Guide to playing as a ritualist

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Overview[edit]

Ritualists are a versatile profession, uniquely reliant on spirits, and capable of fulfilling a variety of team roles. Heavily dependent on spirit summoning, Ritualists can heal allies, inflict and mitigate damage, and support teammates through the use of binding rituals, weapon spells and item spells with diverse effects.

Attributes[edit]

Spawning Power (Primary Attribute)[edit]

This is the primary attribute of Ritualists. It boosts the health of spirits (and minions!) and increases the duration of weapon spells. Skills under this attribute focus largely on spirits and energy management, so those roles that require spirits will often take a skill or two from here. This ability is either extremely important or almost useless, depending on whether your build uses Spirits/Minions or not. Many spirits, such as Shelter and Union, will lose health when they take effect - so having many ranks in Spawning Power allows them to stay alive longer.

Channeling Magic[edit]

Most of the Ritualist's direct damage spells and hexes are found under this attribute. While they tend to deal lightning damage, they do not have the extra armor penetration found under the Elementalist's air magic. However, most of the Channeling spells can be augmented by some condition such as holding an item (eg. ashes), being in range of a spirit, or being under a weapon spell.

Communing[edit]

Communing has the majority of the Ritualist's spirit skills and a mixture of support and utility skills. Most Ritualists will find something here that can help support the role they are playing.

Restoration Magic[edit]

As its name suggests, this attribute is where most of the Ritualist's healing skills are found. While Ritualists do not get the extra Divine Favor bonus of monks, much like the Channeling line, many of their healing spells can be strengthened by holding an item, being in range of a spirit, or being under a weapon spell. The Restoration line does not require a second attribute (such as Divine Favor) to be fully effective, and so is popular on hybrid characters that like to retain some damage dealing potential. This fact allows Restoration and attributes such as Channeling Magic to work well together. In Player versus Player combat, the Restoration Magic line is perceived as inferior to the Monk lines due to its longer casting times and reliance on stationary spirits, factors which may be exploited by enemy players.


Understanding the profession[edit]

PvE[edit]

Ritualists in PvE play anything from parameter altering utility and support, to dealing high levels of sustained damage, to summoning spirits and minions for mob control. When spirits are employed, the PvE skill Summon Spirits enables you to take your spirits with you as long as you don't move out of the range of the spirits. Be careful to not waste it on a short lived spirit in the heat of the moment; spirits that take a lot of damage or have short life times are simply not worth the effort, even if the recharge time for them is long.

Important factors for your spirits are the recharge time and the placement. You want your spirits to be up at the correct time at the correct place. Defensive spirits are usually placed a good distance away from the actual fighting, so they don't get targeted by enemies. It is best to start placing these spirits before the fighting starts, to allow you to better focus on the combat to come and so lengthy recharge times can begin. When the fighting starts, watch for the recharge and search good places for your new spirits so that they are out of harm's way but still cover your team mates, who might have moved since the fighting started. Finally, do not stack spirits in one place. Any form of AoE will be devastating to your lightly armored spirits.

Offensive spirits can also be created before the battle. In that case, the enemies have to be lured towards the spirits (like in a trapper build); as spirits have longbow range, it can be wise to strike an enemy from a distance and allow spirits to begin their assault from afar (an effective strategy against immobile targets). Other spirits will only be cast during the battle. Make sure you get close enough to the enemy for these spirits to work, but avoid getting too close and making yourself an easy target.

PvP[edit]

Ritualists in PvP may play a variety of roles including utility, support and damage dealing, employing anything from snares, speed buffs, protection and healing.

Spirits are vulnerable in PvP due to their long casting times (easy to interrupt) as well as low health and armor levels (easy to kill). Due to these factors, it is often best to place spirits in the backline away from enemies, that way you are less vulnerable to being interrupted and so that any enemy who attempts to kill your spirit[s] may end up overextending. However, keep in mind that many Ritualist skills will require you to be in earshot of a spirit in order to achieve their conditional effects. As such, there is a delicate balance between placing spirits distant enough as to not be disrupted, but also close enough so that you may continue to support your team.

