Friday, June 22, 2012

sPvP Condition DS Necromancer Guide


+28 Condition damage
+4% Condition duration
+55 Condition damage
+6% Condition duration
+100 Condition duration
+28 Condition damage

Amulet & Jewel

Carrion's Amulet
+798 Condition Damage
+569 Power
+569 Vitality

Carrion's Jewel
+125 Condition Damage
+75 Power
+75 Vitality


+60% chance to do a 5s bleed on critical
30% chance to cause a 2s freeze on critical


Power: 1560
Precision: 1216
Critical Chance: 18%
Condition Damage: 1434
Toughness: 1116
Vitality: 1560
HP: 24812


Curses - 30
+300 Precision
+300 Condition Damage

Hemophilia - Pretty self explanatory, longer bleeds are good.
Weakening Shroud - Increases the strength of shroud dancing.  Applies weakness and bleeding.
Lingering Curse -  Again pretty self explanatory, longer conditions are good.

Death Magic - 20
+200 Toughness
+200 Boon Duration

Shrouded Removal - Another buff to your shroud dancing.
Death Shiver - Perhaps the biggest buff to shroud dancing, applies Spinal Shivers which chills and removes 3 boons.

Soul Reaping - 20
+20 Critical Damage
+20% Life Force Pool

Vital Persistence - Necessary in any build that uses DS a lot, especially this one considering we aren't focusing on building a ton of life force.
Soul Marks - Gives you a quick way to build some additional life force.


Scepter / Warhorn

1. Blood Curse -> Rending Curse ->Putrid Curse
Where the majority of your conditions will come from.  Any time your other skills are on cooldown and you're still trying to stack as many conditions as possible you will be spamming this.

2. Grasping Dead
Serves two purposes, not only does it add a bleed but it can also be used for kiting since it adds a 5s cripple to all enemies within the radius.

3. Feast of Corruption
Amazing spell, deals additional damage and gain additional life force per condition on your target.  Great for burst damage and gaining life force is never a bad thing.  Just make sure to stack as many conditions as possible so you get as much out of it as you can.

4. Wail of Doom
Adds nice utility to this weapon combination through an interrupt.  Everybody needs an interrupt ability.

5. Locust Swarm
Swiftness is nice.  Not only does this grant 10s of swiftness though, it also cripples enemies near you, making it a very nice skill for kiting.


1. Necrotic Grasp
Basic attack, gain a little life force, combo finisher: projectile.

2.Mark of Blood
Causes bleeding and grants regeneration.

3. Chillblains
Serves a couple purposes, applies chill (good for kiting), poison, and creates a combo field poison.

4. Putrid Mark
Does a little damage, combo finisher blast, transfers conditions from allies to foes.

5. Reaper's Mark
Inflicts 1s fear.

Utility Skills

Consume Conditions - As for healing spells this is the best for every spec in my opinion.  If you're playing a well spec Well of Blood would be better, however we aren't.

Spectral Armor - Another spell I believe should be included in almost every build.  Not only does it break stun, but it also grants 33% damage reduction and grants life force for damage taken.

Blood is Power - Applies bleeds and grants a HUGE amount of life force, 20%.  Very good spell but I'm not sure if there's room for it.

Corrupt Boon - Great ability, especially when fighting classes with a ton of boons such as a Guardian.  

Epidemic - I believe this spell is also a must for any condition spec.  Without it you lack the ability to quickly switch targets while sustaining damage.  Not to mention the cooldown is extremely short, 15s.

Plague Signet - I played with this signet a lot during BWE2 and while I really like it and think its amazing 1v1 unfortunately I don't think there's room for it.

Signet of Spite - A great signet.  This coupled with Epidemic as well as Feast of Corruption can prove to be pretty amazing.

While I covered every skill I thought was viable for this spec, in the end I will be using Spectral ArmorEpidemic, and Signet of Spite.

Elite Skill

Plague grants you 3 spells.  Withering PlaguePlague of DarknessPlague of Pestilence.  Since this is a condition spec Plague would obviously be the best choice.  It can be used either offensively or defensively, or somewhere in the middle of both.  Between Darkness and Pestilence you can make it hell for the enemy team to not only do damage but keep up with your team.  And through Withering Plague you can do a ton of AoE damage.  Plague also grants Stability for the duration, which is a nice bonus.  

We can't completely count Lich Form out though.  Granting the abilities Deathly ClawsMarked for DeathChilling Wind, Mark of Horror, and Grim Specter it gives us a lot of options.  Since it doesn't synergize with your build as well as Plague does you won't do as much damage as you could, but you still do quite a bit.  You can apply 8 stacks of Vulnerability with Marked for Death, and rip boons off enemies and conditions off allies with Grim Specter.  However the main thing Lich Form gives you the ability to do is solo Chieftan and Svannir since you can tank them with the Jagged Horrors from Mark of Horror.

