Beginner-friendly guide to the Vandin Huttball PvP Map in SWTOR, also known as The Sky Shredder map. Details the rules of Huttball, the Vandin Map layout and its secrets, class-specific and general recommendations, tips and strategies!
This guide is written for VULKK.com by Siow
and is up-to-date for Patch 7.1.1a
Table of contents
Huttball is a both famous and infamous game known throughout the galaxy for its brutality. This sport requires that two opposing teams, the Frog Dogs and the Rotworms, compete to bring the Huttball to the enemy’s goal line to score a point.
In theory, this sounds simple, until you consider the fact that the contestants are armed and encouraged to butch one another in an attempt to gain the Huttball from the enemy team. The announcer, Baron Deathmark, will provide commentary at the expense of players who come to unfortunate ends. But that’s all part of the fun!
Huttball in Star Wars: The Old Republic is a rather intense PvP mode that requires the most team cooperation out of all the PvP scenarios as there’s more to this than just taking down your opponents.
While defeating your opponents is encouraged, you must be able to defend your team, provide support, and most importantly of all score a point! In this guide, we’ll be looking over the rules of Huttball followed by the map layout of Vandin’s Huttball arena known as “The Sky Shredder”.
Afterward, we’ll go over points of interest found on the map then strategies your team can use! Now put on your helmet, arm your blasters, tune your lightsabers and prepare yourself for some Huttball!
The Rules of Huttball
The best way to think of Huttball is to think of it as space rugby where you’re allowed to shoot or stab the opposing team.
The teams race to the center of the map at the start of a match or after one of the teams scores in an attempt to obtain the Huttball first.
From there, the person carrying the Huttball must work with their team to bring the ball to the enemy’s goal line all while avoiding live blaster fire, traps, and humiliation a la Baron Deathmark.
Everything else is free for all as to what the players do, though teamwork will always lead to faster and more successful games! The game will last up to 10 minutes or until one of the teams scores 7 points.
Here are some things to know about holding the Huttbal.
Huttball Handler Changes Color
The ball handler will be glowing with their team’s color and will have a large, luminous beacon emanating from them that can be seen all across the map. This color will change depending on the team the handler is on (purple for Rotworms and gold for Frog Dogs).
Huttball Handler Reduced Movement Speed
Holding the Huttball reduces the movement speed of the person carrying it.
The Huttball Can Explode
The ball handler has 45 seconds to either get the Huttball to the goal line or pass it, otherwise it blows up and kills them.
Huttball Handler Cannot Stealth
Entering stealth removes the Huttball from the handler and resets it at its spawn point.
Huttball Handler Cannot Teleport
If the Huttball handler has access to the Phasewalk, Hideout, or Hololocate abilities, it’s easy to think that they can ignore traps by teleporting to their node. However, if you do this while holding the ball, the ball will reset and reappear at its spawn point. You’re going to have to carry or pass it the old-fashioned way.
Show Respect to Giradda the Hutt
You are not allowed to kick the Huttball in order to show respect to Giradda the Hutt, the primary sponsor of Huttball. Hutts don’t have feet and can’t kick, therefore no kicking in Huttball. Though there’s a fun trick to do just that later on in this guide.
Throw the Ball Mechanic explained
When you hold the Huttball, your Temporary Ability Quickbar will appear displaying a temporary ability, “Throw the Huttball”. This ability will allow you to click a point on the ground to throw the Huttball.
The “Throw the Huttball” ability appears when you have the Huttball.
When you throw the Huttball, it will be thrown to the target closest to the center of the area. This can cause it to end up in the enemy team’s hands if not targeted well. If no one is around to catch the ball, the ball respawns at the center of the map.
The “Throw the Huttball” ability when being aimed.
You can bind a key to the Temporary Ability Quickbar under Preferences > Key Bindings > Quickbar. The Temporary Ability Bar key bindings will be found at the very bottom of the page. Set Temporary Quickbar – Slot 1 to your desired preference so you can easily throw the Huttball without having to click the ability bar.
You may purchase a toy in the Cartel Market for 125 Cartel Coins or less if there’s a sale. When you use this, you’ll gain a 15-minute buff that persists through death that’ll let you kick the Huttball when passing it instead of the typical throwing animation. It’ll provoke a remark from Baron Deathmark so it’s quite amusing to use.
