Guild Wars
 






HomePage

ArenaNet

NCsoft



State of the Game— April 30, 2007

Top Observations

By Christian Brellisford

Special note: Each State of the Game article presents the opinions and insights of one game observer. These observations are personal in nature and do not reflect the opinions of ArenaNet. While ArenaNet does review each State of the Game article to assure that it offers content that is respectful of all players, we intend to allow our reporters the freedom to inject some personal opinion into descriptions of the current atmosphere of competitive play in Guild Wars, and to express views based on their experience and observation.


In today's article I observe a top guild and shamelessly dissect their build. I detail why they chose their skills, talk about the opponent's guild hall choice, and discuss strategic maneuvers. While this is useful for people just starting PvP, regulars of Observer Mode may find this analysis quite familiar, and even comforting.


Current Metagame

Price of Failure
Price of Failure
Price of FailurePrice of Failure
Necromancer - Curses - Hex Spell
Energy: 15
Activation: 2
Duration: 30
Recharge: 20
Hex Spell. For 30 seconds, target foe has a 25% chance to miss with attacks and takes 1..46 damage whenever that foe fails to hit in combat.

The current metagame is fluidly shifting. Recent balance changes have induced rethinking of previous skill choices. However, even with major changes to Spirit of Failure and Necromancer skills such as Price of Failure, Hex builds are still ubiquitous. Also, physical damage dealers like Warriors, Rangers, Paragons, and Dervishes are quite common in bunches for both gimmick and balanced builds.

Sun and Moon Slash
Sun and Moon Slash
Sun and Moon SlashSun and Moon Slash
Warrior - Swordsmanship - Attack
Adrenaline: 8
Activation: 0
Recharge: 0
Attack. Attack target foe twice. These attacks cannot be blocked.

The recent buffs to the conjure skills have also empowered melee characters. Specifically, a lot of teams are running various conjure skills on sword Warriors. The ability to use Sun and Moon Slash with a conjure adds quite a bit of extra damage against a team not prepared with proper removals or armor buffs.

These metagame conventions are followed by a great guild from Japan called Supernova Jpn [SpNv]. They recently fought against a top guild from Europe called Bambis Dont Say [Meow]. Both guilds have competed in tournaments and have experience under pressure. At the time of this writing, they also sat right next to each other on the ladder, making for an interesting and tightly-played match.


The Setup

There were two philosophies of builds going on in this top tier matchup. [Meow] ran a Paragon Spike build. They used five Paragons with various Shouts and a wide variety of elites along with a two-Monk backline and a Ritualist flag runner. [SpNv], on the other hand, ran a balanced Hex pressure build with two Warriors, a Ranger, two Hexers, two Monks, and an Elementalist flag runner.


Supernova Jpn's Build

Because Supernova won the match, I chose to focus on their build. There are some missing skills only because the players might not have used them. I'm assuming that if I list seven skills on non-Monks, the eighth skill was probably a Resurrection Signet.

