Now that Ascended armor has been released, I felt it would be a good time to refresh this build as more people are looking to gear properly and don’t want to waste money or time. Additionally, I do a few things differently now than I did in October when this guide was last updated and it would be a good time to discuss the changes to the build here.
This is a warrior maximum DPS build, full stop. In fact it’s two build, one is the GS+Axe/Mace and the second is Axe/Mace+Axe/* for those who prefer the pure axe gameplay.
I will put things that have changed in bold in order to allow people who want to skim this guide to see the changes efficiently.
***UPDATE 1/19/13: When the balance patch comes out "nerfing" crit damage, the mix of assassins/zerker gear will not be optimal so if you are still crafting ascended armor do not craft the assassins pieces. either way until the patch or craft berserker now.***
Gear: Weapons, Trinkets and Armor will be Ascended Berserker except Head, Chest and Leg armor, which will be Ascended Assassins. If you trade these pieces you lose 64 Power and gain 64 Precision. This works out to almost exactly 3% chance to crit. In this build, that additional 3% chance to crit works out to a higher average DPS than the 64 Power would be. With full Berserker, Banner of Discipline and Fury, the build will have a base 88% chance to crit. With these three pieces of Assassins, the build will have a base 91% chance to crit.
This change allows us to do a few important things:
- Use Precision food. Omnomberry Pies/Ghosts/Dragon Rolls are the most efficient food for casual dungeon runs. For super speed runs, Curry Butternut is significantly cheaper than Sweet and Spicy. This change will not only give us 95%+ chance to crit, but also provide better value since we don’t have to spend as much on food.
- Stack Bloodlust. The full Berserker build stacked Perception in order to hit 99% crit chance. As above, this mean using +Precision food was wasted. With this build we can stack Bloodlust. Why is this better? With the old build, you were not at your maximum crit chance until you built up your stacks of Perception and if you went down you were reduced to “low power” mode. With this chance, you hit your peak chance to crit immediately at the beginning of the dungeon and you do not run into a situation where you feel underpowered if you lose your stacks or don’t have the opportunity to build up stacks.
For Weapons, I you will need at minimum:
- Main hand Axe with a DPS sigil (if you only have one axe go with Force. If you can afford multiple, use Night or a dungeon specific Sigil)
- Greatsword with DPS sigil
- Off hand Mace with Sigil of Battle. Use Force in Pure Axe.
- Off hand Sword with Sigil of Energy.
- Off hand Warhorn with Sigil of Battle. Use Force in Pure Axe.
- Longbow with Sigil of Force/Night
- Weapon set with Bloodlust stacking Sigils. I recommend an Axe/Mace and/or Axe/Warhorn for double stacking to build up your stacks quickly.
- On swap in a Pure Axe Build. You lose 5% dps (2.5% effectively) but gain access to perma-Swiftness, Vigor, AoE Weakness on enemies.
- In Fractals of the Mists. The AoE Weakness is incredibly useful in Fractals where, unlike named Dungeons, a big part of the challenge is from trash mobs. Against hard hitting trash mobs, having Weakness will make your team tankier and more resilient than tanky gear/trait spec without crippling your DPS. Simply put: it’s essential for Fractals.
- Off hand sword is at its best when fighting against single powerful boss mobs. Against these types the Mace knock down isn’t as useful, and the Weakness from the Warhorn is trivial. Against these type of bosses with One Hit Kill attacks, the block from the sword is very important. As you can see, I put an Energy sigil on my Sword, since the types of bosses I refer to (Lupicus, Archdiviner, Dredge Powersuit, Legendary Ice Elemental etc) are all bosses where an additional dodge every 10 seconds will be very useful.
I have added Fine Infusions to my build. I utilized Fine Precise Infusions for all slots, yielding me +40 Precision and 2% chance to crit. This works out to be slightly superior in DPS than +40 Power would be. This is incredibly expensive, and out of the question for all but the most extreme min/maxers.
If you are on a budget and do not care about Fractals, the WvW infusions will give you the +5 stats but no Agony Resistance. These are a fine substitute for, say, your Undead set which doesn’t need AR anyway.
