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re: Carnage Marauder PvE Guide



Carnage Marauder is a high-utility DPS class/spec that excels at burst and target-switching; it is unbeatable in fights with repeated downtime (such as Operator IX in Terror from Beyond) thanks to its incredibly low ramp-up time.  It has competitive sustained damage as well, currently just behind Annihilation, and very good survivability for a melee class.  Thanks to Bloodthirst, a Marauder is a required member of every raid group.

Skill Tree and Stats/Gearing

Skill tree:

Note that on fights without much multiple-target potential (think Nefra from Dread Fortress) you should optimally spec into Cloak of Carnage (bottom left of the Carnage tree) instead of Decimate (bottom middle of the Rage tree).  I generally stay with the standard spec though, since it is quite a small boost.

For optimal gear, click the "Wishlist" tab here:

Basically, you need 2 pieces (ear/implant) with Accuracy or 2 Initiative enhancements (or 1 of each, of course) and the Challenger/Weaponmaster set bonus.  I prefer using Implants to get my Accuracy since the comm versions (currently Oriconian) are quite good.  After that, stack Power/Surge (e.g., Adept enhancements).  You want all Might hilts/armorings/augments and Deft mods.  You could go with Overkill (Power) augments, since the difference is tiny, but they are generally more expensive.  Also, having a piece or two with Crit won't hurt you but do not exceed 250 Crit Rating.  Carnage's most important crit is on Force Scream, and it is guaranteed already unless you are doing something horribly wrong.  Marauders do not benefit from Alacrity over Surge since we do not have a resource pool; we have to manually build our resources, so do not use any Alacrity ever.


Rage Builders

1. Battering Assault

Your most powerful builder, which should be used more or less on cooldown.

2. Force Charge

Use to open a fight, and when switching targets outside 10 meters.

3. Assault

Your basic builder-filler; no cooldown.

4. Vicious Throw

When Slaughter procs (and not otherwise!), this move is free and refunds 1 Rage.  See 3 under High Damage Abilities for more detail.

High Damage Abilities

1. Ravage

Your highest damage ability and (generally) your only channeled ability.  Only use this with Gore.

2. Force Scream

Your highest instant damage ability.  Again, only use this with Gore.

3. Vicious Throw

This is a very high instant damage ability that is available as a finisher (when your target has 30% health or less).  In addition, Ataru Form hits (see 5 under Damage Buffs) can proc Slaughter, which finishes the cooldown on this move and makes it available for use above 30%.  Use with Gore when possible, and generally on cooldown/proc.

4. Massacre

Your basic spender-filler; no cooldown.  You need to use this at minimum every 4th GCD; see 5 under Damage Buffs for more detail.

5. Dual Saber Throw

This can be used in place of other filler when you don't need to refresh Massacre or to build Rage.  When there is multiple-target potential, you should make sure you have it available then.

6. Smash (2+ targets only)

This move isn't quite powerful enough to use over Massacre as a basic spender with a single target, but it is an excellent AoE ability.

7. Sweeping Slash (3+ targets only)

This move is fairly weak, but can hit up to 5 enemies and has no cooldown which makes it very useful for groups of adds.

Damage Buffs

1. Bloodthirst

For use during burn phases; buffs the damage of the entire group and has a 5-minute cooldown and lockout (prevents other Marauders from using it).  For straight damage bosses (think Nefra or Grob'thok in Dread Fortress) you can use this on cooldown; for other fights, you may want to save this for heavy incoming damage phases (see 4 under the Cooldowns section).

2. Berserk

Use immediately (or close to it), since it grants you Alacrity and buffs your damage (with the 4-set); no cooldown, but make sure not to clip it.

3. Gore

Use near-immediately when it procs along with your best high-damage moves: Ravage, Force Scream, Vicious Throw, and Massacre.  (For multiple-target use Dual Saber Throw, Smash, and Sweeping Slash instead.)