Crippling Slash
Crippling Slash
Crippling SlashCrippling Slash [Elite]
Warrior - Swordsmanship - Attack
Adrenaline: 6
Activation: 0
Recharge: 0
Attack. If this attack hits, target foe is Crippled for 5..15 seconds and begins Bleeding for 10..25 seconds.
Warrior/Dervish: Bull's Strike – Frenzy – Enraging Charge – Crippling Slash – Gash – Final Thrust – Healing Signet
Conjure Frost
Conjure Frost
Conjure FrostConjure Frost
Elementalist - Water Magic - Enchantment Spell
Energy: 10
Activation: 1
Duration: 60
Recharge: 45
Enchantment Spell. For 60 seconds, if you're wielding a cold weapon, your attacks strike for an additional 7..22 cold damage.
Warrior/Elementalist: Conjure Frost – Crippling Slash – Gash – Sun and Moon Slash – Rush – Healing Signet
Natural Stride
Natural Stride
Natural StrideNatural Stride
Ranger - Wilderness Survival - Stance
Energy: 5
Activation: 0
Duration: 1..8
Recharge: 12
Stance. For 1..8 seconds, you run 33% faster and have a 50%% chance to block incoming attacks. Natural Stride ends if you become Hexed or Enchanted.
Ranger/Monk: Apply Poison – Burning Arrow – Savage Shot – Distracting Shot – Troll Unguent – Natural Stride – Mending Touch
Signet of Humility
Signet of Humility
Signet of HumilitySignet of Humility
Mesmer - Inspiration Magic - Signet
Activation: 3
Recharge: 20
Signet. Target foe's elite skill is disabled for 1..16 seconds.
Mesmer/Monk: Mantra of Persistence – Migraine – Conjure Phantasm – Images of Remorse – Spirit of Failure – Power Drain – Signet of Humility
Reaper's Mark
Reaper's Mark
Reaper's MarkReaper's Mark [Elite]
Necromancer - Soul Reaping - Hex Spell
Energy: 5
Activation: 1
Duration: 30
Recharge: 15
Hex Spell. For 30 seconds, target foe suffers -1..5 Health degeneration. If that foe dies while Hexed with Reaper's Mark, you gain 5..15 Energy.
Necro/Elementalist: Glyph of Lesser Energy – Reaper's Mark – Parasitic Bond – Faintheartedness – Reckless Haste – Price of Failure – Rotting Flesh
Spirit Bond
Spirit Bond
Spirit BondSpirit Bond
Monk - Protection Prayers - Enchantment Spell
Energy: 10
Activation: 0.25
Duration: 8
Recharge: 2
Enchantment Spell. For 8 seconds, whenever target ally takes more than 60 damage from the next 10 attacks or Spells, that ally is healed for 40..100 Health.
Monk/Elementalist: Restore Condition – Reversal of Fortune – Gift of Health – Spirit Bond – Holy Veil – Glyph of Lesser Energy – Aegis – Shield of Absorption
Light of Deliverance
Light of Deliverance
Light of DeliveranceLight of Deliverance [Elite]
Monk - Healing Prayers - Spell
Energy: 5
Activation: 1
Recharge: 5
Spell. All party members under 80% Health are healed for 5..80 Health.
Monk/Elementalist: Light of Deliverance – Glyph of Lesser Energy – Aegis – Reversal of Fortune – Spirit Bond
Icy Shackles
Icy Shackles
Icy ShacklesIcy Shackles [Elite]
Elementalist - Water Magic - Hex Spell
Energy: 5
Activation: 1
Duration: 4..10
Recharge: 12
Hex Spell. For 4..10 seconds, target foe's movement speed is reduced by 66%. While under the effects of an Enchantment, that foe's movement is reduced by 90%%.
Elementalist/Ritualist: Icy Shackles – Freezing Gust – Deep Freeze – Storm Djinn's Haste – Weapon of Warding – Wielder's Boon

The Match

They fought on Jade Isle, the guild hall of Bambis Dont Say. [Meow] likely chose this guild hall because the spiked coral acts as a split deterrent. The Paragon build can deal maximum damage when teams are limited to minimal splits. Also, the Paragons can bunch up in the tight quarters at the flag stand to take full advantage of Shouts.

Jpn realized almost immediately that they needed to split when they suffered a couple of deaths and started to retreat. Their split strategy was simple: send the Ranger and Warrior into the enemy base. They both had self heals, so they could travel back and forth through the coral with minimal damage. These two characters can inflict five Conditions, including Crippled, a good snaring option on split teams for positional advantages. The Ranger also carries two interrupts, crucial on a successful split to interrupt player defenders and NPC self-healing.

In this specific match, [SpNv]'s split was so successful that they forced Bambi to turtle from the 15 minute mark all the way to VoD. With depleted NPC's from Jpn's offensive split, [Meow] erupted from their base and tried a full gank across the coral only to end up dying shortly after the 20 minute mark. Jpn showed superior tactics in sending the right characters at the right time to overpower a potentially dangerous 8v8 team. Even though they took some deaths, they hung on for the victory in the long run.


Skill Choices

Why did Supernova Jpn choose the skills they did? Mostly, these skills and builds fit perfectly with the metagame. Each choice has a foundation of trial and error behind it, tested by various teams across many matches.

