Author Topic: How to SK  (Read 8256 times)


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How to SK
« on: May 28, 2018, 01:52:44 PM »
These are some cobbled-together ramblings from me in response to tells i frequently get about SK'ing. 

Can also check my youtube channel:

I'm too lazy to write a concise, neat guide.

This is my raid spell lineup from one raid, however there are some interchangable spellslots here.

Often I don't load both 'touch of falsin' and 'insidious denial' and just load 1 of the 2.  In the free spellslot I normally load bloodletting alliance.  There are a few gems here that are expendable for swapping in/out other spells.  Refute for power is an expendable slot, and i have spellsets that load a single spell to replace this one with 'torrent' or 'holmein' that i switch in when i want to refresh these buffs.  Other spells that you may want to swap in for certain events/situations = harmonious, disgust line of spells, dots, a second or third terrror, or the pet bomb line of AE nukes. 

The other spell gem here that gets swapped occasionally, is 'spear of tylix' for 'hateful bargain', depending on how add heavy the event is.

The picture here also shows my lifetap multibind, which i chose to set to my middle mouse button. 
Having lifetaps assigned to a multibind is very useful, allowing u to spam press the button whenever your brain is thinking about something else e.g. what disc to use next. 

I like to have 2 weaker lifetaps at the start of my multibind, because usually when i cast dichotomic/insidious, and sometimes even dire, i want those to be deliberate casts that can get me out of a dangerous hp spike, rather than waste them as spam. 

If you are going full dps mode for fun, you may load many more dots and move the bigger lifetaps to the front of your multibind.

There are lots of ways to do it on a shadow knight.  It is rare that i am satisfied with the ae aggro of an add tank crew, even a decent one.  In the rare case that I feel that there are enough aggressive tanks, i will tame my style a bit and play more of a watchful role, or a dps role, wherever i think i can be most useful.  Tanks can LD/AFK/die/fall sleep on the job, so having a decent amount of AE aggro on everything always is something an SK can do to safeguard these common issues.
On single targets, i frequently throw in 2-3 casts > terror(rare that i load more than 1 of these in modern times) and spear and sometimes dichotomic/insidious denial(these spells are what for me, replace the need of a second or third terror).  It's common that i'll toss in an AA ability such as hates attraction/veil of darkness/stream of hatred/burst of spite/explosion of hatred etc.  My third or fourth cast is often impose.  Beyond that every cast is a fast decision between lifetap/agro/refresh short duration buffs/dps.  That is what i consider to be my standard casting for initial aggro on a 'typical' single target, be it group or raid.  This is not counting clickies that i may hit between spell casts, aggro from dps, bite of chaos, etc.
We can throw in a lot more, or a little less, depending on the situation though.  Usually I hold ageless/undivided acrimony in case i spot a dps on a mobs etw.  Those, as well as taunt are your method of snapping aggro.  Note that with ageless/taunt, you will only be equal on aggro to the dps player, and need to follow up immediatly with a spear/terror + some AA aggro abilities (hates attraction/veil of darkness, can use your AA AE aggro abilities on single targets too)
On add heavy events, or grouping with piles, I usually drop spear.  I use hateful bargain/insidious denial sometimes supplemented with harmonious.  On occasion I may even load 1-3 from the disgust line, though since harmonious, that has become less common.  You need to be careful with harmonious however, it can overwrite the aggro of other tanks who are actually doing things right to aggro their single target.  If separate adds are assigned, you probably shouldn't use it.  In fact, unless you know that you can survive tanking everything, or need to tank everything, you are best not using it.  If you're feeling really proactive, you can cast it on yourself and click it off whenever your aggro is rising too high on mobs that you don't want to be tanking/stealing.  Events where i use harmonious in recent memory if i'm tanking adds, are Queen, the final EoK raid, Adds on plane of health, Adds on Crypt of Sul 1, etc.
If an event is trivial enough survivability wise, sometimes i even use forceful rejuvenation to toss in quick back to back casts of dichotomic+spear or distasteful bargain+other ae's. 
The most important thing when new adds spawn or reach the raid is to agro them as fast as possible.  if it's one add, maybe u will single target it.  Maybe you will cast an ae if u will know that it will be in range for it before you change target to it.  Maybe you will run out a little bit and intercept adds by casting one or a few ae's before they can even touch anybody.  The main focus is to proactively protect the raid, ideally, no dps players to take hits, regardless of whether they are even assisting the MA.
Even on bosses, there's a bunch of ways to play it with aggro.  Sometimes i'll engage with unflinching + harmshield, other times if it's a high dps raid, where i am not concerned as much with survivability, I may leave out harmshield (and possibly even unflinching if i think i can get away with it).  I may instead activate a spell burn and Harm touch/Thought leech/Spear/Dichotomic/Leech Touch and forceful rejuvenation so i can again hit dicho/spear.  I also throw in almost all of the AE and single target AA abilities that produce aggro, (except for recovery tools like ageless, mindless)

