- 1 Metagame builds/changes of note
- 1.1 The Dervish
- 1.2 The Ranger
- 1.3 The Elementalist
- 1.4 The Mesmer
- 1.5 The Assassin
- 1.6 The Ritualist
- 1.7 Team Builds
- 1.8 Where did it all go?
- 2 Nothing of Note to be seen here
Metagame builds/changes of note
Since that's important to me and whatnot. Current as of 22:25, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
I add this build as a revision of the below. As the metagame began to pan out, the potential for Balthazar to pump Adrenaline-based teardown skills along with the pressure, fast-recharge Flash Enchantments was found to pair well with Grenth, EDA, or both. This has primarily evolved into a Fevered Dreams/Fragility meta which pumps superior pressure with the current, Dervish builds. Even if you do not observe GvG regularly, the upcoming Skill update preview should demonstrate the impact that these skills have had.
Yet, while I recant on one point, on the usage of Avatar of Balthazar, I am disappointed in the way which it has been utilized: condition spam. While I'd hoped that this could be used to aim interrupts in twos on casters and spike with deep wound and cracked armor, the meta has determined builds whose prerogative can be said to merely maintain conditions indefinitely on a set of targets, which needless to say requires multiple characters performing essentially the same tasks, some roles present only to enhance those tasks rather than perform their own, necessarily functions, and thereby, an enormous waste of energy on the part of the team as a whole. While efficiency, I understand, is not the greatest measure of success in Guild Wars, this meta disappoints in this arena nonetheless.
The other staple of the frontliner Dervish, seen in both GvG and HA, and questionably as popular than its Avatar-based cousin. With the rise of the Flash Enchantment, most of the banes of the old Dervish are done and gone: namely, Enchantment stripping and all the other inconveniences of needing to stop to cast in the front line position, i.e. interruption and heavy kiting. This takes advantage of those to the fullest and tacks on considerable DPS, through EDA's +damage, and the ability to lineback without really trying.
I could write a whole other paragraph on Aura of Thorns alone, given its ability to Cripple instantly in tandem with it's maintainability on anyone in adjacency range at 14 Earth Prayers, but I'll save that one for another time and place.
I'm happy to say that this is one of my favorite sets of builds to come out of the update, as it's versatile, survivable, and extremely deadly under the proper control, in either of its forms. I'm happy to say these things because I'm glad that the blight-which-was-the-old-version-of-Wounding-Strike can take its place now as a balanced, utilizable, but not OP skill. A respectable gentleman, with good taste, as it were.
All of that said, this build sees use mostly in GvG maps, primarily on maps where splits are likely, but not necessary. I enjoy these matches, because I like variance in any meta, especially one predominated by one, overpowered Elite (click or just scroll up). Though I'd like to believe that the meta has the capability to act as a dynamic system which counters builds that are being used, rather than reformatting itself whenever there is a major skill update, I've not seen the High-PvP metas conform to this in quite a long time - for that reason, I encourage experimentation like the above, Wounding Strike builds and taking skills such as Grenth's Fingers to counter the blindspam and prominent deep wound found in (all) other Dervish builds.
Becoming far more prominent as the meta begins to shift. I'm beginning to see a lot more spike builds with E-Surge and MoI/Mind Shock/Invoke Elementalists.
A split Dervish I've seen being played around with, both in split builds and in Trip Melee (meant to substitute one of the Balthazar Dervishes, leaving the line up Balthazar, Onslaught, EDA). It's extremely potent, but it hasn't caught on yet. I'm glad to see its potential finally being put to good use though.
It can be said that the entire bow Ranger Meta, short of their HA incarnations and a single exception, can be summed up in this bar. Though deviations have abounded from those wishing to deviate from this rigid bar, this provided caster shut-down, potential team-wide poison, and significant survivability for the Ranger itself; few others can do the same and until they can, this aspect of the meta will not change.
To be substituted for Crippling Shot, Magebane Shot switching Savage for Pin Down, Melandru's Shot, Burning Arrow rarely though switching out Rapid Fire for Apply Poison in the case of GvG, when one wishes to send their Ranger on a
suicide mission split.
The essence of the recharging, elemental spike build revolves around this skill - and why not? In what situation would you not want to spike only teams of Monks without shields? Plus, it recharges in 8 seconds, only considering Invoke; in short, this pumps out incredible pressure, possesses wonderful spiking capacity, and leaves plenty of space for whatever else you'd like to bring along.
Put it in a team designed to capitalize on this combination and it's spite and malice rolled into one, every 8 seconds.
This has been a stand-by in GvG for a couple years now and is coming back into popularity as coordinated spikes begin to find favor with high-level guilds. It excels in disruption and pushing kills in spike builds - and although you lose the pressure provided by Invoke, you gain a wonderful control of engagements that has been found to be utterly necessary in a meta.
