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State of the Game — January 9, 2007

Alone With Grenth
Detailed analysis of a GvG team build

By Harold J. Chow

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.


Welcome to an exciting new year! With automated Guild Battle tournaments around the corner, many guilds will want to try out different team builds to find something they feel comfortable with in a competitive environment. To help with this process, I have put together a team build for us to analyze and even included skill template codes if you want to try it out.


Starting Framework

For guilds just starting out or struggling to climb the ladder, it helps to know what types of builds each player can handle. A real challenge to build designers arises when seeking a balance between including roles players feel comfortable with while retaining the ability to stand up to opposing guilds. While some may enjoy the "Alone With Grenth" build presented here, readers can focus on the design process and consider their own builds.

So let's say your guild leader asked you to design a balanced build for the upcoming tournament season featuring two Warriors, two Monks, and a Monk flag runner. Then, in typical guild leader fashion, he goes on vacation without defining further parameters such as your overall strategy or the type of offense to run.

Fortunately, Adam Sunstrom provided some good tips on Basic Build Design recently, which you have feverishly studied for guidance. You also watch Observer Mode religiously to get ideas for individual character builds. And, you remember seeing a lot of defensive spike builds in the metagame recently. Therefore, your build needs to have a plan for Victory or Death (VoD) as well as the power to break through an opponent's defense and make necessary kills. To answer these challenges, you decide to develop a balanced build with strong split possibilities and the cohesion to spike if forced into an 8v8 situation.

Knowing your build will have two Warriors, make sure you include the tools to help them do their jobs. Normally an efficient source of pressure, Warriors do a lot of damage. But their big obstacle is Blindness, which shows up quite a bit thanks to Blinding Surge and Ebon Dust Aura. Anti-melee Hexes such as Faintheartedness rarely appear in the current metagame, but you still should prepare for them. You also need the ability to disrupt opposing spikes and deal with pressure offenses.


Alone With Grenth Build

Character 1: Warrior/Assassin Template: AxNR0kcdHCbURvKnngBAGoAA
Skills:
"You're All Alone!" [Elite]
Dismember
Critical Chop
Shadow Walk
Dash
Healing Signet
Signet of Malice
Resurrection Signet
Attributes:
Axe Mastery=12+1+3
Tactics=11+1
Strength=6+1