You can also take note of the assigned tanks for the bosses, and add them to your extended target window.  This way if you see one of them die, you can check if that boss has a tank on it and run in to save the day.  This needs to be an experienced judgement call though, because if you have duties of your own that you neglect to instead go pick up the boss, you are solving one problem and just creating another.

Tanking piles

Note:  The spellset here was someone elses, and i was commenting on it.
Soandso said: ↑
1: Defiant Stance
2: Vizat's Skin Rk. II
3: Harmonious Disruption Rk. II
4: Revulsion
5: Spear of Tylix
6: Touch of Lutzen Rk. II
7: Dire of Declaration Rk. II
8: Putrefying Darkness
9: Touch of Holmein Rk. II
10: Bond of Xalgoz
11: Xalgoz's Bite
12: Dichotomic Fang

And I would like to know how Drogbaa can tank the Sarnaks.”

You'll want to load some more lifetaps (and get the slot 3 gems to enhance their damage)
You could drop putrefying darkness, xalgoz bite and revulsion, and replace them with insidious (unless you're mezzing the adds, in which case i guess stick with revulsion), and 2 more lifetaps (touch of falsin, touch of t'vem).

You want to lifetap, all the time. Every cast is a judgement call between lifetap / aggro / refreshing a utility buff / doing damage.

When tanking a pile, you can get aggressive with the lifetaps, and when you take a bad spike (or are anticipating one), attempt to cast insidious denail or dichotomic (and if those are down, dire declaration, though dire is a bit slower to get off). I like to keep these lifetaps at the back of my lifetap multibind so they are usually up to manual cast when i feel they are needed.

When you have many mobs on you though, often your cast will get interrupted, or maybe you will just get unlucky and fizzle, so when casting these things with many mobs on you, you need to spam click/button mash until the spell actually goes off.

If all of those are down, repel can be timed to buy u a little bit of time to get off a slower, less powerful lifetap off as well. If all of these things are down, then you want to waste something with a longer cooldown (shield flash, leech touch, deflection, forceful rejuvenation)

Forceful rejuvenation can be instantly followed up with dichotomic (or if you think you have enough time, insidious first).

When you have leech effects running, you can use offensive abilities as instant heals too e.g. wounding blade.  Using a variety of these and timing them with the damage spikes, it is possible to keep yourself up for a short time when you are receiving no healing, and when epic + lifetap spam on it’s own is not enough to keep you up.

Another important thing is vizat's skin, if that buff wears off you and you have a big pile on you, you are very likely dead soon. Another killer is not noticing that your mitigation disc or epic has dropped, be mindful of when they are due to expire and think ahead to what you can get running for when they drop.

If you can get mortal coil to proc by killshotting something, that will provide a lot of healing on you as well.

If i'm mostly killing 1-3 mobs, i load spear of vizat, any more than that and i swap it for distasteful bargain AE.

Visage of death can be handy with leech effects running too, because you're hitting for more melee damage, so you're getting more healing back.