4. Ataru Form

Set it and forget it!  This stance is the only one you want to be using for Carnage.

5. Massacre

Unsurprisingly, this buff is provided by Massacre.  It gives all your attacks the chance to trigger an extra Ataru Form hit, which will end up being a large component of your overall damage.  It is OK to clip this buff and refresh it early.

6. Cloak of Pain

This is a cooldown and should be prioritized as such (see 1 under Cooldowns), but also deals some damage to anyone who attacks you.


1. Cloak of Pain

Reduces damage taken by 20% for 30 seconds.  The cooldown is only 1 minute, so this should be used liberally.

2. Saber Ward

A very powerful CD that should be used when predictable heavy damage is about to come your way (and you cannot avoid it), or when your healers are having a rough time and Cloak of Pain is on cooldown.

3. Undying Rage

Use this when you are about to die, or when you want to guarantee you'll live to finish that last 1% on the boss.  It gives 99% damage reduction but takes half your health when it ends, meaning that it does more harm than good when you have a lot of HP remaining.

4. Bloodthirst

This provides a 15% boost to all healers in your group, meaning that it acts as a cooldown for everyone receiving heals.

5. Predation

This provides 10% defense to the raid, which is fairly minor and will rarely be useful.  See 1 under the Utility section for its primary use.


1. Predation

This move provides a 50% movement boost.  Generally this is used to escape large AoEs, such as the Kephess move Gift of the Masters in the final fight of Explosive Conflict.

2. Force Choke

Rarely, you can use this on high-damage adds to stun them and eliminate their output while other DPS finish them off.  Also useful to stun trash, such as the Interrogators in Dread Palace.  Very rarely, you can use this as a Rage builder when you are too far away to use (Battering) Assault and cannot use Force Charge; and example of this would be on Dread Master Tyrans in Dread Palace, if you are cut off from the boss by platform gaps or by Infernos.

3. Obfuscate

This reduces the accuracy of the target by 90%, but is not usable on bosses.  As with Force Choke, you use this to mitigate the damage of adds/trash.  The Guardians in Dread Palace are a good example of where to use this ability, since it basically prevents their Saber Reflect from reflecting any damage back to the raid.

4. Force Camouflage

This is your threat drop and, unlike other classes' threat drops, it ONLY works when you have threat.  You cannot use it pre-emptively to prevent pulling aggro.  However, it also functions as an out-of-combat stealth which can allow you to sneak past some trash if you're quick enough.

5. Disable Droid

This is your CC, only usable on droids.  Itcan be used in-combat (and brings you into combat if you use it while out of combat).

6. Unleash

Your CC breaker, which you can save for times when you might be stunned/slowed in an AoE or for longer stuns that will interfere with your DPS.

7. Disruption

Your interrupt.  Marauders and Sentinels have the shortest interrupt in the game (particularly if spec'd into Annihilation) which means that you will often be the primary on interrupts.  You should practice using this until it is a reflex.

8. Deadly Throw

Similar to Force Choke, use this only when you are outside 5 meters and cannot close.

9. Frenzy

Instantly grants you the ability to use Berserk or Predation, as well as Bloodthirst if it is off cooldown.  Most often you will use this immediately after triggering Berserk in order to also trigger Bloodthirst, providing you with insane burst (use an Adrenal too!).

Do Not Use

1. Vicious Slash

Annihilation's basic spender-filler.  Costs the same as Massacre, but deals less damage (thanks to Massacre's Ataru Form hit) and does not refresh the Massacre buff.

2. Rupture

Some people like to stick this in right before using Gore so that the bleeds benefit from the armor penetration.  However, in my own parses I have found that it ends up being a DPS loss compared to using Massacre instead, and unlike Annihilation it does not heal you.

3. Retaliation

This is expensive and low-damage.  Don't let its off-the-GCD wiles tempt you; you're not a Juggernaut tank.