"You're All Alone!"
"You're All Alone!" [Elite]
Warrior - No Attribute - Shout
Energy: 5
Activation: 0
Duration: 7
Recharge: 10
Shout. If target foe isn't near an ally, that foe suffers from Cripple and Weakness for 7 seconds.
This Axe Warrior pressures individual targets with melee attacks while charging up Dismember for spikes. Use "You're All Alone!" to snare isolated targets (like the opposing flag runner). On spikes, this Warrior teleports to the target with Shadow Walk to unleash a combination of Dismember and Critical Chop. Use Dash to cancel Shadow Walk and teleport out of danger or to catch up with targets. Signet of Malice combos well with "You're All Alone!" to clean up Conditions. Experienced Warriors may prefer Disrupting Dagger or Frenzy over Shadow Walk.
Character 2: Dervish/Warrior Template: AaISKzyD8Nowchui7x9BWAA
Skills:
Avatar of Grenth [Elite]
Wild Blow
Mystic Sweep
Victorious Sweep
Heart of Fury
Zealous Renewal
Pious Haste
Resurrection Signet
Attributes:
Scythe Mastery=12+1+3
Mysticism=12+1
Avatar of Grenth
Avatar of Grenth
Avatar of GrenthAvatar of Grenth [Elite]
dervish/Mysticism - Form
Energy: 15
Activation: 2
Duration: 10..45
Recharge: 30
Form. For 10..45 seconds, whenever you use an attack Skill, you also remove 1 Enchantment from your target, and your attacks deal cold damage. This Skill is disabled for 120 seconds.
While under the effects of Avatar of Grenth, this character uses attack skills to remove Enchantments from enemies. Wild Blow almost guarantees a removed Enchantment. Use Zealous Renewal to recoup Energy and to add random pressure damage. Try not to use Heart of Fury if you have an activated Pious Haste about to expire. On a spike, have Heart of Fury (and preferably Zealous Renewal) up and use Victorious Sweep followed immediately by Mystic Sweep. Use Wild Blow instead of Victorious Sweep if the target has Enchantments.
Character 3: Mesmer/Monk Template: A1QBIF8IbzcCup40igHoH0SQjA
Skills:
Energy Surge [Elite]
Wastrel's Demise
Spiritual Pain
Shatter Enchantment
Diversion
Leech Signet
Remove Hex
Resurrection Chant
Attributes:
Domination Magic=12+1+1
Inspiration Magic=9+1
Fast Casting=9+1
Healing Prayers=3
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.
Use Diversion to lock up opponents' skills and Remove Hex to help with Hex removal. Use Resurrection Chant as needed to preserve the team's Resurrection Signets. On a spike, use Spiritual Pain followed by Wastrel's Demise. Follow up with Energy Surge if needed, or save Energy Surge for a second spike while waiting for Spiritual Pain to recharge.
Character 4: Monk/Elementalist Template: AjJxjh8cpnJ31NdNpegMCIA
Skills:
Zealous Benediction [Elite]
Reversal of Fortune
Shield of Absorption
Dismiss Condition
Holy Veil
Protective Spirit
Glyph of Lesser Energy
Aegis
Attributes:
Protection Prayers=12+1+1
Divine Favor=12+1
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.
Basically, this Monk focuses on keeping people alive. On a split, this Monk goes with the offensive team due to better self-survivability. While with the group, this Monk should coordinate an Aegis chain with the Monk runner.
Character 5: Warrior/Monk Template: AxQxbiJlr5QY9LBmCrhNAkXFAA
Skills:
"You're All Alone!" [Elite]
Sever Artery
Final Thrust
Burst of Aggression
Enraging Charge
Healing Signet
Mending Touch
Resurrection Signet
Attributes:
Swordsmanship=12+1+3
Strength=9+1
Tactics=9+1
Protection Prayers=3

"You're All Alone!"
"You're All Alone!" [Elite]
Warrior - No Attribute - Shout
Energy: 5
Activation: 0
Duration: 7
Recharge: 10
Shout. If target foe isn't near an ally, that foe suffers from Cripple and Weakness for 7 seconds.
This Warrior should build up adrenaline for Final Thrust and notify the spike caller when this has occurred. On a spike, this Warrior should use Sever Artery followed immediately by Final Thrust while under the effects of Burst of Aggression. Despite having Mending Touch for Condition removal, this Warrior should strongly consider a Rune of Clarity over a Rune of Absorption.
Character 6: Mesmer/Elementalist Template: AlRBAF7IR4cVxpFhZgHoHIKEAA
Skills:
Blinding Surge [Elite]
Spiritual Pain
Shatter Enchantment
Shame
Gale
Diversion
Leech Signet
Resurrection Signet
Attributes:
Domination Magic=11+1+2
Inspiration Magic=9+1
Fast Casting=8+1
Air Magic=8
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.
This Mesmer uses Blinding Surge to keep enemy attackers Blind. This character can remove Enchantments and use Leech Signet and Gale to interrupt. Gale can also help snare a target. On a spike, this character uses Gale or Diversion on a non-targeted Monk and/or Spiritual Pain followed by Blinding Surge on the called target. Follow up with Energy Burn, or save it for a second spike while waiting for Spiritual Pain to recharge.
Character 7: Monk/Assassin Template: AzVRbdwTh6Pm6KJZmspvrukGoAD
Skills:
Light of Deliverance [Elite]
Infuse Health
Reversal of Fortune
Dismiss Condition
Shield of Absorption
Smite Hex
Dark Escape
Return
Attributes:
Divine Favor=10+1+1
Healing Prayers=11+1
Protection Prayers=10+1
Shadow Arts=1
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.
The Mo/A carries Infuse Health to save allies from opposing spikes. Use Light of Deliverance or Dismiss Condition (while under an Enchantment) for a self-heal after infusing. This Monk uses Dark Escape to catch spikes directed at her and Return to get away from Warrior trains. Because infusing requires quick reactions, this Monk uses Smite Hex for Hex removal so that she does not need to spend time canceling Holy Veil.
Character 8: Monk/Elementalist Template: AjRBya7Lh5UXnJ318qWsmEQ0qA
Skills:
Light of Deliverance [Elite]
Reversal of Fortune
Shield of Absorption
Mending Touch
Spirit Bond
Holy Veil
Aegis
Storm Djinn's Haste
Attributes:
Healing Prayers=11+1+1
Divine Favor=9+1
Protection Prayers=9+1
Air Magic=6
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.
This Monk serves as the flag runner. Storm Djinn's Haste allows this character to run flags faster, while Mending Touch helps counter "You're All Alone!" Warriors. Light of Deliverance and Aegis allow this Monk to aid the party while away from the battle. Make sure to coordinate with the other Mo/E to chain Aegis. Also, consider running a Rune of Restoration to reduce Crippled durations.