There are no actual penalties to kicking the Huttball as, despite this being cheating, cheating is encouraged in Huttball! So if you get this item, kick freely as payback to the Hutts for putting us through Huttball!
Vandin Huttball Map Layout
The Sky Shredder is very similar to The Pit on Nar Shaddaa in terms of the layout only this time the terrain is more treacherous, walls block some Pit maneuvers, and there are a lot more and brand new traps!
We got some shock traps and some poison gas traps along with Gravity Grapples you can interact with!
Touching this instantly restores a large chunk of your health.
This is a buff that increases damage done, healing done and reduces damage taken vs players by 15% for a short time.
Movement Speed Buff
This increases your running speed for a short duration.
This is a fan on the floor that’ll give you a jump boost and they are found north and south of the Huttball spawn location at the center of the map. While they can launch you to a higher piece of terrain, it can also launch you back into ground level so be mindful of that when using them. They can also be found at the team’s spawn zone so they can propel themselves right into the chaos!
Found within the pits and at the spawn zones, you can use these to propel yourself up to the walkways above the pit.
These shock traps won’t necessarily drop you as their damage is quite low. Though the danger with these is that if you get caught in one you’ll basically be stunned for the duration the trap is active. To make matters worse, it won’t fill your resolve bar so you’ll be susceptible to stun locks from enemy players. If you get caught in this, you’re a sitting space duck.
Poison Gas Trap
These act like fire traps though instead of fire, it’s a poisonous gas that will drop you in a couple seconds. Stay away from these if they’re about to activate or are already active (though that goes without saying).
Points of Interest on the Vandin Map
This section of the guide details some of the unique segments of the map that you may hear being referenced by other players and would be a good thing to know them before you venture ahead and join the game.
High Traffic Zone
This is where you’ll often see a lot of movement, typically of incoming enemies or allies. You’ll want your eyes on these areas as this is where enemies will be going to or coming from.
I’m not sure if this is the Huttball standard layout or if the Hutts were running out of ideas, but this map also has a pit. Found on both sides of the map below the walkways, this is the last place you want to get caught up in as a large portion of combat happens here.
Since it’s easy to get pushed off the walkways, you’re ending up here one way or another so get used to it. Fortunately you have access to gravity grapples to get you back up.
The pools of acid are an environmental hazard found near the Huttball spawn. Getting caught in these will greatly reduce your movement speed and damage you over time.
While it’s not significant damage, staying in here for too long will kill you so get out of it as soon as you can. Better yet, shove your enemies inside of here! Fortunately these pools are more forgiving than the ones in The Pit as there’s a pathway in the middle that breaks them up. Though the greater surface area of each pool will mean they can take longer to get out of.
The North and South Ledges offer Buffs
The map’s only Buffs and Healing Nodes are found on some ledges on the north and south sides of the map. Be careful so as to make sure you weren’t followed here as you’re one push away from being chucked off into the lava flows below.
Teleport node location suggestions
If you have an ability such as Phasewalk, Hideout, or Hololocate, a good point to place is at the orange markers found in the map below.
There’s no real good way to avoid the chaos due to the very open layout of this map. Place your teleportation node on the high ground where you can keep your distance. Alternatively, keep it near the buffs so you have something to teleport back to if you get pushed off the ledge while trying to get a buff.
Giradda the Hutt and Baron Deathmark
At the south part of the map near the buffs, you’ll find Giradda the Hutt and Baron Deathmark spectating the game!
Role-Specific Tips and Strategies
Now that we’ve gone over the map layout, buffs, hazards, and the like, let’s put that knowledge into action by utilizing strategies you can use to win Huttball!
First thing’s first though, we’ll need to look at some of the best combat styles for carrying the Huttball. Time and time again, the best Huttball handlers have been shown to be the Scoundrel/Operative, Vanguard/Powertech, and the Guardian/Juggernaut.
While anyone can carry the Huttball, each of these combat styles utilize abilities that allow them to excel at Hutball where many will find themselves at a disadvantage.
Scoundrels and Operatives
By far the best Huttball handlers out of all the combat styles, the Scoundrel/Operative can utilize their rolls to get past hazards easily while their ability to shield, dodge, and heal themselves help keep them alive in all but the stickiest situations.
Should anyone get in their way, they can utilize their stuns, roots, and flash grenades to mesmerize a target or blink to an ally or enemy within 30 meters. The only thing more slippery than a Huttball is a competent Scoundrel/Operative.
