Tactics | Advanced Prototype
Tactics is the Vanguard's Burst Spec, as such it is capable of putting out some intense damage in a short amount of time. 7.3 sees some passive changes to the Tactics Vanguard that help reverse some of the nerf it received in 7.1.1. Though its burst is still well below 7.1 dps meters, it is now able to keep pace with other dps classes. The energy management of the spec also now feels much smoother, requiring fewer uses of its basic attack to keep pace. Overall this is back to being a very fun class to play and one that brings a predictable easy rotation to learn with its simple patterns. It can also dish out some impressive burst dps in a very short window making it a great class to bring for raid utility should the fight at hand call for something to need to die quickly.
Gearing up for Tactics
Below are the gear selections, legendary implants, tactical and skill point choices I recommend for this class.
Before the pull, we want to use our recharge/reload (or other energy/Hp regen ability) to rebuild four stacks of Energy Load. We then load our shoulder cannon and allow all seven charges to stack. Right before the pull, we can pop explosive surge to proc our first high impact bolt.
The core rotation here boils down to a simple pattern. Use three abilities, make sure the last of the Three is either shockstrike or Tactical Surge to proc High Impact Bolt. Once you have built 4 stacks of Energy Load (one per firing of High Impact Bolt) Fire cell burst, then assault plastique, then Shock Strike to High impact bolt and start the sequence again.
One Energy Load
General Pattern for building Energy Loads 2-4
For our two fillers, we have to weigh in remaining energy cells vs dps. In General, we want to use Stockstrike as the priority, then Tactical Surge then Hammer Shot. However, Hammer shot takes priority if energy cells are a concern. If our recharge cells ability is off available, we can burn more energy cells. If it is not, we must keep balance. Running out of energy in this class is detrimental to our dps output. It is very difficult to fix. Stockstrike or Tactical Surge must always be used in the third spot to proc our High Impact Bolt.
Two Energy Loads
Three Energy Loads
Four Energy Loads
Fire in the hole!
^ Return to the One energy Load Pattern ^
Note, you can fire Cell burst and Assault Plastique early as they come off of cool down. If you think your target will die soon, Cell burst before you have fully stacked your Energy Loads.
The opener can also be repeated as Balmorran Advanced Weapon systems comes off of cool down. You will also want to use Battle Focus on Cool down, but I do try to particularly save it for the Cell Burst window.
Last note: the class will suffer from poor energy management if you do not hammer shot periodically. If you run out of energy in this spec, you are pretty much finished. If you have your Recharge cells/Vent heat up, you can Tactical surge more in place of a hammer shot or two. I particularly do this in the opener for additional burst. Care must be taken with energy management, or you will find yourself a bench warmer for a large portion of a fight.
Quick Reference Guide
Tactic'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, this heals you for 35% of your HP if your HP dips below 35%.
Tactic'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.
Legendary Implant and Tactical Options
In 7.2 the Tactics vanguard gained access to a new tactical, Energized Vambrace. It seems to be a small DPS increase over overwhelming offense, but not by a considerable amount.