This build focuses on Condition Damage, mitigation, group support, and limited control. The build is designed for PvE and WvW. Other builds will likely perform better in structured PvP, but having not played in sPvP I frankly can’t say for sure one way or the other.
This guide will walk you through the construction and reasoning behind my Sword & Board build. It is fairly in depth, so be sure to read it all the way before asking questions.
The GW2DB Skill Calculator is imperfect. The GW2Skills one is closer to accurate. At the moment, it only allows you to properly do PvP builds as it doesn't allow you to select each individual item. Because of this, I will be detailing the individual items you will want for what I consider an ideal item combination for this build, in the Item Build section.
Burst Skill: Flurry
Chain Skills: Sever Artery, Gash, Final Thrust
This build relies on condition damage to help bring down foes. As such, the Sword for a main-hand weapon is a no-brainer. For the off-hand I have opted for a Shield to increase the build's durability and utility.
In my opinion, Healing Surge is the better healing skill for this build. It allows you to quickly build up Adrenaline between bouts of Flurry, and if you already have Adrenaline Level 3 it heals for a superior amount than the alternatives.
"For Great Justice!"
"For Great Justice!" is an awesome skill for a few reasons. First, it gives you a perpetual bonus, for yourself and all your Allies, to Power and Condition Damage. Then it also gives you a large boost to your Critical Chance for a short time. It also stacks with other instances of itself.
Condition removal can be very important. I personally prefer to bring "Shake_It_Off!" as it affects all nearby Allies as well. Seeing as it also cancels the effects of Knockdown I just find it too useful to leave at home, personally.
Finally, damage mitigation is key to surviving fights against powerful enemies like you will find in Dungeons. Endure Pain is useful in that it gives you a short duration of invulnerability. Between it and Shield Stance you can outright nullify quite a lot of damage before you even have to worry about your Armor rating.
This is the best Elite skill for most Warrior builds in my opinion. Battle Standard's biggest benefit is being able to pick up Down Players and Allies in an AoE. The fact it also buffs your Allies is secondary to being able to salvage things when they go pear shaped.
As mentioned previously, the GW2DB Skill Calculator is imperfect. Know roughly what I wanted my attributes to be, I went and figured out the item combination that works best to reach those numbers.
For accessibility, I used the generic versions for these items wherever possible. If you are so inclined, you can pick up some of these items (such as the Armor) as Dungeon Rewards. The important thing is the stats on the item, as well as the Runes and Sigils.
This build is mainly about your capabilities with a Sword and Shield, but the other weapons are worthy of a mention. With the additional Condition Damage and boosts to Bleed it makes sense to bring Secondary and Aquatic weapons that compliment the build.
Please note, you could bring a Rifle over the Longbow as it actually uses Bleeding normally. I personally don't use my ranged weapons often, but when I do I find the incredible damage output from Combustive Shot too fun to pass up!
Total Attribute Bonus from Items
Note: Because this build is primarily about the Sword & Board, I'm disregarding the other weapons mentioned from here on out.
Condition Damage: 684 (does not include 5% of Toughness)
Strength (20 Points)
Strength increases your Power and Condition Duration. The latter in particular is of great importance, as your sources of Bleeding are relatively short in duration on their own (typically only 2 seconds). Of course, with Bleeding only being a portion of your damage output it pays to increase your Power as well so your direct damage is high enough.
Arms (25 Points)
Arms increases your Precision and Condition Damage. The latter is important for obvious reasons, but the former is possibly even more important. Critical Hits are essential to most Warrior builds, and this one is no different.
Defense (25 Points)
You can’t damage anything if you are Down constantly. Most damage is in the form of direct damage, and as such your Armor (the sum of your Defense from Items and Toughness attribute) plays a big factor in how much is mitigated.
Total Attribute Bonus from Traits
Power: 200 + (5% Toughness)
Toughness: 340 (+100 more while Health is over 90%)
Vitality: 0 + (5% Power)
Critical Chance: 10% (+10% additional for Burst skills)
Condition Damage: +25%
Condition Duration: +20% (+50% for Bleed)
Healing Power: 250
Crit Chance: 4%
Note: Includes 3 stacks of Might from "For Great Justice!" and static bonuses from Trait Lines, Traits, Weapons, Armor, Sigils, and Runes.
