Star Wars: The Old Republic - Shield Tech Powertech Guide (6.2.1)


Back when The Mandalorian debuted on Disney+, fans of Star Wars: The Old Republic began their own speculation as to "what spec" he would be. Since the show had no reason to follow the stipulations of the MMO, this was bound to stay a little in-joke of the community; that is, until Season 2 Episode 11: The Heiress removed any doubt. Din Djarin was an Shield Tech Powertech.

Or, at least the closest to it! The ST-PT, whose shorthand appropriately sounds like some kind of Star Wars walker, is the Tank discipline, focusing on passive damage reduction, of the Powertech advanced class (the way Din 'tanked' the Stormtrooper fire in that corridor removed all doubt, and all his gadget use rules out Mercenary) and is mirrored by the Shield Specialist Vanguard on the Republic side.

Here's our guide on how to master your very own Mando in SWTOR.

Introduction

It's long past time for BioWare to give Bounty Hunters the ability to wield weapons other than blaster pistols, since it's likely a stretch that a raid boss will look at a party of players and consider the guy with the dinky little weapon the greatest threat - but we digress.

Unlike the two DPS disciplines of the Powertech, Shield Tech focuses on a balanced blend of passive and active damage reduction with a focus on the former, alongside threat generation (obviously). As far as the game's tank disciplines go, Shield Tech offers competitive quantities of damage output and decent crowd control abilities, so it is more viable for solo play and leveling than most others in the category.

A key aspect of the Shield Tech compared to other classes is the shoulder cannon, the related abilities of which are off the global cooldown. Slotting this into your rotations is a great way of increasing your actions-per-minute and maintaining consistent threat even though the spec won't be heavy on alacrity. The spec also has more crowd control options than the average tank and fares pretty well in terms of mobility.

The reliance on passive damage reduction with few DR abilities to work with make Shield Techs one of the harder tank disciplines in the game to master, and the spec relies on raw stats alongside a game of cooldown-catchup to compensate. The trade off here is record high passive DR giving the class great average survivability, with damage spikes potentially causing issues since you don't have as many defensive abilities to pop at the right time, making it essential that you have something off cooldown at the right time - and that the group's healers do their job.

While we mentioned earlier that Shield Techs will fare better in solo content and leveling than most other tank specs, it will still be more of a grind than with any DPS spec, and isn't recommended for anything other than standard world missions - heroics, flashpoints or higher difficulty KotFE/KotET chapters will be a slog. It's best to re-spec for these, or to keep a tank character just for tanking.

Gearing

As always, before any kind of optimization begins or you start to hunt down specific pieces of gear, the first step is always hitting an item rating of 306. Since farming flashpoints is the best way to achieve this fast, it's a good opportunity to get acquainted with the spec and its rotations!

Items

Shield Techs have been put into an interesting position as far as gearing goes recently with the release of the Emergency Power armor set in 6.0.1. Unlike the majority of endgame sets which can be bought for Tech Fragments on the Fleet, Emergency Power is only available from the Nature of Progress Operation on Dxun, one of the hardest ops in the game on account of being the newest. Emergency Power is, also, the best set bonus for Shield Techs.

The Emergency Power armor set, visually based on the Sha'Tek armor set with extra glowy bits

The 2 and 4 piece bonuses aren't the most interesting, yielding +2% Endurance and increasing the duration of Energy Shield by 5 seconds, respectively. However, the 6 piece set bonus becomes an absolute game changer by mitigating the main weakness of this spec: Activating Power Yield grants you a major Absorb shield for 3 seconds. That's right, you get a whole new active damage reduction ability! Not only does this make you more survivable, but it also makes managing your cooldowns less stressful.

Since you can't expect to pack the Emergency Power until later on in your tanking career, there is a more accessible set that's of similar effectiveness, available from the Fleet vendor and Renown Caches - Right Price. 2 pieces of Right Price will get you an extra 2% Mastery, while 4 will augment your Explosive Fuel ability in two ways; by increasing damage by 20% when Ion Cell is active, and Damage Reduction by 5% if it is not. This ties into the (recently nerfed) 6 piece bonus, which reduces the cooldown of Explosive Fuel whenever you take damage with Power Yield active.