Scamper/Exfiltrate is one of the best tools that the Scoundrel/Operative has for use in Huttball. With this 12 meter roll, they can roll through an active trap and only take a small portion of damage.
They can actually survive two of these rolls through traps which is often the amount between the start of the walkway to the goal line. While they’ll be down to a third of their health if they roll through two traps, they can patch themselves up with their self heals and mitigate damage with their personal shield and dodge abilities.
Being able to leave a dangerous pit between themselves and their enemies is why Scoundrels/Operatives have outshone every other class in Huttball.
Trick Move/Holotraverse will allow the Scoundrel/Operative to blink to a friendly or enemy target within 30 meters while providing a 75% movement speed boost for 3 seconds. With this ability, allies and enemies should be aware of their positioning as it can provide the Scoundrel/Operative a great advantage to get across the map and to the goal line.
Flash Grenade/Flash Bang is a simple yet effective tool to keep the gangs of enemies that pile up on the Huttball handler. This will mesmerize up to 7 enemies in a short range for 8 seconds. This breaks upon damage and will fill up the opponent’s Resolve Bar significantly so it must be used wisely. If you see an allied Scoundrel/Operative use this, be mindful to not blindly attack affected targets of this ability so they cannot move.
Vanguards and Powertechs
Vanguards/Powertechs offer a great balance between independence and team utility. Their armor is very tough to get through, they have a great self heal, they can stun enemies in an area, and they can ignore pulls and pushes from enemies with their Hold the Line/Hydraulic Override abilities.
If they’re using the Shield Specialist/Shield Tech specs (the Tank specs), they’re even better at their job as they gain access to useful abilities from their level 27 ability tree choice.
The Impact Charge/Rising Phoenix ability is a simple charge that allows the Vanguard/Powertech to jump to a target between 10-30 meters away. With this, the Vanguard/Powertech can ignore terrain to jump to an enemy to get past traps or to careless players standing next to their goal line.
The Transpose/Translocate ability allows the Vanguard/Powertech to swap places with an allied team member within 5-30 meters. After channeling the ability for 1.5 seconds, their positions are swapped with the target being immune to leaps, pulls, ability pushback, and interrupts for 6 seconds. This can offer clutch plays if the Vanguard/Powertech is transporting the ball handler past the traps and close to the enemy goal line.
The Harpoon/Grapple ability typically only pulls enemy targets within a 5-40 meter range. Though at level 27, the Vanguard/Powertech can gain the option to modify it with the Extraction Plan passive. With the Extraction Plan passive, the Vanguard/Powertech can use Harpoon/Grapples on allies as well. If the ball handler is pushed into the pit, an allied Vanguard/Powertech can pull them back up into the walkways so they can continue their progress.
Hold the Line/Hydraulic Overrides allow the Vanguard/Powertech to ignore movement impairing effects, knockdowns, and physics for 10 seconds all while providing a 75% increase to movement speed. Due to all Huttball maps having narrow paths to reach the goal lines, immunity to physics is a valuable asset as they cannot be pushed off into terrain or into nearby traps.
Guardians and Juggernauts
As always, the Guardian/Juggernaut shines in this PvP scenario as they do in every other PvP scenario. Despite their often hulking natures, they’re quite nimble in Huttball due to their charges and can be difficult to take down due to their powerful self heal, temporary hit point ability, and high armor rating.
If the Guardian/Juggernaut Huttball handler is using the Defense/Immortal spec, then they’ll be able survive being ganged up on even more so with their build specific ability, Warding Call/Invincible.
The Guardian and Juggernaut are able to jump to both allies and enemies within a 30 meter range. For the Guardian, these abilities are Force Leap and Guardian Charge. Meanwhile the Juggernaut has Force Charge and Intercede. The former ability can only be used against enemies and has a minimum distance of 10 meters. The latter ability can be used at any range within 30 meters allowing the Guardian/Juggernaut to make tighter jumps. This mobility allows the Guardian/Juggernaut to leap and bound across the traps and quickly cover up to 60 meters in the span of a few seconds.
The Focused Defense/Enraged Defense is the Guardian’s/Juggernaut’s self heal ability. They’ll gain 12 stacks of this ability and whenever they take damage, they’ll receive healing. With this ability, a Guardian/Juggernaut can come back from the brink of death at full health. Do note that taking trap damage will not proc the healing effect of this ability.
