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PC - Guild Wars 2
By: Naproxen - at March 12, 2013

Dungeon / Fractal Mesmer Build - Guild Wars 2

I. THE ROLE OF MESMERS

Guild Wars 2 MesmerMesmers are perhaps the most versatile characters in Guild Wars 2. Having spent a lot of time in front of my computer playing Guild Wars 2, I have seen glass cannon mesmers, healing/boon mesmers and even tank mesmers. Of course, the versatility of classes was something that Arena Net had been promising its players since long before there was even a working alpha build for the game. Nonetheless, the Mesmer is, by far, my favourite character and perhaps one of the most useful classes in the game. Yet despite their versatility, the Mesmers often have a very specific role in dungeons and fractal runs. These are:

1. to cast time warp – specifically, if you are running CoF (citadel of flame), the standard setup for a 6 minute speed run of path one consists of four berserker build warriors and one Mesmer. In this case, the sole purpose of the Mesmer is to cast the time warp on boss fights and allow the berserkers to kill the boss faster (hence “speed” run). 2. to cast portal – rarely used after the second chest in CoF to get past the rolling flame boulders, or more commonly in fractal runs for the Swampland Fractal where the wisps have to be put into trees at the same time. The Mesmer makes the more difficult long distance runs easy through the use of his portal. 3. to act as DPS – the Mesmer is a devastating DPS class, and even though it is only his secondary role (as the warriors will usually be the primary DPS source), he would be effective at it, or risk slowing down any speed runs and making boss fights more difficult 4. to act as a tank – this is perhaps a more debatable role, but with the ability to summon illusions and disable enemies, the Mesmer has the single best survival possibility in PvE gameplay

Can a Mesmer play all these roles at the same time? The answer is a most definite yes. I would like to show you my build in this guide, and explain to you how and why it works. I would also like to discourage you from using the phantasm build, which is growing in popularity in Guild Wars 2, but cannot compete, with my clone build in PvE gameplay.

II. THE BUILD

To satisfy the first two roles, a Mesmer simply needs to take the skills “Time Warp” and “Portal Entre”. To be able to perform in the other two roles, a more detailed build is needed. My build, on the Guild Wars 2 build calculator can be seen graphically here.

III. HOW THE BUILD WORKS

Guild Wars 2 PVPThe idea behind the build is to have countless ways to create clones. Here is where many people will say “why bother with clones when phantasm builds outperform clones any day”. They would be right. In sPVP, when I play tested the clone build for PvP, it lost to a phantasm build every single time. When I tested them for DPS on a stationary target, the phantasm build did more damage than the clone build. However, in real PvE situations, the phantasm build performed poorly. The reason is that the phantasm build relies on hard hitting phantasms to deal damage. They are a lot more powerful than clones, but have long cooldowns to be cast. When your phantasms are killed by boss AoE attacks or random damage sources, you are left crippled. The clone build, while perhaps dealing less damage with a single clone, can replace clones indefinitely, and thus sustain a higher DPS level over time.

Clone generation comes through illusionary leap on the short sword, mirror images on the utility slot, phase retreat on the staff and passive skills V and X on the duelling trait line. In addition, the focus allows for phantasmal warden and the staff for phantasmal warlock (although no passive skills will be devoted towards these phantasms). This means that you have seven ways to create illusions, in which the mirror images and duelling trait X can create two clones rather than one. This finally means that a Mesmer at the onset of a fight can create nine clones – three times the allowed maximum.

IV. THE DPS ROLE

I did not include armour in my online build as I am sure that people will have different ideas of how much magic find they should socket rather than direct damage. This is a topic of discussion for another day, and something that you should agree upon with your guild – more speed or more magic find. However, I suggest gear with condition damage as the primary and power and vitality as secondary’s. This will provide you with the desired damage boost, and is very easy to obtain. In fact, it is exactly the stats that the Citadel of Flame armour gives – the most commonly speed run dungeon in Guild Wars 2.

