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The Best Sniper Builds in SWTOR (2024)

In 2011, developer BioWare released what promised to be the ultimate Star Wars MMORPG. Like many of its peers in the genre, Star Wars: The Old Republic was built with a focus on player freedom and expression. One area where this shines through most is in its character creation. 2 distinct factions, 4 classes in each, 2 subclasses per class, and 3 disciplines (sub-subclasses?) for every one of those subclasses. That rings up to a total of 24 playable classes. Not only that, but each of these classes manages to be distinct from all the rest.

This depth of choice when it comes to class and playstyle makes for fun, comfortable gameplay. It’s both easy and encouraged to create a character that fits your preferences. However, it can also get a bit overwhelming and confusing when you’re presented with so many options out the gate. With this in mind, we’ve been creating a series of build guides for all of SWTOR‘s classes. Hopefully, these will help players out on their journey to save or conquer the galaxy.

This time, we’re covering the Sniper combat style. 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. Originally an Imperial Agent style, Snipers focus on long-range gunplay and devastating amounts of pinpoint accurate damage. We’ll be covering a build for each of the Sniper’s 3 disciplines: Marksmanship, Virulence, and Engineering.

Marksmanship Build

The Marksmanship build plays the role of Burst DPS. Marksmanship Snipers have the ability to strike down and damage enemies with critical shots from the safety of long distances. They will focus 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
Crouch – This is the Sniper’s core ability. It is what sets them apart from their peers. Unfortunately, it is also makes the Sniper one of the most complicated classes to play. When you use this ability, you will crouch down and deploy an energy shield in front of you. When you do this, your defense is increased, your Energy generation is increased, and you can only use certain abilities while in cover. Additionally, your ability casting times cannot be interrupted or extended. This part is especially good for Snipers, as they generally have pretty long ability casting times compared to other classes. You should be in cover pretty much all the time, unless you need to move to a different position.
Followthrough – Sets up some interesting ability synergies. Normally, it has such a long cooldown that it’s basically useless. However, activating Takedown, Ambush, Penetrating Blasts, or using 2 Snipes completely resets its cooldown. What’s more, every time you use Followthrough, the Energy cost of the next 2 snipes you activate is reduced by 5. This creates an easy, fluid combo between Snipe and Followthrough and makes Snipe a lot more useful to boot.
Snipe – Snipe is a filler ability. On its face, it’s a low damage attack with a higher Energy cost than it’s worth. However, the aforementioned Followthrough synergy makes Snipe one of Marksmanship’s primary abilities. Always use it twice in a row to get the most out of that Followthrough combo.
Penetrating Blasts – An ability with a pretty long cooldown in exchange for downright monstrous amounts of damage. Use it on cooldown. Procs Followthrough cooldown reset.
Ambush – Marksmanship’s highest-damage attack. Once again, the cooldown on this is pretty long in exchange for that massive output. Procs Followthrough cooldown reset.
Corrosive Dart – A DoT (Damage over Time) ability which lasts for 18 seconds. Like most other sustain abilities, it doesn’t deal a ton of damage with each hit, but it adds up. Marksmanship’s devastating damage potentials are due in no small part to this ability. Reapply this whenever you can, especially before a Followthrough as Corrosive Dart procs the cooldown reset.

Additional Abilities to Consider

IconAbility
Takedown – A very high-damage ability, but it can only be used when your target has less that 30% of their health left. Essentially, it’s a finisher move. It also procs the Followthrough cooldown reset.
Suppressive Fire – Very strong AoE ability that costs too much Energy to be used very often. You pretty much only want to use this ability if everyone needs to be dealing AoE damage or in emergencies. Nonetheless, it’s nice to keep in your toolbox for when you need it.
Laze Target – Provides a different buff to each Sniper Discipline. Marksmanship benefits from a guaranteed crit on the next Ambush you use. Pretty much always use this on cooldown.
Adrenaline Probe – Every time you go below 50% Energy, use this. It helps alleviate resource management issues.
Sniper Volley – Increases your alacrity, allowing you to use abilities faster. Additionally, when you activate this ability, Penetrating Blasts’ cooldown is reset. A nice utility buff for when you need to up your fire rate.