On some maps, two to three spirits can be used to body block narrow passages like bridges, while still allowing the ritualist and his teammates to move back and forth, since the game mechanics allow you to move closer to an ally than to an enemy.

Staying alive[edit]

In PvP, positioning is critical to stay alive and Ritualists in PvP generally are somewhere between the backline and midline depending on their build and how they integrate with the team.

In PvE, Ritualists should generally rely on positioning for survival. Defensive builds, such as damage prevention and healers, should generally take backline positions, while offensive builds such as nukers, offensive spirit spammers and minion bombers should generally take midline positions. Using offensive item spells' point blank area of effect (PBAoE) effects can be quite risky, so caution is advised.

Playing in a party[edit]

All types of Ritualists are good in a party, but usually require some flexibility. In particular, in order to avoid stacking and overlapping issues, extra care must be taken in coordinating Team builds and Team roles when having two (or more) ritualist within any given party. Because spirits cannot be stacked, it is important to ensure that no two Ritualists in a team have the same spirits equipped on their bars.

Keep in mind that PvE players often try to complete content as quickly as possible. As such, skills like Summon Spirits can be crucial in order for you to keep up. When joining a team, it is best to make your team aware of what build you are playing, as a Ritualist is capable of filling a variety of roles.

What to avoid[edit]

As a Ritualist, either playing offensive, defensive, or supportive, your spirits must survive for full effect of your skills. Avoid interrupts. Thankfully, in PvE, interrupts are rare, usually coming in the form of knockdown by casters or warriors. Set up your spirits before aggroing the enemies to avoid them. In PvP, interrupts are much more common. Also note that binding rituals are not spells when determining what skills to watch out for.

AoE, or area of effect, damage is particularly dangerous to Ritualists, as their spirits are unable to move once cast. Proper spacing of spirits so that they are not bunched together can help to alleviate this. Additionally, the PvE only skill Summon Spirits is effective at moving and repositioning spirits in the middle of battle.

When playing in arenas with randomized teams, such as Random Arenas or Fort Aspenwood, think wisely about what build you are going to take. Because many aspects of the Ritualist profession require teamwork in order to be effective, it is best to avoid builds that depend too heavily on specific professions being on your team or that depend too much on certain conditions being met, as there is no way to guarantee that they will be.


Other considerations[edit]

Spirits, Weapons and Ashes[edit]

Spirits cannot be healed directly, but can be healed via the Spirit Boon Strike spell or the Spirit's Gift spell, can be targeted by attacks, and are immobile. Spirits' effects either work within a Spirit range around them or they target single enemies within their Ranged attack. The exact range varies according to the spirit. Detailed information on Spirit stats is available within the Spirit article.

Weapon Spells, unlike Enchantments, cannot be removed once cast on a target. Therefore, they can be quite valuable when used defensively to keep allies alive. However, Weapon Spells are not solely defensive in nature, and can also be used to support the damage dealing potential of teammates through a variety of effects. Important to note is that only one weapon spell may be on each ally at a time - Weapon Spells do not stack!

Item spells have a wide range of effects, some of which occur passively as the item is held while others only activate when the item is dropped. They can be useful for self-sustain, party healing, energy management, and damage dealing. Additionally, items spells that have a duration longer than their recharge can be double dropped, allowing you to activate their drop effects twice in quick succession.

Armor bonuses may be granted for being enchanted by a Weapon Spell, controlling spirits, holding items (notably including urns), or while activating skills (think of the long activation time for spirits).

Keep in mind that binding rituals are not spells, and as such weapon mods that grant faster casting or recharge to spells will not affect your rituals. Also note that while using item spells, you will lose any bonuses granted from your weapon as long as the item is held

Energy management[edit]

The majority of the Ritualists energy management skills are found in the Channeling Magic and Spawning Power attribute lines. Additionally, many of these energy management options are in some way conditional, typically relying on either the presence or creation of spirits in order to operate fully. If utilizing spirits, Spirit Siphon, Essence Strike and Offering of Spirit (requires a health sacrifice without spirits) are viable Channeling Magic options, while Soul Twisting, Boon of Creation, Signet of Creation and Spirit Channeling are also viable choices from the Spawning Power line. Attuned Was Songkai and Energetic Was Lee Sa, both Spawning Power derived item spells, are the only options for energy management that do not require a condition to meet. If these above options don't fit, try a secondary profession instead for your energy management needs.