Bond lifetap is kind of nifty too, though it only heals you every 6 seconds. You can cast it on multiple mobs, sometimes i will try to cast this on various mobs that i will kill last if i feel i have time to cast it (during deflection is a great time).

note: Dragon Glyph:  Since they upgraded this AA, it's become the ultimate defensive disc.  You'll notice that you can tank more mobs than usual with it running.  If you have any job that you fear will be risky, this is the thing to hit for 4+ minutes of easy-mode tanking.  Between raids, i like to re-max my AA count to 220, so I can use many dragon or cataclysm glyphs (a no-merc solo lesson burn in that GMM mission, 'darkness howls' should max you in something like 20 minutes, if you kill everything in a pile)

I notice that you have some hot buttons, which I personally dislike using, how much of that is stylistic vs optimal is it's own debate i won't get into. At a glance, some of those pairings are suspicious to me, though.

I'd start using first spire in place of third spire, you can tie it with visage of decay.

These are 2 burn setup macro's that I use, but you can use them with your defensive discs to increase your survivability as well. You may opt to hit some of these manually as I sometimes do (e.g. carmine blade can be timed as a heal when you take a big spike, tyvl's resolve usually should be saved for a mob with lots of hp etc)

(macro's courtesy of Gimamam)

Spell burn
/alt activate 1450 (first spire)
/alt activate 747 (visage of decay)
/alt activate 2034 (gift of the quick spear)
/pause 3, /useitem Flowing Etheric Soulrender Breastplate
/alt activate 746 (reinforced malaise)

You'll possibly want to run cataclysm too /alt activate 7019

Melee burn
/pause 8, /useitem Innoruuk's Dark Blessing (SK epic)
/pause 2, /alt activate 9403 (Visage of Death)
/alt activate 742 (Tyvl's Resolve)
/pause 2, /disc claret blade rk. iii (you may need to change the rank to i or ii depending on your version of this disc)

It's useful to use the spell burn during reaver's bargain (or after it), as you can keep your mana up a bit better when your bite of chaos AA is boosted by it (be sure to be hitting that!). You also want to be using thought leech during the spell burn, to increase the chance of it getting a high crit. A Thought leech crit can fix most of the mana/endurance penalty that you take from using reaver's bargain.

Harm touch does more damage when boosted by things such as ranger third spire, sk first spire, glyph of the cataclysm and your luck stat.  At least on raids, or when it counts, i make sure to have these running whenever I use harm touch.

One trick that i find helpful, is to use repel not always on cooldown (as nice as synergy is for everybody), but as a timed button right AFTER an hp spike.  The reason for this, is that the healers see you on extended target window, that u have taken a hit, and it takes some time for them to 1) realise, 2) target u and 3) heal u.  If you were to run in and hit repel first, you might not take any or much damage and so not recieve any attention from healers until that next spike instead.

The more ac/hp you can get from gear/trophy/augs/tribute/buffs/potions, the stronger you will become.

A balance of Hdex/Hagi/Hsta is perfectly fine.

Wurmslayer is optimal when no mitigation disc is running, the rune proc weapon is better when discs are running. I put a rune proc aug (best one is from tds iirc) in the rune proc weapon.

How many mobs are feasible each pull is an educated guess based on what discs you have available, what healers you have (a good cleric makes a massive difference) and the dps/utility of the group. Sometimes i ask my group members if dps or heal burns are up, to aid in my decision on how many mobs i will bring in for the next pull.

UI/control method doesn't have to be pretty, it has to be practical in empowering your ability to both see what's important & react quickly. In the case of SK, in particular, you want extended target, target's target positioned/large enough to always be in the corner of your eye. I can keep good watch of my hp bar by having target's target close-ish to the center of the screen. A Multibind (not a macro), is useful for fast lifetapping, we have a lot to focus on sometimes, and it can be handy to have a button to press to spam cast lifetaps when you are thinking/multitasking.

If you are doing all of these things, then you're likely covering the main bits, survivability-wise. There are many more nuances to SK tanking, and SK overall, and you can mix and match a lot of these things differently, this is just how I do it.


