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Mikazuki X

Mikazuki's Build Corner

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I've decided to repurpose the former guardian build-only thread by coalescing all builds into one thread.

One thing I should probably state before starting is that my way of building starts from the profession's mechanics and unique buffs, and attempts to find the most optimal way to play a class according to the parameters of personal DPS, offensive party support, defensive party support, healing and personal survivability. As such, this is not a listing of maximum DPS builds per class, as I find using any 'max DPS build' in a class that doesn't output the max DPS in the first place to be suboptimal. The exception to this is that the class that DOES have the highest personal DPS ends up being built to deal max DPS, as that is where it shines. Expect to see traits feed recursively into each other into positive feedback loops.

 

This way of building characters only works if you have multiple characters. If you only play, say, a mesmer, then you might want to spec to max DPS for that for farming purposes, because it's the highest DPS you have. Being the most optimal combinations, this also makes these builds in general highly effective in sPvP teamfights.

 

Post 1: Zealot Guardian (Lvl 50 fractals, World boss commanding, WvW commanding)
Post 2: Berserker Thief (Anything where you need max DPS, WvW Roaming)

Post 3: Condition Ranger (WvW Zerg, Silverwastes, Wurm-condi)

Post 4: Sinister Necromancer (WvW Zerg, Silverwastes, Wurm-condi)

Post 5: Mightbuffer Warrior (Anything where you need max DPS, if there isn't another mightbuffer)

Post 6: Celestial Elementalist (Lvl 50 fractals ONLY)

Post 7: Duelist Mesmer (WvW Roaming, WvW Zerg)

Post 8: Berserker AoE Engineer (Farming - Where you have a lot of weak mobs, rather than fewer strong ones)

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Zealot Guardian

 

The build has been revamped due to a lot of changes with the update. The good news is that Zealot is now easy to get as you can just craft an exotic Zealot insignia/inscription and mystic forge it with crap ascendeds you get from Tequatl and the like.

 

This is the reworked build.

 

How it works:

  1. This build rotates criticals and burning a lot with the traits. Note that unlike direct damage, condition damage does not have any direct benefit from Ferocity, so Ferocity is actually benefiting only part of the damage equation, but Precision chains directly into burning due to traits. Radiant Fire gives AoE burning when you crit. This feeds back into Radiant Power and Inner Fire with the now-increased burn rate.
  2. Blindness feeds vulnerability.
  3. Symbols apply burning, vulnerability, and increase damage to targets in addition to the damage of the symbol itself.
  4. Blocks increase healing power and inflict burn which feeds back into crit.
  5. Crit procs might that boost both burning and direct damage - both AoE from trait and personal from sigil.
  6. Burning increases direct damage.
  7. Burning itself has both damage and duration modifiers and is further amped by smoldering runes.
  8. Killing anything refreshes VoJ, which on activation procs more vulnerability, blind, burning and crit.
  9. Virtue of Resolve increases endurance and crits proc vigor, both which feed dodge-heals.
  10. Shouts are the only utilities used unless WoR is needed. Each shout does AoE condicleanse in addition to its normal effects.
  11. Packrunes + Shout-cooldown effects grant 100% uptime on the dungeon run phase when combined with a staff. Swap staff back for GS before fighting again. Alternatively, Retreat first, swap to Writ of Persistence to activate the non-traited Retreat, and swap back.
  12. Vulnerability amps both direct damage and burning.

Effects:

  1. Highest possible base power.
  2. High outgoing AoE healing to party from multiple sources.
  3. A lot of blinds and vulnerability.
  4. Permanent multi-stack burning.
  5. A lot of sources of block.
  6. Permanent swiftness.
  7. Permanent fury.
  8. Overall critical rate of 56%(base)+10%(burning)+20%(fury) for 86% unaided. Addition of spotter (7%) and banner of discipline (8%) will push it over 100%.
  9. 20.8% uptime of AoE quickness. Stacking 5 guards like this would lead to 100% quickness uptime - so there is little loss of efficiency, though taking a warrior/ranger would still be better overall.

Overall behaviour:

