Diplomatic Investigations: Sith Assassin Tanking – Men in Tights?

Welcome to our weekly column dedicated to everything Consular and Inquisitor. If you have a suggestion for a topic you’d like covered in this column, drop Tim a line!

I don’t know about you, but for me the concept of a tank in an MMO is traditionally a character with heavy armor, and outfitted to the max.

So it came as a surprise when I found out the Sith Assassin or Jedi Shadow can be quite viable tanks in light (yes light) armor.  Yes I had read about it, but when it came time to playing it, that was different altogether.

The Sith Assassin gets around the lack of armour by having stances (well they are called Charges) like Dark Charge which increases the strength of the armor.

Below is a summary of my experiences moving from a ranged class (Sith Sorcerer) to a melee based one (Sith Assassin).

Of course one of the big differences is melee vs ranged – the Sith Assassin is a melee class so you are a heck of a lot closer to the action.   This is of course directly opposite to what the sith sorcerer and jedi sage classes are, which I covered previously.

Added to the mix is stealth which I had some experience with when playing my Imperial Agent operative.  I found it hard to not want to fight through all mobs instead of sneaking around them, almost like I was choosing the easy way out by not defeating anything that moves, which I tended to do with my sorcerer.

At the time of writing this article my assassin is only at level 19 so I cannot comment on some of the more advanced abilities, but one of the challenges I am facing is healing – or rather the lack of it with a Sith Assassin.  This is where the Jedi Sage and Sith Sorcerer rocked.  Even if you did not choose the healing talent tree, you were able to heal yourself or your companion.  This is not the case with the melee class.  So you better be sure you can survive a fight with the mobs you are taking on.  You can use medpacs of course but I sort of feel naked in a fight knowing there is no healing to back me up.

To get around that to a degree I am using Whirlwind to trap a particular enemy before taking on the rest, and also tried to be careful to make sure I use the appropriate interrupts (Jolt, etc) to minimize the damage caused by enemy special attacks. Doing this has made a big difference in where I end up at the end of the fight (dead or alive!).

The other thing that takes a bit of getting used to is the amount of Force you have.  The Sith Assassin and Jedi Sage have 100 Force (certain talents in skill trees can increase this a little), and this goes down (but also replenishes) quickly. This is a BIG difference to the Sith Sorcerer. If you are not particularly careful you will run out and have no attacks available since pretty well everything requires at least some force to use.

Fortunately, there is one attack you should always have on hand and that is the very basic Saber attack. It requires no force and should be what you are using to inflict some damage while waiting for your force to regenerate.   So make sure you have that mapped as chances are it will get a workout in most encounters.  Some damage is better than none after all.

In a later article once I have my assassin to level 30 or so, I will go though the rotations.  For now it does not make sense to do it, since it is changing regularly as new abilities become available to me.

Overall, I have to say I am enjoying the Sith assassin – it’s not like you lose all your ranged attacks.  For example you still have Force Lighting which is a staple for the Sith Sorcerer if you are in situations where it’s appropriate to attack from non melee range. That, and unlike Imperial agents they have lightsabers, double bladed ones at that!

In terms of companions I am still using Khem Val at this stage. The plan in battle is for Khem to hold aggro on the strongest enemy while I am mopping up the lesser powered ones and then I come in to assist Khem.  Plus as outlined above to use Whirlwind where necessary.  This has proven to be quite effective to date.

Thanks for reading and I’ll be back next week with another article!  Until then keep on gaming.   And if you are on the public test server, and are on the Sith side look for my two characters Mee (Sith Assassin) and Sil (Sith Sorcerer).


  1. BryanCris says

    In tank spec you are able to self heal pretty well mid to end lvl, it becomes part of your rotation, is more of a side effect though if your rolling right.


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