Ability Tree Choices

LevelIconAbility
23Relentless Ambush – Combining a resource cost reduction with a stackable cooldown reduction buff on your highest-damage ability is very good.
27Shatter Snipe – Good DPS boost on an ability you’ll be using almost constantly.
39Energy Barrel / Penetrating Rounds – If you find yourself having a lot of Energy management issues, take Penetrating Rounds. If you’ve got Energy consumption down, take Energy Barrel. Energy Barrel provides more damage potential at the expense of worsening Marksmanship’s already difficult resource management. On the flipside, Penetrating Rounds doesn’t give quite as high of a DPS boost, but it also doesn’t worsen resource consumption. The choice is yours.
43Lazer Focus – Allows easier integration of using Laze Target on cooldown. Also increases the amount of opportunities you’ll have for your strongest ability to autocrit.
51Ballistic Dampers – Sniper is a very squishy class with basically no good defensive abilities. This choice gives them a good defensive ability, which is good to have as a DPS.
64Ruthless Effeciency – Over-Prepared provides mobility boosts, which Sniper won’t make much use of. The passive healing from Vital Regulators is nice, but ideally your Healer will be dishing out far more restoration. However, Marksmanship only has one useful AoE ability, so giving it more damage will help you out in sticky situations.
68Ballistic Shield – Again, Snipers greatly benefit from having more defensive options. What’s more, this is also a little support ability for your allies, which is nice.
73Calculated Pursuit – If you ever find yourself needing to leave cover, this is a nice passive to have.

Rotation

Basic Rotation

IconAbility
Corrosive Dart
Ambush
Penetrating Blasts
Followthrough
Snipe x2
Repeat as needed

Full Rotation

IconAbility
Ambush
Followthrough
Penetrating Blasts
Followthrough
Snipe x2
Followthrough
Takedown (only when the target has less than 30% of health remaining)
Followthrough (only when the target has less than 30% of health remaining)
Corrosive Dart (remember to reapply this as needed)
Repeat as needed

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 Marksmanship Sniper is Agitating Energies
  • The best Legendary Implants for Marksmanship Sniper are Locked and Loaded & Improved Targeting

Virulence Build

Role

The Virulence build plays the role of DoT DPS (Damage over Time and Damage Per Second). Virulence Snipers wield the power of toxic poisons to damage and debilitate their enemies. Simply put, 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
Crouch – This is the Sniper’s core ability. It is what sets them apart from their peers. Unfortunately, it is also makes the Sniper one of the most complicated classes to play. When you use this ability, you will crouch down and deploy an energy shield in front of you. When you do this, your defense is increased, your Energy generation is increased, and you can only use certain abilities while in cover. Additionally, your ability casting times cannot be interrupted or extended. This part is especially good for Snipers, as they generally have pretty long ability casting times compared to other classes. You should be in cover pretty much all the time, unless you need to move to a different position.
Cull – An extremely powerful ability which Virulence uses a lot. Over the course of its duration, it will gradually deal a number of damage ticks (4 to be precise). Each time this happens, all of your DoTs will also tick at the same time. Getting every single one of your DoTs to activate and deal damage together 4 times leads to very good damage outputs. Use on cooldown.
Corrosive Dart and Corrosive Grenade – These are both Virulence’s main DoTs. You want these to be constantly active on your target, reapply them whenever you can.
Weakening Blast – Deals extra damage whenever your DoTs tick. Best used on cooldown just before Cull.
Lethal Shot – Virulence’s primary filler. It’s a very interesting ability, as it technically deals a bit of Poison damage despite being an instant ability. This means most boosts to your DoTs will also benefit Lethal Shot.
Viral Targeting – This ability provides a unique buff to every Sniper discipline. Virulence benefits from guaranteed autocrits for the next Cull or Takedown you activate, as well as for all Poison damage you deal in its duration. Very very useful ability.

Additional Abilities to Consider

IconAbility
Suppressive Fire – A very high-damage AoE ability. The Energy cost is less severe here than with the previous discipline, as Virulence doesn’t have the same resource management problems as Marksmanship.
Takedown – Often, after Cull has been activated, you’ll see a golden glow around Takedown’s icon. If this happens, use Takedown. Other than that, it’s not a particularly useful ability. It does a decent amount of damage, but not nearly as much as your other abilities.
Adrenaline Probe – Every time you go below 50% Energy, use this. It helps alleviate resource management issues, but Virulence doesn’t have those to the degree that Marksmanship does. Still, a good ability to keep in the back of your mind and use when things get dicey.

