Zaishen Combat: Part One—Shock Axe Warrior
After completing the Team Trials quest (a series of fights against the AI in the Training Arenas) as described in the previous PvP Primer article, you unlock the Zaishen Challenge, where you fight more computer-controlled teams. Only this time the computer teams use different builds. Speak to Challenge Master Rioka to complete the unlocking process and open the selection of Zaishen missions. These missions share many similarities with the Training Arenas, though they present more difficult challenges.
While many combinations of skills work against the Zaishen, we'll start with tips for defeating them using a Shock Axe Warrior build. When used right it should beat each Zaishen team.
This build and permutations of it appear frequently in most aspects of PvP. Even if you never plan to play a Warrior in PvP, learning the basics firsthand can show you just what Warriors do, and possibly how they think. And if you understand how to play a Warrior, you can learn how to mitigate their damage when they come for you.
Defeat Each Zaishen Team
Instructions: Create a PvP-only Warrior. To build a common Axe Shock Warrior, you need a core of skills such as Eviscerate and Frenzy. Make sure to create armor with Radiant Insignia, as you need all the Energy you can get. Make a helmet with Axe Mastery +1, and pick a Stoneskin upgrade on armor to make sure your knockdown lasts longer. Grab an axe with bonus damage while in a Stance or while Health is above 50%. Apply runes if you have them unlocked.
Elementalist - Air Magic - Skill
Skill. Target touched foe is knocked down and struck for 10..60 lightning damage. This skill has 25% armor penetration and causes Exhaustion.
Warrior/Elementalist Axe Shock build:
Axe Mastery: 13 (12+1)
Air Magic: 5
Use the map to travel to the Zaishen Challenge (assuming you've unlocked it; if you haven't, complete the quests in the Isle of the Nameless).
Add the Archer, Healer, and Mage to your party and you're ready to go.
Click "Select Mission" and look for a map you want to try. For our purposes, any map will do. Below the map selection screen, open the drop-down menu and pick the team you wish to fight. We suggest trying each with the tactics as described below.
If you have difficulty, try starting with the Illusionary Weaponry Mesmers (the easiest of the Zaishen) or heading back to the Training Arenas to get used to playing as a Warrior.
"I Will Avenge You" Warriors
"I Will Avenge You!"
"I Will Avenge You!"
Warrior - Strength - Shout
Shout. For each dead ally, you gain 10 seconds of +3..7 Health regeneration and your attack speed increases by 25%.
Professions: Four Warrior/Rangers
Summary: This team relies on dead allies (such as pets) to heal themselves with a Warrior Shout often referred to as "IWAY."
Tactics: Go into Frenzy right away and attack the nearest Warrior. Do not go after pets; it only fuels IWAY. Trust your Monk to keep you alive at the start while you focus on dealing consistent damage to the target. You'll probably kill this first target before your adrenaline has fully built up, so save your adrenaline skills for when it resurrects. By going after the same target again, you reduce the number of dead allies they have to trigger IWAY and force them to stop attacking and use Resurrection Signets.
When you target him again, or when you switch targets to one that has low Health, pay attention to your position. Often an enemy pet will block your auto-attack pathway to the target, so you may have to strafe to break free.
Once they're out of Signets, the next three Warriors will be a lot harder to kill because they will be using IWAY. At the same time, they'll do a lot of damage because of an increased attack rate. So get ready to use Resurrection Signet on your own Monk if needed, watch your use of Frenzy, and Sprint away for a Healing Signet if you take too much damage.
Don't worry if you lose against this team. Try going on to another type of team if you keep losing, and come back to this one later. They do a lot of damage, and the Healer Hench has a tough time against IWAY.
Obsidian Spike Elementalists
Elementalist - Earth Magic - Spell
Spell. Deal 22..112 damage to target foe. This Spell ignores armor but causes Exhaustion.
Professions: Four Elementalist/Monks
Summary: They play defense at first, but eventually they turn and spike.
Tactics: Run right into the middle of them and start building adrenaline on the nearest target. Scan for any standing outside of the wards (circular rings of glowing yellow). If you see one outside the ward, target it, Shock it to the ground, and unload your adrenaline. By Shocking you ensure that he won't get away, move into the ward, or cast a healing spell before you kill him.
If you don't see one outside the ward, wait until they cast Obsidian Flame. Shock your target as he casts O Flame to knock him over and reduce the impending spike damage. Wait until the spike has finished and your Monk has healed, THEN go into Frenzy and kill a target with all your adrenal skills. Keep the target called for your team and you should take it down, even in the ward. Keep going after the same target. Shocking or killing one of the spikers makes it easier for your Monk.
PvP tip: Realize that two or three spikers can still kill you when you Frenzy.
Professions: Mesmer, Necro, Ranger, Warrior
Summary: This team attempts to kill largely through widespread Health degeneration. They have a Warrior inflicting constant pressure damage, and their Necromancer has some anti-Warrior ability.