The Conjure Frost sword Warrior is part of the current metagame and enhances damage per second. Conjure Frost works best with Sun and Moon Slash because it cannot be blocked and hits twice, triggering the extra damage on both hits. The downfall to Conjure Warriors, however, is that the right armor bonuses resist their damage. If an enemy brings a backup shield with +10 armor against cold damage, the Conjure Frost damage decreases.

Supernova's second Warrior has more direct damage potential, but is more Energy dependent with skills like Frenzy and Bull's Strike. It also doesn't have the extra conjure damage. This Warrior generally opens up with an outburst of damage against a Monk. As soon as the Monk starts to kite, he uses Bull's Strike to knock it down. It can be a deadly combination with a well timed attack from the other Warrior.

The Ranger is also typical in today's metagame. It can spread Condition pressure via Apply Poison and Burning Arrow and has all the ingredients to make a good split character. It can interrupt, has a speed boost and a self heal, and can remove Conditions with Mending Touch. Jpn uses this Ranger as their split character and split defense character. This Ranger had a field day against [Meow]. Shouts and Chants from Paragons generally take longer to activate, making them prime targets for a Ranger interrupter. Interrupts on any key Shout or skill can turn tides in large player battles. And when this Ranger splits off, [Meow]'s Ritualist couldn't handle the pressure from the Conditions.

Power Drain
Power Drain
Power DrainPower Drain
Mesmer - Inspiration Magic - Spell
Energy: 5
Activation: 0.25
Recharge: 25
Spell. If target foe is casting a Spell or Chant, that Skill is interrupted and you gain 1..31 Energy.

The Mesmer has the roll of Monk disruption. This Illusion Mesmer is also fairly standard. It uses Mantra of Persistence to increase the efficiency of Illusion Hexes. The Mesmer also packs Power Drain for Energy management (which is much easier to use when Migraine makes spell casting slower). If the enemy has elite Hex removal such as Divert or Expel Hexes, the Mesmer uses Signet of Humility to shut them down, making Hexes stick longer. In the game against the Bambis, this character took a lot of focus fire because they only had Monks for spellcasters. The Mesmer had to overextend to stick Hexes on proper targets, often exposing himself to danger and dragging the Monks forward to heal him.

[SpNv] once again uses standard metagame conventions with the Necromancer. This is the primary Hexer on the team, looking mainly to Hex incoming physical damage dealers. Skills like Reckless Haste and Price of Failure work incredibly well together for both damage and disruption. Add in standard cover Hexes like Parasitic Bond and the degen from Reaper's Mark, and this Necromancer causes a lot of problems. [Meow] had two copies of Expel Hexes on their build, but the Mesmer controlled one via Signet of Humility. Despite the remaining Expel Hexes, the Necromancer spread Hexes fast enough that they still caused problems in the main fight.

Deep Freeze
Deep Freeze
Deep FreezeDeep Freeze
Elementalist - Water Magic - Hex Spell
Energy: 25
Activation: 3
Duration: 10
Recharge: 15
Hex Spell. You cause a Deep Freeze at target foe's location. All foes in this location are struck for 10..85 cold damage, and for 10 seconds, they move 66% slower.

Jpn's backline consists of two Monks and a Water Elementalist flag runner. The Monks are designed to remove heavy Conditions through Restore Condition and supply party-wide heals with Light of Deliverance. The Elementalist runner has multiple water snares to help with split defense as well as to cause positioning problems for the opposing team. During the match, this Elementalist spread Deep Freeze deep into enemy lines so the [Meow] casters couldn't kite and the Jpn Warriors could catch up to targets that much faster. Area Hexes like this also help cover other Hexes in the build and overload removal capability.

Supernova Jpn's build isn't revolutionary, which is why I chose it. It is a perfect example of how to use simple skills that work together in a well-balanced build. They used these skills at maximum efficiency on proper targets and executed perfect split strategy against a Paragon spike build.


Christian Brellisford is a college student currently studying video game design in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in hopes of pursuing a career in the field. A gamer since an early age, Christian has been involved with Guild Wars since the E3 for Everyone Event in 2004, and currently leads the Spirits of War guild.