Heavy Damage: Tanking Changes in Update 1.2

Heavy Damage is our weekly Tanking column – if you have suggestions of what you’d like covered, drop our resident Tank, Alec Bailey a line.

The 1.2 patch is now on the test servers, so I will be taking a break from my Flashpoint tanking guides to discuss and theorise what these changes could and will do to Tanks in SWTOR.

Changes for the Jedi Knight


  • Awe no longer costs Focus to activate.
  • Dispatch can now be used on targets at or below 30% of maximum health (up from 20%).
  • Force Kick no longer costs Focus to activate.
  • Master Strike can no longer be interrupted.

Guardian Tree changes relating to Tanks


  • Blade Barrier is now located in Tier 4 of the skill tree.
  • Blade Storm no longer consumes stacks of Courage while the Momentum buff is active.
  • Command no longer reduces the cooldown of Challenging Call and is now located in Tier 5 of the skill tree.
  • Dust Storm is now a 3-point skill that provides the same overall effect.
  • Guardian Slash now generates 50% additional threat.
  • Momentum is now a 2-point skill that provides the same overall effect.
  • Pacification is now a 1-point skill with a slightly reduced overall effect.
  • Shield Specialization is now located in Tier 5 of the skill tree.
  • Stasis Mastery is now located in Tier 4 of the skill tree.


  • Commanding Awe is now located in Tier 5 of the skill tree. It increases the Guardian’s damage reduction while Focused Defense is active.
  • Single Saber Mastery is no longer restricted to certain stances.
  • Stagger is now located in Tier 1 of the Vigilance skill tree.
  • Sundering Throw is now located in Tier 6 of the Vigilance skill tree.
  • Zen Strike now generates 2 points of Focus when it is triggered.

If you’re a regular reader of Heavy Damage, you may remember this article where I talked about the build I use and builds I thought were worth taking a look at.  If you’re following my 18/23 build still (or any other Guardian build) this new patch has some changes that I hope will bring the Guardian back to par with the other two Tanks. Because let’s face it, they are somewhat lacking. Before the Guardians flame me for this observation I just want to say I play all three tanks, all three of my tanks are level 30-32 and it’s not that the Guardian can’t handle itself, it’s just a lot more work for the same outcome.

Now for the changes. Guardian Slash adding 50% more hate makes it a little more viable than the Overhead Slash trade off in the 18/23 build. I would say if you were following that build to take a step back and think of a respec. I will be republishing builds once the patch is in full effect and I have a chance to test all the changes. Blade Barricade is a skill I feel that the Guardian Tank cannot do without, so it being moved up a tier changes the 18/23 build even more to where I know I’ll have to respec.  Command no longer reducing the cooldown on Challenging Call seems like a nerf to a class that doesn’t need any of those, but we’ll see how things turn out.


Not a lot of changes here. A few tweaks and cosmetic things:

  • Mass Mind Control: Updated this tooltip to correctly state that the ability does not break Stealth. The ability’s functionality has not changed.
  • Kinetic Combat
    • Kinetic Ward’s appearance now refreshes properly when reapplied.
  • Balance (Shadow)
    • Force Synergy’s activation effects are now more visible.
    • The Force in Balance no longer heals the caster if no targets are hit.

General Trooper changes:

  • Full Auto’s attack animation now begins more quickly to improve reactiveness and faction balance.
  • Mortar Volley’s animation has been updated. In addition, it now has a 5-meter radius to bring its range in line with other Trooper Area of Effect abilities and it now begins its damage sooner after activation.
  • Vanguard
  • Due to changes to the Vanguard skill trees, all Vanguards have had their skill points refunded.
  • Fire Pulse’s visual effect more accurately represents its functionality.
  • Riot Strike no longer costs Energy Cells.
  • Animation timing issues with Energy Blast have been addressed.
  • The hit timing delay on Explosive Surge has been improved.
  • Shield Specialist
    • Ceramic Plating: the Absorb amount gained from this skill has been slightly reduced.
    • Counter Attack is now a 3-point skill.
    • Energy Blast is no longer limited by the global cooldown. Its damage has been reduced by approximately 15%.
    • Power Screen is a new 2-point skill that causes Ion Pulse and Energy Blast to build a stacking buff that increases shield absorption.
    • Smoke Grenade is no longer limited by the global cooldown.

The changes to Vanguards don’t seem to be a nerf, which I feared was coming. Vanguard is in my opinion the most well-rounded and effective tank. I am hoping that the other classes get buffed to its level, not the other way around with nerfs for a class that plays like it should.

The most interesting change to me is the Power Screen ability. Ion Pulse and Energy Blast are two skills I feel like I border on over-using (Explosive Surge too) just because of the damage debuff it places on enemies. Now it has a shield buff it’s maybe the only skills you need. As with the Guardian, I will be republishing builds once I’ve had time to test out the changes. The comsetic and timing changes to the abilities will be welcome sights –  I’m glad they fixed the delay issue with Mortar Volley.

As always stay frosty, and my the force be with you!