to Blade of the Elements for PvE content. The infiltration shadow is all about its burst. This tactical gives us 4-5 more uses of Vaulting slash during a normal dummy parse.
There are not many optional skill points through the tree. Take care in switching off from the recommended passives, as some effect the rotation quite drastically.