Guild Wars
 






HomePage

ArenaNet

NCsoft



State of the Game—January 22, 2007

Surging Melandru: Another GvG Build Analysis

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.


Another year passes and new builds are developing all the time. Even though some things remain constant, there is still an ever-changing metagame within Guild Wars that guilds should keep an eye on when designing team builds.

After initial GvG testing of builds and strategies, Spirits of War decided on a build to play while waiting for the next shake-up of balance changes. After experimenting with Hex pressure last year we changed to a spike-style build this year. The result is a solid build that held up to top teams on the ladder and gave us an opportunity to train new members and gain valuable experience.


The Surging Melandru Build

Character 1: Dervish/Assassin
Template: A6NSKris6IfDwDYvd9dHNBFA

Avatar of Melandru
Avatar of Melandru
Avatar of MelandruAvatar of Melandru [Elite]
dervish/Mysticism - Form
Energy: 25
Activation: 2
Duration: 10..70
Recharge: 30
Form. For 10..70 seconds, you have +100 Health, you are unaffected by Conditions, and your attacks deal earth damage. This Skill is disabled for 120 seconds.

Skills:
Avatar of Melandru, Wearying Strike, Chilling Victory, Harrier's Grasp, Natural Healing, Disrupting Dagger, Dash, Resurrection Signet

Attributes:
Mysticism: 14 (12+1+1)
Scythe Mastery: 12 (11+1)
Wind Prayers: (6+1)

Avatar of Melandru bypasses the large amount of Blinding skills currently used in the metagame. The extra Health also gives a near guarantee that Chilling Victory does its maximum damage on spikes. Use your interrupt to disrupt important spells or enemy resurrection attempts.


Character 2: Dervish/Assassin
Template: A6NSKris6IfDwDYvd9dHNBFA

Avatar of Melandru
Avatar of Melandru
Avatar of MelandruAvatar of Melandru [Elite]
dervish/Mysticism - Form
Energy: 25
Activation: 2
Duration: 10..70
Recharge: 30
Form. For 10..70 seconds, you have +100 Health, you are unaffected by Conditions, and your attacks deal earth damage. This Skill is disabled for 120 seconds.

Skills:
Avatar of Melandru, Wearying Strike, Chilling Victory, Harrier's Grasp, Natrual Healing, Disrupting Dagger, Dash, Resurrection Signet

Attributes:
Mysticism: 14 (12+1+1)
Scythe Mastery: 12 (11+1)
Wind Prayers: (6+1)

While Character 1 spikes primarily with Chilling Victory, Character 2 is responsible for using Wearying Strike to apply Deep Wounds. Hardly any spike is effective without some way to inflict Deep Wound. Character 1 follows up with another Wearying Strike in case the enemy removes the first Deep Wound. Also try to spike while in Form but don't forget to back away from the front lines to reactivate your Avatar.


Character 3: Mesmer/Monk
Template: A1UAcBOYzfMnAc6NtIMDuJtE0IA

Energy Surge
Energy Surge
Energy SurgeEnergy Surge [Elite]
Mesmer - Domination Magic - Spell
Energy: 10
Activation: 2
Recharge: 20
Spell. Target foe loses 3..8 Energy. For each point of Energy lost, that foe and all nearby foes take 10 damage.

Skills:
Energy Surge, Spiritual Pain, Wastrel's Demise, Shatter Enchantment, Shame, Draw Conditions, Remove Hex, Resurrection Chant

Attributes: Domination Magic: 14 (12+1+1)
Fast Casting 13: (12+1)
Healing Prayers: 3

Character 3 is our main Area of Effect damage dealer. This character spikes with Energy Surge or Spiritual Pain and follows up with either Shatter Enchantment or Wastrel's Demise. Also, this character has the hard rez on the build and Hex/Condition removal to help the Monks against high pressure teams.


