Quorra's Lethality / Engineering AoE Hybrid Build (2/21/18)

Thanks to Quorra (50 Sniper of Vengeful Malice on Keller's Void - PVE-East) for this interesting hybrid build. I am convinced of the build's viability thanks to this screenshot and the solid rationale I received via email. It's focused on maximizing DoT and AoE damage -- a perspective this blog has been lacking! Read on for the outline and a few of my impressions following.

Quorra's AoE Hybrid Build (2/21/18)

Note: Following is the rationale and explanation of how to play this build that I received from Quorra (with light editing and changes to format). I suggest using the build as designed if you intend to try playing it!


The design goal of this build is to maximize damage output for PVE with a little bit of mobility and a lot of AOE potential. For PVP I want a few extra tools like snares and again a strong AOE. When I pvp I enjoy softening up a whole group of enemies a lot more than focusing on killing a single player, but I obviously need to have that capability too.

Basically I go high enough in Engineering to get EMP Discharge and stop there. I pick up every AOE-related skill along the way. EMP Discharge is what makes this build viable from an energy standpoint, without it you'd be screwed -- you need that Adrenaline Probe every minute.

Interrogation Probe is the centerpiece of this build so I max it out with Inventive Interrogation Techniques (for PVP) and Efficient Engineering (for energy management).

In the Lethality tree I go up high enough to get Corrosive Grenade but I specifically AVOID getting Cull. Cull is too much energy to use in this build so do NOT take it. It may work in a full Lethality build, but not in this one.

Other skills I grab in Lethality are centered around boosting my DOT damage and crit chance as well as boosting my grenade damage. Slip Away is taken to allow me to move up the tree and is useful for PVP. Adhesive Corrosives was really tempting to get, but when I saw that the duration was only 6 seconds I opted for the higher crit chance on my DOTs instead.  Lethal Purpose does not make sense to get due to already having 1 minute Adenaline Probes from EMP Discharge.

The last two points go to MM to buff Snipe and Series of Shots.

  • I'm pretty sure I have every possible AOE-improving talent in our tree, it doesn't get any better for AOE damage for a Sniper. The only AOE skill missing is Pillbox Sniper in the MM tree to let me use OS more often. My grenades and Orbital Strike bring down a world of hurt. In my gear Orbital Strike will crit for 4700+ per enemy THREE times. Frag grenades regularly crit for 2700+.
  • Sustained damage is high and very consistent due to all the DOTs. If I have to LOS my target, my DOTs continue to tick (missile phase on 1st boss in EV comes to mind).
  • Has a few more abilities to use out of cover if needed than other specs (mainly MM). 
  • It's FUN AS HELL!
  • Not as much burst as other specs which is certainly a negative for 1v1 PVP.
  • Very squishy. I pretty much avoid all the survival skills in favor of purely DPS ones. I compensate for this by running with a good healer and a tank with solid threat.
  • EMP Discharge helps to keep the energy management reasonable, but it is very tight at times. A few other skills help out with energy as well.
Vengeful Malice Guild
Keller's Void (PVE-East)

Fen's Notes

This is a sound build accompanied by a thoughtful rationale. I was most convinced that this could work precisely because it's an AoE/DoT-focused build and constructed entirely around skills that benefit that theme. Although I personally have not used Interrogation Probe as a primary damage ability in any of my builds, I can see how the increased DoT crit from Lethal Dose could transform that into a marquee damage skill. I agree that the damage from Lethal Dose is of higher priority than the energy regeneration (and consequent damage decrease) from taking Lethal Purpose. A full Lethality build takes both skills, but here we're forced to make a choice between them.

The choices made in terms of energy management (cost reductions, losing Cull, improving damage to "base" Sniper abilities) are also sound.

I find myself agreeing with Quorra on the strengths and weaknesses as well. AoE and DoT abilities tend to be energy hogs. EMP Discharge, combined with Energy Tanks and the cost-reduction skills taken in the build, is the only energy regeneration tool with enough potential power to support this kind of hybrid. I suspect that resource management will still pose a challenge to being successful. Running with a group in PvP (i.e. the mentioned tank and healer) would compensate for the relative lack of survivability.

