Star Wars: The Old Republic contains a plethora of avenues for player expression and creativity. This is exemplified in the game’s class system. Each of the game’s 2 factions have 4 classes, 2 combat styles for each of those 4, and 3 disciplines for each combat style. Additionally, recent updates have unlocked every combat style for every non-force-user class. This makes it possible for, say, a Bounty Hunter to utilize what was formerly only a Trooper style.

With so many options, SWTOR is very conducive to players engaging in different styles of play. That said, it can also get confusing very quickly, even for those who are used to all the game’s systems. This in mind, we’ve been creating a group of build guides for each of The Old Republic‘s classes.

This time, we’ll be looking at the Scoundrel, which was originally a Smuggler combat style. The aforementioned updates which unlocked all non-force combat styles won’t matter too much in this guide. Just keep it in the back of your head that any blaster-wielding class can utilize the Scoundrel’s arsenal.

Ruffian Scoundrel Build

Ruffian’s rotation is a bit like a house of cards, where removing any one piece makes the whole thing topple. Each part of the rotation relies on those surrounding it. You *really* need to know what your abilities do, when to use them, and how they synergize with each other.

Role

DoT DPS – DPS is the simplest role to explain, as well as the easiest to learn and play. Damage over Time (DoT) is just what it says on the tin. You won’t be doing a ton of damage per strike, rather you’ll be focusing on keeping a sustained stream of damage that gradually adds up.

Main Abilities

IconAbility
Vital Shot and Shrap Bomb – These are your primary DoTs. You want these to be active all the time, always reapply them right as they run out.
Upper Hand – This isn’t an active ability, it’s a passive unique to Scoundrel. It’s more of an extra resource to manage rather than an ability as other passives are. As the writers at Vulkk say in their comprehensive Scoundrel guides, you need to use 1 UH in order to use certain abilities. You generate UH charges by activating or dealing damage with certain abilities, which we will note when relevant, as well as being the one to actually kill an enemy.
Blaster Whip – This ability generates UH. It doesn’t deal very much damage at all, so you’re mainly gonna be using this if you need some UH stacks.
Sanguinary Shot – Doesn’t deal a lot of damage on its own. However, it will activate and deal damage whenever your DoTs deal damage. Because Ruffian is primarily a DoT class, this is gonna be popping off a lot.
Brutal Shots – A filler that costs a UH to activate. Brutal Shots is a key example of Ruffian’s “house of cards” playstyle. It’s basically a junk ability if you don’t have your main DoTs active on your target. As well, you need to be using abilities which generate UH in order to activate it in the first place. However, if you do have DoTs active and UH generated, Brutal Shots is a very useful ability. Brutal Shots can also refund UH stacks.
Point Blank Shot – This ability partially ignores your target’s armor, as well as dealing bleed damage from this partial ignorance. This will trigger Sanguinary Shot. Additionally, if you activate PBS from stealth, it will generate a UH.
Bushwhack – An AoE (Area of Effect) DoT. This will trigger Sanguinary Shot and costs a UH which doesn’t get refunded like Brutal Shot’s cost can be. Because of this, it’s good to use Bushwhack when you have full (2) stacks of UH built up.

Additional Abilities to Consider

IconAbility
Trick Move – Instantly teleports you close to your target, increases your movement speed by 75% for a bit, and gives you a UH stack. Although they use blasters, Ruffians are actually a melee class. Melee and ranged don’t really mean in SWTOR what they do in most other games. There are ranged lightsaber-wielders and there are melee blaster wielders. Attack range in The Old Republic is determined far more by which individual class you play than a more general weapon type determiner (as in, lightsabers=melee blasters=ranged does not apply).
Dodge – This ability instantly gives you a variety of buffs, which are both too numerous to list here and depend on your ability tree choices. In essence, it’s a useful utility ability. You don’t necessarily *need* to use it, but it can be helpful in certain circumstances.
Pugnacity – Each Scoundrel discipline gets a different version of Pugnacity. Ruffians get some Energy (which doesn’t really matter because they generally don’t have problems with Energy management), as well as a boost to damage reduction and max HP. The potential DPS boost from the Energy gain is, again, negligible. You want this for the survivability boost.
Stealth – Of all the classes in SWTOR who get Stealth as an ability, Ruffian perhaps finds the least use in it. The *only* reason to use Stealth as a Ruffian is to set up for Point Blank Shot for a UH generation at the beginning of encounters.