Resurrection[edit]

With Flesh of My Flesh, Lively Was Naomei, Death Pact Signet, and Restoration, the Ritualist has plenty of options to resurrect dead allies during battle. If you use Death Pact Signet, keep in mind that while it is the fastest resurrection, using it on people who jump right back into combat may not be the best idea. Death Pact Signet draws aggro to a player and if they die again, you're going down with them, though dying via Death Pact Signet will not cause Death Penalty.

Lively Was Naomei and Restoration are two of only three skills in the game that resurrect the caster. They are also unique in the fact that they allow people to be resurrected on the field even while under the effect of Frozen Soil. If you plan on using the Restoration spirit, it might be wise to consider bringing a spirit-killing skill such as Rupture Soul in order to get an immediate resurrection.

Play styles[edit]

Restorer[edit]

With a focus on Restoration Magic and a few spirits, an experienced Ritualist can do a good job of healing, keeping a party alive with remarkable competence and stamina and is not as easily countered by enchantment stripping as a Monk. Because Ritualists do not have access to Divine Favor, many of their healing spells have higher base heals than Healing Prayers counterparts. Consequently, these healing spells often have a conditional requirement to fulfill in order to maximize their effectiveness.

Remember that while Restorers may be powerful, they're not simple to use and may have difficulty switching between numerous targets since their effectiveness often changes depending on conditional factors such as the presence of Spirits nearby (static-mobility), whether you're holding bundle items (no weapon-mods), and if the spell target is affected by a weapon spell. Perhaps the Ritualists greatest flaw is their inability to remove hexes, so a Mesmer or Monk secondary is popular.

Certain Restoration spells have conditions that make them more effective when a spirit is around. Spirit Light and Spirit Transfer make for a powerful spot heal and spike heal, respectively. Mend Body and Soul can heal for a respectable amount while also removing conditions, and Ghostmirror Light combines allied healing and self healing. Using Skills linked to weapons or holding a bundle item, such as Mending Grip, Soothing Memories and Wielder's Boon, allow you to be more mobile. Protective Was Kaolai heals all party members, while Generous Was Tsungrai makes for sustainable item spell.

Defensive spirits may affect all allies in the area, making them more effective in larger groups. Preservation makes for a sturdy and fairly fast recharging spirit. Life is a very powerful spirit that is essentially a stronger, albeit delayed, Heal Party, and can be very effective as a party heal by itself or when combined with skills to kill spirits, such as Feast of Souls. As mentioned above, Recuperation is a poor deal for just one person, but it costs the same whether it affects just the caster or a 12-person party with pets and minions and summons, while Rejuvenation heals more per party member the smaller your team is. Furthermore, spirit effects stack with enchantments and other effects (like chants) and can only be removed or ended by the death of the spirit.

Spirit Light Weapon is one of the most powerful heals for its low energy cost, comparable to many powerful healing prayer spells in terms of raw healing, albeit delivering health overtime. Vengeful Weapon, Xinrae's Weapon and Weapon of Remedy are basically Reversal of Fortune and Life Sheath with a life steal. Weapon of Shadow can relieve the pressure on anyone who is the focus of attacks by blinding attackers. Weapon of Warding helps block attacks while adding mending-like regeneration to the bearer. Resilient Weapon is a good counter for hexes or conditions that cause degen and adds armor, to boot.

Channeler[edit]

Channeling skills are the most damage-oriented tools available to a Ritualist. Rivaling in raw firepower and operations of an Elementalist, Channeling spells such as Spirit Rift and Ancestors' Rage quickly spike down targets, obliterating enemies through the use of lightning. This type of Ritualist is a very common choice for beginners due to the simplicity of the raw damage, the ease of utilizing Spirit Siphon for efficient energy-management, or the advantage of coupling Restoration line skills with Channeling skills.