Ability Tree Choices

LevelIconAbility
23Critical Grenade – This will give you the best overall DPS boost. Corrosive Tehcnologies mostly just helps Corrosive Grenade and Corrosive Refund isn’t super important for Virulence. Critical Grenade greatly benefits both Corrosive Grenade and the rest of your ability set.
27Shatter Snipe – Good DPS boost on a reliable ability you’ll be using often.
39Winnow / Corrosive Targeting – Winnow is best for encounters with a lot of enemies. Corrosive Targeting is best for encounters where you’ll be mainly focusing on only one enemy. Either is a good option, the best depends on your specific needs and circumstances.
43Target Acquired – A buff that is almost laughably better than any other choice on this tier.
51Ballistic Dampers – Sniper is a very squishy class with basically no good defensive abilities. This choice gives them a good defensive ability, which is good to have as a DPS.
64Vital Regulators – Virulence benefits a lot from the healing this choice gives. Ruthless Efficiency isn’t as useful for Virulence. Over-prepared can be nice for emergencies, but Vital Regulators is more likely to generally help you out.
68Ballistic Shield – Again, Snipers greatly benefit from having more defensive options. What’s more, this is also a little support ability for your allies, which is nice.
73Calculated Pursuit – If you ever find yourself needing to leave cover, this is a nice passive to have.

Rotation

Opener

You’ll use this rotation to begin encounters. After it’s finished, move on to the normal rotation.

IconAbility
Lethal Shot
Corrosive Dart
Corrosive Grenade
Viral Targeting
Weakening Blast
Viral Targeting
Target Acquired
Cull
Lethal Shot (x4)
Viral Targeting
Cull

Primary Rotation

In Virulence, your goal is to use Cull as many times as possible. Their rotation is essentially just filling in the gaps between Cull uses. Which ability you use and when is denoted by the priorities list.

IconAbility
Cull
[Ability Depending on Priority]
[Ability Depending on Priority]
[Ability Depending on Priority]
[Ability Depending on Priority]
Cull (repeat rotation from Filler Ability 1)

Priorities

This is the list of how you should prioritize the 4 abilities between Cull uses.

IconAbility
Reapply Corrosive Dart + Corrosive Grenade – If they are already applied, go down.
Lethal Shot – Use this if Exploited Weakness is applied on your target. If it is applied, go down.
Weakening Blast – Only if this is the final ability in the rotation between Cull. If you are not up to Filler Ability 4, go down.
Takedown – If you need it. If you don’t go down.
Series of Shots – Only if you’re between 55-60 Energy. If you are above or below this threshold, go down.
Lethal Shot – Use this if no other ability’s conditions apply.

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 Virulence Sniper is Exploited Weakness.
  • The best Legendary Implants for Virulence Sniper are Locked and Loaded & Improved Targeting.

Engineering Build

Role

The Sniper Engineering build employs a variety of droids and probes to weaken their enemies. They mainly play the role of ranged DPS, but this hybrid class also offers some DOT abilities and rotational AOE damage.

Main Abilities

IconAbility
Crouch – This is the Sniper’s core ability. It is what sets them apart from their peers. Unfortunately, it is also makes the Sniper one of the most complicated classes to play. When you use this ability, you will crouch down and deploy an energy shield in front of you. When you do this, your defense is increased, your Energy generation is increased, and you can only use certain abilities while in cover. Additionally, your ability casting times cannot be interrupted or extended. This part is especially good for Snipers, as they generally have pretty long ability casting times compared to other classes. You should be in cover pretty much all the time, unless you need to move to a different position.
Explosive Probe – One of Engineering’s unique abilities. Upon activation, the probe sticks to your target and won’t deal damage until another ability deals damage or 20 seconds runs out (whichever comes first).
Plasma Probe – Another quirky Engineering ability. This is a DoT but one that’s not applied to the target like normal DoTs. Rather, Plasma Probe applies itself to the area around your target. Essentially, it creates a field of sustain damage rather than applying a sustain damage debuff directly onto them. This ability can make Engineering very tricky to play for some. Cast it right after Series of Shots.
Series of Shots – One of your main DoTs. As well as being a good damage dealer, it’ll help your other abilities be more effective. Use this on cooldown.
Interrogation Probe – Another one of Engineering’s main DoTs. This is your highest priority ability. Whenever you switch targets, it must reapplied. It should also be reapplied whenever it runs out.
EMP Discharge – This ability can only be used if your target has a DoT applied to them. Use it whenever you can. If you use it on an enemy standing in Plasma Probe’s damage field, they will be stunned.