Ability Tree Choices

LevelIconAbility
23Brutal Return – This is what allows Brutal Shots to refund UH charges. One of the most useful choices in the tree.
27Sly Surrender/Curbing Strategies – Sly Surrender is, overall, the best choice on this tier. Dodge, as said above, is a very useful ability which provides a lot of buffs. However, if you wanna play it more casual and not bother with learning what all the Dodge buffs are and how you can incorporate them into your rotation, you can just pick Curbing Strategies. No one will scold you, I promise (well except for high level flashpoint groups but casual players likely won’t be associating with that rabble anyway).
39Critical Bomb – As well as this being a great DPS boost, neither of this tier’s other choices are particularly useful.
43Leveraged Offense – Pretty much just a straight DPS boost. The icon’s little callback to classic KoTOR Pazaak cards is a nice touch.
51Scar Tissue – Neither choice on this tier is worth picking up. A small general damage reduction is a pretty good pick, especially for a DPS class.
64Med Screen – Defense Screen is Ruffian’s main defensive ability, but not really enough to warrant a place in the above sections. However, Med Screen makes it a pretty reliably useful defense tool.
68Trick Move – We’ve already covered why Trick Move is a good ability above.
73Scramble – This one is mostly useful for if you want to use Dodge, but if you don’t want to use Dodge very much then no choice on this tier is gonna be particularly useful.

Rotation

Note: This rotation was originally created by Endonae at Vulkk in their comprehensive Ruffian guide.

IconAbility
Stealth
Point Blank Shot
Pugnacity
Trick Move
Vital Shot
Shrap Bomb
Sanguinary Shot
Bushwhack
Brutal Shots
Blaster Whip

Gear Suggestions

Upon reaching level 80, focus on acquiring as much Gold tier gear at the highest Item Rating possible (currently this number is 336). After all of your gear has reached this level, here are some tips on how to optimize your gear loadouts:

  • The best Tactial Item for the Ruffian Scoundrel is Synox Shots.
  • The best Legendary Implants for the Ruffian Scoundrel are Tactician & Locked and Loaded.

Scrapper Scoundrel Build

The main thing holding Scrapper back is that they have a hard time managing Energy. For Scoundrels, Energy is the resource which fuels many of your abilities. Scrapper gets a lot of high damage, high cost abilities. As a result, many of your other abilities and passives will focus on giving you a consistent stock of Energy.

Role

Burst DPS – Focuses on dealing as much damage as possible in as short a time as possible. Burst DPS classes are designed to deal high amounts of damage on each hit. This contrasts DoT (Damage over Time) DPS classes, who specialize in dealing constant, sustained streams of damage which add up over time.

Main Abilities

IconAbility
Upper Hand – This isn’t an active ability, it’s a passive unique to Scoundrel. It’s more of an extra resource to manage rather than an ability as other passives are. As the writers at Vulkk say in their comprehensive Scoundrel guides, you need to use 1 UH in order to use certain abilities. You generate UH charges by activating or dealing damage with certain abilities, which we will note when relevant, as well as being the one to actually kill an enemy.
Shank Shot – Helps out with Scrapper’s general problems with Energy management. You need to use this pretty much every time it’s available in order to maintain a healthy stock of Energy. It prevents the enemy from turning around after use, which makes Back Blast easier to use.
Sucker Punch / Bludgeon – These abilities are grouped together because they synergize well with each other and you’ll often be using them in a one-two-punch combo.

Sucker Punch: This ability will cost you a UH. It deals a lot of damage per use and will act as one of your primary fillers. You’ll be using this a lot.

Bludgeon: This ability will act as another of your primary fillers. The damage it deals is fine, but what you mostly want it for is its ability to generate UH, which you need for Sucker Punch. It’s your primary UH generator, and Sucker Punch is your primary UH releaser.
Back Blast – A pretty unique ability for SWTOR. It deals massive amounts of damage but can only be used while behind your target. That might not sound particularly useful on its face. However, there factors such as Shank Shot’s disabling of enemy turns as well as Blood Boiler’s ability to entirely negate this restriction. These loopholes generated by ability synergies allow Scrapper to have a very interesting sort of rotation. Using Back Blast also activates a 6 second DoT which also buffs your armor penetration for a bit.
Blood Boiler – Can only become active after it’s been applied for a few seconds to a target which is taking DoT damage. It also entirely removes the side facing restriction on Back Blast. Because it deals high amounts of damage, buffs a DoT ability, and is buffed by other DoT abilities, this will be essential to your rotation.
Pugnacity – This ability applies a different buff to every Scoundrel discipline. Scrapper’s version grants you +20% crit damage. Note that’s not +20% crit chance, just the damage you’ll deal if you do score a crit. Still, it provides a considerable DPS boost and should be used often, especially in conjunction with things that actually do increase crit chance.

