Sawbones | Medicine
Sawbones is right now the uncontested best healing class in Swtor. It has a much different play style vs sage or commando, favoring stationary almost turret style healing and does best typically standing in the melee group behind the boss. It is the king of AoE healing and is right now overpowered in that department. A nerf to the class to level the playing field is planned with 7.1.1, so we will see where the king lands after said nerf. Sawbones focuses on HoT healing much more than the other Heal Classes. As such, it can be difficult for the Sawbones to deliver sustained burst heals to a tank. Sawbones are best paired with a Sage or Commando to supplement their heals.
Gearing up for Sawbones
Below are the gear selections, legendary implants, tactical and skill point choices I recommend for this class.
Healers do not have what I would call "rotations" like a DPS. In fact, I find their ability usage to follow more the flow of a tank by comparison. There are abilities we will string together into a pattern, but which pattern we choose for healing is often reflective of how we need to react to damage, or a damage phase to keep a single player (tank for example) or the group alive. Healers have the responsibility of cleansing as well, though all specs that have a self-cleanse should know where it is at to help when many players in a group need to be cleansed of an affliction.
Gaining the Upper Hand/ Tactical Advantage
Some of your healing abilities require you to have the Upper Hand. Upper Hands are generated by activating other abilities that give you the Upper Hand buff. As a healer, Generating Upper Hands to use is simple and largely takes care of itself. It is important to know how it works and which abilities you can use to make sure you are always able to execute the heals you want when you want. The healing class can stack up to 3 upper hands.
Make every attempt to start every pull in stealth. Exiting stealth grants 2 stacks of upper hand.
These abilities all generate one Upper Hand when used
From our Skills, Emergency Medpac will generate an Upper Hand when used with a 10" cool down before it will generate another.
These abilities have a 10% change to generate an Upper Hand each time a tick of their HoT, heals a Target. This is why we largely do not have to concern ourselves with generating Upper Hands.
Using 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 as the healer you should use this when it is called for. It is a DPS loss for a Ruffian or Scrapper to use it.
Our Strongest Burst heal, it will require an Upper Hand to use it. It though does require you to stand still to channel it. Unlike the Ruffian using scamper will not make it free or instant-castable.
These we use to refresh our Slow-Release Medpacs. As stated above, every 10" this will actually generate an Upper Hand for us, but in general they consume an upper hand.
The Slow-Release Medpac is the backbone of our healing as a Scoundrel. It is akin to the Sage's Force Armor and Commando's Trauma Probes. Unlike the other classes, Multiple scoundrels can all have their slow-release medpacs up on the same target. This is especially beneficial in 16 player content, where there are often 4 healers. In my opinion, this makes multiple scoundrels far more useful than multiple sages or commandos healing in a group.
Your slow-release medpac (SRM) will stack up to two times on your target player. It has been my experience that a two stack SRM will heal between 18-20% Hp during its 18" duration. They should be refreshed with Emergency Medpac before expiration for best energy management. If it does fall off, you will need to restack them and start over. I typically try to keep SRMs up on my raid frame (4 players in my group) or at least the top 1-2 players taking the most damage (tanks for example). Programs like StarParse that track HoTs like SRMs are helpful for the Scoundrel healer, but due to their short duration (compared to Trauma Probes 3-minute Buff Time), it is in my opinion easier to just get into a pattern of reapplication. I will review some common patterns I use below.
As a Scoundrel, I spend a considerable amount of time targeting the boss to self-heal myself, thus healing everyone in range with my Underworld Medicine. Having the boss targeted has the added benefit of dealing some off-dps as you do. I make it appoint to keep a Vital Shot up on the boss as I run my sequences. I use Vital shot as my tracker to know when I need to reapply SRMs. Vital shot and SRM both have an 18" tick time. Seeing that Vital Shot is about to expire on the boss tells me it's time to cycle back to my teammates for a round of Emergency Medpacs.
"Opener" - SRM Applications
From here, swap to an appropriate Healing Sequence to React to what healing is needed.