Additional Abilities to Consider

IconAbility
Corrosive Dart – This ability is less important to Engineering than it is for the other 2 Sniper disciplines. Nonetheless, it should always be applied because it’s a nice bit of basically free damage.
Snipe – Another ability less important to Engineering than to the other to disciplines. Engineering uses Snipe as a basic filler if nothing else can or should be used.
Orbital Strike – One of the most powerful AoE abilities in the entire game. It’s listed down here instead of in Main Abilities because it costs tons more Energy than your other abilities. Still, it has its place in the rotation.
Suppressive Fire – Very strong AoE ability that costs too much Energy to be used very often. You pretty much only want to use this ability if everyone needs to be dealing AoE damage or in emergencies. Nonetheless, it’s nice to keep in your toolbox for when you need it.
Targeting Systems – This ability provides a unique buff for every Sniper discipline. Engineering benefits from a 10% damage boost on your probe abilities for the next 20 seconds. As well, your next Explosive Probe will autocrit. Use this on cooldown.
Adrenaline Probe – Every time you go below 50% Energy, use this. It helps alleviate resource management issues.
Fragmentation Grenade – A nice little filler. EMP discharge eliminates the cost, so look for the golden glow around the icon.

Ability Tree Choices

LevelIconAbility
23Lazer Targeting / Explosive Reset – Either of these is a nice buff to Explosive Probe. Lazer Targeting will probably give you the highest overall DPS boost.
27Evasive Maneuvers – The survivability boost here is better than either of the DPS boosts from the other two choices on this tier.
39Critical Interrogation – Really good DPS boost, and better than the other 2 choices on this tier.
43Targeting Beam – Yet another crit damage boost, leading to yet another good DPS boost that outshines the other 2 choices on this tier.
51Ballistic Dampers – Sniper is a very squishy class with basically no good defensive abilities. This choice gives them a good defensive ability, which is good to have as a DPS.
64Vital Regulators – Engineering benefits a lot from the healing this choice gives. Ruthless Efficiency isn’t as useful for Engineering. Over-prepared can be nice for emergencies, but Vital Regulators is more likely to generally help you out.
68Ballistic Shield – Again, Snipers greatly benefit from having more defensive options. What’s more, this is also a little support ability for your allies, which is nice.
73Augmented Shields – Transforms Shield Probe, which is supposed to be your primary defensive ability, into an ability that’s actually worth using.

Rotation

Basic Rotation

IconAbility
Explosive Probe
Series of Shots
Plasma Probe
Interrogation Probe
EMP Discharge + Fragmentation Grenade

This is a very basic rotation. If you want to learn something more advanced, see the next section.

Advanced Rotation

The opener for this rotation is as follows:

IconAbility
Orbital Strike
Snipe
Interrogation Probe
Targeting Systems
Explosive Probe
Series of Shots
Plasma Probe
EMP Discharge
Fragmentation Grenade
Corrosive Dart
Series of Shots
Plasma Probe
Snipe
Fragmentation Grenade
Explosive Probe
Series of Shots
Plasma Probe

Once you’ve completed this opener, alternate between the following 3 rotation chunks. You’ll use chunk 2 right after your opener, then go through the chunks in order starting with chunk 1 and using the in-between chunk after each chunk you complete.

1:

IconAbility
Snipe
Fragmentation Grenade
Explosive Probe

2:

IconAbility
EMP Discharge
Fragmentation Grenade
Corrosive Dart

3:

IconAbility
Orbital Strike
Fragmentation Grenade
Explosive Probe

After completing each chunk, use this small in-between chunk.

IconAbility
Series of Shots
Plasma Probe

Then just repeat all the chunks in order as needed.

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 Engineering Sniper is Ruthless Interrogation.
  • The best Legendary Implants for Engineering Sniper are Locked and Loaded & Improved Targeting.

Join the High Ground

That’s gonna wrap up our guide on the best Sniper builds in SWTOR. We hope this article has given you the training you need to unleash deadly accuracy upon the galaxy.

Special thanks to Vulkk and SWTORISTA for their superb Old Republic community resources.

Have any extra thoughts on this article? Want to show off your favorite Sniper build? Feel free to leave a comment below or share this post on social media to let us know. As well, 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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