SWTOR Shadow SERENITY Guide (Updated for Patch 5.6)

Detailed PvE guide, written by Mebrithiel

The guide is structured in sub-pages for better orientation, less scrolling and easier navigation. Click on one of the 4 tabs below to visit the INTRODUCTION TO THE DISCIPLINE, STATS PRIORITIES AND GEARING TIPS, ABILITIES, UTILITIES AND PRIORITIES and CONCLUSION sections. Inside each one of the tabs (or sub-pages) you will find Table of Contents to further ease your navigation and help you find what you are looking for. The 4 tabs are available on the top and at the bottom.


Important Note

This guide is written by Mebrithiel and was sent to me in a doc form absolutely voluntarily out of good faith and desire to help other fellow Shadow Serenity Players. It’s the very first time for me to post someone else’s guide on my website and I hope this will help you. My edits are minimal – only cosmetic and related to the layout and a little bit on the gearing section (it’s the same text that I always include in all my guides) as well as a few links to other useful articles on VULKK.com. All credits for the abilities, priorities, opener, rotations and gameplay tips go to Mebrithiel!

Please see this video for more details. On Page 4 of this guide you will find information about the author. If you have any questions about the guide, leave a comment.

Wherever you may encounter “I”, consider this as a personal opinion from the author and statement or preference, based on his experience and practice.


Serenity (balance) Shadows has always been a DoT based melee dps class. At the launch of the game, when tools like StarParse were not available, a dps-wise comparison to other such classes was not possible. The overall feeling of the class was satisfactory but nothing special.
In 2.0 (Rise of the Hutt Cartel) the class had a major redesign and unfortunately for those playing it, the results were disappointing. The class’s DPS output was horrible and as a result it lost its position in operation’s teams. Many players were forced to abandon the class and some who denied doing so abandoned the game.

I was one of the few who stayed true to this class and luckily for me with patch 2.7 and the changes that came with it, we got a big part of our lost prestige back. Mind Crush, one of the major DoTs at that time, received a +30% damage boost that changed the overall damage output and as a consequence Serenity Shadows were back in the game.

In 3.0 (Shadow of Revan) Serenity Shadows became even stronger. With the right conditions the class could top the dps charts and all operation teams needed one Serenity Shadow. The class was king of the hill.
But with great power comes great grieving by the opponents! In later patches (after 3.0), due to pvp players complains, the class received some major nerfs, and lost its DPS edge.

In 4.x (Knights of the Fallen Empire), things started to look worse and Serenity became a mid-range damage dealing class.
Unfortunately, all the nerfs serenity received from mid 3.x were not enough and in KotFE & KotET, more nerfs came along the way. According to theorycrafting, Serenity nowadays is one of the weakest dps classes in the game, being 14th out of 18.

With patch 5.3, the new developing team (thank you Keith) decided to bring balance to the damage output of all classes and Serenity shadows were the first to receive a dps boost, similar to the one in patch 2.7. Combined to the nerfs in almost all other disciplines, serenity shadows now are one of the strongest DPS disciplines in the game (included ranged ones).

Serenity shadows are again important for any operation team; what they lack in utility and operation buffs, they can make up in damage output. The wheel turned ladies & gentlemen, slowly but it turned! We are back in the game!

Patch 5.0 Changes

  • Double Strike: Now granted at level 1 as a Shadow exclusive.
  • Force Technique: Now a passive buff.
  • Guard: Now available at level 16. No longer requires Combat Technique.
  • Combat Technique: Removed from Advanced Class. Now granted as Discipline passive in Kinetic Combat.
  • Phase Walk: Removed from base class. Now Sage exclusive.
  • Vaulting Slash: New ability for the Infiltration Discipline. High damage single-target skill on a 15s cooldown that is usable from stealth or within 15 seconds of landing a critical hit.

Each Advanced Class is receiving a new suite of Legendary Utilities, here are some of the Shadow’s:

  • Stalker’s Swiftness: Shadow Stride grants Stalker’s Swiftness, allowing your next Spinning Strike to be used on any target, regardless of remaining health. Stalker’s Swiftness lasts for 10 seconds. Additionally, if the target of your Shadow Stride is defeated within 10 seconds of using Shadow Stride, the cooldown of Shadow Stride is reset.
  • Restorative Shade: When entering stealth with Force Cloak you generate a stack of Restorative Shade and heal 4% of your maximum health every 2 seconds for 10 seconds. Stacks last for 6 seconds. When stealth is broken, each stack of Restorative Shade heals you for 4% of your health.
  • Avenging Grip: Deflection grants Avenging Grip, reflecting 50% (or 100% for the Kinetic Combat discipline) of all direct single target tech and Force damage back at the attacker for 12 seconds. Does not absorb incoming damage.

Knights of the Eternal Throne did not change that much for a Serenity Shadow; just made things worse DPS wise. Many of our core damaging abilities now do less damage, our mobility is impaired with the removal of Phase Walk (now what were the developers thinking?), and we did not receive an active ability to use at level 68.

One major difference though is the redesign of Vanquish to Squelch. Squelch now is an instant ability with a rather long cooldown that can target someone within 10m. This means that if you can afford the Force cost, you can cast Squelch even when not proced by Force Strike, which sometimes stabilizes our difficult & demanding rotation.

Patch 5.0.1 Changes

As shown in the Patch notes, here are the changes made to the class in this update:

  • Using Mind Maze no longer grants Martial Prowess if the corresponding Utility is not selected.

Patch 5.3 Changes

There have been a number of improvements in DPS and energy management with this Game Update, boosting the Discipline’s performance to be on par with other similar Melee Damage Dealing Classes.

  • Increased Force Suppression’s periodic damage boost from 10% to 15%.
  • Force Focus now increases the damage of Force Breach by 30% (up from 20%).
  • Rebounding Force restores 3 Force (down from 5) when Force Technique deals damage.
  • Increased Aching Mind’s low health damage bonus from 15% to 30%.
  • In addition to its previous effects, Serene Poise now restores 4 Force for each of your damaging periodic effects on a target damaged by your Serenity Strike.
  • Serenity Strike now replaces Shadow Strike.

Patch 5.6 Changes

With Game Update 5.6 the discipline received the following changes:

  • The Intangible Spirit utility has been redesigned and now reduces damage taken from area of effect attacks by 30% for the Infiltration and Serenity disciplines and reduces damage taken while stunned by 30% for the Kinetic Combat discipline
  • Force Suppression stacks are now only consumed by your own periodic damage


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