Mobile Backbreaker, version 2
1. Build aims
Mobile Backbreaker is an SPvP build aimed at providing extreme control, both single target and AoE, while remaining sufficiently mobile to compete at a high level. The build excels in group situations, however, it is also a reasonable solo build. It especially shines in 1vX environments, where the build's ability to control opponents and reduce their damage output is very beneficial. Lastly, the default build is designed to be extremely well rounded, with no significant weaknesses.
2. The (default) build in brief
Calculator: GW2 Build
Weapon set one: Hammer (Sigil of Superior Battle)
Weapon set two: MH Sword (Sigil of Superior Battle) & OH Mace (Sigil of Superior Purity)
Rune: 6x Superior Rune of Melandru
Precision: 1560 (34.68% critical hit chance)
Vitality: 1524 (24452 Health)
3a. Getting in to melee range and staying there
In general, the easiest way to get in to melee range as a Warrior is to use a charge ability. In this build you have two long range charges* (plus one on Elite) and one short range charge** available to you. If it is not necessary to charge to get in to melee range, then don't; it's a waste of a valuable cooldown. If you do have to use a charge to get in to melee range, then try to use Savage Leap (Sword), as it has the shortest cooldown and no other uses.
Once you are in melee range you should try and get a Cripple on the target as soon as possible. Always try and use Hamstring (Sword) first over Hammer Shock (Hammer) in a single target situation, as Hamstring has a limited range and Hammer Shock has other uses.
In addition to your charges and cripples, you also have the abilities Tremor (1200 range KD in a line) and Flurry (melee range Immobilize and damage), however, these are last alternatives. Your Elite skill can also be used to close gaps at last resort.
*Savage Leap (Sword) and Bull's Charge (Utility).
**Earthshaker (Hammer burst).
3b. What to do once you are in melee range
The next step is most likely to swap to your Hammer set if you are not in it already, and putting Weakness on the target using Fierce Blow. However, Weakness can be very situational and you may want to save it for a secondary target. Condition builds and builds with very high critical chance are not very affected by Weakness, if you recognize that your opponent is one of these types of builds then it might be worth considering holding off on the Fierce Blow. Furthermore, you might want to hold off on your Weakness because your opponent might be about to remove conditions due to your Cripple. Nevertheless, your Weakness being removed might actually be a good thing, as it acts as a cover for your Cripple. Saving Weakness for a focus fire target is also highly recommended.
I feel it's also worth noting your Sigils of Superior Battle at this time. Every time you swap weapons these Sigils will apply another stack of 3 Might for 20s. Since you can swap weapons very quickly this can easily lead to having a stack of 12 Might later in the fight. That is quite a significant damage increase.
What you do after this is highly situational, I will cover it more specifically in the next few sections.
3c. Call a target for focus fire (group)
If there is nothing else pressing going on (e.g. you really need to peel someone), and you have a significant number of crowd control abilities up, you should think about calling a target for focus fire.
The target should be a key member of an the enemy group or an easy target (such as a glass cannon). Before you call the target, you need to make sure that the opponent does not have any effects on him/her that will hinder the focus fire, such as Stability and Retaliation. Secondly, you need to think about whether the other members of the opposing have the ability to hinder or stop the focus fire. For example, there may be an Elementalist with the trait Rock's Fortitude (grant Stability to the opposing group when they attune to Earth).
If there is someone in the group that could hinder your focus fire, you should consider bursting them down or using a feint so that they blow this ability. For example, you could start casting Backbreaker (distinctive animation, long cast time) and interrupt it at the last 10%.
You also need to think about what the rest of the opposing team is going to do to you and your team during the focus fire. On a basic level, you should have Stability up from either Balanced Stance or Last Stand. On a more advanced level, it might be worth the team putting their defensive cooldowns and stability up.
With the help of your Elite skill, you can keep a target fully or partially locked down for roughly 17 seconds, if you trigger your skills in the right order. It may be worth putting up Vulnerability from Crushing Blow (OH Mace) before you start your chain, for maximum damage.
Here is an example chain (no elite):
Crushing Blow (Vulnerability), Hamstring (1s Immobilize), Earthshaker (2s Stun), Bull's Charge (2s KD), Tremor (2s KD), Backbreaker (2s KD), Hammer Shock (1s Immobilize) and Flurry (2s Immobilize, won't be fully charged). Total time stationary: 12s. Total time completely disabled: 8s.
Mixing in the Elite skill moves in the right order will give an additional 2-9 seconds of crowd control. Exact chains are highly situational; you are likely not going to use the exact same chain every time.
