GW2 Mesmer PvE Class Guide by Sanderinoa
GW2 Mesmer PvE Class guide written by Sanderinoa of [rT]. This is the sixth of a series of GW2 class guides written by members of [rT], a European dungeon speed clearing guild.(Up to date for October 2016)
- 1 The standard Mesmer
- 1.1 Introduction
- 1.2 Mesmer damage explained
- 1.3 Mainhand Weapons
- 1.4 Offhand Weapons
- 1.5 Underwater Weapons
- 1.6 Gear
- 1.7 Builds
- 2 Chronomancy Section
- 2.1 Chrono-Introduction
- 2.2 A new shatter
- 2.3 A new weapon
- 2.4 Chronomancy Wells
- 2.5 A note on quickness
- 2.6 Chrono-Builds
- 3 Optional: Condition mesmering
- 4 General Mesmering
The standard Mesmer
The Mesmer is the one class exclusive to the Guild Wars franchise, and we are very glad that it’s here. This light armor class focuses on using combat magic to bend the mind and reality itself, giving it access to various copied and unique mechanics, with of course, illusions being the main trademark. This guide will be covering the mesmer’s role in a dungeon setting with general information as well as basic and advanced techniques.
The bottom line of the mesmer’s current value in dungeons is composed of the three P’s, with an optional fourth: Portals, Projectiles, Personal input and possibly pulling. Portals are a great way to skip content quickly, but require good knowledge of the dungeon’s structure and ask for efficient solo skipping . Projectiles are a very important thing to the mesmer for an obvious reason: reflection, the mesmer has by far the highest number of reflective abilities, providing defense as well as offense in a large amount of situations. In the end, however, the third P is by far the most important. the mesmer is a strategist’s class above all else, making the amount of effort and thought you put in your play bring all the difference between good and bad. Pulling is something the mesmer is used frequently asked to do, this will be mentioned in the weapons section as there is only one skill involved in this.
What sets the mesmer apart in terms of its skillset is that it has access to a large arsenal of mechanics from condition cleansing to invulnerability. All of the skills giving access to these are, however, a lot more limited duration wise, making timing a much more relevant aspect in your play. This guide expects a small amount of knowledge of the game as well as the class itself, but should be relevant to experts as well as beginners.
Glossary(credits to ele/thief guide)
- Stack – all party members stand closely together to share boons or control enemy AI.
- Aggro – slang for aggression or aggravation, usually referred to a mob targeting you or your party.
- Mob – an enemy, foe, or creature
- LoS/Line of Sight – usually referred to the act of obstructing melee and ranged enemies that are trying to hit you (e.g around a corner), which causes them to run towards the first non-obstructed location, thus stacking the mobs.
- NPC – Non-player character. Computer controlled characters. You are usually accompanied by one or more NPCs in every dungeon path
- LFG – Lookingfor Group
- Pug – Pickup group. A group made up of people who you do not know, usually via the ingame LFG system
- DPS – Damage Per Second
- AoE – Area of Effect; any skill that has more than one target.
- Pull – gaining the initial aggro of an enemy
- Boons – also known as buffs, these give positive effects to you and allies
- Blast – using a blast finisher in a combo field
- AA – Auto Attack / first weapon skill
- HP – Hit or health -points
- Proc – Programmed Random Occurrence. Can sometimes be used when talking about non-random occurrences (e.g, “proc’ing the counter attack on Riposte”)
Mesmer damage explained
The mesmer is a class which uses illusions to do handle its tasks, summoning a maximum of three loyal (naturally) good looking minions. These illusions are separated into two categories: phantasms and clones. Clones do very little damage and look exactly like the mesmer himself, their health is minimal(3200 hp at lvl 80) and they only use the AA chain of the weapon used by the caster upon summon. Phantasms are illusions of a different type, they have a purple glow around them, use one specific skill and often mimic skills performed by other classes, depending on their type and corresponding weapon. Phantasms will be covered specifically in a later part of this guide.
After deciding between clones and phantasms, the mesmer has to make the choice whether to let illusions live, or have them destroy themselves using what is called ‘shattering’. When shattering, all of the illusions currently alive run to their corresponding target and destroy themselves, with an effect of choice to the enemy or caster. The first option of having illusions do their job is, however, the one most used in the PvE dungeon setting.This is because fights in dungeons take a relatively long time as mobs have generally high HP. Phantasms specifically deal a lot of damage over time rather than in a quick burst, this makes their survival preferred in a dungeon setting.
Phantasm damage calculations
Default phantasms have a health pool of approximately six thousand hp once the mesmer has hit level 80, but most of their other stats are all linked to the user in a much simpler manner. Armor,power, precision(critical chance only indirectly), ferocity and condition related stats are all shared by the illusion with the user, and get updated as boons affect these.
Keep in mind that phantasm stats are not directly affected by boons applied to the illusions themselves by external sources. The following example shows how this affects damage when might is applied in a fight when a phantasm has been summoned.
If might is applied to the mesmer, its power stat will go up and this stat is transferred to the living phantasm, making damage go up. If this might is applied to the phantasm itself, its stats remain identical to the mesmer’s, resulting in an unchanged damage output.
The biggest issue with phantasm damage which is to be taken into account when theorizing and playing is that this stat scaling is all there is to the phantasmal damage. Phantasm stats are directly linked to your own, but they work as separate entities with their own weapons(exotic) and armor. This essentially means that % bonuses resulting from equipped armor or traits (e.g. +10% bonus from superior scholar runes or 3% from the harmonious mantras trait) do not affect the damage done by your phantasms.
As the second P in the introduction addressed, mesmers use reflection a lot for damage in fights. To help understand some of the mesmer’s choices, it is important to know how this mechanic works in damage calculations.
Regular damage calculation goes as follows:
Damage done = Weapon strength * Power * skill – specific coefficient / Target’s armor
After this calculation has been made, critical damage is added appropriately to chance and ferocity.
A reflected projectile, however, is not shot directly by the mesmer, meaning that weapon strength, power and the skill- specific coefficient come from the initial projectile launcher, the mob.
With this in mind, power will not affect your reflection damage, while precision can, as critical chance and damage is only added when the projectile reaches its final target.
In dungeons your damage will be split in two, between phantasmal and personal, what takes priority will be yours to decide, but this guide will assist with that in the builds and techniques section.
Shattering is a unique mechanic of the mesmer, when performing the art of shattering, the mesmer makes all of their illusions run up to their target to self-destruct. There are a total of 4 possible shatters, each with different effects, which will be discussed below. As of June 23rd 2015, all shatter skills will count the mesmer as an illusion, giving you the capability to use shatter skills without having any illusions up.
General synergy traits: Master of Fragmentation / Mental Anguish / Rending Shatter / Shattered Strength / Master of misdirection
Mind wrack is very simple, your illusions will run up to their corresponding target, destroying themselves and damaging the foes around them when doing so.
Mind wrack damage increases at a slower rate per illusion shattered, meaning when three illusions are shattered in total, the damage done per individual illusion is lower than when shattering just one, even though your total shattering damage will be higher.
In PvE it is recommended to use this shatter when you are sure that your phantasms or clones are going to die at the next hit. Another option in combat if traited well for shatters(illusions+domination traitline), is to use mind wrack whenever your signet of ether recharges, allowing you to respawn your phantasms quickly after shattering.
This skill should also be used whenever your targets are closing in on death. The wrack damage will compensate for the fact that your phantasms couldn’t deliver another hit.
This makes the shatter something you will use often if there are a lot of trash mobs in your dungeon path.
- Synergy traits: Mental Anguish
Cry of frustration makes your illusions self- destruct inflicting confusion to nearby targets. As confusion is hardly viable in PvE, try to avoid using this.
Diversion makes your illusions self-destruct, applying a one second daze to their target. This can be used extremely well to remove defiance, but its long cooldown is not one of its benefits. Don’t forget that since June 23rd, you count as an illusion as well, so calculate an extra daze in your diversion if you’re close.
- Synergy traits: Dazzling / Furious Interruptions / Confounding suggestions
Distortion makes your illusions instantly self-destruct, granting distortion to the user. This mesmer specific boon grants total invulnerability. Shattering decreases your damage as a phantasm mesmer, making this a skill you don’t want to use frequently.
Nontheless, the low frequency of uses makes it unlikely to be on cooldown, and your phantasm playstyle makes illusions available almost 100% of the time. Because of the strong defensive effect and high availability, distortion must never be forgotten. Keep this shatter in mind as your last resort.
Synergy traits: Inspiring Distortion
While all weapons will be covered, the mesmer in dungeons should only really touch the sword as a main hand, with the offhand depending on the situation. Therefore the lesser used main hand weapons will be covered initially, to later spend more time on the more often handled weapons. An advanced section will be included for most weapon skills, giving knowledge above the basics, this includes tips and tricks.
The scepter main hand weapon is one with a very interesting set of skills and focuses on the deceptive capabilities of the mesmer. The weapon is officially limited to 900 range, making it fall into the mid-range category.
In terms of viability in PvE, the scepter is slightly lacking, but can be used by people who enjoy a more condition focused approach. The weapon’s overall slow attack rate caused by ether clone’s aftercast, as well as its condition damage focus, make for a suboptimal weapon choice in min- maxing dungeon party situations. However, with the June 23rd & January 26th patches, this weapon has gained a boost in effectiveness, as conditions have been improved and the illusion traitline now allows for a faster attack rate. This keeps the weapon in a slightly suboptimal place in dungeons due to the time it takes to build up damage and its lack of cleave, but it may shine in solo situations, as well as open world PvE.
AA chain- Ether bolt/ether blast/ether clone
The auto attack chain linked to this weapon has 2 initial attacks with a relatively slow activation time. These energy bolts do a low amount of damage and apply 2 and 3 seconds of torment, respectively. The final attack of the AA chain is a clone summon(unless you’re already capped on illusions). This clone will use only the first of the AA chain’s attacks because of inception preventing measurements. This final attack will do about 1.5x the damage of the first two attacks and applies 2 torment stacks for 5 sec if a clone ISN’T summoned. This attack has about twice the activation time as well, resulting in a total AA chain duration of approximately 3.9 seconds.
Advanced: What is interesting to know is that the scepter’s AA can hit targets at ~1100 range, despite what the tooltip suggests.
The second skill of the scepter is a block. Illusionary counter is a two second block with offensive properties, summoning an ether bolt clone, doing decent damage and applying 5 stacks of torment to the attacking target. This block, however, will only stop one attack, so choosing which attack to keep it for and timing it properly is vital. If used well, this attack and its small cooldown create a very powerful defense. This makes the scepter much more viable where you absolutely need blocks (e.g Mai Trin in fractals of the mists).
This attack, however, does not end with a simple block. If you are fighting a group of mobs and perhaps want to help out your group rather than yourself, the block can be released in the form of Counterspell. This release skill shoots out a bolt in a straight line for a distance of 900, and will blind any target it hits(up to a maximum of 5).
The last attack in the scepter’s arsenal is one which will be very much enjoyed by those who love the mesmer’s purple character. Confusing images is a skill with 900 range, where a beam is shot out of the scepter onto the target. This beam will do damage and apply confusion in a total of 6 ticks, applying one stack for every tick during the entire duration of the skill. With its casting time of a total of 2 seconds it may be the highest damaging skill of the mesmer’s scepter, but is sometimes hard to completely finish. With the buff to conditions, this may be useful when trying to keep up confusion stacks. If you do run scepter mainhand, try to use this skill as much as you can because it compensates for the low damage auto attack, putting it close to sword against single foes.
Advanced: Due to the beam shape of the attack, this skill will damage all(max 4) who accidentally hit the beam’s path, piercing through them to still hit the target aimed at, this mechanic makes this skill have hard to use, but important to consider AoE capabilities. The last 4 ticks of the attack will hit those targets closer to the caster slightly faster than those further away, including the targeted enemy.
The staff personifies the mesmer’s chaotic character. With the combination of boons, conditions, clones as well as fast, slow, high and low damaging attacks it proves to be a very versatile weapon. This versatility makes it a weapon to be mastered before used.
AA – Winds of chaos
The auto attack performed by the staff is a bouncing attack. The projectile shot is homing and will hit a targeted enemy at a maximum of 1,200 range. Upon contact the attack will do a negligible amount of damage and apply either 1 second of burning, 7 seconds of bleeding or 5 seconds of vulnerability(all 1 stack and scaling with condition duration of course).
After hitting the initial target, the projectile will bounce onto the nearest enemy or ally, if the former, its effect will be identical. If the projectile hits an ally instead, they will receive 5 seconds of might(1 stack) or 2 seconds of fury. This bouncing effect is repeated another time as of June 23rd.
Winds of chaos is still a very slow AA without a chain linked to it, one attack is launched approximately every 1.35 seconds with its damage coming practically only from boons and conditions, making for a relatively slow, condition based attack.
Phase retreat is the second skill on the mesmer’s staff, and is very different from the AA chain. This skill is a deceptive teleport, where the user teleports away from its target(or simply backwards if none is targeted), summoning a winds of chaos using clone at its original location.
In the few situations in which spawning clones is useful, such as weak groups of enemies that are more easily eliminated through shattering, the skill may be useful for its quick clone generation
Advanced: While the skill does no damage and has its main focus on deceptive abilities which are of no use in a PvE setting. The skill is often used without a target to speed up movement, by turning your character around mid-run, doing a backwards teleport. To help with this, consider binding a key to ‘about face’ in the options menu, this turns your character 180 degrees instantly.
While not a stun breaker, this skill can be used while under the effect of hard CC, allowing you to escape certain death if used to escape incoming attacks.
The phantasmal Warlock is the first phantasm to be listed in this guide, it covers the full offensive capabilities of the staff and is in perfect sync with the other skills on the weapon.
This skill summons a scepter wielding phantasm which will help you in the fight by shooting out a horizontally moving projectile. This projectile attack is shot at a moderate rate of once every 6 seconds but has issues with elevation changes as the projectile keeps to the ground.
The damage done by the warlock would fit perfectly in the staff’s skillset, but ironically it works best when you stop using it once the phantasm is spawned. While its default damage is only moderate, the damage goes up by 10% for every condition currently present on the target, resulting in hard hits when you and your party members use a lot of conditions. The reason this also cripples you, is the fact that by running a condition build, required for proper staff usage, you lower the base damage of your warlock’s hits. This makes it best to use a power build and swap to sword after spawning it, and then letting your friends do the condition application.
