Heavy Damage: Tanking The Esseles

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 Esseles is the first flashpoint you encounter after leaving your starting planet. Upon entering The Esseles you’ll meet Ambassador Assara in disguise as a common ship passenger – an Explosion rocks the ship and you rush off to see what can be done. The explosion was caused by the Imperials, demanding that Ambassador Assara be turned over. You refuse and this is where the fun begins.

As you leave the command deck heading for the docking bay, you’ll run into some standard and gold mobs, with a group of four they should be no trouble. As you arrive at your destination you find a Mon Cal issuing orders to a squad of Republic troopers, when the blast door is blown open and the first Boss of The Esseles comes running in. Lieutenant Isric is a level 10 boss and he spawns trash mobs that tend to attack the healer so be ready to burn them down. Isric has a cone AoE blaster attack and a knock down ability so be ready for it.

After your defeat of Isric you head back to the Command deck that has been captured by Mandalorian mercenaries. Their leader is known as Iron Fist and will be your second boss encounter. Before you can fight Iron Fist you must first unlock the blast door. To unlock the doors you are faced with the option of sacrificing the crew or taking the long road and manually resetting the reactors.  This is your first Lightside or Darkside choice of the Flashpoint. Sacrificing the crew grants 150 Darkside points, and manually resetting the conduits, 150 Lightside points. Taking the Lightside option also grants you the chance to get a chest – it’s sitting behind the middle conduit.

After your decision with the engineering crew, you’re ready to fight Iron Fist. Like Isric, Iron Fist will spawn adds throughout the encounter. The best way to handle Iron Fist is to tank him, let your damage dealers burn the adds, and once the adds are down everyone gang up on Iron Fist. Iron Fist has three abilities that he’ll use during the fight: a Rocket Punch used as a gap closer, an AoE knock back, and Missile Salvo, which launches rockets onto a blue reticle (this can be avoided so try to keep an eye out for the reticle and move.)

The next boss is a large Guardian Battledroid named ISS-7. This fight is a very simple tank and spank although he will occasionally drop aggro and pick up a new target. Just watch for this and you’ll be fine. Immediately after your fight with ISS-7 you’ll have the opportunity to fight another boss if you hit the switches on either side of the room. The second boss in this area is much tougher, named ISS-994 Power Droid and he’s a force to be reckoned with. Starting out, he’s your standard Tank and Spank encounter, but he’ll use an ability that causes him to turn purple and crackle with lightning, so start kiting him. His damage is highly buffed during this phase, but his speed is lowered. He will do a lot of damage if he gets a hold of you, so watch what your doing when he has the damage buff up.

The final boss of The Esseles is a Sith named Vokk. Vokk is hard to tank because he’ll use Saber Throw and Force Choke on a random party member , both of which are unblockable. His third ability is Lightning Storm, and can be avoided by staying away from the purple reticle it leaves on the ground before activation. He also possesses an AoE knock back, so watch for that. Vokk is difficult because he has a lot of non-tankable damage, so this is a boss where you need a decent healer to pull off.

After Vokk’s defeat you’ll be faced with your second Lightside/Darkside choice – leaving Assara behind. If she’s left you’ll gain 100 Darkside points and if not 100 Lightside.

The Esseles is not a hard Flashpoint with a full group of level 10 players. I will be doing all the Flashpoints in order of level (at least the order I tanked them in),  so if you have any input or suggestions about the Flashpoints, leave a comment and I’ll look into it!

As always Stay Frosty and may the Force be with you!

Heavy Damage: Jedi Shadow overview

This week we’ve got the Jedi Shadow, Kinetic Combat specced Tank. The Jedi Shadow uses the Force as its pacing mechanic, starting with a constant 100. I find that the Shadow pacing mechanic is easier to maintain than the Jedi Guardian or the Trooper Vanguard.

From a glance, the Jedi Shadow with its light armor and stealth looks like it should be a Avoidance tank, but it’s actually a third mitigation tank, although its armor rating isn’t as high as the Vanguard or Guardian. It has some tools that help even up the playing field. One thing that I feel helps make up for its lower armor class is the ability to mitigate more elemental and internal damage such as bleeds and fire. The ability to do this may not seem like a lot but for a Tank, damage that bypasses your armor can be extra deadly and the Shadow is more resilient to these type of abilities.

The Jedi Shadow has a lot of builds and rotations that can be used for everything from AoE add tanking (probably the Shadow’s true weak point) to single target raid tanking, and even PvP Tanking.

The two main builds for the Shadow tank are the 31/0/10 single target Tank and the 25/0/16 AoE Tank.

My Shadow follows the 31/0/10 build and does very well at tanking single mobs and even up to two or three mobs.

A good rotation for your single target 31/0/10 build is going to be:

1) Kinetic Ward with no current charges up – Kinetic Ward is off the GCD.

2) Force Breach if debuff is not applied or debuff time < 1.5 sec

3) Slow Time if debuff is not applied or debuff time < 1.5 sec

4) Telekinetic Throw with 3 stacks of Harnessed Shadows

5) Project if Particle Acceleration is up

6) Double Strike

7) Saber Strike if you are out of energy, or need energy to refresh an upcoming debuff

and then for AoE with the 31/0/10 build:

1) Kinetic Ward with no current charges up – Kinetic Ward is off the GCD.

2) Slow Time

3) Force Breach

4) Whirling Blow

5) Saber Strike if you are out of energy

Single Target for the 25/0/16: 

1)Kinetic Ward with no current charges up – Kinetic Ward is off the GCD

2) Force Breach if debuff is not applied or debuff time < 1.5 sec

3) Project if Particle Acceleration is up

4) Mind Crush if DoT is not applied

5) Double Strike

6) Saber Strike if you are out of energy, or need energy to refresh an upcoming debuff

AoE with the 25/0/16:

1)Kinetic Ward with no current charges up – Kinetic Ward is off the GCD

2) Force in Balance

3) Force Breach

4) Whirling Blow

5) Mind Crush if you are out of energy

6) Saber Strike if you are out of energy

The Jedi Shadow can be just as effective as any other tank as long as you keep your head in the game. This Tank is very involved in lots of re-applying buffs and watching debuffs applied, but it’s also very fun for the same reasons.

May the Force be with you.