3d. AoE Crowd Control
You have the ability to prevent a group of enemy players from performing actions for up to roughly 7 seconds simultaneously. This can be used either defensively, to reduce burst damage, or offensively to keep people from countering hard hitting AoE abilities (e.g. Dragon's Tooth).
The abilities in question are Earthshaker, Tremor, Hammer Shock and Staggering Blow. Plus a few extras attached to Rampage (Elite).
Outside of very specific situations, you need to be conservative about using your AoE crowd control, so you don't waste your focus fire shutdown and peeling potential. The abilities you will be using most commonly for AoE crowd control are Earthshaker and Hammer Shock, due to their short cooldowns. Nevertheless, in a disorganized group focus fire is going to matter a whole lot less, so you should consider using more AoE crowd control in a PuG environment.
At this stage, I think it's also worth noting that you apply confusion when you interrupt an enemy action. Even with 0 Malice the confusion will do several hundred damage per ability used. Multiply this by up to five opponents and multiple interrupts and confusion can do quite a significant amount of free DPS.
3e. Peeling others and getting away yourself
As a control build Mobile Backbreaker has a wide array of abilities to peel allies. If you are unfamiliar with the term peel, it literally means prevent an enemy from attacking an ally, usually allowing the ally to get in to space.
If you see an ally in trouble or someone calls for help, you should attempt to use one of your crowd control abilities to stop the enemy hitting them. This is especially important when trying to revive a downed ally, as you should attempt to interrupt the enemies finishing move or crowd control the enemy/ies to prevent them doing damage to the ally reviving.
You can obviously use your crowd control abilities to peel yourself as well. Try use them sparingly though, you don't want to waste all your cooldowns. As an alternative, you can also de-select your target (click in open space), face away from them and use one of your charges.
The trait Mobile Strikes also allows your charges to break Immobilize,
3f. Knocking people out of circles/guarding circles
In Conquest, it is very important to you knock the opponent out of ground circles to prevent them capping your points and to allow you to cap their points. You can do this using Staggering Blow, Kick (Rampage) and Stomp (Rampage).
As a relatively defensive person, with a large amount of crowd control you are also a good choice for guarding a circle solo. If the circle is attacked by enemies you should fend them off for as long as possible, by knocking them out of the circle, disabling them, and/or popping Rampage for the increased health.
In whatever situation you are in, it is very important that you do not get defeated inside a circle, as this will provide the enemy with 10 points. With 4 charges and 3 forms of Stability, there is very little excuse for dying inside the circle. It should also be noted that, although you are a very good choice for guarding circles, you are not the best choice.
3g. Interrupting key abilities, including revive
You should attempt to interrupt key abilities, such as Battle Standard, wherever possible. You are probably the best placed person in your team to do this, and interrupting these skills can often change the tide of battle to your advantage.
Interrupting revive so an ally can use the finishing move is one of the most important things that you can do.
When playing solo it is especially important to watch out for healing abilities. You have good sustained damage but not massive burst, therefore, interrupting a heal can often be the difference between winning and losing.
3h. Solo play
When playing solo it is important not to go all out offensive in every situation with Mobile Backbreaker. You do not have the burst damage of a GS/Axe Warrior (LOL WTF 1 SHOT!!!), therefore, you need to be aware of your opponents style and ready to counter it.
Against offensive (i.e. squishy) players you should try and wear them down, playing defensively using crowd control, line of sight and gap makers (i.e. charge), interrupting key moves and coming in to deal damage at times when it is advantageous to you, not them.
Against defensive players players you should be in melee range as much as possible, interrupting at key times to allow you to put out enough damage to get the kill.
3i. Moving around the battlefield, how and when to engage
Mobile Backbreaker is a very mobile build, hence the name. You can and should use this mobility to your advantage as much as you can. For example, you can get up either side of the clocktower, even if the boxes have been destroyed. That is perfect for a quick ninja, or a sneak attack from behind. Another example, you can chain Savage Leap and Earthshaker to rapidly cross between the clocktower windows (takes literally seconds) and then Bull's Charge to get you most of the way to the opposing circle.
It's also very important in Conquest not to engage in battles that you probably cannot win. You can use your mobility to avoid combat and get to somewhere you are useful. Furthermore, if you are outnumbered you can also use your mobility to run away and bring your enemies towards your allies, giving you the upper hand.
3j. Condition removal, stun removal and Stability
In high level PvP condition removal or prevention can be the difference between a win or loss. Damaging conditions can tear through your health like no-ones business and non-damaging conditions can shut you down.
In order to tone down the number of condition removal tools taken I took 6x Superior Rune of Melandru, which reduce condition duration by 45% (as well as stun duration by -33%). The duration reduction means conditions are far less bothersome, however, they will still likely be a problem. If you need a condition removing, your health is 19k or less and your heal is off cooldown, your best choice is Mending. Sigil of Superior Purity will passively remove a condition from you every now and again. You can use Signet of Stamina if everything else is on cooldown or you have a large amount of conditions. Immobilize is best broken using a charge, try not to waste condition removal on Immobilize.