This makes it a great phantasm for places like world bosses and occasional raids. Make sure, however, that you don’t stay stuck on the staff for too long, and that your party can manage other aspects like crowd control well.
Chaos armor is a very simple skill as it does exactly what the title suggests: it gives you the chaos armor effect, lasting for 5 seconds in total. Chaos armor is a shield effect and therefore creates effects when you are struck by an attack, in this particular case resulting in boons and conditions.
As the chaos armor wielder is hit, they will receive either 4 seconds of protection, 3 seconds of regeneration or 3 seconds of swiftness. At the same time, however, the enemy from which the incoming attack originated, is affected by either 3 seconds of weakness, cripple or confusion.
While very fun to use, the long cooldown of the skill makes it very impractical, but it is mostly the random nature of the delivered conditions which make it an unreliable skill to use.
Chaos storm is a very characteristic skill as it is one of the only damaging real AoE skills in the mesmer’s arsenal. The chaos storm skill combines all that is the staff’s skillset and adds a little extra, and by that I do not just mean the longer cooldown.
Chaos storm places a field with a radius of 240 on a ground targeted location, affecting up to 5 enemies/allies within, resulting in an effect similar to winds of chaos and chaos armor. The supportive and offensive effects work separately, so the storm can effect a total of 5 enemies and 5 allies at the same time.
All enemies affected by chaos storm get random effects placed on them every second, these effects fill in what was missing in the earlier skills, granting one second of chill or daze, or two seconds of poison or weakness.
Allies affected by the same field will be randomly granted one of three boons every second, these include aegis, retaliation and swiftness, and will all last for a total of three seconds. The ability to give aegis which this skill provides to the mesmer is one of the reasons for the staff’s usage in certain speed clear records; ones which lack guardians.
Advanced: In PvE this skill is only really used for the aegis/swiftness boon and daze effects it brings to a large group of mobs, but because it works as an ethereal combo field, it may prevent your party from stacking might, making it a skill which is best kept unused, unless for personal swiftness upkeep or extra protection against trash, should your party not use or fire fields.
Despite what many may tell you, most of the best PvE mesmers will need to admit to having used the greatsword plenty, and this is definitely not because it is an incompetent weapon. As the first 4 of its skills can be used from 1,200 range, this is a long ranged weapon contrary to what you might have expected.
As the greatsword has a strong direct damage focus compared to the earlier mentioned medium to long ranged weapons, this weapon is definitely a recommendation above the staff and scepter. If you are not comfortable with meleeing enemies, the greatsword is the weapon you want to consider for your transition phase into the land of the melee mesmer.
Another positive thing about the greatsword is that it has a combination of AoE capabilities, which will benefit you a lot when dealing with large groups from a distance.
AA – Spatial surge
The Auto attack on the mesmer greatsword is well known for its annoying sound effect and obvious tell, while you may be frowned upon for using this, it is important to know how it works.
Spatial surge is a beam attack much like confusing images on the scepter, but it will hit a maximum of three targets within every cast, and each of these will be hit for three times instead of 5. While this means that the beam attack will hit less targets and for less ticks, the damage is not necessarily much worse and it only takes about half the amount of time to pull it off.
Advanced: – The attack is a simple direct damage attack, its damage goes up the further you move away from the target, creating three different damage coefficients for the 300-600, 600-900 and 900+ range areas. Getting far away from your enemy and party, however, results in practically no boon sharing, so staying nearby may actually result in more damage.
- The Imaginary Burden trait(domination) has great synergy with the greatsword weapon, as is it is built around it. When considering this trait, please consider the amount of phantasms and clones you wish to have alive. This is important because the clones will boost your damage, as well as that of your phantasms with the might they provide.
Mirror blade is another bouncing skill, the projectile will apply three stacks of vulnerability to the first target it hits, but will also spawn a spatial surge clone next it. As it bounces back to an ally or foe, might or vulnerability will be applied in stacks of three again. After the first bounce, the projectile will bounce twice more time, giving off the same effect.
Advanced: Unlike its staff counterpart, this bouncing attack has a total of four bounces by default, and while not extremely relevant in PvE, this skill is also unblockable.
This one is a funny skill, mind stab makes a magical greatsword come from the ground and stab up to 5 targets on a ground targeted location with a radius of 240. Next to the fact that this skill does decent AoE damage, it also rips one boon off every target it hits, making it useful against buffed out groups such as the Ascalonians in fractals of the mists.
The second phantasm to be covered in this guide is a more regularly used one. The phantasmal berserker uses a whirlwind attack similar to that of the warrior’s greatsword, and with it, hits several targets(max 5) at the same time. Its base damage is relatively high, but as it is divided into 4 hits, smaller creatures will not feel its full impact.
This is the only skill in the greatsword’s arsenal which has its range limited to 450. The wave attack is a knockback which will affect up to 5 targets in front of the caster. While not doing a significant amount of damage, the knockback will keep enemies at a safe distance, as the pushed enemies will be moved for another 450 in distance.
Stacking up large groups of trash mobs against walls is a commonly used technique in dungeon running, and the greatsword may be used for this, but as it is hard to control due to its simplistic character, using a focus instead is always the better option. Be careful not to push enemies away from your meleeing party members, as this will not benefit anyone in a regular situation.
The main hand sword is the weapon you should and will get familiar with when using your mesmer in PvE, while being a melee weapon, the sword allows for a large amount of survivability, movement and direct damage.
What is important to keep in mind on the subject of melee weapons is that the cleaving effect of slashes could be considered AoE, but as it is not specifically meant to be considered an AoE attack, its damage does not get lowered because of it. This makes a melee weapon much more versatile in terms of damage.
Another base reason why melee weapons in general are preferred is the concept of boon sharing. Shouts and other boon applying skills often have a very small area of influence, with most shouts only having an effective radius of 600. Because of this, your damage output will always be optimal when you are close to your teammates.
AA chain – Mind slash/ Mind gash / Mind spike
The auto attack chain on the sword mainhand has a combination of effects. The first two hits, slash and gash are straightforward, they do good damage, and both apply 5 seconds of short lived vulnerability upon hit.
The third attack called mind spike is slightly different from the first two attacks, as this focuses more on boons than vulnerability. The third attack has two options: hitting a target with or without boons. When a target with currently active boons is hit, one of these is ripped off by the attack, and the damage of mind spike will be around 1.5x that of the first two AA attacks. If, however, the targeted foe has no boons active, the attack will instead do extra damage, resulting in a damage equivalent of approximately 2x that of mind slash or gash.
Because in PvE mobs often do not have any boons, mind spike really finishes off your auto attack sequence, so try to prioritize finishing off the entire chain before interrupting it if necessary.
Advanced: In comparison: The total duration of the sword AA chain is 2.48 seconds, which is short compared to the 3.9 seconds of the scepter’s. Next to having cleaving abilities and this siginificantly faster sequence, the sword AA also does slightly more damage than the scepter’s per chain, giving it an enormous advantage in damage.
The vulnerability from the initial two AA hits will also increase your party’s damage output, while maybe only by about 3-4%, this can create a significant increase in damage overtime.
This is one of the signature skills of the mesmer, and what a skill it is, blurred frenzy perfectly embodies all the mesmer stands for, apart from being a little overpowered of course.
This offense/defense neutral skill has a total duration of approximately three seconds, 0.5 seconds of this is the activation time, with the other 2.5 being the actual attack. As blurred frenzy is used, the mesmer hits its target repeatedly for a total of 8 hits of raw damage, resulting in a slightly larger damage output than just continuing with the AA chain would.
This damage increase is not the skills primary focus though, during the 2.5 seconds of hitting, the mesmer receives an effect called ‘blur’, this effect is essentially a constant evade, making the skill perfect for survival in melee range.
As the trait called blade training is one you will commonly use, the skill is generally put on a very short cooldown of only 10 seconds, giving you an amazing amount of protection, but more importantly: time to think.
Advanced: In a general situation this is the skill you’re going to want to be using to plan out your next move, when things get rough, you use blurred frenzy, look at your surroundings, your active phantasms and the location of your teammates and foes, plan out what you’re going to do next, and let the strategic mesmer in yourself do the rest of the work.
Of course there will be plenty fights where this will be unnecessary, during these you can just use the skill to stay in melee range, or even to dish out a couple of good hits.
Keep in mind that the blur duration is very long, and will be active until the sword is back in its default position, a common mistake comes from the underestimation of the blur duration, resulting in suboptimal use of the skill as it is interrupted by movement.
Another thing to be taken into account when using this skill, however, is that it has a very small aftercast: for about a fourth of a second after the blur has ended, your character will still be locked in place, and while movement interrupts this, dodging does not.
Because of this, if you want to chain evasion durations, a dodge followed by blurred frenzy is always better than doing said rotation the other way around.
The third skill on the sword main hand weapon focuses on mobility, specifically, on halting that of your opponent while increasing your own. Illusionary leap summons a sword wielding clone onto your target from a maximum range of 600, which will cripple your target for 1 second, and then proceed to continue as a normal clone by repeating the AA sequence. While the entire sequence’s animation is covered, Mind spike will surprisingly do practically no damage compared to the slash and gash attacks.
What follows up on the illusionary leap skill is what is known as ‘Swap’. Swap will replace your third skill as you have spawned your illusion, staying available until it dies or is used.
Swap does exactly what the name suggests, it makes you switch places with the recently summoned clone, and while doing so, immobilizes up to 3 targets around your new found location for a duration of 2 seconds.
UPDATE: This skill no longer works as a stunbreak since the HoT expansion patch.
When using this skill, also keep in mind that it will go on a full cooldown if cast with a target outside of the 600 range, so be careful if you want to use it effectively.
Advanced: This is one of the few illusion spawning skills which functions against Invulnerable targets. This allows you to prepare illusions for shatters like continuum split, even while the target can not yet be damaged.
Offhand weapons are going to be the ones you will switch between a lot, because phantasms are always slotted on the fourth or fifth skill slot.
A list of the mesmer’s offhand weapons and their skillset is listed below, starting with the most commonly used, and finishing with those fit for more specific encounters.
The focus is one of the offhand weapons you will be wielding a lot in your career as a PvE mesmer, there is simply no other option, as it holds a large amount of your most valuable abilities, the combination of small scale AoE as well as group support through crowd control and projectile defense make a mesmer without a focus a truly sad sight to behold.
Temporal curtain/Into the void
This first skill present on the focus is called temporal curtain, a 12 second swiftness buff line which is the key to the mesmer’s mobility, as it is the only swiftness it can provide by itself. This line, however, also has offensive capabilities, as it cripples foes who pass it for a total of 5 seconds.
Temporal curtain is also a light field, and stays present for 5 seconds, making it possible to use for condition cleansing if a projectile or whirl attack is used through or in its center.
Into the void is what replaces your curtain skill as it is placed, when detonated, the temporal curtain will suck everything(just kidding, up to 5 targets) in a radius of 600 towards the curtain to ball your foes up in the middle of the line. The curtain no longer pulls enemies further than the curtain itself.
This third phantasm is one with many faces, while one of the most characteristic of the mesmer’s illusionary army, it is also one with a long history of problems.
The phantasmal warden uses a skill identical to the ranger skill called ‘whirling defense’(whirl combo finisher), by default, this skill takes about 5 seconds, absorbs projectiles and has a cooldown of 9. Because multiple of these illusions can be put to use at the same time, they are an excellent way of protecting you and your party against projectiles.
The most relevant way in which the phantasmal warden is used, however, is in combination with the warden’s feedback trait. This trait will make the warden reflect projectiles instead of absorbing them, making it yet another skill which perfectly combined offense and defense.
Advanced:The warden in combination with the previously mentioned temporal curtain/into the void combination, make for a perfect weapon against lots of trash mobs, as the attack does AoE damage around the phantasm itself.
While the warden remained stationary in the past, it will now move towards its target to attack, but a combination of environmental issues may cause your warden to refuse attacking your target at all, in which case you will need a plan B.
The offhand sword is an amazing weapon to use when you are going for raw single target damage, just like the mainhand version, the skillset of the sword manages to combine defense and offense in a great way, giving the melee mesmer a trusty comrade when facing danger head on.
Illusionary riposte/counter blade
This skill is one of my very own favorites, and for a good reason. Illusionary riposte is very similar to illusionary counter on the scepter, but has a more direct character, the blocking duration upon activation is about two seconds, making timing relevant, but not amazingly hard. When you block an attack with the illusionary riposte, the foe you have just blocked will get a sword AA clone spawned next to them, which is expected when you look at the way the scepter’s counter works, but there is a small difference in terms of damage.
While the scepter’s block gives your target torment next to direct damage, the offhand sword will only focus on raw damage, creating a relatively massive hit, Illusionary riposte is therefore the highest hitting direct damage attack in the mesmer’s arsenal, shattering excluded.
Advanced:As was mentioned in the ‘mesmer damage explained’ section, this has a clear advantage when it comes to bonuses. While illusionary riposte may have the same damage coefficient as some phantasms, it will always result into a much larger hit, simply because it is affected by the many +x% bonuses coming from your traits and equipment.
Combine this with a cooldown identical to blurred frenzy, and you’ve got an amazing skill to help you in your melee fights on the subject of damage as well as survivability.
But wait, there’s more! Just like illusionary counter, this riposte skill can be released while blocking in the form of the skill called counter blade. Counter blade shoots a projectile in a straight line much like the scepter’s spell, but will instead daze the targets it passes through, with a maximum of 5.
The phantasmal swordsman is one you will also end up using very often, while it may not look like it does a lot of damage compared to others in raw numbers, this phantasm is your best choice in direct single target damage, not because of its damage per hit, but because of its damage per second.
The phantasmal swordsman has a damage coefficient which is slightly lower than that of, for example, the duelist or the warden, but because the damage of the swordsman is instant, and has a much smaller cooldown, a constant barrage of swordsman hits will always beat the raw numbers delivered by its slower hitting phantasm friends.
Advanced:This phantasm hits approximately every 4 seconds, by jumping towards its target(a leap combo finisher). As it finishes its attack, the phantasm will jump backwards, evading attacks for a small amount of time, to then remain stationary at 240 range. If your target moves away, the swordsman will follow it and attempt to stay within 480 range of the target, as this is the maximum range of its leap skill.