  1. About 10% less DPS than berserker due to loss of ferocity. 33% crit damage is lost to be precise - which considering the base of 181% would translate to a 18% loss in direct dps, but the dps from this isn't direct damage alone. However, the amount of healing you gain is 7.6% from RTL, 383%(!!) from SD, 47.6% from Regen, 19.3% from mace AA, 35% from VoR. Between loss of 10% personal DPS and gain of ~ 30-40% AoE healing per second, I'd consider Zealot to be more optimal, especially when pugging Arah or fractals.
  2. If you attack, you deal damage and heal. If you block, you deal damage and mitigate. If you dodge, you mitigate and heal. If you use a utility skill, you buff and remove debuffs at the same time. Regardless of the action taken, you achieve more than one objective - if you don't at that point in time, consider autoattacking for a little longer until you can.
  3. You'll never run out of AoE condition cleanses.
  4. You must block or evade to survive. The complete lack of survivability stats means that if you're not proficient with timing, you will be downed due to low base HP. Similarly, taking time off to revive the dead is a very bad idea - it's better to keep those who are up, up - and let them do the ground-rubbing. This isn't meant for someone new to the guardian class - it's meant for carrying others.
  5. It has zero ranged options. Literally zero. Also, only one mobility skill. It works well enough for standard dungeon running, but don't expect it to break speed records, and don't expect it to work that well in WvW where having teleport options from sword/utilities is critical to success.
  6. Because of the importance of the symbols in this build, you need to use both weapon sets. The greatsword allows for more dps than the mace, but fewer blocks. Time your rotation such that the mace is up when the target uses heavy hits (eg S.Alpha AoE) and the greatsword is up when those mob skills are on cooldown. Keeping tabs on mob HP is also critical to know when to use VoJ - you want to make sure it's on cooldown before any mob is killed, but that it never stays on cooldown longer than a second.
  7. It only has one pull on GS 5. Use this strategically to cluster mobs at stack spots, but leave the rest of the pulling, Defiance clearing and skill interruption to other players.

I'd also consider this to be an optimal zerg build for world bosses now as its outgoing healing/stability/condicleanses/blocks work very well to keep others alive, and between the quickness and might, you deal not only very high outgoing personal damage but buff others' as well. Burning, of course, pierces defense, so its overall DPS isn't reduced that much at high toughness bosses either.

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Berserker Thief

 

With the exception of traiting for interrupts, this is almost the highest possible personal DPS in the game. Swap for confusion + torment on steal if you really want that, but the improvement is minor.

 

This is the post-patch build.

 

How it works:

  1. Your primary role is to interrupt any strong attacks used by bosses on your party while they are in charge phase, so they do not waste DPS dodging or blocking. Pistol Whip and Steal are the main ones here, though if swapping to Scorpion Wire for pulling, that also acts as an additional interrupt. Pistol 4 is a DPS loss, so do not use it unless there is no way you can proc Pistol Whip in time. Defiance clearing on targets so that Elementalists can drop Frostbow 4 on them is also your job.
  2. Your secondary role is to output a LOT of cleave-based damage. In the early phases of a fight, Pistol Whip & autoattacks on SP mode is approximately equal to the power of DD, but works in cleave - so use this to kill all non-boss targets. Once they're down, if interrupts are not necessary and there is only one boss, swap to DD mode and rotate CnD, backstab and autoattacks. Swap to heartseeker spam at the very end to do 5x <25% HP heartseekers boosted by an activated Assassin's Signet. Gauge your party's DPS accordingly. You never want to attack without the Signet's passive on, the 45 seconds should be spent on a run-phase in the dungeon, or you're not pulling your maximum potential.
  3. Utility roles include pulling bosses, especially in SEp1, and party stealth. Party stealth has 3 versions: Long non-combat - which is smoke screen utility followed by 6 shortbow blasts, short non-combat - which is pistol 5 followed by 3 shortbow blasts and long combat - Shadow Refuge. Make sure that whenever you can use the noncombat stealth types, you prioritise them, as they have higher stealth to cooldown ratios. Shadow Refuge is meant for usage in the middle of mobs where any blast would trigger Revealed. For this cause carrying a shortbow is compulsory for stealthrun portions - swap back to DD before attacking the next boss. While projectile reflection is the Mesmer/Guardian's job, if you have incompetent reflectors in your party (or none of those classes in the first place), smoke screen functions as a projectile null. It represents a DPS loss if you use it when there's an actual reflection source up, however.
  4. Stealing strips boons and applies fury, while your crits extend fury for 100% fury uptime, which procs vulnerability, increasing damage further. Against bosses with Might skills or Fire Aura, make sure to time your Steal to benefit the most from this.
  5. Deathblossom is a condition clear when used in a light field. Both deathblossom and pistol whip are evades - use them instead of dodging whenever you can as dodging is a DPS loss.
  6. On any boss which possesses regeneration or healing capabilities, it is your job to uptime 100% poison in Dagger mode. The healing you prevent may be equal or very slightly less than your actual DPS, giving you a doubled effective DPS on such bosses.
  7. Between the DPS, your low vitality and interrupts, you will almost definitely hold aggro on basically everything. Dodging all the attacks towards you is thus party damage mitigation. If you're not good at this however, you're a liability to be resbotted by everyone else. It's a very high risk high reward style of play.

Effects:

  1. Highest cleave DPS in the game.
  2. Highest interrupts per second possible of any class.
  3. Blinds (p5), vulnerability (crits), poison (d1, steal), weakness (d1, steal).
  4. Highest evades per second possible of any class.
  5. Highest aggro generation in the game.
  6. Permanent fury.
  7. Highest movement speed in the game from d2 and sb5. Shadowstep can be used to skip over obstacles, like in Swamp fractal, but is otherwise not worth the cooldown.
  8. Overall critical rate of 58%(base)+20%(fury)+5%(keen observer) for 83% unaided. Addition of spotter (7%) and banner of discipline (8%) pushes it to 98%. If concerned you can use a 100 power 70 precision food (Truffle Steak) to cap at 100% critrate.
  9. Glassiest build in the game, and thus one of the highest skill floors.