Tactics: Sprint straight in for the Mesmer, keeping it as the called target. You want to take him down first, otherwise he will destroy your Healer. Frenzy as often as you want; the Degen Team rarely targets Warriors with direct damage. Kill the Necro next, as it has weaker armor than the Ranger or Warrior. Watch for resurrection attempts, and take out the Mesmer if it comes back up.
PvP tip: If you get Hexed with Faintheartedness from the Necro, notice how slowly you attack, even when Frenzied. In PvP, pay attention to Warrior-shutdown Hexes like this and ask your team to remove them from you.
Monk - Smiting Prayers - Enchantment Spell
Enchantment Spell. For 60 seconds, whenever you use a Skill that targets an ally, all foes adjacent to that target are struck for 5..35 fire damage and you lose 1 Energy.
Professions: Four Monks
Summary: Massed AoE damage with some light Hexing.
Tactics: Use Sprint to intercept the pack of smiters. Shock one to the ground to pull it out of the group and break their formation. Frenzy when he goes down (make sure the main body has moved away from you a little; otherwise you'll take too much damage for the Healer Hench to keep up with). As you attack the one you've pulled away, DON'T call it as a target. Let your team pick their own targets from the big mob. This way the smiters heal themselves rather than the one you've chosen to spike. With their inherently weak armor, these Monks go down relatively fast.
PvP tip: This situation illustrates the possibility of a common and deadly mistake for new Warriors: Frenzy + Healing Signet. Just for fun, try standing in the middle of the smiters and Frenzying while using Healing Signet. For more good times, make sure they've Hexed you with Scourge Healing. The double damage you take while in Frenzy, plus the reduced armor of Healing Signet, should kill you off pretty quick. A better tactic is to run away with Sprint (canceling the Frenzy), and healing when out of the AoE damage.
Illusionary Weaponry Mesmers
Illusionary Weaponry [Elite]
Mesmer - Illusion Magic - Enchantment Spell
Enchantment Spell. For 30 seconds, you deal no damage in melee, but whenever you attack in melee, target foe takes 8..40 damage.
Professions: Four Mesmer/Warriors
Summary: Definitely the most obvious glass cannons in PvP, these Mesmers suffer from a fragile defense, though they can catch unprepared players unawares with a torrent of armor-ignoring damage.
Tactics: Frenzy as long as they don't attack you. If they do, Shock the one attacking you and run away. Due to weak armor, these targets fall quickly. Unload your adrenaline every time it recharges, and keep your target called.
PvP tip: Illusionary Weaponry requires a narrow set of skills to work properly, and is easily countered by Enchantment removal or running away.
"Victory is Mine" Trappers
"Victory is Mine!"
"Victory is Mine!" [Elite]
Warrior - Tactics - Shout
Shout. You gain 10..68 Health and 3..7 Energy for each Condition suffered by target foe.
Professions: Four Ranger/Warriors
Summary: One of the hardest Zaishen teams for a player with Henchmen to battle. They have tough armor, strong self-healing, anti-Warrior Conditions, and widespread Health degeneration ability.
Tactics: Defeating this team may require several attempts. A lot of it depends on positioning.
Approach cautiously. Wait for them to get into an open area, and then pick your target. Select a trapper on the outside of the group and start smacking away. Frenzy as often as you can, but Sprint out and use Healing Signet when you start losing too much Health. Generally, you can stand and take it with just a couple of Traps activating, but only for a few seconds. Also, run away if you get Blindness. It becomes pointless for you to take damage if you can't reciprocate with any of your own.
Use your adrenaline skills whenever they recharge, but make sure the target hasn't gone into Whirling Defense. Interrupt Troll Unguent or Dust Trap with Shock, and keep the target called for your team.
If you get stuck in a stalemate, or your team appears on the verge of collapse, retreat to a safer position. This forces the trappers to follow you and set their Traps again; it also grants your Monk a reprieve and lets him top off the Health bars. By changing the position on the field, you can influence the match in your favor.
Don't get discouraged. These trappers illustrate the value of positioning, and battlefield awareness sometimes eludes even veteran players. Stick this one out until you win, and you'll come away with a much deeper understanding of how movement on the field can affect the outcome of a match.
PvP tip: Traps do a lot of damage to multiple targets, but you can interrupt them easily with a simple attack.
The Shock Axe build offers just one way to attack the Zaishen. We described this build first because you'll see it quite a bit in PvP. Learning how it works should enhance your overall understanding of any PvP match. But you can try other builds against the Zaishen. Just know that, when working with Hench, the Shock Axe gives you a good chance of taking out all the different Zaishen teams. Other PvP builds you might've seen cater to more specific roles within a larger team build, and may prove difficult against some of the Zaishen.