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Member Since 24 Jul 2012
Offline Last Active Mar 31 2014 05:17 PM

Topics I've Started

Sword'n'Bo...errr Dagger? Wtf?

15 November 2012 - 06:08 AM

Hi guys (and gals),

So GW2 is out for quite a while now. Many of you (us) are done with well, likely everything.
Some might even have their precious legendary - certainly not me, though.

You've most likely played D/D. Backstab &/or Condition Damage builds.
You've probably played P/P and spammed unload like you meant it.
S/P, been there, done that.
Some of you might have tried P/D & D/P.
And a lot will have asked themselves whether SB is meant to be glued to your second weapon slot.
But, what separates the boys from the men, the girls from the ladies
have you dared to play...Sword & Dagger? The dreaded Swashbuckler style.

If the answer is yes, I well don't really know what to say, but for the sake of this topic I just assume your answer is:
- No, Sword/Dagger, what's that? I thought only rangers can use that? And why should i play with ranger weapons??? I'm a thief, an assassin, man! Screw you swashranger!

Well, first of all, you play with shortbow too, so shut up on ranger weapons already and secondly, I can't really tell you why exactly you should try it out but I can try!


Sword and Dagger is generally thought of as the "set with no purpose" - in PvE at least.
Unlike the other sets (with the exception of D/P) it doesn't have a dedicated "spam me harder" attack and its stealth attack is a bit lackluster in terms of damage (well, at least compared to backstab galore!).
So, first question again: Why should one want to play it?
- Answer: Maybe because you're bored as hell, but mainly because it's fun to play and surprisingly effective. Also the build I'll provide is flexible enough to switch to D/D in those very rare "more damage needed" situations so you can stop crying already :P.

What does S/D offer:
- Reliable Daze with a hefty duration
- Build in stunbreaker (infiltrators strike is just really, really good, but you knew that already).
- Boon removal/evade move that does surprisingly high damage - if it lands, which it should (more on that later).
- cripple boomerang AoE
- Stealth skill that hits hard
- hard hitting auto attack cleave

In short, S/D actually doesn't have a single bad skill, all have their purpose, backed up by Swords beastly autoattack. This I have to point out. Sword and Dagger doesn't have a particular spam skill. In fact you use whatever secondary effect is the most useful, although the build I'll post (yeah, yeah, I'll get on with it) takes advantage of stealth, so cloak & dagger is used more often than let's say flanking strike.

The Build


The build I play (and have played through almost every explorer mode with - though I switched to D/D on some bosses) is a not so classic 0/30/25/15/0 that uses the control of stealth -> AoE blind & Swords hefty daze paired with auto attacks to control whole groups of enemies while dishing out quite some damage.
Crit traits are there for the damage, Shadow Arts for the control & Acrobatics just add that little bit of extra survival. In short, even in full zerker (with 1 valkyrie ring) you'll have around 14k hp & enough dodges to not die at all (except from maybe in arah... perhaps).
Note that hidden assassin adds 2 stacks of might, not one.

Some of you might ask why I didn't put any points in Deadly arts?
Well it's a sword/dagger build. Per definition you're not goind to deal as much raw damage as D/D. Playing a D/D build with S/D will just feel lackluster. By utilizing both daze & AoE blind you bring more to the table though. Add might through stealth & you've got a versatile build that doesn't fall short in terms of damage and still puts S/Ds strengths to good use.
The lackluster deadly arts traits (apart from sundering strikes) did the rest for me. Deadly Arts just screams D/.

I also have a soldier set (same runes) when I absolutely need that extra health & toughness.

The Skills

First of all, what ever you do, whenever possible put one complete auto attack chain between your skills. Auto attack 3 is a beast, especially with 15+ might stacks & completely free of charge - as long as your initiative isn't full. Use it.

Infiltrator's Strike - should always be up, unless you know you won't need it - stunbreak + condition removal are just too good
Flanking Strike, the tricky one - Simply put - it rarely misses. Its second hit just takes a little while. Don't interrupt it. Still, flanking strike is probably the most difficult of our skills, but when used properly it's worth it.
a) Timing! Make good use of its build in evade. It might take you a while, but you can use it to evade big AoE attacks (or normal swings) just as if you were dodging. But this time it's a dodge that hits almost as hard as a backstab.
B) Placement! If you just hit flanking strike you'll probably end up infront of the boss/the mob and will sooner or later get attacked and/or hit by its cleave. To avoid that place yourself on the left side of the boss (don't worry, you're still flanking) and flanking strike him. You'll end up on the right side of the boss - still not in cleave range. Just walk back during auto attack.
c) Boon removal! Use it. There are bosses (and certain mobs) that utilize boons. Just get rid of them. Great for removing retaliation for example.
Dancing Dagger - I use it on groups of easy to kill mobs that don't really need to be blinded or interrupted. It deals very good damage on 2+ mobs & adds a little bit of control via cripple.
Cloak & Dagger - with the energy return when stealthed skill & blind on stealth it's - at least in this build - probably the skill you'll use the most. Still not as exclusive as with D/D though, and for sure not as your "Unload". It's very good for what it does (vulnerability, solid damage etc) and will keep you alive as a bonus to the control/damage it brings.

Some words on Cloaked in Shadows
Cloaked in Shadows deserves to be mentioned, for it changes the way stealth "feels".
Many of you probably were irritated when they found out that attacks that started (in animation or because of channeling) before you entered stealth would hit you as if you weren't stealthed at all (the irritation was probably caused by WoW stealth that worked differently). Cloaked in Shadows changes that, as the blind hits the mob on entering stealth. Any attack "in the making" will get affected by blind and have no effect on you (unless it's a pure AoE). So not only do you have a partial black powder effect but you also greatly increased your survival - stealth is a true get away now. Combined with Sword's Daze you can solo mobs that would otherwise probably kill you. Rule of thumb - unless the mob has "defiant" you'll kill him - not that you would need to solo him but still... . I'm actually only slightly exaggerating here. Oh, and watch out for ranged mobs.

General playstyle:

This build is not for the pure DPS junkies out there. That's D/D territory (although with all these might stacks the build can be played as D/D too, should you need some more damage. Like when killing that certain high priestess...). Instead, what you get is control and a chance to actually use 5/5 weapon skills - without gimping your damage too much. You can (and should) play in full berserker gear, your crits will hurt and with all that might so will your noncrits - although i have to admit that hidden assassin is imo targeting P/D builds, shame they don't get more attention. Using all the skills you have you'll retain a good portion of /P control but get stealth on top of it (flanking strike does roughly the same damage as PW) allowing you to keep a much lower profile - you just don't get the same attention as S/P - and a lot of stuff to do providing a - much needed? - break from all too serious backstabbin'.
I won't bother you with damage comparisons, instead I'd say:
Give it a try, you probably have the gear for it already (of course you don't need runes of strength... ruby orbs, runes of divinity, scholar whatever are more fine too - my gear was just socketed with strenght runes already) and a sword from your S/P time. A respec is 3 silver 50 copper. Might not be for everyone, but you'll see, it's fun to play and adds a layer of gameplay that D/D doesn't have.

That's it for now, I might edit some bits and pieces around. Feel free to comment (and to try it out - not just because you were bored like me) and add anything that comes to your mind.