7.4 Ruffian / Lethality SWTOR Guide

The Ruffian is the DOT based Scoundrel Melee DPS Spec.  It has a simple rotation, that focuses on reapplying DoTs and maximizing on the Class's Signature move, Brutal Shots.  Like its cousin, the scrapper, the Ruffian Scoundrel has an additional resource to manage.  Upper Hands (UHs) are needed to use the Class's Brutal Shots, as such we have to leverage other abilities to keep our stack of UHs up and the flow going.  The most difficult part of the class is managing UHs, this guide focuses on a lot of that process.  Ruffian is one of my favorite classes to play.  It is highly mobile and packs a lot of raid utility into the class.  It lacks somewhat on the defensive side, but being able to dip and dodge quickly out of danger will leave us chuckling at the other classes getting hit with cleaves or blast circles we can easily evade.

Gearing up for Ruffian

Below are the gear selections, legendary implants, tactical and skill point choices I recommend for this class.

For more on gearing, visit the pages under gearing your character in the basic training tab.  Gearing to 340.

Gaining the Upper hand

The following abilities, or ability combos, will build your stack of Upper Hand.  Keep in mind that you can only have a max of 2 Stacks.  So spend them as you generate them.

As stated above, we can only hold 2 Upper Hands.  It can be wise to hold onto one of those charges, or be ready to immediately regenerate one, as having 1 UH increases our Critical Chance by 5%.  Always try to keep UH up on your buff bar for this reason.

Using Point Blank Shot from stealth will build one Upper Hand.  Keep this in mind during combat, as using Disappearing Act, then point-blank shot will also generate an UH

Pugnacity is a huge Offensive/Defensive Cool Down as well as a self-heal.  It increases our Alacrity by 10% for 20" heals us for 5% health every 3" (about 30% HP) as well as a Damage Reduction of 20%.  Oh, and of course it generates an Upper Hand.

Sanguinary Shot gains increased damage as well as helps with energy regeneration from our choice of tactical.  This ability also makes our bleeds (DoTs) tick harder for the duration of the debuff it puts on the target.  It also generates an Upper Hand.

Blaster Whip builds one Upper Hand for us, but is also unique in that it makes our Next Brutal Shots not consume an UH and cost no energy.  It can only do this once every 10".  Blaster Whip has a 5" cool down, so this means roughly every other will proc this effect.

Our Gap Closer generates an Upper Hand.  I use this frequently when other UH generating abilities are on cool down and I want to continue or start hitting Brutal Shots for fillers.

Last on the list is Brutal Shots itself.  While typically it eats an UH, If Brutal shots consumes the final UH in the stack, it refunds it (cannot occur more than once every 10") as such I always try to make sure if I am eating all UHs, I use Brutal shots to do it.

As you can see above, there are many ways to Generate Upper Hands, and it is easy to overdo it and waste potential.  Keep an eye on your Upper hand stacks and use Brutal Shots as needed to keep from over generating them.  Generally speaking, abilities that give upper hands are low dps and abilities that use your upper hands have higher dps.  Always press towards a balance.

Using your Upper Hands

Three abilities consume your generated upper hands.  Brutal shots are your default go to for spending them.  You can also choose to use them on Bushwhack (our AoE and DoT spread) or Stack the Deck, our Raid Buff.

This is your normal go to for spamming high dps fillers to consume your upper hands.  You should always try to use Brutal shots to consume your last charge of Upper Hand to gain the Refund and a second use of the ability from your Upper Hand.  More uses of Brutal shots typically means higher DPS.

This ability can be substituted in for any Brutal Shots in the rotation.  Bushwhack spreads Vital shot.  Keep In mind that bushwhack does not benefit from the "if you use it, and it would consume the final UH that it does not consume it" perk, so try to use Bushwhack when you have 2 Upper Hands.

Our Raid Buff.  Raid Buffs when used provides all friendly players in your ops group within 40 meters of you the benefit of the Buff.  Stack the Deck increases Critical Chance by 10% for 10".  Unlike the Sage or Commando, we do not have to pick our Raid Buff from a list of skill points.  We have it by default and have to make no decisions to lose something to take it.  Ideally, if there is a Scoundrel Healer in the group, they should be the one using the Raid Buff, as they generate Upper Hands far easier than we do.  If the Ruffian uses the Raid Buff, it is a minor DPS loss.