Combining the phantasmal swordsman with the trait called ‘phantasmal haste’ speeds up its attacks, and as the final part of the attack animation involves a dodge, this trait will also increase its survivability in some situations.
The pistol is an offhand weapon very similar to the sword, it has a single target phantasm, and does relatively high damage. Because of the phantasm’s special properties and the weapon’s slightly less useful secondary skill, it is still a weapon more fit for more specific situations.
The phantasmal duelist is a great phantasm, it shoots out a total of 8 shots at your target, doing damage slightly higher than the swordsman, though divided into more hits and therefore taking in slightly more time to take effect.
As the duelist spawns next to you and has no need to move from his location as long as the designated target is within shooting range, this phantasm is ideal to use against bosses which use hard hitting melee attacks with a lot of cleaving, as these will destroy your swordsmen very easily.
Advanced: In exact numbers, the total duration of the duelists’s attack is 2.25 seconds, and it has a cooldown on the skill of 6 seconds by default, making the damage per second fall into a lower category than the swordsman’s.
All of the duelist’s pistol shots have a 20% chance of working as a projectile finisher.
The fifth skill on the pistol offhand’s skillset is one with a really cool animation, your character will shoot out a single shot onto its target, which will then proceed to bounce to other enemies nearby.
As another bouncing skill, this skill bounces between targets and hits a total of 4, but contrary to the earlier mentioned bouncers, this attack is restricted to hitting only foes.
The first target that is hit is affected by a 2 second stun, the second by a daze for the same duration, then the third is hit by a 5 second blind, followed by 5 simple seconds of confusion to be delivered to the third target which is hit.
While a great skill for CC and defiance removal, its relatively long cooldown of 25 seconds makes it a skill which has little influence in most fights.
While the torch is not by any means incompetent, you will be using it to a lesser degree simply because of its corresponding phantasm’s ineffectiveness in a dungeon setting in PvE.
The only blast finisher within the mesmer’s set of skills is found on the torch weapon, but can be used for more than just that. The prestige is a stealth skill, which will make the user go invisible for a total of three seconds, blinding up to five enemies around them for 5 seconds by default.
When the mesmer reappears after the stealth duration has ended, nearby foes will again be bothered, this time with a decent amount of damage, and 3 stacks of 3 seconds of burning. The blast finisher component of the skill appears at this point, where the skill ends.
Advanced:There are a total of three cases for which this skill is useful:
1. Blasting smoke or fire fields for stealth/might
2. Chaining personal stealth(to be used as a final component)
3. Blinding non champion mobs with the initial cast
4. Dps increase in short lived fights.
While the first three points should be relatively clear, point number 4 may need further elaboration.
The prestige is a skill with an instant cast, meaning it will not interrupt your regular dps rotation at all when activated. In fight where phantasms are a no-go, simply because of the short fight duration or their vulnerability, the prestige skill can help boost up your dps by a small degree by activating it mid – fight and letting the final blast do its work.
The phantasmal mage is the final phantasm to be found specifically in a terrestrial environment. This mage will be spawned next to the caster, to attack the targeted enemy with a magical projectile.
The mage’s attack will, next to doing a small amount of damage, add 2 stacks of burning for three seconds onto the target it hits, and will then bounce to two more allies or foes, if possible. When the skill hits an ally, they will receive no damage, and instead of burning, three seconds of fury will be added.
An issue with the damage capabilities of the phantasmal mage, is that the projectile seems to prefer allies over foes. Therefore, instead of bouncing back to your target after the first bounce, you’ll end up giving unnecessary fury to targets over extra burn to foes. Due to burning’s low damage output created by this, as well as the low initial direct damage output of the phantasm, it is currently best left unused in instanced content.
Advanced: The phantasmal mage’s attacks have a medium cooldown of 4 seconds by default, with their attack taking approximately 0.5 seconds. While summonable from 1,200 range, the phantasm itself will move to 800 or 1000 range inconsistently before it starts launching its attacks.
Who knew we had underwater combat in guild wars 2, while the likelihood of you finding yourself in a situation which requires you to put on a swimsuit, knowing what to do with underwater weapons is not at all a bad idea.
The spear is an melee excellent underwater weapon. With its many abilities, it combines crowd control with raw damage and mobility , with only survivability being a somewhat less reliable subject.
AA- Stab / Jab / Evasive strike
The auto attack chain of the spear is a very simple one. The first two attacks of the sequence do a pretty reasonable amount of damage over about a second’s time. As the chain continues, the final hit, called Evasive strike, gives you half a second of evasion while stabbing your foe again, now keeping yourself stationary.
Because of the final thrust’s immobilizing character, the AA chain should grant a small amount of extra survivability, but eventually fails to do so as it is very hard to time it right.
Feigned surge / Feign
Feigned surge is a skill you want to remember to use plenty as a mesmer. This skill makes your character move in a straight line in the direction your character is facing, regardless of its target, damaging all foes in front of you for a maximum of 9 hits. Because a single enemy can be hit multiple times by this skill, it is particularly effective when used against a wall. Like all spear attacks, the attack cleaves, and is therefore also great to use when fighting groups. When the leap ends, a clone is summoned should you have a foe targeted.
Advanced:If you end up being in trouble during your cast, the replacement skill called Feign will allow you to teleport back to your original location, summoning a clone as a result and getting you out of trouble. This feign skill will remain available until 3 seconds after the skill’s initial activation, making it possible to summon 2 clones in total.
The illusionary marinier is in fact a phantasm, and the only phantasm you are going to want to see underwater. The illusion uses a spear, and launches a flurry of attacks onto your target while evading. The performed attack does a relatively high amount of damage, but has a long cooldown of 10 seconds, keeping damage per second still relatively low.
Slipstream is a fun underwater skill for mobility, with this the mesmer creates a line in front of itself, which again has effects for your allies as well as foes. When passed by an ally, they get sped up momentarily, giving a small mobility boost. When foes hit this line instead, they will get knocked back.
As the skill often ends up making your allies incapable of doing anything when they accidentally move into the badly visualized slipstream, this skill should not be used in combat.
The final skill on the spear is one that governs the crowd control aspect of the weapon. Vortex will suck a maximum of 5 targets around the caster towards it, making the mobs ball up and doing a negligible amount of damage.
Just like other pulling skills, this skill is best used next to a wall, so they have fewer places to go to. Combining this vortex attack with feigned surge is what makes the mesmer stand out in underwater combat.
The trident is the less used underwater weapon of the mesmer, simply because it is less viable in PvE. The trident has a combination of condition and boon applying skills, as well as a small amount of crowd control. The pure lack of raw damage attacks on the weapon still makes it a poor choice compared to the spear.
AA – Siren’s call
Very similar to the staff’s winds of chaos AA, the trident’s auto attack only has one skill. Siren’s call shoots a bouncing projectile onto your target, delivering 1 second of bleeding, to then bounce to another foe or ally. As an ally is hit, they will randomly receive either 5 seconds of one might stack, or 2 seconds of vigor/swiftness.
The attack has a total of 3 bounces available by default starting June 23rd.
Ineptitude is a very simple skill, it is an AoE blind around the target. This blind will last for 4 seconds by default, and affect a maximum of 4 targets. A small amount of damage will also be dished out to the affected enemies. But this is not what the skill focuses on. Due to its extremely small cooldown of 12 seconds without traits, it is great to use against packs of enemies with slow hitting attacks.
This attack is a clone skill with a very simple idea behind it. When using this skill, the mesmer grants three seconds of retaliation to nearby allies, and spawns a trident wielding clone which will attack the target using the AA attack. As of June 23rd 2015, this skill also adds chaos armor to the caster for five seconds upon cast.
Despite what the title of the skill suggests, this is a phantasm summoning skill. The phantasmal whaler is a stationary phantasm which surprisingly uses a harpoon gun. The whaler’s damage is dependent on the four confusion stacks it inflicts for three seconds every time it attacks. Because of the confusion infliction of the attack, its raw damage base is lower than average, making this an unviable phantasm much like the torch’s mage.
Illusion of drowning
Illusion of drowning is a simple skill as it only does one thing: it sinks. When activating this skill, your target will get a large illusionary anchor attached to it, pulling it down for 2 seconds in total. This skill can simply be used to help remove underwater defiance bars.
Mesmer Skill Types
Next sections will go over healing and utility skills, all of these are divided into several skill types, properties of which will be discussed quickly down below
Clones – These skills spawn a clone of the caster at activation, this clone will attack the targeted enemy, but will not spawn if auto targeting is turned off, and no target is selected. These skills also differ from phantasm skills in the sense that they often have effects on the caster as well.
Glamours – These skills create areas with special properties, granting support to allies and/or negative properties against foes.
Manipulations – All sorts of mesmer specific oddities, no specific use.
Mantras – These mesmer specific skills are skills which first have a large 2.75 second activation time which does nothing but grant the user 2 of its mantra charges. These charges will deliver corresponding effects to the user or target instantly, with a negligible cooldown until all charges are used.
Phantasms – As explained before, these skills will summon altered versions of the user to attack your targeted enemy with a specific move set. These skills also differ from clones in the sense that there are no extra effects granted by the skill.
Signets – As with all classes, signets grant passive effects over time when off cooldown, and have a special effect upon activation as well, giving two options for its use.
While an important thing for keeping up your health, healing skills on the mesmer are not limited to a survivability aspect. The mesmer’s healing skills have quite some variety in them, and they also often have offensive components.All four mesmer specific skills will be discussed, with their abilities explained as well as their uses.
This skill was the meta skill to use in the old days, and for good reason. Ether fest gives you by far the most health of all healing skills in the mesmer’s arsenal in one go. The default health granted by this skill is 5,560, but you’ll get another 640 health for every illusion you have at your side.
The cooldown on this healing skill is 20 seconds, making it an amazing tool for getting lots of health fast, as overtime it will definitely outheal most other healing options.
While this used to be the meta healing skill, its offensive properties are practically nonexistent, making it a heal only to be used when the fight becomes a little too much for you.
Mantra of recovery
The mantra charges you receive after the initial long activation time are called ‘power return’. These charges have 0 activation time and a 1 second cooldown. As these charges only give a default amount of 2,620 health each, the mantra of recovery is not at all the highest health giving mantra there is.
Synergy: Harmonious mantras trait
The offensive component of this heal is the same as every other mantra, through the harmonious mantras trait it will give you +3% direct damage upon use of a charge(8 sec), making it great for raw damage.
While the mantra itself gives less overall health in a regular situation compared to, for example, ether fest, harmonious mantras will change this a lot. With the three mantra charges you get from this trait, the mantra of recovery gives a total of 7,860 health divided over three charges with a small cooldown on the initial activation. So in combination with this dueling trait, if you have some room to charge it, this mantra is an excellent heal over time.
This is one of the lesser used mesmer heals. Mirror has an activation time of 1 and a fourth second, making it the longest single charge heal there is in the mesmer’s set. Mirror has a cooldown of only 15 seconds, but has a default healing over 3,915 health, making it’s healing over time slightly worse than ether fest without any extra illusions.
Mirror does, however, have a very offensive component. For two seconds, beginning at the start of the animation, mirror will serve as a personal projectile reflection skill. Any projectiles that directly hit you will be reflected back onto the enemy that shot them, making for a decent upgrade in damage.
The low health upkeep and short reflection duration do however make this a very specialized heal only to be used when involved in fights that have a ridiculous number of projectiles.
Synergy: Master of Manipulations
Signet of ether:
Signet of ether is a really amazing heal which was granted to the mesmer class later in guild wars 2 progression. This explains why it requires 25 skill points to unlock, but it is definitely worth the trouble.
Signet of ether is a passive as well as an active heal, and has the strongest offensive capabilities of all the healing skills we have discussed before, in PvE at least.
By default, this signet gives you 240 health per three seconds when you have one illusion alive, 660 when two, and 980 when three, as long as the signet is not on cooldown.
When used actively, however, the healing skill gives you a default health of 5,560, just like ether fest, but has a much larger cooldown of 35 seconds, which can only be reduced to 28 with traits. Nevertheless, this is going to be the healing skill you want to use as much as possible due to its offensive superiority.
If you happen to use the signet’s active heal, all of your phantasm skills in weapon slots and utility slots will have their cooldown removed immediately. This allows for an initial phantasm spawn of 4(realistically 3) at the start of a fight, giving you an enormous amount of extra damage, protection or whatever you fancy using your phantasms for.
Synergy: Blurred Inscriptions
Utility and Elite Skills
Going over utility and elite skills next, skills will be discussed in pairs of their corresponding skill type.
Traitlines which provide synergy which is recommended to be considered when using these skills is listed below each individual one. Special effects will give a small summary
Decoy will grant 3 seconds of special stealth to the user upon activation, but will interrupt any other skills currently being casted.
The best use for this skill in dungeons is stealth chaining, while personal, it will help you skip large groups of mobs, possibly to portal others through. Do keep in mind that turning auto targeting off for this is vital, as you do not want to spawn illusions while running.
- Synergy: Prismatic understanding/ Illusionists celerity minor
- Special effect(s): Stun breaker/ stealth.
This skill is a stun breaker and can be used very well in combination with shattering, but its use is often not optimal in a dungeon setting.
When used while 2 or three phantasms are alive, one of the clones will be summoned as already dead.
Chrono-advanced: This skill can be used really well to get 4 seconds of continuum split without being in combat. You’ll need a target at 1200 range to do so, however. This works well for stacking stealth with a bit more time.
- Synergy: Illusionists celerity (minor trait)
- Special effect(s): Stun breaker
This may be the most iconic skill of the mesmer. Feedback is the mother of all projectile reflection skills, and it looks amazing too. This skill creates a large dome on a targetted location, which stays present for 6 seconds and reflects all projectiles coming in or out.
Due to its instant cast, this skill can be used while channeling other skills such as phantasm spawns, making it a great thing to use last minute. While different attacks may react differently to feedback, most projectiles what are shot from within get reflected immediately, and will not be able to damage your allies. Some projectiles may wait until they reach the feedback’s outer edges before getting reflected, so be careful with your placement.
A common mistake made by new mesmers is the use of feedback on targets without projectiles, please avoid from doing this.Feedback is a combo field which may overlap your party’s firefields required for might stacking. If you are not sure if projectiles are involved, ask party members or just wait and see during your first time at a certain encounter.
Feedback can officially reflect a total of 25 projectiles, after this, incoming projectiles will be absorbed instead.