For this sequence, you either need to target yourself or the Boss (preferred, so you can track a vital shot). Underworld Medicine heals everyone around you for an extreme amount of HP. In fact, it is currently stronger heals vs the prescribed Single Target Burst Healing Sequence below. As a Scoundrel you can quite seriously just run this AoE sequence, and the Energy Regeneration Sequence listed below and be 100% fine. It gets a bit boring, but is extremely effective and needed in some fights. Take note, in 7.1.1 the healing of this sequence was reduced by 50%.
Switch to SRM Maintenance, or back to SRM Application if you allowed your SRMs to fall off.
Single Target Burst Healing Sequence
This is designed to give you your maximum heals on a single target (assumes SRMs are on Target, if not apply them first)
Reevaluate what is needed from you as the healer and swap to the appropriate Pattern. Keep track of Vital Shot and return to this Sequence before the 18" Window of Vital Shot ends to keep the flow going. If there is downtime in a fight (i.e. the boss disappears), swap back to this pattern by default to keep up your SRMs, Track the SRMs on the first target you applied them to, so you know when to refresh them.
Energy Regeneration Sequence
Continual "Spamming" of Underworld Medicine will lead to exhaustion (yellow bar depletion). I throw in steady uses of Diagnostic Scans if I see my energy going below 50%. Diagnostic scan can also be used on the move, so swap to it if heavy movement is required and your SRMs are actively ticking away.
If you overdid it with spamming your heals and reached exhaustion or are in danger of running out of energy, this ability will bail you out. It is on a moderate cool down. I typically use this, then some Diagnostic Scans to get me back in the green before I resume healing. If I know I have this up, I will typically spam my energy heavy heals and drain my yellow bar to exhaustion and then come back, as described. This is particularly good for extreme situations that demand very high levels of healing from you. I try to keep it in reserve for emergencies.
You may have noticed that you have an extra heal button on your bar that I have not spoken to yet. Kolto Waves is a very inefficient AoE heal. Only use Kolto Waves when you can hit the entire group with it (6+ team members). Using this to only heal a couple raid members is a complete waste of energy and is ill-advised. It is far better to SRM 1-2 players vs Channel Kolto Waves. It is a very long channel; you cannot move, and the heals are low compared to the other options listed above. Avoid this ability unless you know you can get the whole group.
I often find it easier to heal if I let a DPS that is taking too much damage die. It teaches some nice lessons to encourage moving out of the damage, verses allowing them to continue to think they are invulnerable as my fingers bleed for them. I typically save this ability for my cohealer or tank. If a talented DPS went down, sometimes I will help them. It depends on how much they pay me. We are on a scoundrel after all.
This is our cleanse. With it, we can remove those pesky debuffs that are afflicting our group. Classes with self-cleanses (basically everyone except Vanguards and Snipers) should clean themselves where possible. Always ask folks to self-cleanse if you have a sizable number of afflictions to clean off. You need to grab the ones that cannot help themselves and typically yourself and the tank. You'll see below that Dodge, one of your defensives can also be used for a self-cleanse, making scoundrels excellent at cleansing quickly.
I Typically either use this on cool down or save it for burst windows I know are coming where the tank will need me to react to large incoming damage. A lot of scoundrel healing is knowing what is coming and predicting the healing.
A brief Public Service Message about Bushwhack Healing
There are tacticals and Legendary implants out there that turn this psychotic AoE into a Heal. First and foremost, let me steer you clear of following this path. The scoundrel excels at AoE healing. IT does not need nor want a useless ability like bushwhack being turned into a healing ability. The heals are low. Frankly, Kolto wave is better. If you were reading the guide, you would have taken note that I already warn against using that ability. So why tell me, would I suggest using this scallywaft sequence. Just don't.
Sawbones Defensive Cool Downs
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.
A Notable defensive Cool down as with our Skill point choices Disappearing Act gives us 2 seconds of Dodge/Evasion. Along with dropping our threat completely, this will protect and cleanse us, just as Dodge would. It is great to use on those extremely cleanse heavy fights.
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 excellent defensives. It is a DPS loss to do so, but so is dying ;)
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.
Legendary Implants and Tactical(s)
I am not an overwhelming fan of either of these tacticals, but they are both viable. I suspect that Diagnostic Probes pulls ahead as the leader between the two for AoE spam healing in particular.
These two are the best combo in my book for healing. There are several others, but this is the way.