Contrary to what some players may believe, the Sith Juggernaut is not a tank-only Advanced Class. Those who wish to do damage while still retaining the ability to respec into a tank, or those who simply just don't want to flail around with two lightsabers, can make themselves very much at home with either the Rage or the Vengeance skill tree. We'll be discussing the Vengeance tree today, and some of the skills, tactics and concepts that players may want to consider to get the most out of this offense-minded specialization.
Primary Attribute: Strength
Secondary Attribute: Endurance
Combat Ratings: Critical Rating, Surge Rating, Power, Accuracy, Defense
Unlike pure damage oriented Advanced Classes, stat prioritization for a Vengeance spec'ed Juggernaut can be quite varied depending on the role a player wishes to fulfill. Those who simply want to steamroll their victims should consider prioritizing Strength over Endurance, and focusing on Power, Crit and Surge over Defense. However, those who wish to have a bit more survivability, perhaps with the goal of being a situational off-tank or perhaps just to maximize survivability as a solo player, may want to consider forgoing some of the offensive stats for a more balanced approach, using more Endurance and Defense rating.
For those who do choose to go fully offensive, the choice then becomes which combat ratings to focus on. Unlike some specializations, a Vengeance Juggernaut has the ability to forgo the traditional Crit and Surge pairing due to skill tree choices that yield nearly automatic criticals on two of their primary attack abilities, instead choosing to stack Power and Surge with a side of Crit. This non-traditional approach can yield very interesting results.
The Skill Tree
Above, readers will see a sample Vengeance skill tree. As always, this is just an example;individual preferences may dictate that skill points be moved into the Rage tree, or even spent more fully in the Vengeance tree.
Vengeance is a skill tree based around three tactics: DoT up your target, hit him or her with an empowered Smash and Force Scream, then top it all off with Ravage. Looking at the tree, one might think that rage generation will be an obstacle, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Vengeance-specific skills will allow Smash to become a Rage builder, as well as giving an across the board reduction on rage consumption once the player acquires Shien Form. Let's take a look at the must-have skill choices in the Vengeance tree.
Decimate: It's unusual for a first tier skill to be considered a must have, but for the Vengeance Juggernaut this is true. Decimate not only increases the damage of Smash by 30% once fully skilled, it also reduces the cooldown of the Juggernaut's primary AoE by 25%. Couple Decimate with our next skill, and readers will see where this concept is going.
Ruin: Ruin makes Smash completely free. Now instead of ending up with zero rage after using the ubiquitous Force Charge + Smash combination, a player will be at five rage. That's right, I said five. How did we get to five rage if Force Charge generates three and Smash generates zero?
Shien Form: Possibly the single greatest ability the Vengeance Juggernaut will get in the level 20 bracket, Shien Form makes rage starvation near impossible. Not only does this form increase the Juggernaut's damage by a very noticeable amount, it also refunds one rage for every ability that consumes rage. An interesting side effect of this is that abilities which normally consume rage, but for some reason don't, be it a free Smash or a proc on Force Scream, will actually generate one rage. That's right, Smash, and sometimes Force Scream, are now rage builders. To top it off, when taking damage, the Juggernaut will generate even more rage, though this doesn't happen nearly as much as the passive generation from Soresu Form. That means by the time a player Force Charges in and drops a Smash on their victims, so long as said victim lands a single shot on the Juggernaut, the player will have five rage to work with. The bottom line is, with Shien form the Juggernaut is never, ever rage starved.
Impale: Outside of Smash, Impale will be the Vengeance Juggernaut's hardest hitting ability. Combining an over the top animation with a very serious damage output, this ability should be used whenever possible.
Savagery: We already like Impale, but with Savagery in the mix, we're just going to love it. Savagery causes Impale and Shatter, the Vengeance capstone ability, to increase the critical hit chance of Force Scream and Vicious Throw by 60%. With endgame critical chance ideally at least 25%, that's very close to an automatic critical hit for both abilities.
Draining Scream and Eviscerate: These two skills are grouped together because they serve effectively the same function: they enhance abilities you're already using by adding a DoT component. While on paper these skills may not seem like much, as you'll see fairly small ticks from them, in practice (especially once combined with Shatter) they add up to a serious amount of pressure that will continue to do damage regardless of input from the Juggernaut.