Condition Damage: 1094
Crit Chance: 56%
Healing Power: 250
Be sure to check out my guide on calculating damage found here.
Plugging our numbers into the damage equation we end up with the following against targets with 2600 Armor:
Flurry: 561 (per hit, 8 hits at level 1 Adrenaline, 12 hits at Level 3)
Sever Artery: 443
Final Thrust: 960
Savage Leap: 554
Shield Bash: 664
Note that this does not factor in our 10% Damage Bonus from Attack of Opportunity. With this Build, your target will always have a few stacks of Bleeding, so let’s determine the improved numbers:
Flurry: 617 (per hit, 8 hits at level 1 Adrenaline, 12 hits at Level 3)
Sever Artery: 487
Final Thrust: 1056
Savage Leap: 609
Shield Bash: 730
Because this Build relies on Conditions, we need to inventory our sources:
Sever Artery: 1 stack for 8 seconds
Gash: 1 stack for 8 seconds
Flurry: 8-12 stacks for 2 seconds
Precise Strikes: 33% chance per Critical Hit to apply 1 stack for 2 seconds
Sigil of Earth: 60% chance per Critical Hit to apply 1 stack for 5 secondsConfusion
Distracting Strikes: 3 stacks for 5 secondsCripple
Hamstring:Crippled for 7 seconds
Please note: you can only obtain Confusion as a Condition if you sacrifice Berserker’s Power. For WvW this makes a lot of sense, but for PvE you will likely see better returns if you don’t.
The points invested in the Strength Trait Line give us a +20% bonus to Condition Duration for all conditions. The Major Trait Deep Cuts gives us another +50% bonus to Condition Duration for Bleed only. The tooltip duration is rounded to the nearest quarter second. Keep in mind however, that conditions that deal damage over time only ticks every full second.
These bonuses stack additively, so its pretty easy to determine our new durations:
Sever Artery: 1 stack for 13.5 seconds
Gash: 1 stack for 13.5 seconds
Flurry: 8-12 stacks for 3.5 seconds
Precise Strikes: 33% chance per Critical Hit to apply 1 stack for 3.5 seconds
Sigil of Earth: 60% chance per Critical Hit to apply 1 stack for 8.5 seconds
Distracting Strikes: 3 stacks for 6 seconds
Hamstring:Crippled for 8.5 seconds
How long each Condition lasts for will be an important factor in computing our total damage output.
The damage from conditions ignores enemy Armor. This damage is vital to the damage output of the build. Unfortunately, the damage bonus from Attack of Opportunity only affects Direct Damage, not Condition Damage. For this build we end up with the following values:
Bleed: 97 Damage per Stack per Second
Confusion: 294 Damage per Stack per Enemy Skill Activation
Remember, condition damage does not factor Armor into the equation at all. Any Buffs or Debuffs that affect the Armor value have zero bearing on the damage caused by conditions. These numbers also only reflect this character build in isolation. In a typical PUG run you can expect your Bleed stacks to tick over for more than 115 damage per second.
All damage oriented builds require an adequate chance to land a Critical Hit. This Build is no different in this regard. For this Build, the benefits of a Critical Hit include the following:
- 33% Chance to Apply Bleeding from Precise Strikes
- 60% Chance to Apply Bleeding from Superior Sigil of Earth
- 30% Chance to Life Steal from Superior Sigil of Blood
- 150% Extra Damage
With a base Critical Chance of 4%, 876 extra Precision, and the Major Trait Blademaster we end up with a 56% Critical Chance. For Flurry, this jumps to 66% thanks to the Minor Trait Critical Burst.
One sometimes overlooked benefit of "For Great Justice!" is the application of 8 seconds of Fury. While under the effects of Fury we will enjoy a 76% Critical Chance, 86% for Flurry. Because the duration is shorter than the cooldown for "For Great Justice!", I tend to ignore Fury when computing damage. Later I will attempt to include it in my calculations.
The Superior Sigil of Blood gives us a fun opportunity to take advantage of the Life Steal mechanic. This Sigil will steal 325 Health from your target. This damage bypasses Armor, just like conditions, and is in addition to all other damage done by the Critical Hit. It will heal you for 325, but does not appear to be affected by Healing Power unfortunately.
Edited by Cowmonaut, 23 October 2012 - 07:58 PM.