Ray of Judgement Nuker + Ice Spike Snare

Template Code
OwYTsYHDHCZYawnxVEvSu0mUmAA

The Concept
  • Snare, nuke, and burninate till dead.
  • No e-problems.

Skills
Glyph of Lesser Energy
Ice Spikes
Ray of Judgement [Elite]
Snow Storm [Optional]
Reversal of Damage
Pain Inverter
You Move Like a Dwarf!
[Optional Slot]

Stats
Water Magic [12]
Smiting Prayers [12 + 1 + 3]

Gear

  • Survivor's or Radiant Insignia, according to your preference.
  • Any smiting staff or wand/offhand.
  • Superior Smiting Rune.
  • Minor Divine Favour (Optional).
  • Vitae / Vigor runes (optional). 

Campaigns Needed
Eye of the North
Factions
Nightfall

How To Use

  • Target a mob, preferably in the centre of a nice big pack.
  • Cast Glyph of Lesser Energy (GoLE), Ice Spikes, Ray of Judgement, Snow Storm. They should all be dead or dying by now. If not, your team can pick off the stragglers.
  • Cast Reversal of Damage on party members taking damage, when there are no clumps of mobs to burninate. This is your main damage when not aoe-nuking.
  • Pain Inverter for numbergasms on bosses and elementalists.
  • You Move Like a Dwarf! for single target snare (this is what I use on bosses, rather than Ice Spikes), then Pain Inverter, GoLE, RoJ, Snow Storm. Also use it in place of Snow Storm as a finisher, where appropriate.
  • In HM, Snow Storm causes mobs to scatter very fast. Use this to your advantage, as 'scatter-on-demand' if someone is being mobbed.Snow Storm can be replaced with something else, but it's the optional spell that I found worked best for me.

Optional Slots

  • Smite Hex - Remove pesky hexes. Blow things up! BOOM!
  • Smite Condition [Requires Eye of the North] - Remove pesky conditions. Blow moar things up! BOOM!!
  • Castigation Signet [Requires Eye of the North] - If you're feeling tight on E, despite GoLE, take this instead of Snow Storm or Rebirth
  • Holy Wrath [Requires Prophecies] - Use together with Reversal of Damage for lots of fun. If you do not have Nightfall, use this instead of Reversal of Damage.
  • Judge's Insight - Toss this on physical damage dealers to make them wuv you. <3 <3 <3
  • Great Dwarf Weapon [Requires Eye of the North, replaces Snow Storm] - Again, Physical Damage dealers will love you. Give particular love to AoE types (Scythes, Barragers, Hammer Warriors, Moebius Sins)
  • Maelstrom - Use in place of Snow Storm in caster heavy areas. You're not looking for the damage (which is a bonus), you're looking for the caster shutdown.
  • Technobabble [Requires Eye of the North, replaces Snow Storm] - Use in place of Snow Storm in caster heavy areas. The daze is short, and the shutdown isn't as effective as Maelstrom - but it doesn't cause exhaustion. If you are having trouble managing your E when using Maelstrom, try Technobabble instead. If you target a mob beside a boss, the boss will be dazed.
  • Summon Ice Imp [Requires Eye of the North, replaces Snow Storm] - Extra set of snares via the Imp's Ice Spikes. Asuran caster summons are also very useful for pulling, should you be using H/H. They tend to stop halfway and fight the pack you just pulled, leaving you free to run back to your group, and your group to run up unmolested while the mobs focus on the summons.
  • Ebon vanguard Assassin Support [Requires Eye of the North, replaces Snow Storm] - Good for spiking down squishy targets, as well as pulling.
  • Breath of the Great Dwarf [Requires Eye of the North, replaces Snow Storm] - Good for areas with lots of burning - help your poor healers.
  • Selfless Spirit [Requires Factions] - Use this during the time you're spamming Reversal of Damage or Holy Wrath
  • Rebirth - Always good to have.

Optional slots that DID NOT work for me

  • Zealot's Fire - This looked so good on paper... but left me short on energy all the time. Not only that, the scatter it caused was unpredictable / not controllable, and much of the time, the effect itself went to waste.

Counters

  • General caster hate.
  • Not using GoLE before Ice Spikes/RoJ/Snow Storm chain.