And no, Blurred Vision isn't exactly meta on this bar, but running 11+1 on Energy Storage and 6 in water makes it wonderfully effective when also running a MoI. So you can choose to see 'Optional' for that slot instead, if you like, but I think it merits recording. It speaks quite a bit to the meta, does it not?
Has been meta since the introduction of the Water Magic line. Kite physicals. Help allies kite physicals. Use the AoE, hex version of Guardian when needed. Use whatever toolbox Elite you need to accomplish for your team what needs to get done. That kind of effectiveness is why this build has kept its place all this time.
The pre-update and post-update
Most of what could and should be said about the Mesmer update was said before the update was even implemented. That said, I'd like to make a distinction, now looking prospectively on the state of the Mesmer nowadays; I'm not going to do this by belaboring an already dead horse, but by comparison of two builds:
The P-Block Mesmer, to me, has always represented the height of good, Mesmer play - almost solely on the fact that it works on a risk-reward system and one with bloody brilliant rewards at that. Sit on any monk and they'll fear using their Elite. Any Ele bar ever composed would be sheered in two. P-Block was, and still is, a monster of an Elite skill and for its energy and recharge, it's entirely balanced.
You'd be hard-pressed to find it much of anywhere than on a couple of die hards' bars and why?
This would be why. Along a skill curve, these two builds lie so far apart that they may as well not lie in the same class, i.e. their nickname nowadays the "Purple Elementalist". If given the choice to very conditionally disable a backline's ability to cope with a spike, and placing that responsibility squarely on the Mesmer's reaction time, or to merely have the opposing team's blue bars implode and astronomical figures rise across the screen, with the simple application of the "I place my dog on the keyboard and play with him, while in this role" method, the choice is easy. Yes, Mesmers still interrupt and some do so well, but when you're also using Earth Shaker to snare someone in the Heat you just laid down, I begin to call foul.
Though not technically meta, as it is a hit-or-miss chance that you'll see this skill featured on any HA team, the hilarity cannot be ignored. Throw this on any assassin, or Dervish nowadays, and the Altar at HoH will light up like Christmas with little "!!". Though quick to end, it is also fast recharging and rather easy to employ, making its effectiveness curve rather steep, but utterly satisfying at best. I still remember when this was first buffed and dual Mesmer teams abounded: I imagine only red faces and extreme nerd-rage, the mashing of keyboards and the rhythmic thump of headdesks.
Meant to split from the main team and pick off NPCs from the enemy fort, clearing the way to the Lord Pit, as well as pick off stragglers and disrupt the backline through consistent knockdowns/harassment, the Wastrel's Collapse sin has seen quite a but of favor in multiple kinds of splitting builds as of late. I'm doubtful that the split meta will hold at the strength that it has been the past couple weeks, but that hardly dilutes the usefulness of a skilled split sin. Other elites of note in the same role: "You're All Alone!", Hidden Caltrops, "Coward!", and Way of the Assassin.
Though this class is a dedicated toolbox, I still give this build some clout for the simple fact that it straightforwardly takes advantage of the best mechanic available to the Ritualist: Weapon Spells. Unstrippable prots on a caster who essentially cannot run out of energy to the tune of Guardian on steroids, non-elite Shield of Regeneration, and even good, old fashioned lolmelee all becomes rather indispensable when facing constant explosions.
Though the frequency of this build's occurrence since the update hasn't changed, I was surprised that the essential composition of the build changed so entirely from the Whirling/Evisc. - Devastating Hammer - Sin/Dev #2 line up which predominated this build pre-update. Pre-update this build could have been said to operate by tactics, a balanced build more or less, if not heavily based on one type of pressure; now, I'd label this build a gimmick. Even following the Dervish nerf, as light as it was, and the subsequent trade-off of Grenth for Balthazar, this build has gotten only marginally easier to counter; to say the least, I'm seeing Pensive Guardian creep its way into the meta for the first time ANYWHERE because of this build. The conditions and the unblockable attacks the Balthazars pump is inane to play again or even to watch. The Fevered Dreams nerf has resulted in the reinstatement of the Blood Necro, wielding the Elite Signet of Suffering and doling out about as much pressure as it had been capable of pre-nerf (albeit, with its Elite spoken for, which is a relief for the opposing team).
Though a shift to a pressure meta cannot be said to be inherently gimmicky or reflective of poor play, but I cannot condone the use of builds whose use consists primarily of spamming attack skills and maintaining other highly-effective skills which effectively cannot be disabled or stripped. When looking from the standpoint of once observing an Dual Evisceration - Devastating Hammer - Cruel Spear Triple Melee build to the current meta, I cannot help but evaluate the necessary skill to play in GvG as depreciated and this disappoints me.