Guild Wars 2 Winds of ChaosSo, how does this build deal its damage? The clones cast winds of chaos (staff number one skill). With all your clones deployed, you can stack the bleeding condition on your opponent to a ridiculous extent. Bleeding is a condition, and your gear is all about increasing condition damage. The power stats give that little extra punch on every hit. Just having yourself and three clones spam winds of chaos is enough to put some serious damage over time on the enemy. In addition, the phantasmal warlock deals damage based on the number of different condition on an enemy. Between winds of chaos and chaos storm, you will have quite a few conditions of your own, but when in a group, this will be even more. And finally, for the grand finale, you will have noticed that my trait build also favours direct mind wrack damage and vulnerability with every shatter. Every time mind wrack is off cooldown, use it! The damage is very nice, it is AoE and so can kill off adds, and it will inflict some fun conditions that you put in the trait lines. Of course, with the clone build, replacing the clones is not a problem. So, as soon as you send one batch of clones to explode, you instantly have another. This will not outperform three living phantasms in terms of direct DPS, but you can replace your clones, while the phantasm Mesmer cannot.

V. THE TANK ROLE

Guild Wars 2 Female TankGuild Wars 2 does not have tanks. That is fair enough. What I mean by tank build is the ability for you as a Mesmer to be able to take damage yourself and to be able to relieve your allies from taking damage. This is very easy with the clone build. With the ability to create nine clones at a time, you should always be surrounded by clones. If a particular boss constantly hits you with AoE, you may have to decrease the frequency of your mind wracks to not sacrifice clones so often, but you would never find yourself in a situation without any clones.

The obvious advantage is that more clones means more targets. Sometimes a particular mob or boss will fire an attack at a clone. Every time he does that, you prevent damage that could have potentially been done to you or one of your allies. And you did not even have to do anything other than summon a clone! This is the easy part – an advantage you give to the team simply by being there. In addition, the ability to quickly replace clones means that in a particularly tough fight, you can use the diversion or distortion shatter skills to either prevent the enemy from attacking (daze) or prevent the attacks from striking (distortion). Once again, since you can replace clones so easily, you may use both skills if necessary and avoid the mind wrack for that one situation.

From the trait tree, duelling skill V (desperate decoy) will cloak you (and, of course, leave a clone) when you are at 25 % life. This is a great escape, and with the vitality secondary on your gear, you can be certain that in most cases, you will have enough life to go invisible before you die – whereas if you did not have vitality, many hits could bring your from 30 % straight to 0, without achieving the < 25 % required for the cloak. After your clone is made, do not forget ether feast. You heal for the number of illusions you have. Even if they somehow all die, your desperate decoy will help you out with the strength of your heal.

Guild Wars 2 Blurred FrenzyFinally, one of the most powerful skills in Guild Wars 2, blurred frenzy, can help you survive huge damage. Think about the Alpha at the end of path three in Crucible of Eternity (CoE p3). He does massive AoE damage, which is everywhere and requires a perfectly timed dodge to evade. The AoE circles pop up and the whole team suddenly is tumbling to safety. Not the Mesmer! As the AoE comes up the Mesmer activates blurred frenzy, which not only makes him immune to damage, but allows him to continue dealing damage to the Alpha. Nobody kills a clone Mesmer!

VI. FINAL COMMENTS

The focus is replaceable, but I keep it as it is the only source of movement speed for a Mesmer, which is curse with being the only light armour class with no natural speed boosts (likes thieves or necromancers). The phantasmal warden is effective against structures, something that this build generally does little against. Do not assault a castle gate in WvW with the clone build.

I have tested many builds for Mesmers, and I have spent a lot of time in game. This is the build with which you will NEVER die and be able to perform all tasks expected of a Mesmer in any dungeon or fractal run. Try it out, and I hope that it works for you as well as it did for me.

For a lot more useful tips, I would check out Zhaitan's guide, there's a small fee for it, but well worth it in my opinion.


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PC - Guild Wars 2
Dungeon / Fractal Mesmer Build

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