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PvP Talent Build: Survival Gunslinger

February 25, 2012

LAST UPDATE: Update 1.3.2

This is a PvP build for the Gunslinger. This will mainly utilize the Saboteur specialization, with enough points in Sharpshooter to gain the Ballistic Dampers talent, which allows use of the strategy Dampers Defense.

Note: This build was created with the Darth Hater Talent Calculator. The link to view this build is here. The parallel Sniper build is here.

Class: Gunslinger
Primary Focus: Saboteur
Secondary Focus: Sharpshooter for Dampers Defense strategy
Purpose: PvP
Goal: This build is about survival. While your numbers in Warzones might be lower than in a Sharpshooter spec when it comes to pure damage, in 1v1 combat on Ilum or in a Warzone, Saboteur has the longest staying power. Cool Head (which now heals you in this spec) and Defense Screen become usable every minute, damage taken in Cover is reduced, Scrambling Field has a lower cooldown, and the Gunslinger is still able to take advantage of Ballistic Dampers from the Sharpshooter tree.

General Strategies

Attacking: Shock Charge then Vital Shot to get the bleeds ticking, then Sabotage Charge followed with Speed Shot provides some nice burst damage. Remember that some Contingency Charges are usually left on the target after Speed Shot, so hit them with Flurry of Bolts or if you jump out of cover use the free Quick Shots to regain some energy and make that downtime count. Follow with a usual rotation of Charged Burst and CC, etc.

Defending: Cover is a 6% damage shield in this spec essentially and Hunker Down gains 20 seconds of anti-CC. Use Defense Screen and Cool Head as soon as damage starts rolling in. Use Sabotage to blow up your Shock Charge and recover Cool Head and Defense Screen. Against Snipers and lightsabers, Dodge gives 3 seconds of immunity to ranged and melee attacks. Use it on their hard hitting stuff if you can (i.e. early, since they will try to hit you hard first).

All points allocated are the maximum allowed for each ability, unless otherwise noted.

Sharpshooter (7)

Steady Shots (2/2) – Increases the damage of Charged Burst, Speed Shot, and Wounding Shot. You will use these skills a lot, so any straight up damage boost is good.

Sharpshooter (3/3) – Increases accuracy, which is not that beneficial in PvP, but it does help to keep debuffs from making your life miserable.

Ballistic Dampers (2/2) – This grants 3 charges of a damage-eliminating shield upon entering Cover, which means that you will take less damage. Good thing in PvP. I have developed a PvP strategy called the Dampers Defense (which works well in solo PvE situations as well) that uses this ability extensively.

Dirty Fighting tree (3)

No Holds Barred (3/3) – Regardless of your build, this is a great ability, as it increases crit chance.

Saboteur (31)

Saboteur’s Utility Belt (2/2) – Reduces cooldown of Flash Grenade and Thermal Grenade. Normally I wouldn’t suggest lowering cooldowns on AoE skills in PvP, but having Flash Grenade available more often means that you have a great instant CC ability to help you escape when someone tracks you down in Cover.

Streetwise (3/3) – This ability increases Cunning by a percentage. This is never a bad thing, and I would recommend this ability, regardless of the build, PvP or PvE.

Independent Anarchy (3/3) – Aside from the awesome name, this skill is also good because it adds straight damage to Sabotage Charge and all AoEs. This combined with Thermal Detonator cooldown reduction from Saboteur’s Utility Belt make it a 3 second cooldown death to mobs of players. Use on chokepoints in Voidstar for example.

Cool Under Pressure (2/2) – One of the most crucial talents of the build, this makes Cool Head heal you for 6% of your health. With the skill Sabotage, which resets the cooldown on Cool Head, available every minute, this means 6% of your health back every minute. I was once top heals in a Warzone with this (sure, we didn’t have any dedicated healers, but it was still pretty funny).

Underworld Hardships (0/2) – This increases Endurance by a percentage, which is not as great as you would think. This adds 4% fully spent, and 4% of 16,000 health (which is an approximate health bar for someone using Tier 2 gear) is about 640 health. That doesn’t provide much of a barrier.

Contingency Charges (2/2) – When Sabotage Charge is detonated, it drops 2 Contingency Charges on the target (1 per point spent). These Contingency Charges detonate upon blaster fire (including Flurry of Bolts). I personally like to detonate these with Speed Shot, which has bonuses further up the tree. This combination provides a nice little bit of burst DPS.

Dealer’s Discount (2/2) – Reduces energy cost on Sabotage Charge, Shock Charge, and Incendiary Grenade, which are three of the most important skills in this spec.

Shock Charge (1/1) – One of the best parts of this spec. This active skill is a 21 second bleed, 30% slow (when combined with the talent Sapping Charge), and the required effect for Sabotage, which is the active skill farther up in the tree.

Sapping Charge (2/2) – Turns Shock Charge into a 30% slow for the duration.

Insurrection (1/1) – Increases Contingency Charges dropped by Sabotage Charge by 2, which is good, but the reason this really rocks in my opinion is it returns 5 energy when each Contingency Charge detonates, which makes Sabotage Charge returns 4 net energy when all said and done (20 – 4 from Dealer’s Discount – 4 * 5 from each Contingency Charge).

Hot Pursuit (2/2) – This makes Quick Shot free for 6 seconds after leaving cover. Use this while running around for much more DPS than Flurry of Bolts. Also good for blowing up Contingency Charges.

Arsonist (2/2) – Increases critical damage of AoEs by 30% fully spent. This is very situational, but Incendiary Grenade is pretty powerful and an AoE and Thermal Grenade is seriously buffed in this spec anyway, so it is worth taking both points in my opinion.

Seize the Moment (0/1) – After activating Sabotage, the next Sabotage Charge or Incendiary Grenade costs zero energy. This means that Sabotage combined with a Sabotage Charge and the Contingency Charges from above can actually result in a net energy gain. This is ok for PvP, but it is especially useful in PvE. However, I decided not to take it, due to energy being pretty readily available.

Sabotage (1/1) – This is where survival meets offense. This active skill instantly deals damage to the target of your Shock Charge, consuming it, and resets the cooldown on Cool Head and Defense Screen. This skill is available once a minute.

Hotwired Defenses (2/2) – Increases damage absorbed by Defense Screen by 30% fully spent. That doesn’t mean that you take 30% less damage. Defense Screen can be thought of more as a bubble. It has a duration, but is usually “spent” before that duration ends. It was buffed in 1.3, so that is nice.

Riot Screen (2/2) – Decreases damage taken by 6% while in Cover and reduces cooldown on Scrambling Field by 30 seconds.

Blazing Speed (3/3) – When Speed Shot damages a target, it applies a 4 second DoT which can stack 4 times.

Incendiary Grenade (1/1) – Applies a burning DoT to a targeted area of the ground for 18 seconds. Only acts on 3 targets, so if there are more than that at a turret, it won’t stop them all. It is good in a fast pinch since it is instant, and it does a good amount of damage.

Last Updated: 7/12/12 for Update 1.3.2

Be sure to check out the Gunslinger/Sniper Advanced Class Guide.

For past builds, see the following links:


Survival Gunslinger


Leveling Sharpshooter/Saboteur

Sustained Gunslinger

Focused Sharpshooter

On-the-run Sharpshooter

Dirty Fighting

DoTs and Bleeds Gunslinger

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