I like to load 3 terrors for most kiting situations.  They're great because they're instant cast, can proc a heal and defensive buff, so they are good to spam even when the extra aggro is not needed.  If a swarm of adds descend upon your raid, then obviously single targeting each add is going to be finicky and time consuming.  In that scenario, you want to run into melee range of the disaster and hit your AA AE abilities and spells from the revile line.  You can go in and shield flash/deflect to pile these things on.  You should also swap in your no damage primary weapon so you don't riposte, causing the mobs to start summoning.  Once you've got off your ae's, or right as deflect is going to drop, you can run off and start kiting.   At this point i'll keep changing targets to the various mobs and casting terror spells as i kite (and the AA instant cast aggro abilities every time they're up).  Pay attention to what % second on aggro is on all of these mobs as some might require more terror casts than others. 

Movement speed buffs can help a great deal kiting, be sure to have one on you (and get a recast if you die and are back up from rez).  Dichotomic and bond are great spells to have loaded when on kite duty as well.  If the adds that you're kiting summon, then you obviously can't be casting these spells on them, but even in that case, there's usually a boss around for you to cast these on.  Dichotomic being the emergency heal, and bond being something to keep on as many mobs as you can for a big heal every 6 seconds. 

Hate step is another useful ability for kiting, SK hatestep can send you further than any other leap ability that i'm aware of, it's a good ability to get used to using, not just for kite scenario's, but for moving around in general.  One thing to be wary of, is that hate step is SO good, that it can teleport you out of range of the mobs that you are kiting, so it is often a bad idea in large open spaces when kiting, unless you can intentionally hate step into a tree/dip in the terrain. 

If you're able to damage the mobs, then you can load up the instant-cast dots, in particular, our snare dot can be nifty in certain situations.  If you are snared while kiting (or rooted, or chain summoned)  a well timed hate step right after the summon can allow you to survive where you otherwise wouldn't.  If you know that you're going to be snared alot while kiting, you might want to click off levitate.  This is because when snared, you move slower when moving forwards.  You can jump forwards to gain a little bit of speed, you can also strafe, which is faster than moving forwards.  If your levitate is not on, you can also use the Steamsuit jetpack clicky to escape a death.

Your ability to look around and move is going to play a large factor in how good of a kiter you are.  I like to use WASD and i mousewheel in and out of first/third person.


DPS and pulling tricks, or advanced techniques could have their own thread or writeup, but I'm too uninterested/impatient to devote time toward write ups. 
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 03:36:05 AM by Drogba »


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Re: How to SK
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2018, 07:22:06 PM »
Thanks for posting this current expansion (RoS), SK guide, Drogba!  It's very thorough.

I sticky'd this topic, to help it stand out.  But I also left some of the others, as they may still contain relevant information (let me know which; if any, doesn't and I can un-sticky them accordingly, thanks!).

As I mentioned in other threads, it'd be ideal if others from Team SK could reply with their feedback/thoughts in this area.  As much as we push DPS performance, Aggro/Tanking are a top priority.

Later! :)


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Re: How to SK
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2019, 08:36:05 AM »
I see mention of Mindless Hatred AA in Drogba's notes, but I can't find that AA now. Was it changed or just deleted?


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Re: How to SK
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2019, 10:33:08 AM »
It was removed in a patch, they reduced the re-use time of Undivided Acrimony in the same patch, perhaps as some kind of consolation.


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Re: How to SK
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2019, 10:48:20 AM »
Made some minor edits:

-removed mindless hatred
-moved cataclysm glyph to the spell burn
-added some notes regarding maximizing Harm Touch damage.


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Re: How to SK
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2019, 10:33:50 PM »
Just did search, didn't see you mention Dragon glyph. Think it should be definitely listed for tanks. 5 minutes is a long duration even though it does cost 40 AAs per.


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Re: How to SK
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2019, 03:30:23 AM »
thanks, i'll add that.  best disc in the game since they boosted it