The purpose of this build is to support your team with consistent damage as well as decent control.  If you're left alone to cast and do as you please in the back you can quickly dish out a ton of damage to multiple enemies.  As well as making their life hell through slows and fears.


You always want to begin a fight with your staff.  Start off by using Mark of Blood, Chillblains, and Putrid Mark.  Mark of Blood will begin stacking bleeds and start you off with regeneration.  Chillblains will apply chill and poison as well as leave a poison field for you and your team to use.  Putrid Mark will use its blast finisher with your poison field to apply weakness, and start transferring conditions off not just you but your entire team.  You don't want to waste Reaper's Mark.  Using it to interrupt a heal or fear multiple enemies is better than wasting it on just one person.  

Now you switch to your scepter / warhorn and begin stacking more conditions.  Start off with Grasping Dead to not only add another bleed but reapply a slow so we can continue to kite.  Now just spam 1 (Blood Curse) until you have about 10-12 stacks of bleed(at least), once you get there use Signet of Spite to apply 5 more conditions.  Now that you're in the area of 15-17 conditions you can use Feast of Corruption for some nice burst damage and LF generation.  Once you use Feast of Corruption you can go ahead and use Epidemic if you'd like to spread all those conditions to the rest of the enemies and just keep your conditions stacked.  Don't be afraid to switch weapons if you feel it necessary.

The success of this spec also greatly depends on how well you use Death Shroud.  

Since Necromancers aren't as mobile as some of the other casters we have Death Shroud to allow us to tank more damage.  Not only that, with this spec you have to remember that when you enter Death Shroud you gain Fury, cast Enfeeble, lose a condition, and cast Death Shivers.  Which means Death Shroud can also be used to kite through Death Shivers.  Enfeeble quickly adds a bleed and gives some survivability through Weakness, as well as Shrouded Removal adding some survivability and other situational uses itself.  Keeping Fury active as much as possible also increases your ability to stack conditions through Barbed Precision.  Ideally you'll use Death Shroud more than once a fight, sometimes 5-6 times if necessary.  

Unlike some other builds that will provide some alternate sources of damage through DS Life Blast spam or by using Axe, instead of staff, our only reliable source of damage is through conditions so its very important that you stay focused on keeping them rolling.  The rest of our trait points are spent giving us more suvivability and utility than some of these other builds.

My video shows me playing a condition spec throughout the BWE2.  The spec I played was slightly different than the one listed here but its the same general idea of gameplay.  Hope you guys enjoy!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cross Profession Combos - A Closer Look

After BWE 1 there were a lot of threads opening up for discussion on the various professions and the viable builds and strategies they could employ to be successful in PvP. One aspect of the game that I found was often overlooked was combo fields and finishers. As it stands now there are 9 types of combo fields and 4 types of combo finishers. Each field offers varying effects based on the type of field and finisher, and I believe these fields will be the key to controlling the battlefield and gaining momentum in team based PvP. Being able to apply tons of nasty conditions to enemies, valuable boons to allies, or healing across the battlefield can prove to be a key component in your success in both structured PvP or World vs World PvP.

Let's do a brief rundown of the 9 types of combo fields and what they generally can bring to a battlefield.

  • Dark - Adds Blindness to attack for both blast & leap finishers. Applies random conditions on attack for projectile finishers.
  • Ethereal - Applies Chaos Armor to allies for both blast & leap finishers. Applies Confusion to enemies on attack for projectile finishers.
  • Fire - Grants Might to allies on blast finishers, applies Fire Shield to allies on leap finishers, adds Burning to projectile attacks, and sends fire flying on whirling attacks
  • Ice - Applies Frosty Armor to allies for both blast & leap finishers. Applies Chilled to projectile attacks.
  • Light - Grants Retaliation to allies for both blast & leap finishers. Removes conditions from allies near attack for both projectile & whirl finishers.
  • Lightning - Applies Weakness to attack for blast finishers. Adds a lightning based buff to allies for leap finishers, and applies Vulnerability on projectile attack.
  • Poison - Adds weakness to attack for blast finishers, and Poison to projectile attacks
  • Smoke - Cloaks nearby allies on blast finishers, cloaks yourself on leap finishers, and adds blindness to projectile attacks
  • Water - Heals nearby allies on blast & whirl finishers, heals allies near attack on leap finishers, and heals allies attacking the same target for projectile attacks.