30/25/0/0/15 (Greatsword + Axe/Mace) / 30/25/0/10/5 (Pure Axe)
In Strength you will take Dual Wielding, Slashing Power, and Berserker’s Power. The reasoning for these traits is fairly obvious and little explanation is needed as they are more or less simple DPS boosts. Remember that Stick and Move is a 3% DPS boost when your adrenaline is not full. For encounters where you dodge a lot, you’ll get this boost as a matter of course. For times when dodge isn’t necessary (CoF 1) it is worth remembering to dodge before each fight starts so that you begin the battle at full power. For the Pure Axe version, switch Slashing Power to Axe Mastery.
In Arms, we will take Rending Strikes and Forceful Greatsword. Rending Strikes will allow us to stack approximately 2 stacks of vulnerability against bosses and 4 stacks against trash mobs. This will increase overall team DPS, obviously. Forceful Greatsword doesn’t increase your DPS per se, but it does a few valuable things. Foremost, the cool down reduction allows for perfect DPS rotation which in a sense is a dps increase. The decreased cool downs also increase your mobility since you can WWA and Rush more often. The Might stacking benefits of Forceful GS are highly beneficial when playing solo or suboptimal groups. In organized groups that can stack 25 Might stacks consistently, it will end up costing you 2-3 Might stacks. However, this is a worthwhile trade in order to obtain Attack of Opportunity. The 10% base damage modifier is extremely good, and I will discuss below how it is actually far better than a 10% dps boost.
If you’re running Pure Axe, switch out Forceful Greatsword for Deep Strikes. This will give you +80 Precision (assuming you also have Signet of Fury or Might) and provide you with an additional 4% chance to crit. This allows you to stack Bloodlust as I mentioned before and have a very high DPS. In an organized group that can hit 25 Might stacks, the Pure Axe build will have superior DPS to the GS build thanks to this consideration.
In a Pure Axe Build, the 10 in Tactics will allow for Empowered, which grants an additional 3%-8% base damage modifier. This is what allows the Pure Axe build to have superior DPS to the main GS build. This base damage modifier is superior to a 10% critical damage modifier from Discipline.
In Discipline, we will take Signet Mastery for Signet of Rage. For encounters when you switch to the elite banner, you can switch to the trait of your choice as most at this tier are underwhelming. The big key is Fast Hands at 15, which allows the build to weapon swap every 5 seconds and maintain perfect DPS rotations, as well as to maintain 6 stacks of Might due to Sigil of Battle.
The Pure Axe build does not benefit from Fast Hands nearly as much as the GS build, as the off hand weapons have 20 second cool downs, thus they do not need to swap as often.
Gear and Consumables:
For consumables, I encourage you to use one of the Curry Butternut Squash Soup for DPS, or Dragon’s Breath Bun if you are on a budget in speed runs. As always, you should use the dungeon specific potion for whatever instance you are in.
For casual dungeons or fractals, I still recommend Omnomberry Pies/Ghosts/Candied Dragon Rolls. These are very good against bosses with conditions or Retaliation, and especially when you use Scholar Runes and preserving your hit points is of importance. I also find these very useful in Fractals where the splash damage from trash mobs make taking some damage inevitable and it is highly beneficial to utilize the extra healing.
For times where there is no dungeon potion worth bringing, you can use Skale Venom. Weakness is especially powerful in Fractals, as I talked about before, and Skale Venom is unquestionably the go-to potion of choice for Fractals of the Mists.
The key to the Greatsword build is the interaction of Sigil of Battle and Fast Hands in order to maintain 6 stacks of Might 6. These stacks of Might alone with FGJ and either Banner or Signet will mean you should almost always be at 14 stacks of Might from your own buffs, anything else from teammates is a plus.
You want to make sure that your use Axe #2 and Mace #4 as often as possible to maximize vuln stacks on the enemies, without interrupting your Axe auto-attack chain. Tremor (Mace #5) is an on demand knockdown in a line that is a huge benefit to your team for anyone who has watched our Arah or Fractal videos will see. Remember, that when hitting an enemy at melee range it strikes twice and is if nothing else a DPS boost that removes 2 stacks of Defiant.
For the Greatsword, do not forget to use Rush when available as it hits nearly as hard as Eviscerate and is a dps increase. Use your WWA when the enemy is up against a wall or corner, or if he has a large hit box and you will be able to hit multiple times. A WWA on a boss against a wall or with a large hit box is the same damage as a Thief’s Backstab or an Eviscerate, and no one underestimates how hard those hit.
For the times (or PUGs) where you need to range, Longbow is the preferred weapon over Rifle as it has comparable DPS auto attack and superior utility in regards to a fire field and an immobilize, each of which are to the advantage of a creative player.
Thanks for reading.