- Synergy: Temporal enchanter
- Special effect(s): Projectile reflection / Ethereal field
Boon stripping and condition removal are also abilities the mesmer is very proud of, and null field is one of those skills which does just that. This skill is a ground targeted ticking AoE with a radius of 240 and duration of 5 seconds. With a maximum amount of targets of 5, null field will remove one condition from an ally, as well as one boon from an enemy every second with a pulse.
While enemies in PvE don’t often have many boons, this field is definitely great to use at certain locations, but mostly for its condition removing abilities.
- Synergy: Temporal enchanter
- Special effect(s): Enemy boon removal, ally condition removal / Ethereal field
As mentioned at the start of the guide, the portal is a very important part of the mesmer’splaystyle. Because of the large amounts of distances this skill can help you travel with your party, several speed clearing records could not possibly do without it.
The portal skill is divided into two: Portal entre and portal exeunt. The first skill is entre, when activating this you lay down a purple portal on your current location and get portal exeunt in your skill bar. At this point you can still switch the skill for something else if you wish.
For 60 seconds, exeunt will be available for your use, after this your portal skill will return to entre and go on a small cooldown composed of the normal total cd minus the 60 seconds.
When exeunt is placed you place another portal on your new location, as you do this, a connection is made between the two. This exit and connection will remain present for 10 seconds by default.
Portal range is limited, when going further than 5000 units away from your entre portal, the connection will not be possible, meaning the use of exaunt will result in a non-working portal.
When your mini map is at its largest, and you are completely zoomed in onto your character, the distance between you and the straight border of your map will be approximately 5000 range.
To explain in the image, the red dot represents the entre portal, and the area within the red circle represents the area in which your exaunt can be used.
Because portal range works in a straight line, large obstructions can be passed effortlessly by your party members once you have taken the time to walk around them, this is a technique commonly used in speed clears to pass content quickly.
- Synergy: Mimic(to be used with exaunt)
- Special effect(s): large distance group travel
Next up is the second skill in the mesmer’s stealth utility arsenal: Veil. This is a skill much like temporal curtain in the sense that it is an area of effect line field. When passing the line, allies will become invisible for a short 2 second duration.Though often underestimated, this is an important part of your stealth chain.
Because of the short stealth duration given by the veil, it can be passed through multiple times by the same person. Veil does not stack up on other invisibility skills though, so this can only be used to renew your stealth after losing it.
By default veil will last for 6 seconds, is a light combo field just like temporal curtain, and has a cooldown of 64 seconds just like portal, so make sure to use it wisely.
The official buff which is created by veil is called ‘hide in shadows’ meaning it is identical to stealth, but will not stack with other stealth buffs granted by, for example, the thief. Unlike decoy, however, being revealed will not allow its use.
As veil will not stack with other stealth buffs, this should always be the first stealth skill you use.
- Synergy: Pristmatic understanding / Temporal enchanter
- Special effect(s): Special stealth buff, doesn’t stack.
This is a slightly unused skill, but interesting nonetheless. Arcane thievery has very little to explain. When using this on a target you will transfer three of your conditions to it, while stealing three of their boons.
This skill is unblockable, and can be combined well with the signet of inspiration, later to be discussed. Nevertheless, finding this in PvE is rare.
- Synergy: Master of manipulations / (Signet of inspiration skill)
- Special effect(s): Allows boon stealing and condition application.
Forever a favorite of the author, blink is your friend from day one on the mesmer. This fast skill will allow for an instant teleport of 1200 range by default, at a small cooldown. The use of blink is varied, it can be used to skip content quickly, avoid hard hitting aoe or cleaving attacks, allow you to rush to a downed teammate, anything really.
Blink shares with the portal the principle of straight line ranges, meaning you can blink up object as long as the direct distance is within range. This can be used to cover a lot of ground fast in certain situations, but blink will only allow you to do so if you could walk to the next location without jumping. An example of where this can be used is given below.
When you are needed somewhere as a mesmer, blink is always around to help you get there fast!
- Synergy: Master of manipulations
- Special effect(s):Allows mid battle instantaneous movement / Author’s favorite / Stun breaker
The mimic skill was recently changed and is now very similar to the old Echo skill from GW1. When mimic is activated, you’ll gain a mimic boon for 10 seconds, and if you use a utility skill within those 10 seconds, said skill will go on a 1 second cooldown after usage, allowing you to use it twice. This skill works amazingly with large cooldown skills, but sadly doesn’t work with elite skills.
- Synergy:Master of manipulations
- Special effect(s): Allows utility skill repetition
Illusion of Life
Illusion of life will make everybody who is currently in downed state in a target area get the ‘illusion of life’ buff. This buff will allow downed players to fight for 15 seconds while standing up, giving them the ability to more easily rally or die instantly when downed again.
In PvE this is a skill you will not be using in any regular situation as you are never expecting people to go down.
- Special effect(s): Allows downed allies to stand and fight.
Overall synergy: Harmonious Mantras
As of June 23rd, you will gain 600 toughness while channeling any mantra as protected mantras has become baseline.
Mantra of Pain
Mantra of pain is easy. This skill has a 1 second cooldown on both the mantra and charge itself. The skill hits multiple targets(max 5) in a radius of 360 around a target at a maximum of 1200 range and does a low amount of damage.
Now that this mantra is capable of doing aoe damage slightly higher than one of the two first slashes of the sword auto attack chain, it gained a new possible use. Mantra of Pain is now a skill you can use when fighting groups of trash mobs. If you have time to charge it, this will give your group a small dps increase, if you have time to charge it. In combination with the harmonious mantras trait, every time you trigger a charge you will also get a damage boost, making spamming this mantra a good idea.
Special synergy: Restorative mantras – due to negligible cooldown
Special effect(s): long range low damage aoe, instant(can be used while performing other skills)
Mantra of Distraction
This mantra will give you two charges of daze. The mantra has a cooldown of 12 seconds, with its charges having one of 4. Daze duration is only 1 second, but instant cast makes it great for interrupting opponents or removing defiance bars. This mantra also affects up to 5 targets, in a radius of 240 around your target enemy.
When combined with power block, this mantra can be used for a group dps increase like previously mentioned with the Mantra of Pain. While it will likely not affect as many targets as the pain mantra, This particular mantra’s use in this manner will increase your party’s damage as well as it’s survivability, due to the interrupt.
Special synergy: Dazzling (minor trait) / Confounding Suggestions / Power Block
Special effect(s): Instant aoe daze, great for interrupting and defiance removal.
Mantra of Resolve
A great condition removing mantra is what resolve stands for. This mantra cleanses 2 conditions instantly off yourself and up to 4 other allies. With a cooldown of 1 second on the charges, it is by far the best option for quick condi removal. The mantra itself has a cooldown of 15 seconds.
Keep in mind that the radius of effect is only 240.
Special effect(s): Instantaneous group condition removal.
Mantra of Concentration
The charges of the concentration mantra have a 2 second cooldown, allowing you to keep up 6 seconds of stability by default with this. Another use of this mantra is using it as a stun breaker.
Special effect(s): Short lived stability / Stun breaker
The phantasmal defender is one of your few utility phantasms, as well as one of the only non-offensive ones.
The phantasmal defender has about 2.5x as much health as your regular phantasms and he has it for a reason. This phantasm wields only a shield w and will attack your target without doing any relevant damage. In a 600 unit radius of the phantasm a special buff will be applied to any allies(including NPCs). This buff means that the damage taken by these allies is split between the defender and said ally, in a ratio 33:66, though these portions may still crit.
In addition to the phantasm spawn, the mesmer also applies 4 seconds of protection to allies around him/her when the skill is used.
Though not a favorite of the author, this defender can be very useful in situations where hits are either too hard to see, or too frequent to dodge completely.
- Synergy: Signet of ether / Illusionists celerity (minor trait)
- Special effect(s): Decreases damage taken by nearby allies
This is the final condition removing skill of the mesmer. Phantasmal disenchanter skill will first hit your target with a 240 radius attack, removing 2 boons from enemies and 2 conditions from allies nearby the target. After this the skill will spawn a phantasm with a scepter much like the warlock. This phantasm will shoot projectiles onto allies as well as foes every 2.5 seconds.
When the projectile shot by the disenchanter his an ally, 2 conditions will be removed, if a foe, the same happens to their boons.
The disenchanter’s projectiles somehow seem to prefer bouncing to allies, and it can bounce a total of 4 times. Application of this phantasm is still limited due to its unreliability as it can be destroyed and its effects are not instantaneous.
- Synergy: Signet of ether / Illusionists celerity (minor trait)
- Special effect(s): Boon stripping / condition removal
Overall synergy: Blurred inscriptions
Signet of inspiration
This signet was commonly used by the mesmers of the old days, made a comeback with the addition of the chronomancer specialization, but has received a recent nerf (October 18th). Signet of inspiration copies all of your boons onto your nearby allies, but now only up to 3 seconds. When used passively, this signet will give you a random boon every ten seconds, with enormous variation. As of June 23rd 2015, the swiftness boon is always applied for 5 seconds every pulse.
This signet can be used in parties when playing chronomancer to increase your quickness uptime. Aside from this, the signet can be used for the swiftness it provides , even out of combat.
- Special effect(s): Boon transfer, swiftness uptime.
Signet of Domination
While the domination signet has a condition base of a 180 condition damage passive effect, this signet should not be underestimated. When used actively this skill will give your target a 3 second stun, rendering them incapable of doing anything, not even moving.
While there are many classes which can provide stuns, the three seconds on this signet make it one of the longest lasting ones in the game, and the 0.25 sec activation time makes it amazingly quick as well. Within the large arsenal of defiance removal skills the mesmer has, this is most definitely one of the strongest around.
- Special effect(s): Long duration stun
Signet of Midnight
Another author’s favorite, the signet of midnight is the prime example of a signet to be used with blurred inscriptions. The passive effect of this signet is minor, giving you +20% condition duration which is useful occasionally when using conditions.
The active effect is not necessarily amazingly useful either, though it has gotten a buff in the July 26th patch. Its active skill is a is a 5 second unblockable blind for up to 5 targets around the caster in a 360 radius, which now also applies 10 stacks of vulnerability, as well as cripple for 5 seconds on your target.
Because this blind is unblockable it can occasionally save you from a hard hitting attack. Nevertheless as and trash mobs often have few specifically hard hitting attacks, dungeons rarely give you the option of using it optimally.
However, signet of midnight has three advantages over the other signets when combined with the blurred inscriptions trait. This signet has an instant cast, is a stun breaker and has a very short cooldown. When combined with blurred inscriptions, signet of midnight therefore works as a one second invulnerability skill which can be used in any situation, anywhere every 24 seconds.
- Special effects: Author’s favorite / Stun break / AoE blind
Signet of Illusions
A simple signet which is meant to work for both shatter as well as phantasm builds. This skill will passively give all of your illusions 50% more health, meant to keep phantasms alive more easily. Because of the large amount of one hit kill attacks in PvE, however, this will likely make very little difference.
The active use of signet of illusions will recharge all of your shatter skills. On a 90 second cooldown by default, this skill is only very rarely used in dungeons.
Note: Continuum split is not recharged by this skill.
- Special effects: Illusion health boost / Shatter skill recharge
Mass invis is the elite skill which has the largest amount of possible uses according to the author, but don’t take his word for it. This skill with a cooldown of 90 seconds is the final part of your stealth chain. Just like most other stealth skills the mesmer has, the boon given by it is similar to stealth but not the same. ‘Hide in shadows’ will be applied to the caster as well as a maximum of 9 allies for a total of 5 seconds.
This skill is great to help out downed teammates or skip groups of unnecessary mobs together. The radius of the skill is a stunning 1,200, so don’t be afraid that your allies will easily be out of range. The activation time is 1.75 seconds, which luckily links in perfectly with the earlier mentioned veil skill.
- Synergy: Prismatic understanding / Master of Manipulation
- Special effects: Large AoE stealth.
This skill creates a large area in which allies gain the quickness boon, and enemies gain the slow condition. The field has a total radius of 360, and lasts for 10 seconds. Quickness decreases activation time of skills by 50%, making auto attack chains much faster, resulting in higher damage done by your party. Sadly, the mesmer’s auto attack is not strong enough to be enough of a reason to use this. As of June 23rd, the slow component was added, this makes your relative speed even higher, as the enemy’s attacks are now also much slower(50%).
Timewarp has a cooldown of 180 seconds, which is enormous compared to a skill like mass invisibility, however, the pure damage enhancement it provides makes it a great pick. As of June 23rd 2015, this skill is a glamour and synergises with the corresponding traits.
- Synergy: Temporal Enchanter
- Special effect(s): 10 second AoE quickness boon + 10 second AoE slow condition.
Signet of Humility
This skill is hilarious, it will turn your target into a moa, replacing the mob’s skillset with those of the silly bird as well. This is a transform effect and counts as crowd control, making it an enormously strong defiance remover which will most certainly bring almost any bar down from 100% to 0. Sadly, moas are ridiculously strong, and with the mob’s power remaining the same they will likely wreck you. Still fun to use though, don’t let mister author stop you.
As the skill was moved to signets in the June 23rd patch of 2015, it now has a passive effect as well. This passive effect will decrease the duration of stuns, dazes, fears and taunts used upon you by 20%
Cooldown on this skill is 180 seconds, and when used underwater, this skill will transform your target into a tuna fish.
- Synergy: Alcohol / Blurred Inscriptions
- Special effect(s): Transforms target / Is hilarious / Great defiance removal
The next section is going to go over everything related to what you’re going to be taking into the field as a mesmer, meaning weapons and armor, nourishment and extra consumables you may find useful.
Armor and Weapons
Choosing armor & weapon attributes
Because of the Gw2 combat system which involves dodging and complete negation of damage, the main direction you want to be taking in dungeons is damage. As your own skill can keep you alive rather than your strong suit of armor, the current dungeon meta therefore consists of the use of all out damage in every aspect.
Keeping this in mind, you as a mesmer are going to have to choose between two options: Assassin’s armor/weapon stats or Berserker’s. Assassin’s will get you extra precision resulting in more critical hits, while berserker’s armor and weapons will grant you more raw power.
While calculations have been made regarding the subject, the bottom line ended up being that the difference between the two sets is minimal, and assassin’s will only come out on top in a perfect situation(25 might stacks, 25 vulnerability).
What is to keep in mind when making this choice, however, is reflection.
