Assault Rifle Decks

July 14, 2012 - 2:38 pm 8 Comments

illuminati-diaries ar

Update: version 2 of these decks and more can be found in the next post – just click here!

The last two days in The Secret World have had several tests of patience and no small amount of frustration. While TSW has been a success at launch, there is a whole lot of fine-tuning, polish, and basic bug fixing that needs to be done. With Ragnar’s ambitious State of the Game plan, Funcom has a full plate – and by plate I mean platter buffet to feed an African country. Honestly, I have my doubts on whether Funcom can deliver; they plan to deliver more content, faster than even Trion does with RIFT. If they pull it off, The Secret World will be a strong competitor for years to come.

Now to the important part of the blog today: Assault Rifle builds. Keeping in mind the Mercenary deck, I followed the build up until I started getting into the harder content in Kingsmouth, realizing the build simply wasn’t meant to solo. Any good solo build requires some amount of healing. So I went off the reservation and started building my own decks, with the consideration that I wanted a viable tanking build to swing with if grouping became a problem. Read through the cut for details on my Assault Rifle damage and support builds.

Here’s one thing to remember about the skill system in TSW: no build is perfect for every person. In the end-game, certain builds will start to develop as the cookie-cutters for “top single target dps” or “best aoe on the move” etc., etc. It’s how every MMOG – every game really that has a choice of skills – works. Hopefully Funcom has kept things balanced enough that one single build will not seriously overpower any other. That remains to be seen. For now, these builds will keep you alive when soloing, and keep you pulling agro in dungeons. One thing to note, the passives on all my builds are currently in flux – I’m testing different things still and my current loadouts may not be what I end up with. I will update this post with my findings. Below is a full view of my Assault Rifle deck (as of July 2012).

ar-deck-jul12Click image for enlarged view.

Assault Rifle Deck – AR Soloist

Every good solo build requires some type of healing component. Thankfully, assault rifles have a focus on support healing. This makes investing into healing skills much less painful as you might even end up using some of them in support of your healer in a dungeon. It also means you don’t have to skill up an additional weapon to keep it useful. Here’s my ability loadout:


Actives: Anima Shot, Suppressing Fire, Shot of Anima, Red Mist, Fire at Will, Lock & Load, Three Shot Burst
Passives: Anima Boost, Leaching Frenzy, Accuracy , Anticoagulant, Brawler (Hammers), Eagle Eye, Experience

You’ll notice there is one ability from non-AR trees: Brawler is 1 point in Grit (Hammers). This can be swapped out if you don’t have a crit-heavy gear set.

With this build, your primary focus is on leaching damage for heals. You’ll spam Anima Shot to build points and use Three Round Burst to finish for single targets; on AOE packs you’ll use Suppressing Fire and Fire At Will. Those are your primary rotations. However, when you need a heal, use Shot of Anima. I also open every fight with a Red Mist and fire it again anytime it’s off cooldown and I’m not low on health. Use Lock & Load on cooldown for a quick finisher burst for damage or a heal.

Keep in mind, I’ve built this to remain highly mobile for kiting, so all of these abilities (except for Suppressing Fire and Red Mist) have no cast time, keeping you at full movement speed the entire time. If you need to kite on an AOE pack, I suggest using Anima Shot instead of Suppressing Fire. I also prefer the instant abilities simply because they feel less clunky – this is entirely a play-style choice.

Alternative Option:
If you don’t mind having a cast time, you can use Anima Burst and it’s passive, Improved Burst as your primary point builder.

Assault Rifle Deck – Hip Shooter

This build is my primary dungeon deck, built for big single target dps while adding a little supporting AOE dps. Given that dungeons have thus far seen very little need for AOE dps, I’ve focused this build around big hits that will benefit from high amounts of attack and critical rating. Like my solo build, these are primarily instant abilities to provide maximum mobility and rotation flow. Here’s the ability loadout:


Actives: Hip Fire, Suppressing Fire, Anima Vessel, Red Mist, Fire at Will, Lock & Load, Three Round Burst
Passives: Steady Hip Fire, Call Your Shots, Eagle Eye, Explosives Expert, Lethality, Accuracy, Brawler (Hammers)

You’ll notice there is one ability from non-AR trees: Brawler is 1 point in Grit (Hammers). This can be swapped out if you don’t have a crit-heavy gear set.

