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What it is able to do is successfully tank against multiple opponents via a lot of evasion and survivability (a plenty of toughness and healing). The brunt of the damage comes from the conditions and the pet. It can also be used for roaming without any issue, and even de-bunkering (possible on guardians, not that much on good elementalists). It also doesn't have that much of a problem with dealing against conditions due to the fact that the pet eats up all your conditions.
Weapon Damage: 987
Condition Damage: 1,280
Critical Chance: 4%
Critical Damage: 0
Healing Power: 869
We're using a sword and dagger in one weapon set, and an axe and torch in the other set. Warhorn is always in inventory to precast before battle.
Axe and torch are used as an opener. I often begin by Ricochetting them a few times and then Winter's Bite when it doesn't seem they're going to dodge. Then I come to melee range and Splitblade them for the max bleed stack. Throw Torch can be used whenever you're not about pull off the Splitblade combo, and Bonfire has multiple uses. It's really great when you've combo'd Bonfire and Splitblade, but you can also use Bonfire to counter backstab thieves or quickly destroy mesmer illusions, for example. Just stand in the field and watch them burn as they're trying to stab you.
In general practice, you're doing your condition combo with axe and torch whenever you deem it's safe enough to do so. You rely on sword and dagger to stay alive. You need to look at your opponent closely and know when to dodge. And there are a plenty of ways to dodge with the sword and dagger weapon set. Stalker's Strike is basically a free evade, and you should always try to use it in melee range for the poison. Serpent's Strike is very similar to this skill, except that you're rotating in a much larger arch. Crippling Talon can be used to apply even more bleeds or to stop fleeing opponents. Hornet Sting and Monarch's Leap is naturally to control your distance in whatever way the situation requires. You'll often even want to use it without a target locked on just so you can control exactly where you will land.
The Slash, Kick and Pounce chain is the most interesting one. To fully utilize the potential of this skill is very hard and requires a lot of practice. This skill chain in this build is not meant for damage. It is meant for controlling your opponent with cripples and for evading as much as you can. The common misconception with this skill is that it locks you in place, when what it gives you are a countless amount of evades. When you're not chasing your opponent with this skill, you'll be wanting to utilize the leaps as much as you can. This is done with several techniques. The most basic one is attacking a opponent without him being targeted, which will you give you two leaps once you cast Pounce, thus effectively evading a potential attack (you'll need to mind the distance from which you're Slashing though because of Kick's 400 range). Another technique is to Slash and Kick and Pounce just once, and then before you're to Pounce twice, you quickly select an opponent to Pounce back to him. Doing this even on immobile golems isn't as easy as it sounds, and it doing it on moving targets really requires some skill. But when mastered, it has the potential of being one of the ranger's strongest assets.
I move back to my condition set if I'm not being as focused as much, or if I've exhausted my evasive skills and have endurance remaining or a heal skill available. Always try to swap weapons within the range of the Geomancy sigil.
Healing Spring: A most important and most awesome healing skill. Its activation time is way faster than of any of the other ranger healing skills, and it can heal more if you stay in for the full duration of Regeneration. It's also a Vigor field because of your trait.
Signet of the Wild: We have it just because of the passive health regeneration, which is 114 health. You could possibly use its active effect once you're about to spike with your pet though.
Signet of Renewal: Active effect is similar to Emphatic Bond, except that it's of course on demand and on a 60s cooldown. Can't complain much on the passive effect either (one less condition on your pet).
Lightning Reflexes: Use it to escape Backstab thieves, 100b warriors, Blurred Frenzy mesmers, and the like. Or use it when you're in trouble and have exhausted all your kiting tools. This leaves you vulnerable if someone suddenly decides to stun you though.
Rampage as One: It's here for the Stability primarily, and Fury secondary. Use it when defending points (against guardians and engineers for example), or when stomping people. Fury is more useful to your pet than it is to you. As a footnote, 300 in Beast Mastery gives your pet a 300 stat increase in all attributes. And since we're using birds as our pets, which already have high natural precision and vitality, your bird will be doing crits even more. You also gain a stack of might per attack.
We're using Raven and Owl, due to their natural high vitality and precision. On pet swap they also give us AoE Vigor due to the traits. Use Raven's F2 to evade an important skill or prevent a stomp. You can use Owl's F2 as an opener for Bonfire and Splitblade, or to slow people down.
