SWTOR: Soa Nightmare Mode Tips

Let's bring this puppy down.

Alright, so it’s come to my attention that a lot of people are struggling with Soa. Well, if you haven’t read my guide to Soa yet, please make sure you check it out, as it addresses the basic mechanics of the encounter and how to take him down. However, there’s more to this encounter than simply reading a guide – it’s understanding the mechanics and coordinating as a team. Having a strong raid leader will make this fight MUCH more manageable. Let’s dive into some of the issues most groups come across with each phase during Nightmare Mode attempts. For the sake of consistency, I’ll be covering the 8-man encounter.

Pro Tip: Run 2x healers and 1x hybrid

Phase 1

This is pretty straight forward and if you’re having issues getting past phase 1, you should not be attempting Hard Mode or Nightmare Mode yet – Don’t stand in green crap.

Transition @ 74%

At 74%, Soa will bubble and being the transition phase. This is a good time to practice the key to succeeding with this encounter – stacking. While waiting for platforms to fall, everyone stack up for AOE heals. It might seem trivial, but you’d be surprised – get people into the stacking mindset earlier than later.

Phase 2

This is the first phase that most people have issues with and the culprit is the notorious lightning ball. If I can make one recommendation, it’s that only one person should be talking in voice chat during this phase – the raid leader. He should be calling out which people are targeted and where they should go and if a healer gets tossed in the air.

Stacking is good for the soul

When you hit the floor after the transition phase, everyone should be stacking on the bottom of the center circle. The group should be stacked here the entire phase, with the exception of people handling their lightning balls.

<– Get out when targeted –>

When lightning ball targets are announced, top person announced goes left, bottom person announced goes right. Use target of target to figure out which ball is targeting you, and blow it up immediately – obviously ensuring no one is around you. Use common sense in that you do not want to drag the ball over the top of center circle, as this is where people thrown in the air land. Drag the ball over it, and you will potentially kill the tossed person as they land – Bad.

Handle those balls well, my friend

When blowing up your lightning ball, keep your distance until you’re ready to commit. Once committed, run straight through the ball. Once you confirm the ball has blown up, immediately run back to the group and stack. If you drop below 50% health, use a medpac. There’s a chance you’ll be thrown in the air and you cannot be healed while up there, which means death.

Mindtraps & You

You do not want to fall behind on mind traps and this encounter, like many, is not very melee-friendly. It’s important to handle the mind traps quickly; However, melee should be a bit more patient. Melee should be waiting until the confirm where the lightning balls are spawning, prior to attacking the mind trap. I have seen melee quickly leap to the mind trap and having a lightning ball spawn next to them. That = dead melee. Play smart, be patient, and you’ll be good to go.

Transition @ 29%

This is a deal breaker for a lot of groups. The boss transitions at 29%. Timing the transition into Phase 3 is absolutely one of the most important tasks for this encounter. What’s the key to having a successful transition? Wait until the person thrown in the air lands before you push him – Ignore mind traps. If you can time it correctly, which is not very difficult after a bit of practice, you won’t have to deal with any phasing bugs or anything of that nature. One issue you may run into is lightning balls that have already spawned before the transition – sometimes they despawn, sometimes they jump up and get you. Just keep an eye on them and make sure the person targeted jumps down first. Nine times out of ten, everyone will go smoothly.

Phase 3

This is the “race to the finish.” After four pylons drop, Soa will enrage. This honestly doesn’t mean much, as it’s a soft enrage and can be healed through – utilize kiting where possible, even if the tanks die.

Remember, stacking is your friend

Coming back to the core strategy to this encounter, stay grouped up in the center of the room. The closer you stack, the more room players have to handle lightning balls. So long as the boss is up in the air and there are no mind traps up, everyone should be stacking in the center.

Know your priorities

Follow the following priority list when DPS’ing Soa during the burn phases:

  1. Burn the boss – Pretty self-explanatory. The burn phase means blow all cooldowns and kill that S.O.B. Forget about mind traps, be aware of lightning balls, and nuke him. Once done, re-stack int he middle.
  2. Handle your lightning ball – don’t go out of your way to blow up the lightning ball if there is no need to. If there is a clear path between you and lightning ball, with no one near you, let the ball come to you and continue DPS’ing Soa. When it gets close, blow it up, then immediately get back on Soa. Melee can do the same, by simply jumping out when it’s getting closer, then getting back on Soa – Ranged just be aware of your surroundings.
  3. Mind Traps – If the boss is not vulnerable, you should be on a mind trap. If the boss is vulnerable, ignore the mind trap.


If you know your lightning ball is going to be coming directly through the ranged – call it out. Communication will ensure everyone is on the same page and minimize silly mistakes. Another situation you will want to call out is when the tank gets mind trapped. At this point, the off-tank should immediately pick up the boss and get him positioned. I’ve seen quite a few pylon opportunities missed because the tank was mind trapped and the off-tank was not positioned correctly. Play smart, be vocal and you’ll get this encounter down sooner than later.



Accomp is a Gamer, UX Engineer, and Writer. He’s a PC MMO enthusiast, console gamer, and mobile geek. Whether it’s hardcore raid leading, competitive FPS gameplay, or discovering indie games, he’s got the experience. Join his Discord and follow him on Twitter, Twitch, or YouTube!

6 Responses

  1. Healbot says:

    You don’t really go into much detail about the Pylons.

    This always seems to be an issue for people.

  2. wesleycrushers says:

    What hp level do you require to be at? I have a friend that runs with a guild that downs this weekly and he said that the lightning balls hit for 15-17k when handeled correctly. He said he worries when people go to NMM with less than 18.5k health.

    Do you recommend people try and put guard on the lightning ball targets? Force shield?

  3. Accomp Accomp says:

    @Healbot – Unfortunately, the pylons really just take practice for the tank. Camera angle is an issue that will vary per player and Soa can sometimes be a bit finicky as to his pathing. The tank just needs to devote 100% of his attention to moving the boss immediately and blowing his cd if he thinks he’ll be hit by the pylon, which happens sometimes to ensure Soa is struck.

    @Wesleycrushers – Lightning balls in Nightmare mode, when handled correctly, should hit for about 14k without any defensive cooldowns. You will see two damage hits when done correctly – a single tick and the explosion. I 100% recommend always have some form of a defensive cooldown. Whether it is a self-damage reduction spell or a Sage bubble, you should ALWAYS try to have some form of defensive buff up when blowing up a lightning ball. If by some chance you don’t have a cooldown up and a Sage can’t reach you (should never happen), have a medpac ready to pop immediately after blowing it and make sure you are topped off before blowing it up. As long as you are over 17k health, you should be fine.

  4. Maul says:

    Assassins/Shadows can use force shroud on the lightning balls and resist 100% of the damage. The pylons can be tricky because they come in from above but if you have max zoom you should be able to see them. Keep trying until its on farm.GL HF!

  5. Accomp Accomp says:

    @Maul – Yep, good call. Any form of defensive cooldowns you can blow to minimize damage is a plus. And the key to this (every) fight is raid awareness. It’s pretty difficult to be aware when you can’t see everything, so max camera zoom is absolutely a necessity.

  6. Zidjian says:

    If you are trying save time on this operation remember to have a player that has stealth to sneak past the trash mobs after the 1st boss is defeated. Have them sneak all the way to Gharj’s cavern. This will make the speeder appear and save your group some time very useful for getting the Infernal title.

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