As explained in the ‘mesmer damage explained’ section, reflection damage is not affected by power, while precision still has a damage increasing effect. This makes assassin’s preferable when you plan on reflecting a lot.
Personally I carry around several sets, and always have a berserker as well as an assassin’s set. Because, however, mesmers are often taken into dungeons with lots of projectiles, I recommend assassin’s gear.
Rune of the scholar
This particular rune has power and ferocity as main stats, helping out your damage a lot, but this is not the most important part of the rune. The scholar rune’s 6th attribute gives you +10% damage whenever you are above 90% health, giving you the highest raw damage modifier runes can give. Do keep in mind that this percentage bonus will not affect phantasmal damage, as explained in a previous section.
Rune of the eagle
The rune of the eagle is one which is not used much anymore. This rune gives stat bonuses identical to the ranger run, but again has a difference in the 6th attribute. When you have 6 runes of the eagle equipped on your set, your damage output will gain a 6% boost whenever your target is below 50% health. While a lot less than the scholar rune, this bonus damage is received with no effort. This rune can be used well if you’re going for a full reflection damage set, as it gives precision rather than power.
Rune of strength
The rune of strength is an interesting one to use. Strength runes will provide similar power bonuses to the scholar runes, but no ferocity. Instead of granting ferocity, these runes will provide might duration, which makes it interesting for use with special builds. The 6th rune bonus will grant a 6% damage bonus while under the effects of might, which, if the proper sigils are used, is always.
As might duration only affects might granted by the user, you need a source of this. This is why runes of strength are best combined with sigils of strength or battle(or both). If running with pugs or solo, this will allow you to keep up a large amount of might stacks (up to about 12) by yourself.
These runes should only be used for a phantasm damage build involving very little reflection, as the might upkeep affects your phantasms, boosting their damage enormously if properly used. Nevertheless, because of the missing precision and ferocity, your reflection damage will be lower compared to the previously mentioned options while using these runes.
Rune of the centaur
The rune of the centaur is not meant for combat, but can be put to good use by the mesmer nonetheless. What makes the centaur rune stand out is its swiftness bonus. Aside from granting extra swiftness duration, this rune also has a very useful 6th effect. When equipped with 6 superior runes of the centaur, using your healing skill will give you 10 seconds of swiftness (13 due to swiftness duration boost). When combined with the mantra of restoration, this rune will allow you to keep up swiftness permanently, compensating for the mesmer’s mobility lack. If you have a tonic available, the skill which returns you to human form after using it will also proc this rune, and has no cooldown.
This is why I personally recommend having a secondary running set equipped with these runes.
Rune of speed/ rune of the traveler
These particular runes are a variation on the centaur’s meant for a slightly more lazy audience(no offense). Both of these runes increase base movement speed by 25%. Because movement speed does not stack, you will move 8% slower than with centaurs, but with these runes there will be no effort required to receive the bonus.
The mesmer’s choices in sigils are relatively varied, but are often in synergy with your used runes, so keep this in mind. Since recently, different sigils have different cooldowns, meaning they can both be used in the same weapon set. Keep in mind that having two of the same sigils in one weapon set has the same result as having just one. As a mesmer, you also need to realize that your phantasms do not use your weapons, and therefore do not get any benefit from sigils.
Sigil of force
The force sigil is by far the most used one, its simplicity makes it king. Sigil of force will give you a constant +5% damage bonus when applied to your weapon. This bonus will not affect phantasmal damage, but is relevant for all other damage output you do, and will always be active. This is why it is recommended to keep one of these on your main hand sword, as this will be switched around very little.
Sigil of Air
The superior sigil of air is actually a really good sigil now. As the cooldown on this sigil has been fixed for 3 seconds, this will hit your target with a lightning strike at a 50% chance on crit. When you aren’t fighting a specific foe, it’s not night, and you don’t need the extra precision from sigil of accuracy, sigil of air will allow you to get a little more damage out than usual. As most sigils, it only procs on your own attacks however, so if you’re only using phantasms to do your bidding, this won’t be a great choice.
Sigil of accuracy
The sigil of accuracy is simply a default sigil to use when nothing else applies. With the addition of chronomancer, and the viability increase of rangers, this sigil has gotten a boost in functionality, as it allows the mesmer to run berserker gear and still hit near the 100% critical chance barrier. As this sigil simply applies direct critical chance, it does not affect phantasms. Nontheless, feedback as well as temporal curtain are affected. It’s a great sigil to use by default in day situations.
Sigil of the night
While this sigil gives double the damage boost force does, it will only work at night, and still does not affect phantasms. In night dungeons, however, this sigil will boost your damage tremendously, kicking up your sword’s and reflection’s damage to a next level. Do make sure to know when to swap to these sigils, as they will do nothing when used during daytime.
Sigil of X slaying
When you run a certain dungeon a lot, having weapons specifically for said dungeon is always useful. Sigils of X slaying give a maximum of 10% damage bonus, similar to the sigil of the night, when fighting a specific enemy type. As these sigils are very specific and easy to acquire, they are cheap and recommended for those who prefer certain dungeons.
Sigil of Battle
As mentioned before, in the rune section, the sigil of battle is great to be used with strength runes. When swapping to a weapon with this sigil in combat, you will receive a standard of 2 might stacks which will last for 20 seconds. The sigil itself has a cooldown of only 10 seconds, meaning your next swap will give you another 3, to last for the same amount of time, allowing for a constant might upkeep of six stacks.
Sigil of strength
Similar to the sigil of battle, this is well combined with runes of strength. With a 60% chance to give you a 10 seconds lasting might stack upon dealing a critical hit, this helps keep up your might really well. The sigil’s effect has a one second cooldown, meaning by default you could theoretically keep up 10 stacks of might.
Sigil of energy
This sigil is one I personally use a lot during my off time. The sigil of energy is a swapping sigil just like the sigil of battle. When swapping to a weapon with this sigil while in combat, you will receive 50% of your endurance, which is the equivalent of one dodge. The amount of survivability the use of energy sigils brings is enormous, but make sure to use them wisely and not get used to spamming dodges too much.
Nourishments ( Credits to Zelyhn & Haviz)
Plate of Truffle Steak
Fried Golden Dumpling
The chronomancer’s Favorite, this nourishment allows for some might stacking midfight, but is mostly used for the 20% boon duration which it supplies. Using this food allows you to more easily reach the amounts of quickness you wish to apply to your party.
Bowl of Curry Butternut Squash Soup
Depending on the amount of reflection damage in the fight, and your choice between assassins/berserker gear, this may be one of the most optimal foods for the mesmer to use. If reflection is not relevant and you are using assassin’s gear, this food loses to its cheaper counterparts. Grants 100 more precision and 70 ferocity.
Plate of steak and asparagus
Bowl of Sweet and Spicy Butternut Squash Soup
Similar to Bowl of Curry Butternut Squash Soup but instead of precision it gives more power. It’s the most expensive food right now and usually the difference it gives is not worth spending on it, although the buff that it grants lasts 1 hour.
Plate of Truffle Steak Dinner
200 more power is the largest stat buff food can give. The only issue is that it works only after killing a mob which means it is usually not active during boss fights either because the buff fades out quickly or because we skipped every mob on the path to the boss. Exceptionally good in fractals where you spend a lot of time killing enemy mobs.
Dragon’s Breath Bun
Bowl of Seaweed Salad
This food gives unique effect of increasing your damage output by 10% but only when you are moving. This usually makes it the best food for reflection and direct damage you can take but there is, movement skills and skills like blurred frenzy which make you immobile do not get any effect from this buff, however. That aside, the price and the fact that phantasms do not benefit from it, make it less desirable. Nonetheless, having a few of these around is always great for heavy reflection in dungeons such as Arah.
Acceptable food when playing casually. Instead of granting power like Plate of Truffle Steak it gives you a life steal ability when scoring a critical hit (1 second cooldown). Not only it increases your sustainability by healing you for 325, it also increases damage by dealing 325 more damage whenever the life steal triggers. Does not get triggered by phantasms.
Slice of Candied Dragon Roll
Potion that has a 10% chance to inflict weakness and vulnerability when scoring a hit, with no cooldown. Weakness is always helpful in high scale fractals. Similarly to the Weak Spot trait, Skale Venom can also help with stacking Vulnerability since both have no cooldown.
Powerful Potion of X Slaying
Sharpening stones are a utility nourishment option that provide an additional power bonus with the amount depending on the tier used, sometimes giving either a flat bonus or scaling based off of your toughness/vitality. Maintenance oils are just like sharpening stones but instead provide an additional precision bonus with the amount depending on the tier used, sometimes either giving a flat bonus or scaling based off of your toughness/vitality.
The very best and most recommended of these utility items are Bountiful Sharpening Stone, which provides 100 power and an additional 10% boon duration and the maintenance oil counterpart Bountiful Maintenance Oil, which provides 100 precision and an additional 10% boon duration. While expensive, these stones or oils allow you to get a great damage boost, while also improving your boon duration even more. As a chronomancer, bountiful maintenance oils are highly recommended.
For the non- bountiful variants, try out the wintersday counterparts called ‘Tins of fruitcake’, and ‘Peppermint oils’.
Other Consumables(credits to thief guide)
None of the consumables mentioned here are necessary to complete any content efficiently or quickly and are a sample of what you may see in a dungeon speedrunner’s inventory.
- Harpy Feathers – 3 seconds stealth (6s CD). Can be chained with the next two consumables to achieve longer durations of stealth. Note: it applies blind to enemies in a small radius around you, which can put you in combat, so try to use them without hitting any mobs.
- Order of Whispers Spy Kit – 3 seconds stealth (60s CD). Can be chained with Harpy Feathers (Feathers ⇒ Spy Kit ⇒ Feathers) to get 9 seconds of stealth.
- Ash Legion Spy Kit – Applies camouflage for 10 seconds (60s CD). Camouflage is a type of stealth that works while motionless. Moving will break stealth. Camouflage is unaffected by stealth traits. Useful for dropping aggro or standing on pressure plates.
- Fire Elemental Powder – Summons an Ember to fight for you for 5 minutes or until it dies. Offers a small DPS boost and fire fields, however it also has other uses such as catching the phase 1 -> 2 transition Grub at GiganticusLupicus.
- Ogre Pet Whistle – Summons an Ogre Pet to fight for you for 5 minutes or until it dies. Offers a small DPS boost, however it also has other uses such as catching the phase 1 ->2 transition Grub at GiganticusLupicus. Using this item when knocked down will also act as a stun breaker.
- Golem in a Box – Send out a long range golem to nuke your target. Useful for pulling mobs or killing your team on bosses that have reflects (Belka, Archdiviner)
- Pot of Hylek Poison – Has 2 spells, one which gives you 10 seconds of swiftness on a 15 second cooldown, can help to compensate for the mesmer’s mobility lack
- Medical Pack – Has 2 skills,Drop Bandages and Drop Stimulant. Useful for classes/builds with little or no access to swiftness or fury.
- Power Matrix – Applies an AoE daze. Useful for large groups of trash mobs such as in Fractals.
- Gem Store Boosters – Stackable with each other, these can be obtained from various story quests, dailies, monthlies, black lion chests, or free promotions in the gem store.
As the mesmer has a very large amount of skills, switching builds frequently is necessary to always play optimally. As recent updates have made it possible to switch builds on the go, knowing which build to use where is vital if you want to become a good mesmer.
All of the possible mesmer builds known to man will be discussed below, but keep in mind that utility skills will often still need to be switched.
Harmonious Mantras explanation
Harmonious mantras is a trait in the dueling trait line, this gives an 10 second 3% damage boost to your direct damage with a maximum of 5 stacks for each mantra charge you activate. As the trait also gives you 3 mantra charges instead of 2, a good damage boost can be maintained, and the trait is thus incorporated in many builds. The mantras chosen to keep in your slots are of your own choice, a short recap is given below, the rest is up to you.
Resolve is when conditions are relevant, concentration when cc is being thrown at you, distraction when you’re removing defiance or want to apply vulnerability, and pain when you can’t decide or just want an easy damage boost. First we will go over mantra frequenting builds.
General High Damage Mantra Build – [Phantasm – Shatter synergy play]
Domination / Dueling / Illusions – This trait build makes use of mantras and high damage phantasms. The phantasmal haste trait in illusions reduces the cooldown of phantasm skills by 20%, making their attacks faster.
This build will generally ask you to use a pistol and a sword offhand, as warden reflection is not included in this build.
The domination traitline is equipped with the Blurred Inscriptions trait because you may want to switch your healing mantra out for the signet of ether. With the new traits, different setups within this build focus on different playstyles.
You want to run builds of this type when reflection is practically not present, as warden’s feedback isn’t included into the build.
The above shown build and its trait choices are part of a playstyle combining shatters and phantasms. All three grandmaster traits focus on your shatters, while most other traits aim to boost your phantasmal damage.
General utilities to use here are all of your mantras, with Signet of Ether as your healing skill.
As you try to combine phantasms and shatters, the mesmer needs to time their shatters appropriately to keep up damage, ideally you would lose no phantasmal damage to occasional shattering. Because of this, it is advised to first launch 3 to 5 mantra charges before using Mind Wrack, making for a good burst.
In most situations your phantasms are still best to keep alive, so make sure that you shatter when appropriate, and make sure to summon them again as quickly as you can. The following situations are good examples of when to shatter :
- You don’t have any phantasms up – Make use of the opportunity to get a quick Mind Wrack out, it will always top the +3-9% you get from compounding power.
- Your Phantasms are going to die – Either because your target is going to die, or because your illusions are running into a mace to the face, make sure not to waste phantasmal lives by allowing them go out without a bang.
- You are in desperate need for AoE damage – In some occasions, large trash groups will bring you trouble as a mesmer. In these situations mind wrack can help out a lot, in combination with the AoE mantras on your bar. Make sure to consider a phantasmal warden if the situation is dire, and be sure to respawn any phantasms post shatter.
- You require defiance removal – Diversion is a great shatter to remove defiance for your party, just don’t forget to respawn your illusionary friends before you start missing them.
- You are going to die – Distortion is love, distortion is life, never forget.
Ideally, you would use Mind Wrack only once your phantasms have just finished attacking to truely minimise lost phantasmal damage. Though this can be hard to time, an unload from duelists can give a clear indication on when to shatter as their attacks are less frequent.
The subsequent launching of mantra charges gives you 3% extra direct damage, up to a maximum of 15% at 5 charges, upping your shatter damage.
