Assault Specialist | Innovative Ordinance
The Assault Specialist is the damage over time spec for the commando. This spec plays a little like the plasma tech vanguard, but has very much its own feel to it. I generally find this to be a challenging and low parsing spec. Energy management is challenging and fights that require you to move around the battlefield will make channeling its abilities difficult.
I have found my best success with this class using a priority based system versus a static rotation. There are a few patterns to watch for and work into the flow, but it is largely an, "apply DoTs and use fillers while they tick" class. I have gone into more detail with how this class's DoTs work. They function a little different compared to other specs.
Gearing up for Assault Specialist
Below are the gear selections, legendary implants, tactical and skill point choices I recommend for this class.
Gunnery Commando's can take advantage of a little prework before each boss pull by prestacking their Supercharge to 10 stacks, activating the ability to use Supercharged Cell in the opener. This should be done as often as possible.
Method 1 - able to stay stationary and time given
Using an out of combat recharge ability will build stacks. Watch your group and make sure they will be giving time for you to do this. Prepping this during an explanation is useful.
Method 2 - always on the move
No one likes waiting for you to "charge up" and if someone "accidentally" pulls you are outta luck. Spamming Med Shot while moving to the next boss or trash mob will stack your supercharge.
I sometimes use a hybrid of both, charging up with recharge and reload and maintaining my stacks if they are in danger of falling off with med shot if everyone is dragging their feet to pull. I find method 2 to be the safer, more curious route to get in the practice of. But if everyone's taking their time, recharge and reload does it for you without the need of spamming a button. End of the story, make sure you supercharge before fights. (Note we are not pressing supercharged cell (YET) The provided picture is just showing it lighting up. Save it for the pull)
The Assault Specialist/ I.O.'s DoT abilities
Using Supercharged gas on this class gives us a number of buffs. It is important to use supercharge as soon as it procs for maximum dps output (unless you know you will have downtime). During any dps downtime, I recommend continuing to med shot yourself to build stacks back up, or use hammer shot continuously, even if the boss shields, or adds spawn that cannot be damaged (think reaches in Brontes). This will vent your heat and supercharge you. Supercharging will make our next ranged attack apply a DoT to the target, as well as increase our DoT based damage by 10%. The priority use of this core ability cannot be overstated.
This ability applies a bleed to the target for 15"
This ability applies a burn to the target for 15"
Our final DoT comes from assault plastique. This one works a bit differently. This will put a sticky charge on the target. After 4-5" it explodes, causing the target to burn for 12". This ability has a cool down of about 13.5" after alacrity. In order to keep maximum uptime on the DoT we should use either Mag Bolt or Charged bolts right after throwing our assault plastique. Using either of these abilities will detonate the charge early and get the target burning sooner. Like our other DoTs we should use this as close to on cool down as possible for maximum DPS.
An often overlooked, but important DoT, our electronet. While it will not slow bosses, it still deals the DoT damage. This one is on a longer CD, but is important to use as it comes off of cool down.
This class has a myriad of DoT's that are placed on its target. I find it important to keep track of the bleed/burn from Serrated Bolt and Incendiary round and base my "rotation" around these. If you are running orbs, timers for these abilities' DoTs are built in.
This class's DoTs work to build stacks of Surging Shots. Each time a DoT ticks, we gain 1 stack of surging shots. Each time we use charged bolts, we reset the stacks. With all of our DoTs on a target burning, these stacks add up quickly. Our character has a visual to show when we are 10 stacked. I currently see no advantage to waiting for a 10 stack to fire off, but it is something I am experimenting with.
-Slightly Shorter Cool Down
-More damage w/ Additional DoT
We have two abilities that will spread the DoTs from our Serrated bolt and incendiary round. Both do roughly the same job, but there are subtle differences in their performance. Sticky grenade must be chosen in the skill tree (giving up Damage Reduction). If you are in a fight requiring more frequent DoT spread, choosing this could help. My go to is Plasma Grenade. The delay from sticky grenade often fails to do anything for us, if there are other DoT spread classes cleaving to adds.
What Proc's What
There are more than a few abilities that proc another, making it either cost less energy or activate instantly.
Having a burn active on your target will make Explosive round proc once every 15"
Mag Bolt procs Serrated Bolt and Charged Bolts, but using either consumes the Buff unproc'ing the other. Mag Bolt can only proc these abilities this way once every 15". These abilities will activate instantly when proc'ed.
Charged Bolts procs Mag Bolt, eliminating its energy cost and finishing its cool down. This can only happen once every 7".
Though it technically doesn't "light anything up" Tech override makes your next ability with a channel activate instantly. I find using Tech override in this spec to really muck up the rotation at points. If I use it, I use it for a free hit of Serrated Bolt + Charged Bolts if using the Damage Focus rotation.
After the opener, I settle into a pattern of using one of the following rotations, choosing which to use based on how much energy/heat I have at the time.
The Priority Pattern
Reapply DoTs as they Expire
Use on cool down
Bolt Shot Pattern (proc - proc)
Fill based on energy
A pattern will begin to emerge as you get rolling with this class. The exact number of abilities between serrated bolts will fluctuate depending on how many hard channeled volleys of charged bolts you did that round. It is important to keep track of the bleed from serrated bolts and be ready to restart your pattern as it is about to drop off. Keep in mind, serrated bolts usually takes time to channel, so you need to give yourself a GCD to rechannel it ahead of it falling off. I try to time the use of my tech override to use for unprocced charged bolts or serrated shots. Keep in mind that using tech override, then using a procced version of these abilities will still consume the tech override buff.
Once a target is in the execute window (sub 30% HP), Explosive round/ Missile Blast is going to be much more of a priority filler for us.
Anytime Recharge cells is about to come back off cool down, or is available to use, we can burn more energy to increase dps. If recharge cells is on cool down, I recommend using hammer shot if your heat/energy goes above/below 30% / 70%
Assault Specialist's Defensive Abilities
Minor self-heal with a long cool down. Smash it to get +1% Hp over 60", if your HP dips below 35% it heals you for 35% and ends the Periodic healing. It's helpful, but not something you should be pressing thinking it will save your life (not a DCD).
25% damage reduction for 15", our best and really only actual defensive cool down. (though you can pick others in the skill tree, doing so is a DPS or movement loss). 2 minute cool down, so time it when you need it.
Technically, this ability provides no defensive use in terms of damage reduction. Hold the line prevents "most" knock backs in the game from affecting you. (if the game wants you to be knocked back, it will happen). I use these to ignore all sort of annoying mechanics or to give me a huge movement speed boost to get out of danger.
The Choice is yours
Level 68 Choice
Echoing Deterrence is a very powerful defensive, in PvP in particular. For 6 seconds, you are 100% protected from incoming damage and reflect 50% of all damage the shield absorbs back to the source of the attack. It further heals you for 5% each time you are attacked, and you can use it if you are stunned.
Like hold the line, technically not a defensive, but it can be used to quickly get you out of a bad spot. This one can be tricky though as it blasts you backwards (often where you are not looking). I recommend you check your six before using this.
Level 43 Choice
Increases ranged and melee attack type defense by 35%, provides interrupt immunity and drops threat. Also gives us 2 charges of Decoy that absorb the next two Force or Tech Attacks. With having to pick this over tech override, as an assault specialist, I do not find as big a need for Tech override, so it is probably the better choice. In fights where you need the extra defensive, this is the way.
Legendary Implants and Tactical
I am not a huge fan of this very vague tactical. I am left with the question, improved how, or by how much. But its the pick for the class. Legendary Implants are the same as gunnery's.