The Opener


Stealth will allow us to sneak up behind a boss to start a pull.  We want to be in stealth to use our First Point Blank shot, so we generate an upper hand from it.

Optional - You can use your gap closer to get to the boss quickly.  However, this will waste an upper hand.  Sometimes it's a better option and a potential dps increase to scamper in, or just cloak and be behind the boss ready to pop out and fight.  Stealth has the benefit of not pulling "Most" bosses and puts you right in melee range.


Before our DoT Block, we build Upper Hands.  At this point in the opener, we use Pugnacity for its buff to our Alacrity and the Upper Hand it gives us.  Keep in mind some fights you may want to save or move this around if you need it for a defensive or self-heal.  Slams on TfB might be one such example.

The DoT Block

Now that our Alacrity is buffed, we get our DoTs going.  Having the increased alacrity will make them tick faster and yield more DPS.  We then enter into our DOT Block and set up the rest of our rotation.  Every OTHER time Point Blank shot comes off of cool down, we MUST use this block to reapply our DoTs for maximum DPS.


We consume a charge of our Upper Hand and rebuild it with Sanguinary Shot to get our last DoT ticking.  Sanguinary Shot should be used as close to cool down as possible from here on out in your rotation.

We are back up to 2 upper hands and now have all of our DoTs rolling and our opener out of the way.  It's time to Brutal Shot Spam.

Brutal Shot Spam Block


We used one Upper Hand and then use Blaster Whip to recharge to 2 and make our Next Brutal Shots Free.  Keep in mind, we have other priorities besides Brutal shots.  You should stop brutal shots spamming if Point Blank shot or Sanguinary shot come off of cool down.  Remember that every OTHER Point-Blank shot, you will need to reapply your long burn DoTs (Vital Shot and Sharp Bomb) as well.  Any place you would use Brutal shots in your rotation, you can use Bushwhack instead to DoT spread Vital Shot to Adds.  This makes the scoundrel very reactive to add phases.  Shrap Bomb while a DoT is also an AoE DoT, so remember if you are DoT spreading, you may need to reapply Shrap Bomb to incoming Adds.

Main Rotation

The Main Rotation devolves into: Use Your DoT Block every other activation of Point-Blank Shot, and always use Point Blank shot on cool down to keep track of it.  Use Sanguinary Shot on Cool Down.  Use Blaster Whip at least every 10" for the Upper hand and Free use of Brutal Shots.


As you proceed through your rotation, keep in mind that you can use your stealth out, Disappearing Act to enter stealth and use Point Blank Shot for an Upper Hand as well.  Using Trick move in place also works to help build an Upper hand and keep those Brutal Shots firing.

Over Dot'ing can lead to an energy burn out.  Cool Head gives you one free get out of energy jail free card.  Be sure to only reapply DoTs every OTHER point-blank shot, and take care to DoT spread to targets and only multidot when your energy management allows.

Quick Reference Guide

The Ruffian's Defensive Abilities

A strong defensive ability.  This increases your chance to dodge (not take damage) melee and ranged damage by 200% for 7 seconds.  It also acts as a self-cleanse.

This ability puts an absorb screen on us, that absorbs 32k damage.  Stays active for 10 seconds or until the damage threshold is reached.  Gives us a 15% for 6" DR when it collapses.

This ability makes the scoundrel very fast on its feet.  Effectively able to "roll out" of AoE circles quickly.  I use this practically on cool down when on the move.  While rolling, your chance to dodge melee and ranged attacks is increased by 30%.

Pugnacity is a huge Offensive/Defensive Cool Down as well as a self-heal.  It increases our Alacrity by 10% for 20" heals us for 5% health every 3" (about 30% HP) as well as a Damage Reduction of 20%.  Using Pugnacity as a Defensive cool down is sometimes needed due to the class's lack of great defensives.  It is a DPS loss to do so, but so is dying ;)


When we pop scamper, we gain the Scurry buff (once every 10").  This buff makes use of Kolto Pack free and instant, giving us a nice Self-heal on a short cool down Timer for those times our HP is shrinking.  This can make the Ruffian very resilient to damage, but at a loss to dps.  It is optimal to use this in transition phases when the boss has disengaged, and you have nothing to shoot.  Scamper and heal!

Legendary Implants and Tactical

Skill Points