Awe/Intimidating Roar allows the Guardian/Juggernaut to mesmerize up to 8 nearby enemies for 6 seconds. This effect can be ended early upon taking damage. Once the effect ends, affected targets deal 15% less melee and ranged damage for 10 seconds. Being able to CC the entire enemy team is nothing to be trifled with. Though the damage debuff wouldn’t provide much use against Force/Tech casters. Still, any moment wasted for the enemy team is a moment one can use to get the Huttball to the goal!
With the Blade Blitz/Mad Dash, the Guardian/Juggernaut will dash forward 20 meters dealing damage and gaining 100% defense chance while dashing. This will break movement impairing effects such as slows and roots affecting the Guardian/Juggernaut. Being able to break from slows and roots is great but being able to dash through active traps is even better. Though with a lengthy cooldown of 35 seconds, one must be wise as to when they use this ability.
Kinetic Combat Shadows and Darkness Assassins
Shadows/Assassins can be just as slippery as Scoundrels/Operatives however they can do one thing they can’t, tank. Kinetic Combat Shadows and Darkness Assassins have a great mixture of potent DCDs, AoE CC, and mobility.
With Force Speed, they can gain 2-3 seconds of 150% movement speed on a 15/20 second cooldown (depending on chosen ability tree passives). They also make excellent bodyguards for other Huttball handlers with their large amount of control they exert over the enemy team.
With Deflection, the Shadow/Assassin gains +50% Defense Chance for 12 seconds. Along with this, they’ll create an AoE around them that reduces the Force/Tech damage done by any enemy within the radius by 15%. Since Force/Tech damage is so prominent in PvP, this can mitigate a lot of damage that can be done not only to them, but to their allies.
If the Shadow/Assassin is using the Sturdiness/Dark Stability passive with the Ballast Point Package, they’ll be immune to EVERY crowd control effect for the first 6 seconds of Deflection. Stun, sleep, lift, incapacitates, movement imparing effects, knockdowns, and physics. This is excellent for stressful situations where the Shadow/Assassin will need to keep moving.
Resilience/Force Shroud grans the Shadow/Assassin 200% Force and Tech resistance for 3 seconds. In short, there is no Force/Tech ability in the game that can affect them while this ability is active. This is great to use to avoid being stunned within traps.
The Shadow Stride/Phantom Stride is a blink that allows the Shadow/Assassin to teleport to an enemy within 30 meters. This can be used to get back up walkways if the Shadow/Assassin is pushed off a ledge and to get past traps by using enemies across the path.
Force Wave/Overload pushes up to 8 enemies away within a 15 meter cone that will leave them rooted for another 5 seconds. This is a great way to get people off the Huttball handler whether that’s the Shadow/Assassin or someone they are guarding. Assuming no one breaks the root, this gives one ample time to run away especially when paired with Force Speed.
Other Classes and Specs
Any other combat style not mentioned above can act as a Huttball handler as well, but not to the effect as the aforementioned combat styles. Instead, they should focus on killing the enemy Huttball handler or thin the numbers of the enemy team attacking their allied Huttball handler.
Be mindful of not getting too caught up in the carnage and leaving your Huttball handler alone. With that said, there are numerous things people should be aware of to gain an advantage in Huttball.
General Recommendations and Tips
This is a collection of tips and recommendations for new players to get a better understanding of what to do in The Pit.
Follow The Arrows
When you’re handling the Huttball, it can be overwhelming trying to get to the goal amidst the never-ending slows, stuns, blaster bolts, lightsabers, and the like being chucked at you. If you’re not sure where to go amidst this chaos, look at the map! Various ramps and wall markers will point as to which direction you should bring the ball.
Don’t Be A Goalie, Be An Anti-Goalie
Many newcomers to Huttball try to act as a goalie and “guard” their team’s goal line. Let me make one thing very clear.
Do not stand near your own goal line, like this (image above)! You actively work against your team by doing this!!!
If you’re just standing around, you’re asking for an enemy ball handler to jump to you and get out of the pit or ignore traps.
If anything you should do the opposite. If your team is nearing the enemy’s side of the map with the ball, head to their goal line. This way your allied ball handler can either jump to you or pass the ball to you.