Stuns may also need removing with Balanced Stance from time to time. A single stun is not very powerful, however, if you think a chain or nasty move is coming your way, you need to break the stun with Balanced Stance (and possibly dodge away as well).
You may not be the only one in the zone with the ability to chain crowd control abilities, therefore, you should also be thinking about using Stability at the correct time. As an opponent that can wreak havoc on the enemy given half a chance, you are probably a prime target for crowd control and focus fire yourself.
Rampage is usually used to deliver a maximum duration crowd control chain. It can also be used for things like reviving and peeling. The ability has two big drawbacks that you should be aware of: a lack of condition removal and Stability. Opponents with Cripples and Immobilizes while kite you endlessly, while heavy condition damage players stack a huge amount of damage on you. The ability is also next to useless if your opponent has Stability, make sure he/she uses it before you blow this ability.
Small note: always Cripple before applying Rampage when playing solo.
4a. Utility skills
Balanced Stance and Signet of Stamina can be swapped out for different skills. Bull's Charge is pretty much mandatory for the play style. I would advise you only swap Balanced Stance and Signet of Stamina out if your team can provide you with condition removal and Stability. If they cannot you will likely be owned by crowd control and condition damage. Viable alternatives that do not include help from party members include "Shake it Off!" and Doylak Signet. Nevertheless, you need to be wary not to lose your stun breaker.
If you do want to change the utility skills, the alternatives are: "Shake it Off!", Doylak Signet, Kick, Throw Bolas, Launch, Signet of Fury, "For Great Justice!", Endure Pain and Berserker Stance.
Be warned, if you do swap these utility skills around your ability so play solo fight suffer greatly.
There are no alternatives, Mending is the only healing skill that makes any sense for PvP builds.
4c. Elite skill
The primary alternative to Rampage is Battle Standard. Your survivability and crowd control will suffer, however, your team will do more damage and gain Stability for a large period of time (if the standard isn't destroyed). The standard also revived fallen allies when planted. The problem with Battle Standard is that it can be destroyed, has a long cast timer (easily interrupted/hard to revive) and limited range.
You can also use Signet of Rage if you really want to, but it doesn't have much synergy with what this build is trying to accomplish.
Sigils of Superior Battle (x2) is mandatory for the build. Several hundred power is just too good to give up. The Sigil of Superior Purity can be changed to any number of different sigils, depending on personal prefernce.
With the relatively poor condition removal in this build, I believe that Runes of Melandru are close to mandatory. However, if your team has a support with significant condition removal, or you want to run a shout variant of the build, it might be worth considering alternatives. The top contender for a shout orientated build is Rune of the Soldier.
Berserk's Amulet is, in my view, the best compromise between survivability and defensive capability for Mobile Backbreaker. Significantly less focus on offensive attributes will severely affect your ability to fight in a 1v1 situation against defensive opponents. That said, if you do wish to switch amulets, viable choices are Knight's Amulet and Soldier's amulet.
As for the jewel, you should always use it to fill attribute deficits made by your choices of jewellery and traits.
Rather than going over every single permutation of traits, I'll just go through the top few (for practicalities sake). There are obviously more than these few alternatives.
Remove 10 from Tactics and put 10 in Arms.
You'd lose Leg Specialization (Cripple on Immobilize) which adds to your control and roughly 1000 HP. You'd gain the ability to deal a near guaranteed crit, via Unsuspecting Foe, after using Earthshaker.
30 in Defense, removed from Tactics or Strength.
This would grant you the ability to pick between Blunt Mastery (CD reduction on Hammer/Mace - more CC) or 25% increased Hammer damage on KD (Merciless Hammer). You'd lose about 1000 HP in the case of Tactics or some damage in the case of Strength.
It's possible to re-work this build in to a shout orientated build by taking 30 Tactics. You could drop Signet of Stamina and Balanced Stance for "For Great Justice!" and "Shake it Off!". Taking these two shouts plus Vigorous Shouts at 30 Tactics would significantly increase your teams damage and survivability. However, the cost would be your ability to do damage and be competitive 1v1.
Depending on the opponent and situation in might be worth swapping out weapons. I believe the top options would be Axe and Warhorn (for large direct damage/swiftnes) rather than Sword/OH Mace or Rifle (for a ranged option) instead of Hammer.
- Proof read. Grammar, spelling and general wording.
Edited by Ivarr_Ironfist, 21 June 2012 - 02:54 PM.