I agree that Plasma Probe can occasionally be a stronger defensive tool in Voidstar because it allows you to guard an objective "remotely" without being present yourself. Although DoTs may be stronger overall tools in preventing caps, they still require you to apply them to targets individually and can be cleansed -- the stationary Plasma Probe cannot be dispelled and, when placed correctly, is difficult to outright avoid.

The damage in the screenshot is also consistent with what I would expect from a good player with an AoE-focused build. Often it is not as easy to hit high numbers with a pure Marksmanship spec for the simple fact that you kill people too fast for healers to get them (and thereby give you more hitpoints to demolish).

This is not something I would have built precisely because I have a strong bias toward single-target DPS. Even my Cover and Cull spec, though it has AoE components, is meant to kill targets one at a time.

If you've been looking for a strong pure-AoE build, though? You might consider using this. Enjoy.


In case you missed it, the build's author:

Quorra | Vengeful Malice Guild | Keller's Void (PVE-East)

Thanks for the writeup! I imagine there are no few Snipers who will enjoy trying this out.


  1. Thanks for the feedback on my build Fentanyl!

    After having used this spec for a longer amount of time, I have found it to be strongest in warzones and flashpoints, but a little less so in operations.

    In particular the energy management on very long fights (5min+) "feels" too tight (I wish I had a way to measure it directly). But if you are in situations where there are a lot of short fights with breaks in between or a lot of grouped up enemies then this build really shines.

    The reason I submitted it is because I think it's just a lot of fun to have a powerful AOE build where you can lob a ton of grenades at your enemies and watch them all blow up.

    I will probably continue to use a standard MM build for operations, but when I want to have some PVP fun or run a bunch of flashpoints then this is my personal preferred build of choice.

  2. This build seems bad. Really bad.

    You are only gaining 30 seconds of adrenaline probe over a build that can pick up cull and you lose any energy from poison crits.

    Adrenaline probe is only 50 energy per minute for this build, excluding the first use where you get 3 in 2 minutes.
    5/6 energy per second over base.

    Adrenaline probe in a lethal purpose build is 90 second CD. 5/9 energy per second.

    5/6 - 5/9 = 5/18
    or 0.2777 energy per second. Or 16.667 energy per minute.
    So can you get 9 poison crits in a minute? If so lethal purpose is far better.
    At any reasonable level of crit lethal purpose on a single target should achieve this somewhere in the 30 second range.
    Multiple targets, which the build seems geared towards just make lethal purpose all the better.

    Cull believe it or not is not an energy hog, the set up is.
    30 energy per 3 seconds is energy light compared to snipes 40 per 3 seconds for snipe. If you are going to the 40 energy cost of setting up the dots anyway then cull is as energy efficient as you could want it to be.


    Use that if you really want the aoe crit damage. You'll have aoe every bit as potent, more sustained energy and wont be god awful single target.
    You give up a slow, burst energy in the first minute of the match, emp discharges pathetic damage and an extra pathetic shield probe.

  3. But what if you take points from Steady Shots and put them in Lethal Purpose? Wouldn't that help quite a bit? :D

  4. My reasoning behind using EMP Discharge instead of Lethal Purpose is that the energy regeneration is more balanced between both AOE and single target situations. Lethal purpose is less valuable than EMP Discharge if you are in AOE mode and are lobbing grenades a lot. I agree that taking Cull and Lethal Purpose would probably be better for you if you are focusing more on single target DOT damage.

    You can certainly shift a few points around here and there and get similar results. Like any recipe, you season it to your taste.

    The priority is pretty straightforward, you keep your dots up at all times, use series of shots, explosive probe, and orbital strike on every cooldown. Fill will shatter shot as needed, laze+sniper shot, and rifle shot.

    For AOE I use orbital strike, and both grenades and generally avoid suppressive fire. Throw up an Interrogation Probe + EMP Discharge on a higher health target whenever you need a fresh adrenaline probe.