Shatter: The Vengeance tree capstone ability, shatter may seem like something of a waste of time, but combine it with the synergy of Savagery, Force Scream, Impale and their associated DoTs, and the results are just silly.
The beauty of the Vengeance skill tree is that it gives buffs to nearly every single ability that a player will end up using in PvE. When fighting other players, however, it's a different story. In PvP, players will need to make judicious use of Saber Throw and Vicious Throw, as well as the synergy between Force Push and Force Charge given how easily a melee attacker can be kited and knocked back. In addition, the weapon-damage heavy nature of the Vengeance tree gives the specialization some trouble with tanks, but because a decent amount of output comes from Force attacks and Internal damage, the Vengeance Juggernaut doesn't have as much trouble as say a Marksman Sniper.
Combat Style: Ranged DPS
Vette fills the role of damage dealer quite well, and for the first part of the Vengeance Juggernaut's career she will most likely be out-damaging the player. Don't be discouraged, however;once a player gets Shien Form and Impale, he or she will once again outshine this brightly colored mess of sarcasm and blaster fire.
Vette is very low maintenance; simply charge in and she starts blasting away. Tailor her abilities to the given situation—disable AoEs when facing single targets and re-enable them once the opposition turns back into groups, and the bodies will pile up quite quickly.
Combat Style: Healer
For the Imperial faction Quinn is the second fastest acquired healer, and some would argue a mandatory companion for the Vengeance Juggernaut. While he does allow the Juggernaut to minimize downtime and stay in the fight considerably longer, it is this author's opinion that the damage loss, from either Jaessa or Vette, or the tanking loss, from either Pierce or Broonmark, far outweighs Quinn's utility as a healer.
Like most healing companions, the only concern while using Quinn is his channeled CC ability. He'll use it on nearly every target he faces, and in the process will not be healing the Juggernaut. Players may wish to disable that ability so his AI can focus more on healing, with the occasional bleed and blaster bolt fired off.
Combat Style: Melee DPS
Jaessa is this author's favorite, though perhaps not the wisest, choice for pairing with a Vengeance Juggernaut for one simple reason: more DoTs. In combination with her innate bleed stance and her bleed ability, a Vengeance Juggernaut can have five different bleeds running on a single target at any given time. The sight of that many yellow numbers flying off of a victim while I just stand there and do nothing is downright hilarious, and absolutely irresistible.
Jaessa does comparable damage to Vette, though she pays for it by both having to be in melee to do her damage, and is unable to wear anything more than light armor which makes her incredibly squishy. However, if a player does not mind taking a short break every few pulls, Jaessa makes fights fly by.
Combat Style: Ranged Tank
Pierce is fairly simple in terms of strategy: he shoots things and gets shot so the player doesn't. However, like all tanking companions Pierce lacks serious defensive capabilities; chances are that the Vengeance Juggernaut will actually have better mitigation and avoidance than Pierce will, and he doesn't really bring enough DPS to the table to outweigh that inherent handicap. All that said, he still holds threat quite well, and if the Juggernaut can dish out enough hurt, Pierce is still a viable partner in combat.
Combat Style: Melee Tank
Broonmark, despite being a giant fluffy ball of amusement, is actually a somewhat viable tanking companion. Like Pierce, he suffers from an extreme lack of survivability, but he can dish out the hurt slightly better. In PvE he is marginally better as a tank since he can both corral enemies better, since most PvE enemies will swap to melee if their target is in close, and because his attacks aren't slowed by cast times. Unfortunately, until BioWare does something about the inherent imbalance between tanking and non-tanking companions, Brunmark is likely going to take a back seat to the likes of Quinn, Jaessa and Vette.
The Vengeance Juggernaut is not the simplest class to play. Players have to balance rage generation with procs, cooldowns and in some cases positioning and kiting, but at the end of the day the class can output a serious quantity of damage. Statements from Georg Zoeller also point to improvements coming to the class at some point in the future to enhance the Vengeance Juggernaut's survivability in the mid to late stages of the game, so while some things may cause a little teeth-gnashing for some players at present, we can hope that they'll be resolved in the near future. All in all, Vengeance is a very fun specialization choice, and a welcome change to the concept of "that class is a tank, he's not allowed to do damage".