To my great delight, I've begun to see dual Hammer lines, with a single Balth or EDA in Trip Melee lately, with reasonable success.
I'm pleased. :)
America [FA] Spike
This is the general idea behind why I predicted Wounding Strike would find its way back to meta. Spam deep wound, with a compressed spike potential every 6 seconds. As long as you can fake spike like a champ, this build will spike fully armored, undamaged, W/ frontliners in a split-second when the time comes to. pew pew
Although this is by no means a new addition to the meta, this is making a small-screen comeback in an attempt to counteract the solid, steamrolling force of 3 Dervish, Trip Melee builds by abusing mobility and ganking ability. It revolves around picking apart the NPCs comprising the enemy "base" and soloing the Lord pit, while occupying the attention of the other team as they attempt to penetrate your own. Although this has been an effective strategy in the past, given the power of melee de-buffs and caster pressure, the Dervish Trip Melees seem to be giving it trouble this time. I attribute this to the raw power of Balthazar/EDA Dervishes. If the non-splitting team cannot hold/cannot adequately delay the opponent then this build has failed - and as well as this would counter a cohesive build like 3 Melee, on paper, it has not been up to snuff as of yet.
Still looking for that meta-changer. Maybe an incarnation of this could serve, but for now the meta persists.
Where did it all go?
GvG Triple Warrior
Before the update, this build was about as meta as could be. Now, I understand the the massive life steal and condition pressure meta eclipses the hell out of the traditional, Warrior frontliner mentality (i.e. a frontline composed of solely warriors, not the class entirely), but doesn't keeping two of the opposing team essential out of play (the 2 Dev variant) or being able to spike on demand (the 2 Shock Axe variant) hold enough clout in even this meta to compete? Or is this a simple war of attrition between a build which requires little more than a feeder-teardown mindset over the more complex mechanisms of playing Warrior, which the Warrior has lost?
Quite honestly, I'm beginning to miss the old frontlines. Condition spam and the various complimentary casters which accompany those Dervishes makes for extremely DULL play, past the odd Lyssa bars; is this mere nostalgia that I'm spouting? Seems manly enough to take a couple Dervishes with the right speccing, I think?
I used to search through Observation Mode just to find instances of this build.
There've been fewer cleaner spikes ever put into play than the current incarnation of the Invoke Spike, with the A/P vicious spear chucker. It's a joy to watch enemies seemingly evaporate from the field when this goes off and scrambling to occur to predict the target of the next one. Though it never got to meta status, I wonder where this has gone at all. Did the buff to EDA put this too far out of the question or does the pressure meta of 2-5 Dervish teams with Fevered Dreams and Fragility eclipse the viability of a clean-spike team in HA?
Although I'm no native to HA, given that I'm relatively new to the Guild Wars scene, I am quite familiar with this game's mechanics. To me, the greatest limp in any clean spike build was the clear telegraphing provided by when the melee designed to call the spike began to run at the intended target. Now, all talk of fake spiking aside, we know this to be the case: shadow steps have been put on frontliners to try and compensate in every build, on old school Melandru Dervishes and onto Eviscerate Warriors, until Shadowsteps were nerfed against spikes; that was the shape of it. To me, this is solved by an entirely ranged spike. With enough sense not to give up the advantage of 0 telegraphing, it seems that nothing short of the Infuse's godly reflexes will prevent his/her teammate's sudden combustion. That seems like a damn good advantage.
But mayhaps that's just me.
the GvG Overload Spike
Now honestly: I understand entirely where this build went. This probably rivals any build, noninclusive of the reviled Doomspike, in the speed at which it was nerfed once put into practice as a build. Coming right on the heels of the Mesmer update, which continues to receive flak to this day, this build made a spike out of three skills which, when spammed in unison, resulted in the target being promptly Dhuum'd. Although this was hilarious as anything to watch and run, this was a very blatant example of why it is bad to instill casters with gross, killing power. Really though, those Mesmer were utterly ridiculous to kill.
Nothing of Note to be seen here
With a Heavy weapon of whatever, that's almost 25 seconds of AoE Daze at 12 Strength.
Go go old school Steady Stance warrior reborn. (Except it's tedious as hell)
This D/N Orders bot actually works exceptionally well. Use SoMS for interrupt prevention and support physicals all day!
Split Ranger, run by [GN]. It worked. Wasn't good, necessarily, but made me ask: "What is this I'm seeing right now?" as it Mending Touched its way into killing the Bodyguard with a B-Surge sitting atop it.
More to come :>