The build features a spike between its three melee characters and spike skills on the two Mesmers. Adding a third melee character stretches opposing anti-melee measures thin while upping offensive output. With Blinding Surge to hinder enemy attackers and dual Light of Deliverance to keep up with pressure teams, this build also features a fair amount of defense, although the build's defense often works best when splitting the opponent's offense. Your Warriors can remove their own Conditions, leaving the Monks free to focus on Condition removal for the Dervish, who in turn removes Enchantment buffs from opponents. Against Hex builds, the Me/Mo can assist with removing key Hexes such as Migraine.

For splits, characters one through four comprise the offensive split team while characters five through eight provide the defensive split. Against an opposing two-person split, the team can send back the Me/E and the flag runner to protect the base, or execute a four-four split. Against any offense this build cannot handle, the team can split and keep applying pressure to the opposing base while maneuvering for an opportunity to catch the opponent in a bad split. The build also has the option of splitting the two Warriors to the enemy base, as both have self-healing skills and speed boosts.

Of note, Shadow Prison may work better on a spike for the W/A, but for a less experienced team, Shadow Prison also has the effect of giving away spike targets. Even with good use of Diversion, Shadow Prison loses some effectiveness with more Monks using Hex Breaker. "You're All Alone!" has synergy with Signet of Malice and provides more utility on a split.


Equipment Considerations

Armor: The Warriors should consider using a full complement of Radiant Insignias due to the Energy demands of their builds.

Weapons: All players should carry a low-Energy weapon set and a high-Energy weapon set to combat Energy denial schemes and to give that extra boost when needed. The Monks should each carry a weapon with an Enchanting mod. In particular, the Mo/A should consider a Crippling Spear of Enchanting with +5 Energy and an off-hand item with a Fortitude mod for normal use and a Hale Staff of Fortitude on a swap against pure spike teams to help power Infuse Health.

Runes: Players have divided opinions over whether to run attribute runes or gain higher Health or Energy totals by using Runes of Vitae and Attunement. While the few extra points on your bars can help, you should strongly consider running attribute runes if you have skills that give better returns when you hit certain attribute ranks. For example, Character #4 gets Shield of Absorption to last 7 seconds instead of 6 by upping Protection Prayers from 13 to 14. The damage prevented in that one extra second easily outweighs the benefits of a Rune of Vitae. Although higher Health totals can help, good kiting and improved skill functionality often make up for that Health difference. The splitting aspect of this build should also allow you to get away with running superior attribute runes.


Modification

This build has quite a bit of room left for modification and, if you decide to run it, you should eventually tailor it to fit your team's style of play. Most notably, Shadow of Haste would provide a very powerful tool for a split build like this one, but I have not included it here because it takes a good deal of practice to use it effectively in Guild Battles.


Harold J. Chow is a freelance Guild Wars reporter. His in-game name is Guild Informant.