There are various traits within this build which can be replaced depending on your preference and the situation you are in, they will be listed below.
Furious Interruptions(!) - Does your target not have defiance and are you safe? then this trait may give you more benefit than Blurred Inscriptions. ( Areas with lots of trash mobs like fractals often end up making this trait a great choice!)
Power Block – Does your target have few attacks or a very deadly one your can interrupt? hold back with shattering and take this trait to keep them still for a good 15 seconds.
Persistence of Memory – Are you in dire need of faster phantasm spawns, and are shatters frequent? Try out this new trait to recharge your phantasm skills faster when you shatter
Shattered Strength – Are you incapable of using or keeping up phantasms for any reason? switch your signet of ether to mantra of restoration and use this trait.
Ineptitude – No defiance but don’t plan on shattering for whatever reason? this trait may help you out a little bit with groups of angry mobs.
Benefits of this build: Highest direct damage over time / fast phantasm spawning and personal damage. / Allows various utility choices and styles of play
Downsides of this build: No warden reflection
General Reflection (Mantra) Build
Domination / Dueling / Inspiration – This build is one which focuses on quality over quantity in the domain of reflection. This build allows you to dish out decent direct damage as well as indirect reflection damage through warden’s feedback, this, however, means choosing empowered illusions above phantasmal haste, prioritising quality over quantity.
This build is still great to use whenever phantasms’ lives , or the fights in general don’t last long, and you want to quickly switch to warden reflection from your initial more direct damage focused builds.
Considering this build uses warden’s feedback, and you plan on spawning wardens frequently, the use of signet of ether is recommended in many cases. Weapon choices in this build are obvious, take a sword as mainhand, plus focus and pistol or secondary sword as offhand, depending on the situation.
The build’s all round usage makes it one you’ll often run when situations change rapidly and you want to be ready for anything.
Variation traits (excludes suggestions already mentioned in the above above build)
Evasive mirror – Are projectiles annoying you despite your wardens, but are you alone or does your team not require extra protection? Keep using this build but try the Evasive Mirror trait to add more personal reflection to your arsenal.
Medics feedback – The inspiration minor trait persisting images simply improves your phantasmal lives a little bit, so taking either other trait doesn’t matter very much. In combination with temporal enchanter, medic’s feedback can help you ress your friends in hostile environments more easily, while keeping effects from condition damage at a minimum.
Benefits of this build: Mantras and domination line provide good shorter term & direct damage components through mantras, empowered illusions and the domination minors / The combination of mender’s purity and harmonious mantras allows for a +3% damage boost on heal / Focus reflection available for use.
Downsides of this build: A bit of both makes some aspects come out just below optimal conditions / Phantasmal haste
Phantasm based reflection build one & two
1. Dueling / Inspiration / Illusions – This build is a phantasm based build focussing a lot on reflection. As traits no longer give any real stat points through point addition as of June 23rd 2015, this build is a lot less restricting than it used to be.
Since the before mentioned June 23rd patch, the phantasmal haste trait also started working for the phantasmal warden again. As swordsmen and duelists already received full benefits, this build is quite viable indeed. The trait was already included in the first mentioned build in this guide.
This build makes use of warden’s feedback, meaning a focus is compulsory when using this. The secondary offhand weapon should likely be a sword, considering it provides you with the highest hitting phantasm, nontheless, a pistol is in some cases superior.
Inspiration and illusions in this build provide you with your reflection through wardens and improved feedback, but also augment the frequency at which you can spawn your wardens, as well as the rate at which they attack, and thus defend.
The third line to be chosen had to be dueling or domination, which is always a tough decision. While domination offers the great empowered illusions and blurred inscriptions traits, plus some great minors, the combination of master fencer, fencer’s finesse, phantasmal fury and possibly harmonious mantras make dueling come out slightly on top. Note the combination of mender’s purity and harmonious mantras allows for a +3% damage boost on heal just like in the previous build.
However, most of dueling’s traits are based around precision, so this is only true with the assumption that this build is ran with the intention of reflecting as many projectiles as possible. If this is not the case and you have a good party giving you fury, dueling can be switched over to domination, to get the next build.
2. Domination / Inspiration / Illusions – This build is slightly less optimal than the previously mentioned due to the lacking grandmaster trait, but allows for blurred inscriptions use as well as providing empowered illusions to compensate for the phantasmal fury loss.
Nontheless, in optimal groups you will expect permanent fury and vulnerability. This plays into the hands of the Fragility trait and makes dueling’s Master Fencer trait obsolete. In this situation this provides a viable choice if you are willing to let harmonious mantras go.
The loss of harmonious mantras allows you to feel much less restricted in your utility skills, so make sure to pick these wisely. Your utility slots can be filled in by valueable skills like blink, signet of midnight, mimic, feedback, signet of domination, etc etc, whichever fits the situation.
An author’s recommendation is the Blink + Signet of Midnight combination, to be combined with blurred inscriptions. This combination now works even better with the addition of the inspiring distortion minor trait.
The combination of the blurred inscriptions trait with the two slotted signets make for an excellent survival mechanism, just like blink. Distortion signets, especially the midnight one, allow for complete freedom while being invulnerable. Good use of this allows the mesmer to keep fighting (or resing!) while other builds/classes need to back off. This extra survivability also combines well with scholar runes, as you can more easily keep the rune’s final damage boost enabled.
Benefits of these builds: Larger amount of utility freedom /High amount of reflection / Phantasmal haste grants stronger phantasms
Downsides of these builds: Based around long lasting fights / Makes you choose between domination & dueling.
Chaos / Inspiration / Illusions– This special build base is part of the mesmer skipping set and technique, providing optimal stealth and mobility for long as well as shorter skips.
Not all traits are filled in, as there is only a limited number of useful ones for skipping. All other traits are likely filled depending on your regular build.
Master of Manipulation shortens the cooldowns on blink, mass invisibiliy and possibly that of mimic, while Prismatic understanding helps keep up stealth longer. Illusionist’s celerity in turn shortens the decoy’s cooldown and the pledge does the same for your torch’s stealth skill.
Understand that taking all of these traits will slow down runs, meaning that you should look at the traits you already have in your current build, and change traits only according to the difficulty of the skip.
The chronomancer is the first elite specialisation to come out for the Mesmer class, and it packs quite the punch. The specialisation opens the realm of time manipulation to the mesmer, and this specialisation therefore focuses on speeding up and slowing down of anything and everything.
As with every specilization, the class adds a profession mechanic, a new weapon, a new utility line and obviously a new set of traits. As these affect the mesmer playstyle by a large amount, this entire section will be dedicated to what the chronomancer does and how it is best used in dungeons.
The chronomancer adds the alacrity effect to the game, which is currently only available for mesmers. This buff is indicated by theicon, and speeds up cooldown recharge rate by 33%. Essentially this makes skills recharge 1.33 seconds of their cd within 1 second, effectively reducing all cooldowns by 25% as long as alacrity is maintained 100% of the time. As this is an effect, it can not be increased through boon duration, but alacrity is a major gamechanger in teamfights and plays an important role in the chronomancer playstyle.
The combination of certain traits and the viability of classes makes assassin’s gear less mandatory should you run certain traits.
A new shatter
The chronomancer adds a new shatter to the mesmer which is one of the most simple yet impossibly difficult to master mechanics the mesmer now has. As any shatter, it destroys your illusions and for each it destroys+yourself it adds effect. A short description is given below.
General synergy traits: Master of Fragmentation / Shattered Strength / Master of Misdirection
Continuum split(90sec cd by default) Continuum shift
This shatter moves the chronomancer into a different timeline via a continuum rift for a period of 1.5 seconds per illusion shattered. In this timeline, any changes to cooldowns, endurance, health or placement are not saved and as the timer runs out, the chronomancer is returned to its original state.
The continuum rift which is used to transverse to the other timeline is, however, a targetable entity, and therefore can be destroyed, forcing you back to your original state. This rift can be used to remember where you’ll return to once the timer runs out. If wish to return prematurely, continuum shift can be used, as shown on the right.
This shatter then lets you use ANY skill within its duration without having be on cooldown as you return to your original state. This includes elite skills and lets you use these twice in effect. Do keep in mind that any health gained within the duration is ineffective as its returned to normal once continuum split runs out. Dying while in continuum split is also ineffective as you’ll simply return to living state after the duration, however this effect is limited to PvE, and against damage which does not simultaneously destroys your continuum rift.
While it is very tempting to use this shatter to use instantly spawn two timewarps, it’s often a better idea to instead use skills with a higher cooldown than the shatter ONLY when in continuum split. This allows you to simply reduce a 180second cd to 90 seconds, and allows consistent usage.
Synergy-reminder: The ‘mirror images’ skill can be used outside of combat when you have a target nearby, to get 4.5 seconds of continuum split without getting in combat. This allows for easier non-combat use of CS, like placing portals and stacking stealth.
A new weapon
The chronomancer unlocks the ability to wield a shield for the mesmer. The shield is an offhand weapon with a focus on quickness, slow and alacrity. It provides the only real direct damaging offhand weapon skill to the mesmer in the form of tides of time. The shield is a weapon which I recommend using often, but it should be used in synergy with another offhand which has a more offensive phantasm.
Echo of memory
This skill is the only continuous block the mesmer has, and it’s one hell of a block. Echo of memory blocks every blockable attack for a duration of 1.5 seconds, and spawns an illusionary avenger once the duration ends.
This illusionary avenger is a shieldbearing phantasm which exerts an aoe attack every 7-8 sec on the enemy when it hits. In a radius of 240, this attack grants 2 seconds of slow to enemies and 2 seconds of alacrity to allies, but also does moderate damage to the enemies which it slows.
If an attack is blocked during the duration of echo of memory, the skill switched to ‘Deja Vu’, which is essentially the same skill. This, combined with the fact that this is a phantasm skill which can be recharged by the Signet of Ether, provides the chronomancer with enormous defensive capabilities. Deja Vu is available for 10 seconds.
Tides of Time
Previously mentioned, tides of time is a direct damaging offhand weapon skill which combines various aspects of the mesmer and chronomancer in one effective skill.
Tides of time shoots out a wall of magical energy towards the target, which absorbs projectiles, grants 1.5seconds of quickness to allies, stuns enemies for 1 second, and then returns to the mesmer’s new position to repeat the process. If you manage to catch the wall upon its return, the skill cooldown is reduced by 10 seconds. As the wall takes your speed into account this can sometimes be a difficult process.
As the skill has no target limit, Tides of time will hit target for every possible hitbox it has, therefore proving more effective the larger the target becomes. As every hit on the target stuns them, it can be very effective at removing defiance bars, and synergizes well with ‘on interrupt’ traits. The quickness this skill provides is also partywide, and is therefore effective at increasing your party’s damage.
The utility skillset which the chronomancer specialization brings is the addition of wells. Wells have an AoE nature and generally provide party support in combination with offensive characteristics. Every well affects 5 targets and pulses 3 times before finishing off with a final pulse which adds an additional effect.
Overall synergy: All’s Well That Ends Well
Well of Calamity
The Well of Calamity is your offensive friend, and a well which you’ll be using frequently in the new content. Well of calamity has a 20 second cooldown, and only has offensive capabilities when not taking any traits into account. Every pulse, this well damages targets and adds 2 seconds of cripple and weakness to them.
The fourth pulse does a high amount of AoE damage to add. Due to the short cooldown of this well, as well as its damaging capabilities, well of calamity is a great replacemt for mantra of pain, and tops it by adding alacrity to the party when used with the ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’ trait.
Well of Action
Well of recall is a real chronomancy well in the sense that it focuses on slow and quickness. This well has a cooldown of 30 seconds, and does a low amount of base damage. Every pulse of the Well of Action grants 1 second of slow to the opponents standing inside of it, and the final pulse only grants quickness for 3 seconds to all allies within.
This is a great mini-timewarp which can effectively increase party damage significantly. The slow granted by the well also synergizes well with the ‘danger time’ mastertrait.
Well of Recall
Well of recall is an alacrity source. This well grants chill to your opponents every 3 pulses, and does so in packets of 1 second. This makes your opponent’s cooldowns longer, and the well also does a slight amount of damage to add to it. As the well ends, it grants 5 seconds of alacrity to all allies standing within it, making it your primary source of alacrity for the party. As the skill has a cooldown of 40 seconds, your alacrity is put to good use.
Well of Precognition
This is a more niche- type well, as it has only defensive capabilities. Well of Precognition grants aegis to all allies standing within the well, and does so every one of three pulses. This is accompanied by stability in case of unblockable atacks. Once the well ends, all allies receive 30% of their endurance back.
If your party is in a pinch against mobs with blockable attacks, this may be just what you need. With a cooldown of 45 seconds, however, you may wish to use this wisely.
(Elite) Gravity well
The chronomancer elite skill is an interesting one. With a cooldown of 90 seconds, this well creates an enormous CC burst within a 240 range. Gravity well is great at locking down large amounts of targets, and does so to a maximum of 5 targets. Gravity well has 4 pulses which do a decent amount of damage. The final pulse is comparable to Well of Calamity but doesn’t quite cut it. Gravity well first knocks the targets in range back, then floats them, and finally pulls them to the middle. This skill finds little use in PvE, but may be used for AoE CC against strong trashgroups, it also allows for an easy pull, but the fact that you’ll lose your other elite skills for it, makes it a skill you won’t often use.
Well of Eternity
Incase you thought I forgot the healwell, you were wrong. Well of Eternity is the healingskill added for the chronomancer, and it’s naturally in the form of a well. This well allows the mesmer to not only heal himself, but also his allies. As Well of Eternity is spawned, the mesmer is healed for a moderate amount.
Every pulse the well removes 1 condition from each ally inside of it, and eventually finishes off with an AoE heal similar in magnitude to that which the chronomancer receives upon cast.
As Well of Eternity heals in two stages, this is the only heal which can be combined with continuum split to gain extra healing. If you manage to return from the shatter before the well expires, it is possible to gain approximately 1.5x the total healing you would normally receive. With a cooldown of 30 seconds and aoe healing capabilities, this is definitely not a bad choice for a healing skill.
A note on quickness
Before we get on to the Chrono-Builds, some information on the quickness boon is important. As a chronomancer, quickness is your main priority, followed by alacrity in the current meta. This is because various classes( revenant, thief, guardian) have a rotation largely based on auto attacks, which are in no need of cooldown reduction for obvious reasons. In the case that you are running mainly with elementalists or warriors, alacrity starts becoming more important.