If harvesting in open world or doing personal story challenges, this is your go-to due to its high movement speed, high spike damage and high evade rate.

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Condition Ranger

 

This combines high outgoing condition damage with the highest personal survivability possible between the pet and the ranger. Direct damage is extremely low, so it's a build you want to avoid using when uncrittable unconditionable targets (CoFp3, CoFp2) are a thing. Switch to Spotter when with a high crit DPS party, swap to Hidden Barbs when your party DPS is low anyway, or when soloing.

 

This is the post-patch build.

 

How it works:

  1. Your primary role is to rotate Fire, Water and Poison fields up on on the fight's vicinity. Fire is used at the fight's initiation and alternated with Poison for damage/heal negation, while Water is used when your party members' HP falls.
  2. Your secondary role is to output as much condition damage as possible on the targets. This is more important for targets with high Toughness, less so for squishy targets. Your pet will add direct damage and some condition damage of its own.
  3. Utility roles include the upkeep of vulnerability on targets with Opening Strikes and possibly the use of Spotter to increase critrate for your allies. Fury will come through Strength of the Pack, pet swapping, and activations of AoE fury by your party members (Pack runes, Feel My Wrath from guardians and whatnot). Generally if your party is half-competent this will be activating often enough to dump an almost full uptime of 25 vulnerability on champion+ class targets when combined with the vulnerability of party members.

Effects:

  1. Very high survivability, thus very low skillfloor, while still possessing viable DPS.
  2. Very high uptime on Fire fields.
  3. Very high vulnerability uptime.

If manning siege in WvW, this is your go-to since its passive defense is like a cockroach.

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Sinister Necromancer

This combines high outgoing condition damage with passable direct damage for the highest DPS on extraordinarily high toughness targets, and with Epidemic is capable of amplifying both its own, and party members' conditions effects. It has limited evades but high outgoing passive healing.

This is the post-patch build.

How it works:

  • Your primary role is to deny all foes the use of boons AND conditions. Any conditions received by the party will be drawn to you and sent back out with the Signet, trait or dagger 4. As Master of Corruptions adds additional conditions to you, it can be used to intentionally proc the Plague signet trait when you have 1 condition. Thus consider all Corruptions as condition sending skills, rather than 'self-condition' skills. Similarly post-traiting, consider your signets as boon strippers, as they will convert them to conditions on signet use. Note that the Plague Signet activated by the Plague Sending trait also counts as a signet for boon stripping. Since Consume Conditions applies two conditions to you, following it up immediately with Blood is Power will send Blindness, Vulnerability, Bleeding and Torment to your target instantly, while applying 14 might to you and 3 might to everyone else - where the might then amps the bleeding and torment just sent out. As far as possible you want to make sure your Plague Signet is NOT activated, so that you get more incoming conditions per second from everyone else that you can then use to wreck your opponent with Corruptions.
  • Your secondary role is to apply as much conditions as you can while amping the conditions used by anyone (including the opposing party). Generally this will happen automatically once you're doing your primary role correctly. In general this will be far more potent than using 'normal' outgoing conditions from your weapon skills alone.
  • The dagger mainhand mode is used for healing, immobilisation, direct damage on unconditionable targets and faster runspeed. For most of the fight, you'll be in scepter mode, but the real power of the build hides in the utility skills.
  • Utility roles involve incoming damage reduction from permanent Weakness uptime on mobs and allowing all friendly targets to siphon health constantly.
  • Transfusion teleports downed allies to your location. Use this to your advantage by moving players out of instant-death AoEs like Alpha's, or death-over-time AoEs like the Molten Duo's, Weapontest fractal AoEs or Volcanic fractal lava pools. It also heals all of them at once, but its power is more in preventing death than in direct resurrection. In Fractals where random Agony is a thing, Battle Standards can fail to instant-resurrect allies, making Transfusion the only way to save some players. Using this you can single-handedly prevent wipes.

Effects:

  • Highest condition DPS in the game.
  • Nullifies the effect of all boon/condition using targets. Volkov in SEp3 is made laughably easy with this in particular.
  • Permanent weakness, moderate vulnerability, low might, low chill output. High personal might.
  • No projectile nullification/reflection potential at all.
  • One of the lowest evades/s of all builds. Dodging should be used sparingly; Death Shroud as a survivability mechanism becomes paramount.
  • Wipe-preventer.
  • Extremely high skill floor due to paramount importance of situational awareness. Relative to a glass thief, the overall difficulty is similar, but this is a more intellectual difficulty while thieves are a more reflexive difficulty.

Scaling note: Due to the nature of the mechanics, this build cannot be duplicated effectively, and suffers the more players there are. Therefore using it on most world bosses is inadvisable (exception: intentionally walking into poison/cripple fields at teq to borrow it to trigger condition sends). Do not load more than one of this into any party as the second one will end up a glorified cheerleader.

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