4. Crippling Slash

There is probably a circumstance where slowing an add would be useful, but I haven't found one yet.  Better to forget about this move and not clutter your mind with it.

5. Intimidating Roar

Potentially useful to stun trash, but not in a raid situation where you need to be killing them.


As with most specs, Carnage does not have an absolute fixed rotation.  Instead you must be reactive to raid situations and your Slaughter proc, as well as sticking together various mini-rotations or patterns.  In Carnage it is very important to plan ahead to avoid running out of Rage or letting your Massacre buff run out.  Always use Massacre as that buff runs out (or before).

Your basic burst is provided by the "Gore Window".  After triggering Gore, your next 3 moves benefit from extra armor penetration (with Ravage taking the time of 2 instant moves, of course) or 4 moves when you have the Alacrity boost from Berserk.  Naturally, your hardest-hitting moves benefit proportionally from this, so it's important to use them during Gore instead of weaker Rage builders.  Again, this means planning ahead so that you have Rage to spend when Gore comes off cooldown.  Note that Gore is off the GCD, so you should hit it a fraction of a second before the move that follows.  These are your typical Gore windows:

Massacre -> Gore -> Ravage -> Force Scream -> Massacre

Gore -> Massacre -> Force Scream -> Massacre

In the second one, you can substitute Vicious Throw for a Massacre if it is available.  Naturally, the order of that one is also flexible, but try to use Force Scream quickly after its cooldown ends.

Advanced: Vicious Throw is interesting in that it hits close to the end of its GCD.  This means that you can use it right before Gore, and it will land inside the Gore window!  This makes your Berserk+Gore windows very interesting, giving you FIVE hits that benefit from it:

Massacre -> Vicious Throw -> Gore -> Ravage -> Force Scream -> Massacre

Massacre -> Vicious Throw -> Gore -> Massacre -> Force Scream -> Massacre -> Massacre

If Vicious Throw is on cooldown or not proc'd before the window, but procs during, it might look more like this:

Massacre -> Gore -> Ravage -> Force Scream -> Vicious Throw -> Massacre

Note that lag might cause that Vicious Throw to land outside the window.  You can swap it around with Force Scream if possible, but that will set back FS's cooldown.  Play it by ear.

Thanks to the Brooding skill, Carnage's opening burst is absolutely ludicrous.  Channel Hatred or a rest & recharge item grants you a full stack (30 charges) of Fury, which you need to use Berserk/Bloodthirst/Predation.  In combination with Frenzy, this lets you open with both Berserk and Bloodthirst!  So with that in mind let's look at a typical opener:

Force Charge -> Battering Assault + Berserk + Frenzy -> Bloodthirst -> Massacre (Gore-> Ravage -> Force Scream -> Vicious Throw -> Massacre

If VT hasn't proc'd, simply use that last Massacre earlier.

After your opener, you basically alternate Massacre and Assault, then use Battering Assault to top up your Rage before the next Gore window.  You want to avoid wasting Rage by using BA when you have more than 5 Rage already, so use an extra Massacre or two instead of an Assault if you need to.  As noted in the High-Damage Abilities section above, you can also throw in Dual Saber Throw instead of an Assault or Massacre if you don't need Rage or don't need to refresh Massacre just yet.  Since DST is Rage-neutral, this also allows you to avoid building/spending when you want to avoid wasting Rage or not having enough build for your Gore window.

And that's single-target Carnage.  Opener, then repeat Gore windows and filler windows ad nauseam; Force Charge if you can when swapping targets to avoid downtime and get free Rage, and use Berserk as it comes up to supercharge your Gore windows.

For 2 or more targets, sub in Smash on cooldown (or close to it).  For 3 or more targets, also add Sweeping Slash when you can; this makes Rage management a lot harder, so make sure you are using extra Assaults so that you can use SS and also keep Massacre up.  Both of these moves, along with Dual Saber Throw, should be use under Gore when possible.

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