The rotation for this build is simple: Hip Fire is the point builder, Three Round Burst is the finisher. Use Suppressive Fire and Fire at Will for AOE damage. Open fights with Red Mist and use it again whenever it is available. Lock & Load on cooldown, fire two rounds, hit the finisher. Use Anima Vessel anytime the healer needs a little help – this ability is a reverse damage shield, providing healing to anyone who hits the target. Passives mostly focus on increasing the damage of your shots.

This build is all-go-no-stop single target damage; the AOE abilities are just fill ins really. When focus fire and movement are your primary concerns, this is the deck you want to load.

Alternative Option:
If you don’t mind having a cast time, you can use Safety Off and its passive, Extra Bullet as your primary point builder. Also, you might consider swapping in Improved Bursts in place of Accuracy or Brawler as it will amp up both Safety Off and Three Round Burst.

Assault Rifle Deck – AR Support

When my group needs a little extra healing power, I like to switch to my AR Support deck. This build has a very slightly lower dps potential as Anima Shot hits a little softer than other point builders and it loses the Brawler passive, however it brings a fair amount of healing to help stand up the tank. Here is the loadout:


Actives: Anima Shot, Suppressive Fire, Anima Vessel, Red Mist, Fire at Will, Lock & Load, Three Round Burst
Passives: Anima Boost, Call Your Shots, Eagle Eye, Explosives Expert, Lethality, Accuracy, Anticoagulant

The rotation for this is the same as the AR Soloist: Anima Shot to build points, Three Round Burst to finish. Use Anima Vessel every 10 seconds to provide additional healing support. Use your other abilities as the situation requires. Don’t forget to keep Red Mist and Lock & Load on cooldown.

There are plenty of alternatives to this deck. If your group really needs help, you can load up Anima Burst and Improved Burst for slower but heartier heals. You can also bring in Shot of Anima for a finisher heal. Going beyond this, however, you might as well build a full healing deck and switch to +heal gear. I have not played around with a healing build as yet, but in the future I may throw out a deck or two for review.

Looking Forward

There you have my three primary assault rifle decks. They’ve changed significantly over the last few days – Egypt has provided a ton of ability points to play with (literally – I went from 67 to 117 abilities since entering Egypt). I’m sure these decks will change some and new ones will develop. As they do, I will post here about significant upgrades. That said, these decks are solid and will go a long way to smashing enemies and completing missions. Rest assured that should you choose to utilize any of them, you will not be disappointed.

Comments… Questions…

What AR builds are you running with? What is your preferred stat weights? Are you synergizing any other “class” abilities into your AR deck? Drop a comment below and share the knowledge!

8 Responses to “Assault Rifle Decks”

  1. Odoxia Says:

    Thank you so much for this. I’ve been despairing about my choice of assault rifle the last couple of days. Now I feel much better and can’t wait to try each of those. I’ll let you know how it works!


    aalwein Reply:

    Sure thing! Let me know how things go. I spent a whole bunch of points in non-AR trees to bulk up the DPS so I’ll have some more options in another post sometime this week.


  2. Phoenix-Risen Says:

    You shouldn’t be despairing about chosing Assault Rifle! I use AR as my primary with either pistol or blood for support. For the most part with a 4 part combo I can out DPS the elementalist sometimes with QL10 blues. And I still have 2 slots for the assist heals.

    I am very interested to try swaping in the anima vessel that you use in order to suppliment healing. I think that’s a great pairing.

    If you are interested in my dungeon load, you can see it here at,254,260,37,41,252,248,267,34,255,253,257,259,102,276



    aalwein Reply:

    Anima Vessel provides a little dose of healing to counter any sort of area damage the enemies may be causing. It doesn’t do a lot – it certainly isn’t going to keep people up who stand in stupid – but every little bit helps the healer out. Synergizing with an actual heal from AR or Blood is also a good option if you find Anima Vessel isn’t helping enough – just remember you’ll lose a small amount of dps.