Additional Abilities to Consider

IconAbility
Vital Shot – A DoT that’s far more important for Ruffians and can potentially destroy Scrapper’s rotation. You should pretty much only use it when you want to use Blood Boiler but Back Blast’s DoT isn’t active or if you have no other options.
Bushwhack – Your main AoE ability. It costs a UH, so use it wisely.
Hot Streak – An ability which allows you to set up devastating combos. It gives you a massive DPS boost in that you can use Back Blast, Blood Boiler, and Pugnacity twice in a row while Hot Streak is active. You can pretty much use this on cooldown, but especially if you need to dish out a lot of damage very quickly.
Dodge – This ability instantly gives you a variety of buffs, which are both too numerous to list here and depend on your ability tree choices. In essence, it’s a useful utility ability. You don’t necessarily *need* to use it, but it can be helpful in certain circumstances.
Trick Move – Instantly teleports you close to your target, increases your movement speed by 75% for a bit, and gives you a UH stack. Although they use blasters, Ruffians are actually a melee class. Melee and ranged don’t really mean in SWTOR what they do in most other games. There are ranged lightsaber-wielders and there are melee blaster wielders. Attack range in The Old Republic is determined far more by which individual class you play than a more general weapon type determiner (as in, lightsabers=melee blasters=ranged does not apply).

Ability Tree Choices

LevelIconAbility
23Rolling Fists – The best DPS boost on this tier, as well as mitigation for Scrapper’s Energy maintenance problems.
27Strategic Surrender/Curbing Strategies – Strategic Surrender is, overall, the best choice on this tier. Dodge, as said above, is a very useful ability which provides a lot of buffs. However, if you wanna play it more casual and not bother with learning what all the Dodge buffs are and how you can incorporate them into your rotation, you can just pick Curbing Strategies. No one will scold you, I promise (well except for high level flashpoint groups but casual players likely won’t be associating with that rabble anyway).
39Setup Shot – Before, when we said Pugnacity should be combined with things that increase crit chance? This is one of those things. Enables a huge DPS boost if used alongside Pugnacity.
43Hot Streak – We’ve discussed above why Hot Streak is a good choice.
51Scar Tissue – Neither choice on this tier is worth picking up. A small general damage reduction is a pretty good pick, especially for a DPS class.
64Med Screen – Defense Screen is Scrapper’s main defensive ability. Med screen makes it better, as on its own it’s not great.
68Trick Move – Again, we discussed this one above.
73Scramble – This one is mostly useful for if you want to use Dodge, but if you don’t want to use Dodge very much then no choice on this tier is gonna be particularly useful.

Rotation

Note: This rotation was originally created by Endonae of Vulkk in their comprehensive Scrapper guide.

IconAbility
Blood Boiler
Sucker Punch
Shank Shot
Back Blast
Sucker Punch
Blood Boiler
Sucker Punch or Bludgeon
Shank Shot
Vital Shot
Bludgeon
Sucker Punch
Flurry of Bolts

Gear Suggestions

Upon reaching level 80, focus on acquiring as much Gold tier gear at the highest Item Rating possible (currently this number is 336). After all of your gear has reached this level, here are some tips on how to optimize your gear loadouts:

  • The best Tactical Item for a Scrapper Scoundrel is Acid Lash.
  • The best Legendary Implants for a Scrapper Scoundrel are Tactician & Locked and Loaded.

Sawbones Scoundrel Build

While they are outshined by classes such as Jedi Sage, Sawbones is nonetheless a pretty versatile Healer. Being a Scoundrel, utilizing Upper Hand is their most unique trait. In exchange to giving them very good heals, UH makes this class even more complicated than your average Healer class.

Role

Healing – Healers focus on supporting their team. Generally, healer classes are very hard to learn and require more focus than other classes. However, some of the highest levels of fun to be had in an MMO can lie within healers, so long as you’re willing to put in the effort.

Main Abilities

IconAbility
Upper Hand – This isn’t an active ability, it’s a passive unique to Scoundrel. It’s more of an extra resource to manage rather than an ability as other passives are. As the writers at Vulkk say in their comprehensive Scoundrel guides, you need to use 1 UH in order to use certain abilities. Upper Hand for Healers works a bit differently than DPS. You generate UH instead by using certain healing abilities to support your allies, rather than by dealing damage with them.
Slow-Release Medpac – Sawbones’ primary healing ability. An HoT (Heal over Time) which gradually heals targets over 21 seconds. It can stack up to 2 times. Though it doesn’t seem like much at first, this is by far your most potent heal. Have this active constantly.
Underworld Medicine – Provides some good healing, as well as giving you a UH charge.
Kolto Cloud – An AoE HoT. It heals your target, as well as any ally within 10 meters. As well, it makes all targets affected receive more healing for 45 seconds. This is useful for when your team groups up, a member of your team needs some extra healing, etc.
Diagnostic Scan – An HoT that lasts 3 seconds and can help restore your Energy. If you need some Energy, this is a good choice.
Kolto Waves – Your biggest AoE heal. This ability will deploy a circle wherever you place it. Any allies who stand in the circle will receive healing as long as the ability is active. It will also almost entirely drain your Energy reserves, so use this one carefully.
Emergency Medpac / Kolto Pack – Both of these abilities cost 1 UH charge in exchange for an instant heal.
Pugnacity – This ability gives each Scoundrel discipline a different buff. For Sawbones, it increases Alacrity (the speed at which you can cast abilities). As well, it makes your next Kolto Pack or Underworld Medicine instantly activate.