If you have a teleport ability such as Phasewalk, Hideout, or Hololocate, plant your node near the goal line so you can teleport back up there if you’re pushed off the ledge.
Don’t leave your team’s ball handler to fend for themselves. If you’re a tank then your main priority should be keeping them alive as long as possible.
Even if the ball handler is a tank, you guard them. Stay within 15 meters of them at all times so half the damage done to them is transferred to you.
It’s too easy for newcomers to give in to the chaos of PvP and just blast any random target that gets within their visual range. Ignore these urges and focus your attacks into either attacking an enemy ball handler or taking off priority targets attacking your team’s ball handler.
If you’re a healer, an allied ball handler comes first and foremost for your healing priorities. They’re going to be under a lot of fire so being able to patch them up and cleanse status effects is going to be of the utmost importance. If they die the ball is going to end up in enemy hands, so do your best and stay focused!
Use Traps to your Advantage
This map offers a wide assortment of traps to meet your sadistic little needs. The best way to utilize them is to stun an opponent on top of a trap as it’s about to activate. The fire traps and poison gas traps are the best ones to utilize as they’ll be quite lethal. Shock traps and the acid pools will merely hamper
If you’re a ball handler caught up in the pit, get to the speed boost to negate the speed debuff on you.
Don’t be a ball hog, learn to pass the ball to teammates especially if you’re near death so the ball doesn’t end up in enemy hands.
The Jump Boosts are unreliable, use the stairs instead.
Give your team’s ball handler an easier time by using allied pulls. This is especially useful if they fall off the walkways and into the pit.
Push your enemies into the pit!
If you’re a ranged DPS, stick to the high ground if you can.
Be aware of your surroundings, you never know if there’s an ally or enemy you can jump to in order to get out of a sticky situation.
Communicate and try to make plans at the start of the game.
The Pit Strategies and Maneuvers
This segment details a few strategies you can execute, help your teammates in any way you can, or prevent the opponents from completing them.
The Pit Jumper
This is an easy maneuver that requires the ball handler to have an allied jump or a teleportation ability.
Have an ally work their way to the enemy goal line so the ball handler can jump to them from the pit to ignore all the traps and enemy teammates. From there you get a score! A stealth unit can easily get to the goal line unnoticed to help their ally pull this off.
The Ol’ Switcheroo
This strategy requires a Vanguard/Powertech with the Transpose/Translocate ability. The Vanguard/Powertech is on the side of the gas trap closest to the goal line and swaps places with the ball handler. Once the Vanguard/Powertech swaps positions with the ball handler, the ball handler can travel in a straight line to reach the goal line all while being immune to leaps and pulls for 6 seconds. As a precaution, the Vanguard/Powertech should use their Hold the Line/Hydraulic Overrides ability to avoid being pushed or pulled off during the channel.
Huttball is a competitive scene that requires a tremendous amount of teamwork to do well at. Sometimes you’ll run into people who are new to the game or those who don’t work with the team.
It is important to not lash out at people as they’re just as real as you are. No one can win this game mode alone so be mindful of the strategies and tips mentioned above so you and your team can excel! Now if you got that itch to play Huttball with friends or guildmates, then do I have some good news for you!
With the Rishi Stronghold, you can outfit the Sky Deck on the Patrol Carrier for Huttball! This can be decorated however you wish though the Martial Decoration Droid found in the fleet sells Sky Deck Arena decorations like the one above!
This decoration will create paths and obstacles to play Huttball for fun or for training. If you want the true Huttball experience though, you can form two groups and have group challenges in the PvP window to get access to The Pit, Quiche, and The Sky Shredder! With that said, best of luck out in the field!
About the Author
Christopher Siow (known as Siow in Star Wars: The Old Republic) describes himself as “some Native-American dude who loves Star Wars and other nerd stuff”. He currently operates a Star Wars YouTube channel known as “Siow’s Holocron”, where he touches upon various Lore subjects relating to Star Wars. Such videos include Lore videos about the Jedi Temple Guard, various Occupations that the Jedi would take on, and plans to include many more in-depth lore videos over time.
YouTube Channel: Siow’s Holocron
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/siowsholocron
SWTOR PvP Quesh Huttball Guide
Beginner-friendly guide to the Quesh Huttball PvP Map in SWTOR. Details the rules of Huttball, the Quest Map layout, tips and strategies!