Character 4: Mesmer/Elementalist
Template: AlNAcBO4cVxp30igHQUgMEAA

Blinding Surge
Blinding Surge
Blinding SurgeBlinding Surge [Elite]
Elementalist - Air Magic - Spell
Energy: 10
Activation: 0.75
Recharge: 4
Spell. Target foe is struck for 5..50 lightning damage and Blinded for 2..8 seconds. If that foe is under the effects of an Enchantment, all adjacent foes are also Blinded for 2..8 seconds. This Spell has 25% armor penetration.

Skills:
Blinding Surge, Spiritual Pain, Wastrel's Demise, Shatter Enchantment, Diversion, Gale, Glyph of Lesser Energy, Resurrection Signet

Attributes:
Domination Magic: 14 (12+1+1)
Fast Casting 11: (10+1)
Air Magic: 10

With a dual role, this Mesmer keeps enemies Blind and comes in for spikes with other skills. It's especially important to put Blindness on anything moving into the backline, because this generally signals an impending spike. When not casting Blinding Surge, this Mesmer spikes with Spiritual Pain and Wastrel's Demise. Use Gale to knockdown a Monk during a spike or to isolate an opponent from a retreating team.


Character 5: Necromancer/Elementalist
Template: AkNANGf8oCHDHiHBsIWgMEAA

Spoil Victor
Spoil Victor
Spoil VictorSpoil Victor [Elite]
Necromancer - Blood Magic - Hex Spell
Energy: 10
Activation: 1
Duration: 5..20
Recharge: 10
Hex Spell. For 5..20 seconds, whenever target foe attacks or casts a Spell on a creature with less Health that foe loses 25..100 Health.

Skills:
Spoil Victor, Parasitic Bond, Faintheartedness, Strip Enchantment, Ward Against Melee, Ward Against Foes, Glyph of Lesser Energy, Resurrection Signet

Attributes:
Blood Magic: 14 (12+1+1)
Curses: 8 (7+1)
Earth Magic: 9
Soul Reaping: 7 (6+1)

We use this as a free slot to adapt to the metagame. It allows flexibility in the build, with options including Mesmers for disruption, Necromancers for Hex pressure, Elementalists for spike skills and Area of Effect, or a character good at splitting. Currently our Necromancer runs pressure with Spoil Victor and covers it with quick Hexes. Spoil Victor can really deter enemy Dervishes from attacking and can also distract enemy Monks. Strip Enchantment supplements the Mesmer's Enchantment removal.


Character 6: Monk/Assassin
Template: AzRRLfME/1YpJJukN9M5uKwagA

Infuse Health
Infuse Health
Infuse HealthInfuse Health
Monk - Healing Prayers - Spell
Energy: 10
Activation: 0.25
Recharge: 0
Spell. Lose half your current Health. Target other ally is healed for 100..136% of the amount you lost.

Skills:
Glimmer of Light, Infuse Health, Smite Hex, Dismiss Condition, Reversal of Fortune, Shield of Absorption, Return, Dark Escape

Attributes:
Healing Prayers: 12 (10+1+1)
Divine Favor: 12 (11+1)
Protection Prayers: 11 (10+1)

This is our primary infuser for spike protection. It also has some quick Healing spells and basic Protection skills. Depending on the split, this character generally stays with the more aggressive team.


Character 7: Monk/Assassin
Template: AzRRLfME/1MTur1jL9mumIwagA

Zealous Benediction
Zealous Benediction
Zealous BenedictionZealous Benediction [Elite]
Monk - Protection Prayers - Spell
Energy: 10
Activation: 0.75
Recharge: 4
Spell. Heal target ally for 30..180 Health. If target was below 50% Health, you gain 7 Energy.

Skills: Reversal of Fortune, Shield of Absorption, Protective Spirit, Zealous Benediction, Dismiss Condition, Holy Veil, Return, Dark Escape

Attributes:
Protection Prayers: 14 (12+1+1)
Divine Favor: 12 (11+1)
Shadow Arts: 6

This Protection Monk casts Zealous Benediction on the infuser as well as using Protection Prayers for general damage negation.