    Your Dark Potency is a match to the Sudden Reform from Blades, although it requires a lower investment of points. I’m going to be using it today to test out a penetration-focused deck to see how the dps goes.


  3. Phoenix-Risen Says:

    Basically – my deck is called “Big Badda Boom”

    The concept is that you are trying to trigger as many additional damage effects on the mob as possible, and in this deck that takes the form of Sticky bombs and Affliction.

    Normally I am spamming Hip fire and alternating some fire in the hole for basic damage. about ever 5 Hip Fires I stick a Anima Shot in there to reaffix the Anticoagulant affliction. (also use Anima Shot when supplimental healing or if it is outside the 10M range to resource build and stick fire in the hole)

    That Affliction causes Dark Potency to trigger giving me +150 penetration – which gets me to soft cap in penetration.

    Lethality and eagle eye are providing 20% extra AR damage.

    Then I use Lucky Bullet and Tactical retreat to pop hinderance (and there by trigger demolition man separate charge)

    I have stacked a bunch of crit rating/hit/crit power on my tailismans so I’m penetrating about 1/3 of the time, I’m critting about 1/3rd of the time.

    Normal hits at 2100 AR

    anima shot – 250 (crit up to 450)
    Hip fire – 380 -500 (Crit or penetration up to 650 – Crit and Penetration up to 800)
    Fire in the hole – 650ish (Crit or penetration 1200 – Crit and penetration up to 1900)
    Red Mist – 1900 (crit or penetration – 2500- 3500 – Crit and penetration up to 5084)
    Plus minor sticky explosives for 300
    Plus demolition man explosives for up to 1200
    plus anticoagulant DoT – up to 160 / tick

    It adds up to a ton of damage. And I still have supplimental heals for self or 2ndary target.

    and if you want to deal some group damage, you can suppliment Shellshocker in for red mist. All of the same effects work as above, except now Shell shocker is channeling a column attack and triggering hinderance every 30 seconds as well.

    I can take some of the legion minions in Egypt by surpressing fire the group as they charge and then shell shocker to mow them down. QL10 greens for the having.

    Enjoy – it’s a very feasible build. Any suggestions! happy to tweak

    I’m also in game as Phoenix-Risen


    aalwein Reply:

    Same concept – I’m trying to attach extra damage to every shot through exploiting Affliction. You could get rid of Anticoagulant and use Bloodsport (Fists) – this would allow you to drop Anima Shot altogether and have 100% uptime on afflictions through Bloodsport (every hit causes affliction).

    I don’t like Hindered-reliant effects because you can’t keep Hindered up 100%, especially on bosses.

    I’d be interested: try dropping Demonlition, Man for Salt in the Wound, and replace Lucky Bullet with Molecular Exploitation (Elementalism), Twist the Knife (Blades), or Sudden Return (Blades) and see how your dps goes. This would shift your exploitation of Hinder completely to Affliction and take advantage of your Penetration focus.


  4. Silverhand Says:

    Hi there! :)

    First of all, thank you very much for your work and the great input, I really am having quite some fun exploring your AR-Soloist Deck. :-)

    I’m wondering what stats I should focus on with the AR-Solo Deck. Right now I’m running with a Puritan*, Hunter*,Wu*, Pandemonist(barely finished)-Deck. But, I’m kinda lazy so I have only one set of Equipment ready (DD-focused). ;)

    Any hint regarding the stats for the lazy powergrinder? :-)

    Best regards,


    aalwein Reply:

    I’ve actually used my regular DPS gear, which I’ve tried to focus on Penetration and Hit (at least one or the other, worst case). The only piece I swap to is my helmet which has 1500 hp just for survivability, whereas my DPS helm is attack rating heavy.

    For heavy hitting mobs, you could consider putting one or two pieces of healing gear on, but 99% of the time, you shouldn’t need it with the AR Soloist deck.

    In general, I do believe that penetration and hit are the go-to stats most players are focusing on for raw DPS.


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