Additional Abilities to Consider

IconAbility
Heartrigger Patch – Your Combat Revive. Only healer classes can revive dead allies in combat, so keep this handy.
Dodge – This ability instantly gives you a variety of buffs, which are both too numerous to list here and depend on your ability tree choices. In essence, it’s a useful utility ability. It’s far more important for Healers than other Scoundrel disciplines.
Hot Streak – Allows you to instantly cast Kolto Cloud, Defense Screen, Pugnacity, and Triage. Very useful for situations in which you need a lot of healing very quickly.
Trick Move – Instantly teleports you to your target and boosts your movement speed for a bit. It also gives you a UH. Good for emergencies.

Ability Tree Choices

LevelIconAbility
23Medical Burst – Getting an additional AoE heal is a very good bonus.
27Clever Surrender – The other two options on this tier are useless to a Sawbones. As well, getting another chance to generate UH is always nice.
39Nutrient Rich Technologies – Kolto Mark and Critical Cloud aren’t bad picks. They’re actually pretty good buffs to Kolto Cloud. However, NRT is a better boost to your build overall.
43Hot Streak – We’ve discussed why Hot Streak is good above. Sorry, cool Pazaak cards icon.
51Scar Tissue – A general damage reduction is nice.
64Keep Cool – Kolto Waves just by itself can give Sawbones *bad* Energy management problems. Keep Cool helps alleviate this.
68Trick Move – Again, we discussed this one above.
73Scramble – This one is mostly useful for if you want to use Dodge, but as we’ve said, you should be using Dodge as a Sawbones.

Priorities

Healers have a bit of a different priority and rotation system than other classes. You don’t have a lot of abilities and they all have clear purposes. Rather than a standard priority system, we’ll just list all your main heals and buffs and when the best time to use them is. One of the reasons Healers are harder to play is that their playstyles necessitate more quick, on-the-spot thinking than other classes. If you’d like a more detailed breakdown of specific Sawbones abilities, YouTuber Mark Biggs has a very helpful guide video.

IconAbilityPurpose/Role/Priority
Slow Release MedpacAs said before, this is your primary ability. Have this active on at least one ally constantly. Ideally, this will be applied to your Tanks or DPS allies who really need the healing.
Underworld MedicineUse this as your basic heal. Whenever you need to just throw a generic heal out, pick this one. Additionally, it’s good for generating UH.
Diagnostic ScanIf you run into Energy maintenance problems or find a gap in the combat, use this. It’s pretty low priority but it has its uses.
Kolto CloudOnce again, this is useful for if your allies are grouped together and/or they need a lot of healing quickly.
Kolto WavesSame usefulness as Kolto Cloud, but its high Energy cost makes it more of an emergency use ability.
Pugnacity / Hot StreakFor if you really need to bring the heat.
Trick MoveMostly good as an emergency tool for closing gaps or generating UH.
Cool HeadFor if you need more Energy.

Gear Suggestions

Upon reaching level 80, focus on acquiring as much Gold tier gear at the highest Item Rating possible (currently this number is 336). After all of your gear has reached this level, here are some tips on how to optimize your gear loadouts:

  • The best Tactical Item for Sawbones Scoundrel is Critical Surgery.
  • The best Legendary Implants for Sawbones Scoundrel are Tactician & Aggressive Treatment.

Join the High Ground

Special thanks to SWTORISTA, Vulkk, and Mark Biggs for their stellar community resources.

That’s going wrap up our guide to the best Scoundrel builds in The Old Republic. We hope this article has prepped you for getting in trouble again (which we’ve heard tends to be a dangerous affair).

Have anymore thoughts on this article? Want to show off your favorite Scoundrel build? Feel free to leave a comment below or share this post on social media to let us know. Also, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for more Star Wars: The Old Republic guides and gaming content.

Happy gaming, and may the Force be with you!

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