Right Price armor piece showing set bonuses

Ultimately, Right Price will get you a similar effect as Emergency Power but in a more roundabout way. While EP straight up adds a DR effect to a cooldown, Right Price adds a situational DR effect to a cooldown when not used together with Ion Cell and then gives you a situational cooldown reduction on that ability provided you take damage while activating another ability. It's just more steps and more things to keep in mind.

As is often the case, since you get the coveted set bonus at just six pieces, the seventh armor slot can be filled with any piece of Amplified Champion for an extra combat amplifier.

The best relics for the Shield Tech spec right now are Sha’Tek Relic of Avoidance MK-19 and Sha’Tek Relic of Shield Matrix MK-19. There isn't need to switch them out for a second set unlike in the case of some other specs. Your modifications should consist of Resistive Armorings, Warding Mods and either Superior Bulwark or Superior Bastion Enhancements, with the balance of Enhancements being up to your preference.

As far as tacticals go, the best bet is Thermal Screen, which ups the maximum stacks of Heat Screen to 6, with Power Yield adding 3 stacks whenever it is used while finishing the cooldown on Heat Blast. This gives you a pseudo-passive shield boost considering the near-constant use of Heat Screen anyway.

Surprisingly enough, the general-use "starter tactical" that most players discard at first chance, The Life Warden, has a place in the Shield Tech endgame for specific fights as a hail Mary to compensate for the low number of active DR skills.

Amplifiers

There are fewer relevant amplifiers for tanks than there are for healers and damage dealers, so you can get a little more creative here for the most part. That said, if you want to squeeze the absolute maximum out of the spec, Aural Resistance is the way to go for all slots that it is available in.

Utilities

When it comes to Shield Tech Utilities, the Skillful and Masterful tiers are pretty rigid in terms of what options are best and which ones you ought to avoid, with a greater measure of customization available in the Heroic tier. Nonetheless, even here there is a pretty good go-to build which we'll cover in this guide, and let you try and experiment with it further.

ST-PT Utilities
  • Skillful: Iron Will, Reflective Armor, Engulfing Flames
  • Masterful: Pneumatic Boots, Sonic Rebounder, Pyro Shield
  • Heroic: Torque Boosters, Overdrive, Combustion Chamber

A few Heroic options are good to switch out if you notice specific issues arising when facing difficult bosses. If your threat generation isn't up to snuff, Reel and Rattle is a good crutch to rely on, for example.

Rotations

Luckily the Shield Tech rotation isn't a 20+ step monster like what some other specs require players to memorize, so you should be able to commit this to muscle memory fairly quick, though the opener is fairly complex - good thing you only need to go through it once! Even before you begin the opener however, make sure you pre-loaded your shoulder launcher.

Opener

  1. Grapple
  2. Jet Charge
  3. Explosive Fuel
  4. Firestorm
  5. Shoulder Cannon
  6. Taunt
  7. Rocket Punch
  8. Shoulder Cannon
  9. Rail Shot
  10. Heat Blast
  11. Shoulder Cannon
  12. Flame Burst
  13. Shoulder Cannon
  14. Flame Burst
  15. Taunt
  16. Main

Main

  1. Heat Blast
  2. Shoulder Cannon
  3. Rocket Punch
  4. Rail Shot
  5. Firestorm
  6. Flame Burst
  7. Rapid Shot
  8. Repeat

Optional: Taunt as needed. Replace Taunt with Sonic Missile when applicable.

This is the way.

Aron Gerencser
Gaming at least as long as he's been walking, Aron is a fan of all things sci-fi and lover of RPGs. Having written about games for years, he's right at home reporting most of the breaking news in the industry and covering the happenings of the e-sports world. When not writing or playing, you can find Aron on Facebook.