    1. Well said. As far as hybrids go, this build seems to play more heavily into an Engineering-focused rotation with DoT capabilities than the more DoT-focused build alternative suggested by Myth (and probably played more like a Lethality-based Sniper).

      A build that relies more on Orbital Strike and other non-poison effects would not gain as much energy regeneration from Lethal Purpose (remember, Lethal Purpose works ONLY with poison crits ... and you have just two of those abilities available). EMP Discharge is a more consistent tool overall for the pace of general energy usage.

      Pure Engineering snipers who try this build will probably find the pace of energy usage somewhat familiar.

      If I had to interpret this build in one way it would be this: Spec designed to fill the "resting intervals" in Engineering's normal rotation with continuous DoT damage.

  5. Even in aoe mode if you only use corrosive grenade lethal purpose gives more energy.
    You could not use the dart at all and still come out ahead with the build I suggest.

    Given that Corrosive grenade has a shorter CD than its duration and you want to spam aoes always you'll find if you run the math that it beats it handily.

  6. I would add that in a high dispell environment lethal purpose will be worse, but then any build with points in lethality or cluster bombs or interrogation probe will suck anyway, only marksmen don't know the pain of competent dispellers.

    Having your interrogation probe dispelled before you can emp can happen too if you dont use them immediately in sequence, which with the differing cooldowns will be quite common.

    The other occasion where lethal purpose suffers is if the afflicted targets die super fast. This is probably why you'll see less energy than the math says as a lethality spec, you simply kill people too fast.
    For an aoe focused spec like this that really shouldn't be an issue, so thats why I think it is bad.

    Ok bad is harsh it clearly works, but suboptimal, or of lesser potential is a better way to put it.

  7. I've been intrigued by the split Engineering/Lethality spec for a while, but couldn't find a definite answer on whether or not the "area effect" skills in Engineering have an impact on Corrosive Grenade. I spent a few hours testing it and the surprising results can be found here: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=2268473#post2268473

  8. http://i.imgur.com/I9lOf.jpg

    My first ever game with this build, keep in mind it was 8 empire vs 12 republic via bug (still won though!).

    1. Cant beleive your a clicker and you got 580k...

    2. Haha you get used to it, i use hotkeys for adrenals/relics etc and my first 1-5 skills which are most commonly used.

      Honestly everytime i try learning pure hotkeys i press the wrong buttons and it just confuses me more. If youv got any tips for that let me know :).

    3. If you want to start using hotkeys start small with only 1 or 2 extra keys of main abilities that are used often and add more as you get comfortable.

  9. How viable is this kind of build during leveling? It *looks* like something that doesn't really work well until you have almost all the pieces in place, but I don't have the high-level experience to be certain of that.

    1. I leveled up straight engineering back in early access, and I didn't develop this build until much later. But in theory it wouldn't be too much different -- I'd suggest going up the Engineering tree first.

      I enjoyed Engineering for leveling because I soloed my way to 50 and I found that having good AOE came in very handy. This spec is a bit less gear dependent than Lethality, you are not so dependent on having a good crit rate to manage your energy.

  10. Out of curiosity, how much does accuracy effect this build (or similar builds?)

    1. AFAIK the rules governing accuracy are constant across all specs for snipers. I haven't seen any tests that show AOE effects to have different hit chances per target than other abilities.

  11. So i just tried this build out for myself because i was curious, to say the least i was very impressed.

    Here are My 2nd and 3rd game trying the build out. Im wearing full champion with rakata helm and centurion gloves



  12. Only getting in the 300k-400k range max. Anything im doing wrong? Any special rotations?

  13. 500k dmg in 24 kills, averaging out at 21k dmg per kill, seems awfully bad. I think i would rather have 300k dmg and 70 kills.

  14. Hey Quorra, great setup. I'd like to know what your typical rotations are when using this build? Thanks!


Commenting? Thanks, I appreciate it! -Fen