So I currently have guides for guardians and warriors that I use for organized dungeon groups, which all my speed run guides are based off of. I finally got around to completing my mesmer guide to complete the entire group comp that we use for organized dungeon runs. Included are my other guides:
I have been asked quite a bit what the mesmers in my groups run, so today I bring you the mesmer build that I currently use for dungeons. This build provides alot of utility to the group that guardians/warriors don't have, as well as providing very good damage as the non-primary dps class (warrior) as well. The video guide can be found below:
Also you can find this build in action on my youtube page with various dungeons from guardian, mesmer, and/or warrior perspective. More will be coming in the future:
So while I don't have nearly the amount of experience on my mesmer as my guardian and warrior, I've learned alot just from running dungeons hundreds of times and observing what it takes to make a successful group comp. This guide should provide a good starting point with real world examples through my dungeon guides to show the usefulness that this mesmer build brings to organized dungeon runs. It provides very good personal damage, as well as a huge benefit to the group for bursting down bosses and clearing dps check events, all while providing alot of utility through various skills such as portals, stealth, boon stripping, and boon transfers. These things are all very important for dungeons and really fill in the missing holes for a guadian/warrior group.
Build and Equipment:
If you prefer, you can go a shatter build as well, which would be 20-20-0-0-30 or 10-30-0-0-30. If you are not using glamour skills or reflects, then ultimately shatter build will do more dps at the cost of utility you aren't using, so something like CoF1 farming would benefit from a pure shatter build. In an organized group with 3 warriors who do significantly more damage then you though, in harder dungeons and instances where reflects do help (i.e. Arah, Fractals) then giving more group survivability through reflects at the cost of a small amount of personal damage so the 3 warriors can maximize their dps offers more to overall group dps. This is what my build and guide will be in relation to.
This build focuses on keeping illiusions/phantasms up to increase your personal dps, especially before using timewarp. You still want to use shatter for damage and vuln stacking when you think your illusions are going to die as well. I prefer the added utility and cooldown on focus that the inspiration line brings over slightly higher dps from shattering.
While the build above has some basic utility skills, unlike guardian and warrior you will be using many more different utility skills based on the current dungeon and specific boss/event in a dungeon. There's not really one set skill setup or a few skills that you would keep to like guardian/warrior. I will get to the skills more later.
As far as gear goes, you want to go straight berserker gear on everything. Since Mesmer is a light armor class and has quite a few skills to avoid damage (stealth, invuln time, illusions, better ranged options) I find it useless to balance any gear with knights when you are going for a berserker dps build. Berserker stats can be crafted, certain pieces can be obtained with karma, or you can use CoF, CoE, and Arah dungeon tokens. So there are quite a few options for berserker gear.
For jewelery, again all berserker and if you do manage to get ascended gear, you want berserker for that as well.
For armor sockets, I run all ruby orbs, which are the best and cheapest option for straight damage builds.
For weapons, again berserker, with sword/focus mainhand, and Greatsword as your offhand to swap if you find yourself in danger. You do want to try and stay in melee as much as possible, because the auto attack on sword has ~3x the dps as greatsword, and provide group benefits through vuln stacking and boon stripping.
I use Sigil of Accuracy on my sword, Sigil of Bloodlust on focus (can use force or night as well for straight % damage if you get downed alot), and Sigil of Energy on Greatsword. Sigil of Energy is great because it gives you an immediate escape if you need to get to ranged and have no endurance, and it also gives you an extra dodge to create an illusion which is highly beneficial in this build, for both shattering and keeping illusions up for % damage.
You should have 59% base crit chance and 99 crit damage, with warriors in your group giving almost 100% fury uptime, banners, and omnomberry food, this should be boosted to ~86% crit chance.
The MOST important thing that you need to remember in dungeons, is to eat FOOD. Omnomberry Pies/Ghosts give a 66% chance on crit to heal 338 health, they are amazing on every crit based dps build. Food is what will give any dps class very good survivability without sacrificing dps.
Skills & Mechanics:
Now as I mentioned earlier, the skills for mesmer are much more broad, and really depends on what you are doing in a dungeon. I will go through the more useful skills that I have used and give examples of when I would equip them:
General/Stun Breaker skills
Decoy: This is a good all around skill, whether you are fighting or running through trash. The fact that it is a stun breaker, provides a clone, and gives stealth to relieve pressure or run through mobs to delay or lose agro really makes it a great skill. I will use this most of the time when I don't need other specific skills, and I will almost always use it when running through trash. You always want at least one stun breaker, so if you don't take decoy, take one of the next two skills.
Blink: Another great all around skill, this again is an excellent 'running' skill and will be very useful for escaping mobs, getting out of things which would normally trap you (i.e. Subject Alpha Crystal, GL green dome in phase 3 if you don't have stability, anything that stuns you, etc.) and again, it's a stun breaker.
Mirror Images: The third useful stun breaker. I don't use this skill as often as decoy or blink, but I will put it on my bar for a dps check event when I know I want to constantly spam and have illusions up since it provides 2 illusions along with it's stun breaker.
Besides the above skills, there are a couple other skills that I specifically use for running through trash
Veil: An extremely good skill for running trash in dungeons when speed running. This isn't a skill you usually want to use before starting your trash run, instead you want to use it to lose agro at the end of runs. A good example is in CoE Path 2/3 when running to the 2nd Subject Alpha fight. You can use it at the end of the run to release all agro and not have to fight anything running from the Cannon event to the second Alpha fight. It is also extremely useful for many trash runs in Arah.