While Channeling skills do not have the 25% armor penetration inherent in many of the offensive Air Magic spells (the item spells Destructive Was Glaive and Cruel Was Daoshen cause 20% and 10% armor penetration respectively to all Ritualist skills when held), most do better damage versus cost. Builds like this often spam damaging spells as often as possible, resulting in constant damage output.

Ritualists can be both direct and support damage dealers by using the skills in the channeling line. Builds like this usually make use of a single spirit or an item spell (or both) to take advantage of conditional effects on spells like Essence Strike, Spirit Burn, Renewing Surge, Clamor of Souls and Caretaker's Charge. The ability to summon damage-dealing spirits, namely Bloodsong and Agony, and to support the party through utility weapon spells such as Splinter Weapon or Weapon of Fury further increases the usefulness of Channeling skills.

In PvE, utility slots are usually filled with powerful PvE-only skills, such as Great Dwarf Weapon and Ebon Vanguard Assassin Support. In addition, the nature of Channeling Magic allows for greatest diversity of effective builds, suitable for nearly all fields of play.

However, most skills are semi-complicated and comparatively underpowered unless a condition is met; such as the 3-second delay in Spirit Rift. It is typical for Channeling Ritualists to find one or two conditions, add one or two skills to ensure they are always met, then use the pool of skills that require those condition to fill out the rest of the primary skills. Like Elementalists, it is best to focus on either single-target or AoE skills. Energy management is crucial, since unlike Elementalists, the Ritualist energy pool is usually fairly small.

Soul Twister[edit]

Soul Twisters form a powerful core of PvE gameplay, with the most frequent tactic involving the use of spirits such as Shelter, Union, and Displacement in conjunction with Armor of Unfeeling to heavily mitigate damage. These spirits sacrifice their own health when negating damage or blocking attacks, and so skills that preserve and reduce the recharge of binding rituals are crucial. Most frequently, Soul Twisting is the preferred elite skill for this kind of playstyle as it both reduces the recharge of spirits while reducing their energy cost, though Ritual Lord is also a viable but less used option. To manage energy, skills like Boon of Creation, Signet of Creation, and Energetic Was Lee Sa are often brought. Summon Spirits is essential to both the healing and repositioning of these spirits, and so is a staple on these bars.

PvXwiki Example - Soul Twisting Prot

Spirit Spammer[edit]

There are two trends for offensive spirit spammers depending on which attribute they choose to primarily invest in:

Channeling Magic based spirit spammers use the powerful elite skill Signet of Spirits in conjunction with skills such as Bloodsong, Vampirism and Painful Bond to output significant amounts of armor-ignoring damage. For area damage, supportive skills like Agony, Destruction combined with Rupture Soul, or Spirit Rift may be taken, whereas utility is found in Spirit Boon Strike to assist in healing their spirits.

Communing based spirit spammers who intend to operate offensively often use the formidable elite Signet of Ghostly Might to increase the damage output of their spirits. Most notably, this type of spammer will use spirits such as Pain, Anguish (synergizes strongly with Painful Bond), Disenchantment, Shadowsong, and Dissonance (can be hard on energy) to deal damage and apply secondary effects (such as blindness and enchantment removal).

In PvE, these kinds of spirit spammers are extremely effective due to a variety of reasons and the nature of enemy AI. First and foremost, they deal high, armor-ignoring damage. While the DPS is rather consistent, there is a downside in that spirits do not coordinate their fire, and so much of the damage you output tends to be scattered amongst multiple foes. Secondly, these spirits make for effective body blocks and control points. Enemies cannot move through your spirits, and so placing them around a corner or in a blocking position allows one to both damage and control the movement of enemies without putting themselves at risk. Armor of Unfeeling is often taken when anticipating a need to perform in this way. Thirdly, whereas spirits in PvP are mostly immobile (Draw Spirit not withstanding), spirit spammers in PvE have access to Summon Spirits, which allows for constant healing and repositioning of spirits, enabling a spirit spammer to adapt more easily to changing conditions on the battlefield.