Now that we have that out of the way I want to take a closer look at combo fields and finishers, which professions can access them and how easy are they to access. I'll go through and break down which professions have access to which combo fields as well as which professions can use which types of finishers. We'll start with combo fields:

Interesting Notes

  • Warriors only have 1 combo field which comes from their burst skill on the longbow Combustive Shot.
  • Guardians only have 2 types of combo fields but they have the most combo field abilities with (10)
  • Of the 9 possible combo fields for the Elementalist 6 of the abilities are on the staff.
  • Static Field the staff ability for the Elementalist is currently the only Lightning Field in the game
  • Only two professions can create Dark Fields, Necromancers & Thieves
  • Only two professions can create Ethereal Fields, Mesmers & Necromancers
  • Rangers & Elementalists are the only professions that can create Water Fields or Ice Fields.
  • Rangers have access to the largest variety of fields with (5).

Now we'll move on to finishers, there are 4 types of finishers Blast, Leap, Projectile and Whirl. Not all finishers effect all fields, currently blast & projectile are the only finishers that have an effect for all field types. Leap has an effect on every type except for poisons, and whirl finishers only effect water, light, and fire fields. I'm going to break down how many finishers of each type each profession possess.

Interesting Notes
  • Thieves, Warriors, and Rangers are the only 3 professions who have access to all 4 types of finishers
  • Thieves using 2 Daggers will have access to 3 finisher types on 1 weaponset
  • Thieves using Shortbow & Dagger/Dagger will have access to all 4 types of finishers, and are the only profession who can achieve this without the use of utility skills or pets.
  • Thieves have the most projectile finishers with (14), Rangers are a close 2nd with (12), followed by Warriors with (10)
  • Elementalists have the most blast finishers with (9).
  • Rangers have the most Leap Finishers with (8) however of the 8 abilities (6) of them are pet abilities.
  • Elementalists have (5) projectile finishers (2) of which are on the Staff in Earth Attunment, (2) are on the Scepter in Earth Attunement, and one is the Utility Skill Arcane Blast.
  • Warriors have the most finishing abilities at (26)
  • Guardians, Necromancers, and Mesmers all have the least at (6)

Overall Conclusions

I think that when planning a build or a strategy for a team combo fields need to be considered. There are several instances where a strategy could even revolve around the use of certain fields, for example Static Field the Elementalist staff ability can be used to lock down a target with a stun and focus them down, with vulnerability added to them from every projectile attack on your team. If you're facing a team with lots of condition removal the Dark Fields of a Necromancer can be greatly useful in rapidly stacking conditions and reapplying them to the enemy team. Proper use of a Water Field could greatly add to your team's overall survivability in a fight, and give you a lot of momentum. There are so many possibilities to consider when constructing your team makeup as well as your builds, or even World vs World tactics when fighting in large groups.

All of these abilities and effects may likely change several times before launch, but I want to emphasize how important they can be and encourage everyone to think about them more. Hopefully you learned as much as I did writing this blog article, let me know if you have any questions, comments, or criticisms in the comments section. 

Thanks for Reading!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

8 BWE 1 PvP videos to check out! Part 2

Hey guys sorry for the delay on the 2nd part, I've been working on the design for the site a bit. We finished last time on the Necromancer, which leaves us with 4 more professions to cover, lets start with the Ranger!

Ranger : WhatTheMoose


This one is a pretty solid Ranger gameplay with commentary added in unlike some of the other videos I've featured so far. He exclusively uses the greatsword throughout the video, making use of the Marksmanship trait Signet of the Beastmaster in conjunction with Signet of the Wild, Signet of the Hunt, and Rampage as One to greatly increase his burst damage output. What I like the most about this video was the use of the 2nd ability on the greatsword, swoop. This ability causes a bird to lift you up into the air and let you fly or fall with style as Woody would say, and its great for closing the distance on fleeing players. 

Even though Moose only focuses on one weaponset during the video, he gives some good insight into the Ranger profession so check out his channel here and let him know if you'd like for him to make more GW2 content in the future.

Warrior : Ayraswag

Up next is Ayraswag bringing some double axe, big number style Warrior gameplay. I saw a 9k and quite a few 7k level 3 Eviscerate crits in this video, so it is aptly named. Similarly to the greatsword Ranger he uses the utility skills "For Great Justice!", Signet of Might, and Frenzy in conjunction with the elite skill Signet of Rage to boost his damage significantly. These skills leave him with a ton of might stacks, fury, swiftness, and quickness making him a killing machine. One key element to his build is his ability to switch out to Sword & Board (shield) to block attacks and increase his survivability when needed giving him some versatility. 

This profession was particularly hard to pick one video for, as there are many great videos showcasing similar builds to this one, but this one was my favorite so far. Checkout Ayraswag's channel here for more Warrior footage.

Guardian : Bohr

When I first took a look at this video I was a bit put off by the low hp, but as I watched I quickly realized that despite his low hp pool he was pretty durable thanks to some of the survivability options a Guardian brings to the table. Bohr of Team Legacy shows us some offensive style Guardian footage, which is quite different than the majority of Guardian videos I watched. Obviously a Guardian is an insanely strong support or defensive style profession if built that way, but what made this video interesting to me was how it broke the mold of how the profession is generally played. What was cool about his build is he chose utilities that offered both offensive and defensive benefits, even at the same time in some cases. Contemplation of Purity and Smite Condition both beef up his damage while removing conditions at the same time, offering great synergy with his build. Tome of Courage is also a nifty elite skill for this build since it gives him some added support options for both himself and his team. 