But the important thing we’re focusing on here is quickness. Quickness is a boon which increases the speed of actions by a good 50%, which is a strange way of putting it, but essentially this comes down to attacks being performed within 75% of their original casting time. This allows for a total damage increase of about 33%, and is thus very effective. The intracity of quickness comes when we talk about stacking the boon up. A boon which is stacked in duration functions quite differently from a boon which is stacked in intensity, and quickness is one of the former category.
Quickness stacks up to 5 ‘portions’ of quickness, after which any attempts at quickness application are nullified. The ‘portions’ we are referring to here, are individual packages of quickness which your skills apply, e.g. timewarp applies portions of quickness all consisting of 1 second, every second for 10 seconds. This means that while different skills may result in the same total amount of quickness, some may deliver it in different portion sizes.
Let’s list our possible quickness portions below to get an idea about portion sizes:
Timewarp – 10x 1 second
Tides of time – 2x 1.5 seconds
Chronomancy rune(x6) well usage- 2 seconds
Well of action – 3 seconds
Furious interruptions(trait) – 3 seconds
Seized the moment(trait) – 1.5 seconds
As quickness can’t stack over 5 portions, you will want to cover as much duration divided over these nine as possible, bringing the favor to large portions such as the Well of Action delivers. Small portion skills such as Timewarp on the other hand, may actually make quickness uptime more difficult, as it will prevent higher duration quickness portions from being applied.
Because of this, the author personally recommends any chronomancer to look at how many, and what portion size quickness skills they are using in any given rotation, and to cut off any skills which are unnecessary or even detrimental to your quickness uptime.
The chronomancer has an entirely new traitline which can be unlocked through hero point spendations. Once it is fully unlocked, the specialization offers a broad chrono-scala of traits which are a great addition to current builds. Some builds may require more skill than others, but in general the chronomancer only adds to the mesmer.
When lacking a proper name for builds you might as well attempt to combine the usages of the build in one word. Some combinations work better than others. The chrono-fraidomancer build is a build which is dedicated to fractals and raids, combined at ‘fraids’. This build combines the chronomancer’s wells, and phantasm-shatter hybrid traits from the chronomancer to form an amazing sustain build which incorporates both shatters, phantasms and wells. This can be seen as a chrono-alternative to the phantasm-shatter synergy build.
Covering the chronomancer aspects of the build first, this build uses ‘all’s well that ends well’, to provide alacrity to your party more effectively with the usage of wells. Next to that, it commonly uses the ‘improved alacrity’ trait to make sure that you’ll keep up sufficient alacrity yourself so you have more cooldown reduction on your alacrity skills so you can apply more alacrity to your allies. Something I am now officially naming the ‘alacrity inception phenomenon’.
To then incorporate the phantasm-shatter synergy play we are using the amazing ‘chronophantasma’ trait. This trait allows you to shatter your phantasms but have them respawn once, allowing you to keep up damage from both sources. It’s best to shatter plenty as it produces more alacrity, but make sure you keep up at least 2 damaging phantasms at all times.
The illusions traitline is in this build to cover your phantasmal damage, but also to decrease the cooldown on your new F5 shatter skill. With the Grandmaster major trait named ‘Master of Misdirection’, you’ll be able to pop your F5 shatter every 76.25 seconds, effectively reducing the cooldown of your high CD skills like elites.
The adept and master major traits are also a lot more effective than before as chronophantasma allows for longer phantasm upkeep. The fact that phantasmal haste operates over time, and the shatter reduction still leaves you with a 70s+ CD, shows that this build is focussed on long lasting fights such as those in raids and fractals.
Lastly there’s the Domination/Dueling line. Frankly, the differences between these two lines are minimal. Phantasmal fury cancels out against empowered illusions, Fencer’s Finesse cancels out against fragility as you’ll simply not be able to keep it up consistently, and the Grandmaster trait in dueling is hardly relevant, but this traitline then has good vigor uptime.
This, and the ‘Mental anguish’ trait are why Domination can be called optimal, while Dueling may often be preferable. The author personally suggests running domination as long as you can manage, but to switch to dueling for survivability purposes, definitely when running scholar runes.
A build like this often runs with well of recall and action, as well as mimic or signet of inspiration. The fight is then best started by spawning 3 illusions, shattering them, popping every skill you have, and then getting 3 phantasms up to then shatter them whenever you know you can respawn them.
As we are also talking about raids, be sure to pick your own utility and weapon choices. As mentioned before, the phantasmal warlock hits hard in raids as well, and you may require a pistol for breakbars.
You may also like: Persistence of memory trait, for more shattering due to phantasm cooldown reduction, as it may help keep up personal alacrity.
The I-still-run-dungeons build
This build was made in a time where dungeons just got cut in rewards, explaining the name quite clearly. Simply said, this build focuses on short fights instead of prolonged ones, and therefore asks for maximum damage in a short period of time.
In shorter fights, phantasmal haste simply doesn’t affect damage all too much, and in those cases you don’t want to have it with you. This is why the ISRD build uses both dueling as well as domination. As you’ll notice, the build has now also left alone the ‘improved alacrity’ trait. This is because the alacrity inception phenomenon simply doesn’t have as big of an effect in smaller fights which are often followed up by running. Danger time will make up for your last losses in precision in these situations, in which rangers are unlikely to be present. The fact that when rangers aren’t present, you can run danger time, is the reason berserker gear can be taken as main for the mesmer now.
The ISRD build can still be combined with mantras due to the lack of alacrity importance, and therefore benefits a lot more off the ‘harmonious mantras’ trait in dueling.
The Supporting Unicorn builds
This build focuses more on supporting allies, and for example provides more reflection than the four feedbacks you should already be able to pull off with the chronomancer. For you reflection greedy maniacs.
Quite simply, the Supporting Unicorn build provides the strengths of the previously mentioned builds, and adds in the inspiration traitline. This traitline allows you to run focus with phantasmal warden, prolongs your feedback durations, and also allows distortion sharing via the ‘inspiring distortion’ minor trait.
If you are insecure about your quickness uptime, you may even run the ‘illusionary inspiration’ grandmaster trait, to fulfill your support mesmer need. Running the rune of the chronomancer is also a good idea if you’re taking this approach. However, keep in mind that this trait is very difficult to handle due to the 30 second cooldown and frequent phantasm usage.
The benefits of using illusions in combination with this build is that your wardens will keep up their reflections even longer, while domination affects simple damage instead. If you’re planning on supporting via quickness, illusions also decreases the F5 cooldown, allowing higher uptime still.
Improved alacrity is generally preferred in this build as the aim is to keep up as much support as you can. Nontheless, you may wish to take ‘danger time’ if you feel you can manage it.
Espectially because of Inspiring Distortion, and frequent focus usage, these are great build choices to be used in certain raid encounters alongside the fraidomancer build.
While you may not often come across the situation, there are some cases in which the Chaos traitline may actually be the better choice for you, rather than inspiration. Chaos has two distinct traits which may benefit the chronomancer, namely Master of Manipulations and Chaotic Persistence. The first trait will allow for the use of mimic, as the cooldown of this skill will fall below that of CS, while Chaotic Persistence boosts up your boon duration.
One situation in which this is relevant is one in which you’re lacking a revenant, as well as a sigil of concentration, in a team of quickness enthousiasts. To then properly use this, make sure to run Runes of Surging, use appropriate nourishment, and use Mimic, Signet of Inspiration and Well of Action, allowing you to pop out 4 action wells to keep up quickness despite your boon duration lack.
Another situation in which this may be relevant is one in which you are trying to focus on Alacrity, and you are again missing a revenant. In this case Chaotic Persistence will replace some of the boon duration left by the revenant, while you will be able to run four wells of recall per rotation. More information in the techniques section.
The Skipping builds
While there is no build for chrono-skipping, you may want to return to section 1.8.4 to look at the original skipping build. To convert to chrono, simply move out inspiration and fill in chronomancy. Chronomancy will have positive effects on skips as you’ll be able to recharge your stealth skills faster(so run ‘improved alacrity’), and you’ll also be capable of using 2 mass invisibility skills in one go.
More techniques for this may be added to the ‘techniques’ section later.
New rune options
Rune of surging
Another possibility in terms of boon duration runes, is the rune of surging. This rune applies a total of 15% boon duration, covered over 5 individual runes. To acquire these, you will require tangled depths currencies; 250 for each rune. This, in quantities of 1 platinum doubloon+5 runes of surging, is a nice budget way of acquiring extra boon duration in combination of power. Combine this with 30% duration increase from nourishments, some commanders gear and possibly a revenant, and you’ll hit 100% boon duration already.
Rune of leadership
The most difficult to acquire rune of this moment, is currently also a great rune for the chronomancer to get. As your job as a chronomancer is to apply quickness and alacrity to your party, the rune of leadership works really well with a 30% boon duration(applies to quickness only) increase. The stat increase granted by the rune is also good, but the toughness increase might interfere with your tank. This rune costs 600 crystalline ores to acquire a set from as of now.
Rune of the chronomancer
The rune of the chronomancer is one which was added with the addition of the Heart of Thorns expansion, and fits well with the chronomancer specialization. Do notice that this rune will only apply its full benefits to chronomancers. This rune gives stats similar to the scholar rune, but replaces ferocity with precision, making it a bit less damaging if you’ve got a boon capping party.
This rune applies 2 seconds of quickness to yourself whenever you use a well. If used correctly, this allows you to keep personal quickness with more ease. When using this rune, make sure to switch nourishment to power-ferocity based(or boon duration), and when helping your party with quickness, make sure you don’t pass the 5 quickness stack limit.
If you’re simply soloing I highly recommend this rune. In team settings you need to make sure to not end up decreasing your own quickness uptime with it.
A new sigil choice
Sigil of Concentration
Do you have lots of money? Then this sigil may be something for you! The sigil of concentration increases boon duration by 33% when swapping to the weapon which it has been applied to. The benefit of this sigil is being able to still run runes of the scholar/chronomancer, while also having 100% boon duration if you do your rotations well.
Authors recommendation: With the recent patch I recommend Sigil of Concentration for anyone, the price has dropped significantly, and the benefits outweigh the losses to a large degree. To add up to your boonduration you may want to consider using commanders gear for raids, this allows for tanking as well as extra boons, and will make things a lot simpler. The rune choice depends a lot on your party/squad composition, if you lack a revenant you may want to take surging runes if you lack the commander trinkets, otherwise chronomancer or scholar work just fine.
Optional: Condition mesmering
—–Disclaimer: Condition damage is a possibility, but it is not in any way META ——
As of recent patches, condition damage has become a more viable way of playing the game. This has developped many builds, most of which focus on burning, which do similar damage to power builds.
Conditions still have two apparent limitations, namely:
1- Conditions are unable to hit some non living objects.
2- Conditions synergize badly with percentage based buffs such as the spirit of frost, glyph of empowerment, and harmonious mantras.
Nontheless, builds such as the condition berserker, condition tempest, and most importantly the condition engineer, have moved their way into the meta. Requests for condition mesmer possibilities have been filed, and as such this section will focus on the way in which a chronomancer can best use condition damage.
First, let us look at the condition weapons and traits.
The mesmer is capable of delivering conditions via staff AA/ chaos storm, the torch, the scepter, some traits among which is ‘sharper images’. Ill go over these one by one.
Staff and conditions
The staff’s auto attack delivers a random condition to the target, to then have the projectile return to the target, buffing them, and then moving to either target or ally once more. This functionality allows you to build up a large amount of conditions, granted the projectile will hit the target more than once.
This is where a problem comes in, bouncing projectiles such as the staff’s AA, prefer allies over foes. This results in the projectile moving in a Foe-Ally-Ally trajectory if given the opportunity. The decrease in your condition application over a Foe-Ally-Foe path is then roughly 50%, which is quite tragic.
Surprisingly however, these buffing projectiles are unable to hit clones, which opens up an opportunity for the solitary mesmer. The staff’s condition damage is great in a solo setting. This technique will require you to summon 3 clones via phase retreat/mirror images or deceptive evasion, and to simply auto attack away at a target.
As the projectiles are unable to hit clones, and you are the only non-clone ally, the projectiles you and your clones send out will all follow the Foe-Ally-Foe path. This rather simple technique, will allow for strong condition damage, and with the occasional chaos storm, this is a good build to take when solo.
A recommended build for this situation is shown below:
As a build with a large variety of conditions, a good idea is to use viper stat equipment, with runes of the nightmare(5/6)+a black diamond, and to use condition duration increasing skills(signet of midnight), and nourishments(certain focussing crystals/veggie pizzas). Be wary not to increase condition duration of certain conditions up over 100%, as it will have no effect.
Again, this is a build for a SOLO setting. If used in a team, the damage from your winds of chaos will be split in half, decreasing your damage to a subpar amount.
The torch conditions
As you should know, the torch uses burning, and as such can be considered a condition damage based weapon. A very similar functionality to the staff is in play here, and brings up some issues with the offhand which need to be explained.
Torch 4 is an excellent burn applier on a high cooldown, this is therefore a decent skill for conditions, which is made to have slightly lower effect due to its cooldown.
Torch 5 on the other hand, is a whole different story. The torch’s number 5 skill is the phantasmal mage. This mage uses a bouncing projectile, which, as explained above, prefers applies fury on allies and burnign on foes. In the staff section I explained how bouncing projectiles have a tendency to hit allies rather than foes, and sadly, this applies once more.
You may have noticed me mention the fact that ‘clones’ can not be hit by bouncing attacks. The use of the word ‘clone’, in this section, was intentional, as phantasms can sadly be used as targets as well. This results in the projectile of the phantasmal mage almost exclusively moving in a Foe-Ally-Ally trajectory, allowing for very limited burning uptime, and a dissapointing offhand for condition damage.
The scepter conditions
The scepter has gotten a buff with the ‘malicious sorcery’trait (look it up), and has therefore moved into the ranks of possible condition appliers. While still subpar compared to the sword in a power build, the scepter might find its way into a condition damage scenario.
The scepter applies two conditions: torment from the AA & illusionary counter(5 stacks), and confusion(6 stacks) from the confusing images skill. The high amount of torment application makes it so that a moving target is preferred when using a scepter.