Another option here would be to take a Fern Hound or Krytan Drakehound and Wolf, for healing and fear. All canines have a visually discernable Brutal Charge which is a 2s knockdown, and it's important that you know how to manage this skill. Basically, you can interrupt your pet using this skill by calling him back (Return to Me; as another footnote, you'll always want your pet to be in Avoid Combat so you can manually choose a target). This is especially important if you want to interrupt an important skill, or a stomp. If you're taking canines then, you'd want to replace Vigorous Training with Intimidation Training.
Just to note that while you're downed (not defeated), you can control your pets as if you're still alive. If I'm having a Wolf, this can equate to interrupting a stomp three times (if they're not under stability), first with Thunderclap, and then with Brutal Charge or Fear. If you're having another canine on pet swap, you can Brutal Charge your foe again. Now while you can't manually cast Brutal Charge, your pet will use this skill first on the first attack if it's not under cooldown, thus further accenting the importance of Avoid Combat and micromanaging your pet well.
Another option would be to take felines (Lynx, Jungle Stalker, Jaguar), but while they do offer a ton of bleeds and damage, they don't offer the utility of canines or birds.
You could also take either a combination of White Moa or Blue Moa, or Fern Hound or Brown Bear if you want to focus more on supportive pets. But personally I wouldn't do this as these pets don't offer that much damage as the pets mentioned above, but they do have a lot of vitality which is less important for pets in TPvP as people usually don't target them. And if they do, you can just swap your pets or use your heal skill, thus essentially wasting your opponents' time.
tl;dr: Best options (imo) are Raven and Owl, or Wolf and Fern Hound.
Natural Vigor: An essential and cheap trait. More dodges = more epicness.
Vigorous Renewal: The great thing about this trait and Healing Spring is that it will be reapplied with every tick of HS, thus meaning that you will have Vigor for the full duration of HS (if you stay in the field).
Companion's Defense: Especially useful if you're being focused and need to take off some damage from you.
Off-Hand Training: This improves six of your skills, because you'll be using your Warhorn for buffs before battle. You can replace this with Oakheart Salve for more heals.
Peak Strength: I'm not sure does this apply to pet, but if it does, then all the better.
Empathic Bond: An absolutely awesome trait. Your pet draws all your conditions every 10 seconds while in combat.
Rejuvenation: More healing. Always a good thing.
Nature's Bounty: This trait complements Healing Spring excellently as it means you're getting 4 seconds of Regeneration as opposed to just 3 per HS tick. If you keep standing in Healing Spring for its full duration, that additional second adds up and you can get more than 10 seconds of Regeneration (as opposed to constantly having just 3 seconds). You could replace this with Nature's Protection, although it's not really necessary, as I've found Backstab dealing only 3-5k critical damage.
Zephyr's Speed: One of the best traits rangers have at their disposal. Quickness has so many uses, really. You can use it for stomping, rallying or even bursting down opponents with your pet (criticals can go between 1.5k to 4k).
Commanding Voice: Another awesome trait that equates to more chills and blinds from your pets.
Loud Whistle: Equates to more Quickness and more pet swaps.
Vigorous Training: AoE Vigor on bird pet swap.
Nature's Wrath: Gives a little bit more weapon damage.
Natural Healing: Now what most people don't realize is that this trait doesn't give passive healing to just your pet, but it gives passive healing to you as well, and this healing is exactly 133. This means that, together with the SotW signet, you're getting a passive healing of 247.
We're using Runes of the Undead for the increased condition damage and toughness. The 5% of toughness to condition damage is absolutely great.
For amulets there's a couple of choices (such as Carrion or Rabid), but what I use are a Shaman's Amulet and a Carrion Jewel, as you get a toughness, healing and condition damage increase with them.
As for the runes, I'm using Geomancy on both weapon sets, and Corruption on the sword and Smoldering on the torch (I believe this gives you two additional ticks of burning). You can carry another sword with Energy if you feel like you'll need to dodge more or you have reached 25 stacks of corruption. Hydromancy is also another viable choice.
Well that's that of the build then. It's the build that has gotten me back to playing the ranger and has proven that rangers can be very viable in tournament play. As it is said that the ranger is the jack-of-all-trades, this build truly shows that -- a versatile ranger indeed.
Edited by KQ, 29 November 2012 - 08:47 PM.