Mimic: Along with being able to store a projectile that an enemy casts at you, another major benefit of this skill is the projectile absorbtion when running through trash mobs that damage you via projectiles. This can be a situational skill that may sometimes be useful over something like decoy.
Portal: Portal is a highly valuable and highly situational skill that is unique to mesmer. I think most people are aware of how powerful it is in WvW/PvP, but it can be extremely useful when speed running dungeons as well. It can quickly help your party get across trap rooms like in CoF1 or the CoE laser trap, as well as speed up many dungeons by allowing mesmers to run ahead with stealth/blink to advance the rest of your party through harder sections of dungeons.
Arcane Thievery: This is an amazing skill for bosses that have long uptime boons on them. You can use this skill to steal their boon and give it to yourself (and your party with the next skill I will talk about). Examples of bosses where this is useful is the Golem Turret boss in all 3 paths of CoE and many fractal bosses like the Dredge Champion in Dredge Fractal, the captain at the end of Ascalon Fractal, and the Jellyfish in the Underwater Fractal.
Signet of Inspiration: This signet can be amazing for both spreading long duration boons with Arcane Thievery, and for stacking might intensity and fury duration when you have multiple warriors casting 'For Great Justice'. I always use this in conjunction with Arcane Thievery, and for dps bursting easy bosses for spreading around might and fury stacks from the warriors in my group. If you are only using this Signet for the passive you are making a huge mistake.
Signet of Illusions: I don't personally use this in my build, but it can be very beneficial for a shatter build to recharge all of your shatters, especially distortion for more survivability.
Feedback: This is another great skill and I use it quite a bit. Along with Guardian reflections, and your focus skills, you should have near 100% uptime for projectile reflection/absorbtion for any fights that have alot of projectile damage. Especially useful for dungeons like CM, Arah, and Fractals, as well as pretty much any boss that has huge projectile attacks that can be reflected for massive damage.
Null Field: I admit that I don't use this skill very much because we already have plenty of condition removal in a guardian/warrior group. But this skill is great for heavy condition damage fights, especially if you don't have a guardian with soldier runes and your warriors using 'Shake it off'. It's just that shouts are much more practical when running through trash or fighting without needing to stand in a field to remove conditions. Still can be useful for certain groups/events.
Mantra of Concentration: This is really the only mantra I use, but it is a huge help because it is your stability option when you need it. It is pretty much required when running through certain Arah trash (like path 2) and if you want to melee GL like I do. Use this when you need stability and it stun breaks as well which is useful. It has a charge time, but you get 2 casts of it and you can charge it well in advance because it pretty much stays on your bar forever unless you get downed or zone.
So as you can see, Mesmer has a huge range of useful skills that bring quite a bit of utility to the group. These are the main skills I use, although many of the other skills can be useful as well depending on your group. While Guardians mainly use shouts and reflection skills, and Warriors use dps shouts, banners, and some stances, Memsers have an array of skills that require you to constantly think ahead and switching skills based on the dungeon/event/boss. I find myself switching skills much more then either my Guardian or Warrior. This is the type of role that Mesmer fills out in a heavy armor group.
As far as combat mechanics go, you do want to try and stay in sword range as much as possible, because of how much more damage it provides over greatsword. The vuln stacking and boon stripping is also a huge benefit for your group. Usually you want to use your F1 and F3 shatter when you know your illusions are going to die, and try to keep them up (especially for time warp) for the 3% more damage per illusion. I usually start the fight with Greatsword, quickly cast Mirror Blade, iBerserker, Mindstab (and possibly the knockback) before switching to sword/focus to melee and use focus pulls or reflects. Focus pull is highly underrated and if you aren't using your focus to pull, you are not maximizing your potential with mesmer. My video guide does a good job showing the potential of mesmer focus pulls, and the huge increase in dps for your party by grouping up mobs for maximum AoE and Cleave damage. It is also great to interrupt mobs and pull them behind you when running through trash. If you know you're in a dungeon/boss fight where you won't use Greatsword at all, another option is Sword/Focus + Sword/Sword using the same sword for both loadouts which will give you more options while in melee range without interrupting your attacks. You can also throw a Sigil of Battle on your mainhand sword, and everytime you swap sets you will get the benefit of battle by only having it on your mainhand weapon.
The mesmer playstyle is very dynamic, and you have to manage alot more things between utilities, positioning, illusions, and shattering. This is something I am still practicing as I get more experience on mesmer, but it is a nice change and gives you options along with your guardian and warrior.
Hopefully this guide helps to show what a Mesmer can bring to a dungeon group. Their burst damage, great utility, and boon stripping is a huge benefit for the ability of a group to quickly and efficiently clear dungeons. They are what a Guardian/Warrior group really needs to fill out the party so that it can synergize to clear the current content quickly and efficiently. Don't let the lack of a pure trinity and random uneducated dungeon runners let you think that classes and roles don't exist. If you want to run dungeons easily without pulling your hair out, there are still optimal classes and roles just like any MMO. The pseudo trinity is still tank/dps/support as it currently stands, and this mesmer build is the prime example of the dps/utility role in a group. This trinity is much looser then most other MMOs, but it still exists in GW2. If you think otherwise, you probably haven't run dungeons in an efficient, team-work based group before.
Thanks for reading, and good luck out there
Edited by Strife025, 03 April 2013 - 07:01 PM.