It was a fun watch, so I'd keep an eye out on Bohr's channel for future videos and updates.

Engineer : Teldo

Finally we end the article with Teldo, the German Engineer of Team Paradigm.   Teldo gives us some great commentary on his play, helping everyone learn a bit about what he's doing while we watch his wacky bomb kit based playstyle.  His strategy centers largely around controlling his opponents with Slick Shoes and Supply Crate, in order to setup for huge amounts of damage using his bombs. The pistol and shield weapon set coupled with Elixir R gives him some strong defensive abilities as well. Overall this looks to be an extremely fun playstyle, and the commentary really helps you understand the basics of how to play it.

For more of Teldo's Engineer gameplay be sure to stop by his channel here.

Thats all for this edition of 8 PvP videos to watch, I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did. I'll be doing these types of blog articles after every BWE with my favorite videos from each profession. As always feel free to leave questions comments or feedback in the comments below, until next time!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

8 BWE1 PvP videos to check out! Part 1

Hello everyone! 
This is Hatorade bringing you the first blog article for Shadow Refuge. Like many of you after playing the last Beta Weekend Event and the latest stress test, I've been having massive GW2 withdrawals. One thing that has helped me make it through these trying times is the absolutely massive amount of video content that has been captured from these beta events. I wanted to go through and highlight some of my favorite PvP videos and tell you why I like them so much. I tried to choose a variety of different videos ranging from raw unedited footage to highly edited PvP montages, I'll be doing one for each profession and releasing the whole article in 2 parts, so lets get started!

Thief : Seba Z

Is your team undermanned, 150 points down, and getting 3 capped? No problem! Seba Z to the rescue! Our friendly neighborhood thief enters the scene and shows us how powerful the thief can be in the right hands. Though his opponents may not have been on the same level as him, this video really highlights the high mobility of the shortbow, the sustained damage of daggers, and the synergy between the two weapon sets. He also uses the healing skill Withdraw and the utility skill Roll for Initiative for added mobility and maneuverability. One other interesting thing to note about his build is that a key component of it is stacking might, which he's doing by dodge rolling and stealing via traits. Overall this is some great uncut footage showcasing a fun playstyle, check out his channel for more videos! 

Elementalist : Xlayer 

Wobble Alert: Fair warning this video may contain high pitched horns and heavy bass, aka dubstep. However I feel it fits the fast pace of the playstyle and video perfectly, and a little bass never hurt anyone right? Unlike our first video which was raw footage, this is a fast paced montage style PvP video showing off the versatility of the Elementalist. Xlayer seamlessly switches through his elemental attunements, making great use of abilities from all 4 of them while adding in a few fancy moves like using the dagger skill Updraft to setup for his ground targeted abilities like Dragon's Tooth. This is was action packed and an overall fun watch so I encourage you to check out his channel for more of the same in the future.

Mesmer : Enshadowed 

While many PvP builds are centered around high burst damage I found this video to be interesting because this Mesmer's build is quite the opposite. Enshadowed of Team Paradigm uses a condition centric Staff & Scepter/Torch build which is seemingly very durable while offering great team utility. What I saw in this video was a large potential for a Mesmer to gain momentum for their team in larger fights through boon and condition control. Winds of Chaos is constantly buffing allies while planting conditions on enemies, couple this with Chaos Storm & Null Field and you can give you and your team a strong presence at a capture point. To top it all off Enshadowed had high survivability and some solid sustained damage via confusion stacking. Team Paradigm's channel is full of goodies which you'll be sure to see more of later in this article, also check out Enshadowed's Mesmer guide detailing his build in depth.

Necromancer : Salokin 

Here we have our 2nd Team Paradigm member, Salokin, with a really cool Death Shroud & condition focused Necromancer build. It's astonishing how survivable he is often times taking on 3 or 4 enemies by himself. Granted he's likely a stronger player than many of his opponents it was still nice to see him use life stealing abilities coupled with death shroud and a steady stream of conditions to whittle down his opponents. The majority of his damage was dealt through bleeds, however he was quickly able to spread weakness, poison, cripple, vulnerability, and chill through multiple targets making him a real pain to pin down and kill. The video was pretty nicely edited, with some solid music that fit the pace of the fights taking place, making it a really enjoyable watch. You can check out his video guide on his build here!

These were the first 4 of my 8 BWE1 PvP videos to check out, I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did. If you have any comments questions or feedback be sure to leave a comment or shoot an email to I'll be back Friday with part 2 of this article see you then!