Character 8: Elementalist/Monk
Template: A2MASLz3cV9GKNRBy4joVtbA

Blinding Surge
Blinding Surge
Blinding SurgeBlinding Surge [Elite]
Elementalist - Air Magic - Spell
Energy: 10
Activation: 0.75
Recharge: 4
Spell. Target foe is struck for 5..50 lightning damage and Blinded for 2..8 seconds. If that foe is under the effects of an Enchantment, all adjacent foes are also Blinded for 2..8 seconds. This Spell has 25% armor penetration.

Skills: Blinding Surge, Lightning Strike, Arc Lightning, Gale, Glyph of Lesser Energy, Heal Party, Storm Djinn's Haste, Restful Breeze

Attributes:
Air Magic: 14 (12+1+1)
Energy Storage: 11 (10+1)
Healing Prayers: 8

This is the primary flag runner, which changes according to the metagame. This version can deal out enough damage to kill, but also has some self healing and a potential snare. Even though the build has no Water Hexes, Arc Lightning serves as another cheap damage spell that enemies can't dodge or hide from behind a wall, unlike Lightning Orb. Against high pressure teams like Hex-heavy builds, this character sits back and uses Glyph of Lesser Energy for multiple castings of Heal Party. In those cases our Necromancer takes up flag running.


Modular Build Construction

When Spirits of War put this build together we designed it so we could add different characters based on an evolving metagame.

The Necromancer originally spiked with the team, but we found that forcing enemy Monks to cope with Hex pressure and a high damage spike was a better combination than a straight spike.

We have also used an Obsidian Flame Elementalist in this position too. Wards can add much needed defense against the Dervishes prevalent in the metagame. The Earth Magic attribute line also has knockdowns or can be paired with Water Magic snares for easier target killing.

A pure split character could also occupy this slot. The pressure coming from a rear split might be beneficial against amateur teams. Top teams, however, generally are prepared for splits and often a lone character can't apply proper pressure.

Lastly, characters' attributes can change according to the current metagame. For example, the Domination Mesmer can easily drop points into Fast Casting for extra points in Inspiration. This allows for Energy management like Drain Enchantment or a shutdown skill like Signet of Humility.


Dealing with Splits

On this build we use an Even-Odd style of splitting. The even players, characters 2, 4, 6, and 8, are part of the rear split while the off characters maintain pressure on the front. Since we use a spike-based build we always look to engage the enemy with a numbers advantage and play defensively on our splits. Generally, the flag runner assesses the professions and skills of the enemy split and then calls for the proper counters to return and minimize rear damage while maintaining a spike advantage on the front.


Strengths and Weaknesses

During the last few weeks we've determined which enemies we're strong against and which ones give us some problems.

Overall, this build has very basic Hex removal. Against high pressure teams with a lot of Hexes it becomes hard to maintain the spike, so we counter those teams with dynamic tactics and splits.

We have had success against teams designed for splitting. We've gone up against top teams and lost, but by studying their tactics, we were often able to counter with a different split and secure a victory. Both employing and defending against a split strategy is often a matter of experience, though, and we've certainly paid the price with some bad calls against split teams.


Success

Currently Spirits of War has had above average success since we've changed to this build. We've won more games than we've lost and have had solid victories against top guilds, although we've also had some bad losses against lower ranked guilds. The build isn't always why we win or lose. Sometimes success is based on strategic decisions made in game. In a close match it only takes one mistake to lose.

This build makes use of popular conventions in the metagame right now. Wastrel's Demise is a very powerful Mesmer skill and having Dervishes immune to Blindness makes our damage strong and fast. Our tactics are improving and we're always looking to adapt to the metagame, especially when balance changes get introduced.


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. He blames Kisst for everything.