A big advantage of scepter usage, is the fact that you are capable of using an offhand. In the chronomancer meta, your job in teams will be that of buffing your allies via quickness and alacrity, the former still being possible with a shield through the usage of tides of time. Alacrity also allows for a decrease in the cooldown of confusing images, allowing for more frequent usage.
The scepter can be considered a hybrid weapon in the sense that confusing images also deals a good amount of power damage, nontheless, this is a weapon to keep in mind, with the largest limiting factor being the amount of movement of the target.
Note: As mentioned previously, the scepter auto attack chain switches skills when the projectile hit, making your damage higher when in melee range.
Condition applying traits on the mesmer aren’t amazingly abundant, you can gain torment on shatter as an illusions master, you may gain slow application when using continuum split by using master of fragmentation in the same line, but both these traits offer very limited application of conditions. Therefore, the traits we will be focussing on are duelist’s discipline and sharper images.
Sharper images is a trait which makes all illusions apply 5(base) seconds of bleeding when landing a critical hit, this trait is a minor in dueling, and can be your main source of bleeding damage. As the trait has no internal cooldown, a frequently hitting illusion can apply more bleeding stacks than a slow hitting one. This is where the phantasmal duelist comes in.
The phasmal duelist lands a total of 8 shots whenever it hits, allowing for a maximum of 8 stacks of bleeding. This is decent, but doesn’t quite cut it at a frequency of once every 7.6/6.6(PH trait) seconds. This is where duelist’s discipline comes in. This trait was recently changed in functionality, to make the duelist’s attacks apply bleeding at a 50% chance. The applied bleeding shares duration with sharper images, applying an extra 6 seconds by default.
What’s nice to know, is that the two traits work independently, and thus a critical hit from a duelist has a 50% chance to apply 2 stacks of bleeding instead of one. In combination with phantasmal haste, this will therefore be your number one condition phantasm, which can again be considered to be of a hybrid nature.
The finalised build(credits to TheRealC)
To finalize the build, we will now look at the pros and cons of each weapon, and conclude a build for conditions in an instanced PvE setting, presuming the presence of a party.
Staff and torch fall off the ranking due to their inability to play in a team, leaving only the scepter and duelist. A good build to therefore use, and one I would recommend only if you really wish to play conditions, is one using a scepter and pistol.
The build is summed up below:
Weapons – Rampager
Trinkets – Sinister+ Rampager backpiece, Viper Amulet
Sigils- Superior geomancy+bursting
Skills- Signet of Midnight- (Signet of domination+ well/2 wells / Signet of Inspiration+ well). This is to keep up your party support just like a power build does.
As bleeding is your main condition, krait runes are the way to go in this setup, boosting your condition duration up high. In combination with rare veggie pizzas, signet of midnight & appropriate focusing crystals, your general condition duration will be around 53%, while bleeding duration reaches near 100. The sigil of bursting wil then continue to boost up your damage, and the trait you unconsciously equipped, called master of misdirection, will also increase your confusion duration.
The rotation on this build is then very easy: The mesmer summons 3 duelists for bleeding application, and simply uses auto attack on the scepter in melee range. Use confusing images whenever possible, and use illusionary counter only when you have less than 3 phantasms up. Keep up your group’s support by appropriately using continuum split in combination with timewarp, and your wells/signet of inspiration, to finish it up.
As for the secondary offhand weapon; a shield will be good for party support, applying 3 seconds of quickness, but you may also wish to take a torch and use it for the prestige to get in just a little bit more condition damage.
—–Disclaimer: Condition damage is a possibility, but it is not in any way META/ Equally effective as power damage & group support——
How to Phantasm: An Illustrated Guide
This small section of the mesmer guide will inform you of how to decide on your offhand weapon and phantasm use, with a lovely illustration.
Next section will go over mesmer’s special techniques and what you should be doing exactly when playing on your mesmer character. The techniques explained here are mostly basic tips and tricks, but are meant to help you optimize your play.
As the use of phantasmal warden is very relevant in projectile based fights, keeping up their reflection well is vital. With the phantasmal haste trait, timing becomes less narrow and you’ll have a much easier time keeping up reflection.
The general time it takes for the phantasmal warden to complete its animation is ~5 seconds. When phantasmal haste is used, the cool down on the warden’s attack is reduced to ~7.2 seconds from the original 9.
Because of this, phantasmal wardens give you a reflection duration of approximately 5 seconds, with a 7.2 second cooldown if the proper traits are used.
If properly timed, two wardens can keep up a reflection uptime of about 83%, with a short window through which projectiles can hit.
A demonstration of warden chaining with previously bugged wardens is given below. this bug allowed the phantasmal wardens to reflect 1 second before and after their animation, filling the reflection gap naturally. This does not work anymore. Achieving 100% reflection is still a lot easier with phantasmal haste, but requires a total of three wardens, meaning you will need to fill in the initial gap with feedback / temporal curtain reflection until the warden is off cooldown.
Old PH warden chaining demonstration
As is visible in the video, 1 second of the reflection gap is filled in by the warden’s aftercast. This means that in the current situation, you have to choose between putting up 2 wardens at this timing, or spawning the second one a second faster, to spawn a third later to fill the 2 second gap. recommended timing for the second warden that way is using the signet of ether and then finishing an auto attack chain. The combination of the 1 second heal, 2.5 second AA chain, casting time and human error will place your second warden to fall in for number one just in time.
Are you a chronomancer? Do you not like the inspiration triatline? Fear not! You can manage to keep up 4 feedbacks in a row using Continuum Split. This can be done through the use of mimic in combination with proper timing. A small demonstration is shown below.
The quadrouple feedback is great to keep your old traitlines if fights do contain damaging projectiles, but also don’t last very long.
The Chrono Wellburst & Phantasm-Shatter-Rotation.
Maximizing damage and support is not simply something you can do by knowing the theoretical most effective skills, but also involves technique. And like that, to maximize damage and support output, the mesmer needs to make good use of the signet of ether, his/her wells, and keep positioning and cooldowns in mind.
Being in combat creates a cooldown on weapon swapping, and as different phantasms may be needed, it is wise to start with one which does not immediately get you in combat: the swordsman.
To completely cover the party with alacrity and quickness, but also to keep up your own damage, the mesmer needs to time their skills properly. You want to keep up 2 illusions which do damage, while keeping one avenger for additional alacrity needs.
The next bit comes down to Continuum Split. As this shatter allows you to use skills without having them go on cooldown, you can essentially lower the cooldown of skills such as timewarp, which has a CD higher than that of your F5. This means that you’re giving the best sustain by only using these kinds of skills within your continuum split.
As Continuum split is naturally very important, you’ll want to use as many skills as you can within the timeframe, and as alacrity is a very influential factor, well of recall is important here too.
A chronomancer’s rotation depends on whether he/she wants to focus on alacrity or quickness in priority, which in turn is something which depends on your class composition. Elementalists, Condi warriors, Condi engis and Reapers enjoy alacrity a lot, while Revenants, PS warriors, Thieves and Guardians benefit most from quickness. Druids are likely somewhere in the middle.
We’ll first go over an alacrity prioritizing rotation.
To do your proper rotation you’ll want to first spawn your 3 phantasms.
After this, use Timewarp and continuum split, the quickness this provides allows you to use your upcoming skills faster.
Now, (use Mimic and Well of Recall), fill the 1 second gap with another well (if you have one), and then use well of recall again. By this time, your F5 will be resetting soon. Quickly use your Shield 5, Tides of Time now.
As you return from CS, your previously launched Tides of Time will still return to you, and will recharge the skill slightly. However, for this to happen, you need to actually have the skill on cooldown. So, as you return from CS, quickly use the skill again, catch both waves, and you’ll get a 20 second recharge back.
You may use your wells as much as you want now that CS is on cooldown, however, to gain optimal rotation, you preferentially won’t have anything on a major cooldown once CS is usable again. To achieve this, make sure to watch your cooldown, and don’t try to use anything with a much higher cooldown than what CS still needs to recharge.
The large amount of wells spawned within the short period of time is what I like to call the ‘wellburst’.
Your phantasms now die once shattered again. Wait with shattering them until Signet of Ether is recharged, use mind wrack, and resummon your friends as quickly as you can.
If you are having difficulties pulling off the wellburst with mimic during the f5 duration, you may want to use mimic last instead. This allows you to cast your last well after continuum split has already diminished, without anything going on cooldown.
Rinse and repeat.
A quick demonstration is shown below. You may wish to pause the video at some points, as things go very fast.
Notice that in this video, the Chaos traitline is not equipped, not allowing you to use mimic again post CS. If you have no explicit need for one of your traitlines, you may wish to equip Chaos, to decrease mimic’s cooldown duration enough for subsequent usage to be viable. More information in section 18.104.22.168: Using Chaos.
Now for changes in case of quickness support:
If you are using a quickness- support focussed build, such as you would in most multiclass raid compositions, you want to switch out mimic for signet of inspiration, and use this after you’re done pumping out quickness. If you are running Chronomancer runes, you may also wish to take out Timewarp entirely to replace it with Gravity well. For more information on this, please return to the Note on Quickness section.
In the case of chronomancy runes, make sure to use Gravity Well, activate CS halfway, then use Well of Action, Well of recall, Well of eternity and Tides of time.
As CS deactivates, make sure to use the same rotation, lacking Gravity Well, and use Signet of Inspiration as you are done.
The rest of the process is identical to that of an alacrity focused one.
If you are not using Chronomancer runes for any reason, simply reslot Timewarp and use it instead of gravity well.
Temporal Curtain Pulling
Making mobs stand together is very useful. Due to melee attack’s cleave ability, having all of your targets near each other will make it a lot easier to kill them quickly. The temporal curtain is often used to make this ‘balling’ of mobs easier, but requires some skill on the part of the mesmer to do
Once the mesmer knows about the maximum pulling distance, they need to find a spot between the relevant mobs where as many of them are in pulling range of the curtain as possible. The more mobs you get near each other, the better.
Combining a pull with the ‘swap’ skill on your mainhand sword helps keep mobs in place while they are being killed, so consider using it immediately after the pull.
Note: The presented video dates back to a time during which proper pulling required all mobs to be at exactly the maximum range from the curtain. This is no longer the case, and thus it will suffice as long as all the mobs you try to pull are at a distance of or below said maximum pulling range.
Before we forget about the centaur runes and skipping builds, we are going to go over what is stealth skipping. Skipping is an extremely frequently used technique in fast dungeon runs, as lots of trash mobs do not need to be killed.
As a mesmer there are two situations in which you must skip: to run with your party or to run alone to later portal your party through.
The videos below illustrate how stealth chaining and skipping mobility work in different situations.
General skipping, stealth chaining small groups & mobility
Advanced portal skipping, stealth chaining larger groups
As stealth chaining on the mesmer requires the use of many of your utility slots, make sure to consider cooldown reduction traits before starting the skip. This will help you get back into the fight more quickly.
As the portal skill can be removed from your skill bar to later be replaced after placing the entre, it is possible to use all 3 of your utility slots for a skip without losing the ability to portal your party members through.
If you happen to be a chronomancer, you may wish to use stealth in combination with F5. This makes it possible to stack up two mass invisibilities, and therefore allows you to give your party more stealth. If you’re using some kind of illusion assist, like mirror images, you may also use veil with it. A small tutorial on how this works is shown below.
As a chronomancer you have the privilege to have lots of thing expected from you. This includes portalling like any other mesmer, but as a skilled chronomancer you may want to make things harder on yourself by using Continuum Split and blink in combination with portals. This is more difficult to pull off, but also results in not being stuck with a bunch of skipping skills on your bar.
If you’re using Continuum Split with portals, both the entrance and exit may have to be placed within the duration. Why? Because if you only use F5 for the exit, your portal will simply go on the cooldown initiated by the entrance placement. Remember? it’s that bugger you get when you take too long to place the exit. This makes it very tricky to place portals with continuum split in combination with other skills, as it allows for very little movement within the duration.
However, if you simply need to run through an area and have to place the exit far away, you may simply use Mimic within CS, to then place your exit once CS runs out again.
Nontheless, some places allow for lots of area to be covered through an upward blink, and this is a situation in which you may use the technique.
A small demonstration on normal ground is given below. This covers the technique quite well, though it implies that the author asks you to figure out where you can apply this effectively yourself.
Extra repeated notice: The previous explanation is only really relevant when using a blink’d portal. In cases where you can simply run ahead of your party, you may use ‘mimic’ in continuum split, and then simply put the portal exaunt outside of CS. This will make a non existant mimic go on cooldown instead of your portal.
The reason we don’t use this in combination with blink is because the mimic will likely be used to make blink go off cooldown instead.
Temporal Curtain Reflection
Reflecting with the temporal curtain is made possible once the warden’s feedback trait is equipped. But because the temporal curtain is smaller than, for example, the guardian’s wall of reflection, projectile reflection can be tricky.
Illustrations have been provided below to show how projectiles work in general situations and how temporal curtain reflects these best. There is a difference with the arc of projectiles between airborne launched ones, and those launched closer to the ground, the two figures will show you where a curtain can be placed best in both situations.
Airborne launched projectiles.
When an airborne projectile is launched, the projectile needs to reach its destination which is at lower altitude, because of this, the projectile needs to descend. The temporal curtain is often not high enough to reflect the projectile at its source, but will be capable of doing so easily when it is at its lowest point: the target.
Ground launched projectiles.
Projectiles launched from a target at ground level first need to become airborne, and make an entire arc. The launched projectile starts at ground level, ascends to a decent height, and then starts descending again to reach its target. Because of this, placing your temporal curtain directly on the mob, will reflect the attack instantly, allowing you and your party members to move around while keeping reflection up. Placing the curtain directly in front of you will still work, do keep in mind that you will be less mobile.
About the Author
This guide was written by Sanderinoa, the current (co)leader of retaliate [rT].
As several of rT’s core members, Sanderinoa started off as a solo player, spending most of his time making solo videos as well as enjoying the use of excessive commas and unnecessary vocabulary.
As an rT member he has also participated in several of their dungeon speed clears and is constantly trying to fit the mesmer class into the upcoming runs. His main is a mesmer but he has a hard time talking about himself due to a fear of sounding arrogant.
This guide was written by Sanderinoa alone (with some copy paste work from the other rT guides), but as he is not a theory crafter at all, makes use of the knowledge of various respected members of the mesmer community as well.
If you wish to know more about the author, check out his YouTube Channel