PvXwiki Example - Offensive Spirit Spammer, Signet of Ghostly Might

Minion Bombers and Minion Masters[edit]

Minion Bombers are quite a unique breed of Ritualists. Relying heavily on Necromancer skills such as Death Nova and Animate Bone Minions, the primary goal of a Minion Bomber is to create a quick army of disposable creatures, deploy them as guided "smart-bombs" and explode them on his enemies. Ritualist/Necromancer characters are well suited for this task, thanks to skills like Explosive Growth. As a bonus, Spawning Power also increases the maximum health of minions. While a Necromancer can use more or less the same "Sapper" tactics with potentially more effectiveness, Ritualists do it with certain effects Necromancers cannot replicate.

  • NecromancerNecromancer: In PvE, Ritualists make excellent minion bombers due to Boon of Creation and Explosive Growth.
-See the Minion Master for more notes on running minion builds.-

Spells such as Explosive Growth and Spirit's Gift will trigger upon minion creation, providing more incentive to create minions, blow them up, replenish them just as quickly, and create more minions with the defeated foes' corpses. This accelerated minion creation takes full advantage of the "Summoned Creature" creation enchantments available to a ritualist to provide very cheap and hardy minions that can be used as often as the spell is ready. Aura of the Lich in particular strengthens Death Magic skills such as Putrid Bile or Deathly Swarm, further expanding bombing synergy. In addition, when used with Jagged Bones these skills can lead to cascade effects of several concurrent area-of-effect direct-damage explosions combined with area-of-effect degeneration and even allied healing.

PvXwiki Examples - Explosive Creation Bomber

Ritualists can also be effective as more traditional minion masters. Though a Ritualist cannot increase their Death Magic level through the use of runes, Spawning Power affects the health of both spirits and minions, allowing a Ritualist to summon minions with more health than could otherwise be obtainable. Skills like Aura of the Lich and Masochism can be combined to increase the Ritualists Death Magic level and help make tougher minions. Lastly, a Ritualist will have to dedicate skill slots as energy management when playing as a minion master,

Bomber[edit]

Ritualist bombers are the spiritual successors of Saccers, and have a number of PBAoE spells to deal large area damage. Item spells, most prominently Destructive Was Glaive and Cruel was Daoshen, as well as spells such as Ancestors' Rage and Spirit Rift deal a decent amount of area damage.

  • MesmerMesmer: Using Arcane Echo with Destructive Was Glaive provides a strong burst of AoE damage and can still do good sustained AoE damage in a prolonged fight.

An experienced bomber can use Destruction combined with Soul Twisting or Ritual Lord to deal frequent, armor ignoring damage with a large radius to mobs of enemies. This playstyle often requires the use of Summon Spirits to place Destruction near a mob, followed by detonating the spirit with Rupture Soul for a deadly PBAoE-spike, with minimal chance of retaliation from physical attackers due to Blindness. Explosive Growth and Boon of Creation or Spirit Siphon are often taken to manage energy and deal additional damage when playing in this way.

However, as a low armor profession, the Ritualist is very vulnerable on the frontline. The goal of this role is usually to defeat foes quickly before they can retaliate. Skills such as "I Am Unstoppable!" and Great Dwarf Armor are often taken as a defensive option for this playstyle.

PvXwiki Examples - Destructive Was Glaive Bomber, - Rt/any Ritual Lord Bomber


Choice of secondary professions[edit]

The Ritualist plays very well with using only its profession skills, and can be known as a "Jack of all trades". However, they still may find benefit from a secondary profession:

  • MonkMonk
    • Monk skills can provide additional condition removal and give the Ritualist hex removal.
  • NecromancerNecromancer
    • Spawning Power affects minions, allowing for higher health minions at the cost of lower levels. Many spawning power skills that affect spirits also affect minions.
  • ElementalistElementalist
    • Glyphs can be used to reduce the recharge time of spells or save on energy.
    • Some Elementalist spells can be used to increase running speed.
  • AssassinAssassin
    • Shadow Arts can be used for speed boosts and defensive stances. Dash is cheap and requires no attribute investment.
    • Spirit's Strength can be used to increase dagger attack damage.


Further reading[edit]



Guides for all Professions (edit)
Core: Warrior WarriorRanger RangerMonk MonkNecromancer NecromancerMesmer MesmerElementalist Elementalist
Factions: Assassin AssassinRitualist Ritualist        Nightfall: Paragon ParagonDervish Dervish