PlasmaTech | PyroTech
PlasmaTech is the Vanguard's DoT/Sustained Damage spec. The spec resolves around proc'ing a series of abilities as you keep DoTs active on your target. This is a class I have played a good bit, but never excelled at. Pinpoint tracking of your DoTs and using key abilities on cool down go along way towards improving your performance on this spec. Knowing which fillers and when to add them to prevent an energy burn out is also critical to keeping sustained damage on the target.
This class has planned balance changes in 7.4. This class is expected to be hit the hardest by the planned changes. Our tactical here is being nerfed significantly, and I suspect will make our priority system change dramatically as a result.
Gearing up for Plasma Tech
Below are the gear selections, legendary implants, tactical and skill point choices I recommend for this class.
As with the other vanguard specs, you will want to preload your shoulder cannon to gain your 4 rockets prefight. Popping Explosive Surge Twice will proc Ion Wave.
From here we transition into a priority system.
Getting to know our Damage over Time Abilities (Highest Priority when they need reapplied)
DoT # 1 - Incendiary Round - This DoT ticks for 15" and must be up before using High Impact Bolt to gain use of its Heated Bolt Dot we choose as our level 39 passive ability.
DoT # 2 - Heated Bolt - This DoT ticks for 12" and will only activate if incendiary round was active when high impact bolt was used. This DoT can only be applied in this manner once every 10", which is perfect as high impact bolt has around a 13" cool down with alacrity.
DoT # 3 - Plasmatize - This is our long burn DoT and the Longest burning DoT in the game. A 30" tick time. Better yet, if the target we apply it to dies, it bounces to the next closest target without plasmatize on it. So, if we kill it, the DoT isn't lost.
PlasmaTech for me is more difficult than other DoT based specs to keep track of things. I have not found a good check point to know when to refresh my DoTs. I highly encourage using a timer for tracking the burn time of these DoTs. I am especially fond of the ones in the Old Republic Battle Parser, available on Windows. To the side is an example as well as my share codes to use them. Note that as an update, Old Republic Battle Parser seems to have these timers built in now; however, the Incendiary round timer does not seem to be tracking properly for me. Be sure to import these in when you are on your Plasmatech, or select plasmatech from the drop-down list in orbs.
Ion Wave Sequence - 1
Use shockstrike on Cool down, interrupt the above pattern to insert it in between other abilities if it comes up while using the above.
Spam Ion Pulse when nothing else is up. Use caution, unproc'ed Ion Pulses eat energy quickly.
Use Hammer Shot when energy is a concern. I usually use one hammer shot for every 2 Ion Pulses, or when I am concerned that other abilities are using too many cells.
Battle Focus is a 25% increase to all Tech Damage. I use it on Cool Down, unless I need to save it for an upcoming burst window.
Durasteel Armor is one of those offense/defense abilities. Used offensively, while it is active every time you take damage you increase your damage output by 2% per stack, up to 5 stacks. Use it when you know you can take reliable damage to take advantage of it.
It's easy to run out of energy as a PlasmaTech if you are spamming to many Ion Pulse/Flame Burst for an example. If you catch yourself running low, or are just "emptying the mag" use recharge cells to make your next ability recharge 50 cells and get back in the fight quickly. No one likes spamming hammer shot to recharge. If I know I have this up, I use far more ion pulses.
DoT spreading works a bit differently with the Vanguard vs any other DoT class in the fact that the PlasmaTech's DoT Spread is a directional Conal. (All others are AoE attacks that spread in a circle). Ion Wave spreads Incendiary Round to all targets it effects, as long as it hits a target already being affected by Incendiary Round. This can be tricky to time with Ion Wave's Longer Cool down. If you know an add phase is coming, it can be wise to hold Ion Wave and time its use with the arrival of additional targets.
PlasmaTech's Defensive Abilities
Our core defensive ability, a flat 25% damage reduction. Last for 15". Long cool down, so use it wisely!
A self-heal, but also buffs our Duarsteel armor if we have it active as well, increasing the max possible stacks you can have to 6. This heals you for 35% of your HP if your HP dips below 35%.
Usable as a defensive instead of an offensive ability. If you are taking damage, pop this. Every hit you take will increase your Armor by 40% per stack, up to 5 stacks (6 if Adrenaline Rush is active).
PlasmaTech's AoE threat drop is a HUGE defensive cool down. It provides us a 60% Defense against AoE damage (most all ops boss damage is AoE). With the sonic rebounders skill at level 73 (mandatory imo) this also provides a massive Defense for the rest of your ops group as well. Sonic Rebounders can protect your team (not you!) from potential one shot mechanics when timed right. Sonic Rebounders apply a reflect shield to allies that reflect the next damaging attack an ally suffers. I use this on cool down, or time it for known high damage mechanics.
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.