Additional notes

Hahahaha NUB! Monk/Mesmer with Arcane Echo works SO MUCH BETTER THAN THIS! HAHAHAHAHA.
Since RoJ now scatters things as well, I find that Arcane Echoing RoJ is not only very energy intensive, it also doesn't get the full duration of burninating love from my RoJs. If you have a Blood Is Power/Blood Ritual in the group constantly pumping you with E, then Mo/Me RoJ Arcane Echo is indeed superior. If not - this bar leaves you with no energy problems - and very decent nukage.

This is so heavy on PvE skills, it's hardly even a monk bar!
=/ Yes, I'm afraid that's so. No arguments there.

Why not use Deep Freeze instead of Ice Spikes? Better damage, and the snare is longer.
Deep Freeze is expensive, and RoJ only lasts for 5 seconds anyway. If your timing is good, you hold the mobs in the beam for 3 seconds, then they start being able to move away, at least 1s is spent moving away even after the snare wears off, leaving only 1s of RoJ 'wasted'.

Using Deep Freeze means GoLE > Deep Freeze > RoJ > Snow Storm = 5e + 15e + 0e + 10e = 30e. Using Ice Spikes means GoLE > Ice Spikes > RoJ > Snow Storm = 5e + 5e + 0e + 10e = 20e. Ice Spikes is much, much kinder to your energy.

Can Heroes use this?
Even if you replace the PvE skills with normal skills - not very well. Heroes are better off with another kind of RoJ bar. They don't tend to use GoLE at the right time, and aren't always consistent with using Ice Spikes to snare for the RoJ. They are godly at using Smite Hex, Reversal of Damage, and Smite Condition though.

Where have you tested this?
Since this build is a 'self-sufficient' nuker, as in I don't expect to be propped up with a BiP or any other form out outside e-management, I tested this using full hench teams in each of the following areas. All were successful. (Though some had more deaths than bringing heroes... which is to be expected. None of them resulted in a DP higher than 30%. No consets/cupcakes/whatever. Would kind of kill the point of testing!)

Tested in:
Raisu Palace Vanquish
Zen Daijun Vanquish
Haiju Lagoon Vanquish
Sunqua Vale Vanquish
Arborstone Vanquish

6 and 4 man areas change group dynamics - so I'm pleased to say the build works in those too. =) Especially in Haiju Lagoon, I spent so much time moving my henches madly away from spirit rifts...  if you bring this build with humans, hopefully they're smarter than the henchies.

 

Heal As One - Pure Beast Mastery Ranger Build

Template Code
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The Concept
  • Pure beastmastery build. 
  • Great single target spike capabilities.
  • Cripple + 33% improved run and attack speed on pet (Call of Haste) means very few things are able to get away.
  • +3 Health Regen and halved damage on pet (Symbiotic bond) means even dire pets are highly survivable.
  • Pet is a great tank, especially running with h/h and no melee.
  • E-management (Scavenger Strike) is part of spike chain.

Skills
Maiming Strike
Feral Lunge
Scavenger Strike
Brutal Strike
[Optional Slot]
Heal as One [Elite]
Call of Haste
Symbiotic Bond

Stats
Beast Mastery [12+3+1]
Expertise [12+1]

Gear
  • Beastmastery insignia - keeps PvE attention off you, reduces damage, and your pet will be alive 99% of the time.
  • Any 15-20e staff. 20e is ideal, but 15e is fine if you can't get it.
  • If you're comfortable with your e, +5e spear + shield is also a good choice (more armour).
  • Superior Beast Mastery rune, Minor Expertise rune. You can reverse the order if you are having e-troubles, but your pet will do appreciably less damage.

Campaigns Needed
Prophecies
Factions

How To Use
  • Keep Symbiotic Bond up at all times, except when you are finding it kills you. (In a group situation, this should be - never. The one time Symbiotic Bond killed me was when I was fighting Magni the Bison, without the correct optional slot.)
  • Make sure your pet control panel is open. (Press the little number beside your pet's name in the party bars to open it.)
  • Keep your mouse over the 'Lock Pet Target' button.
  • Pick a target (tab works best).
  • Lock pet target.
  • Heal as One + Call of Haste
  • Move to the distance shown in the minimap image. If pet target is locked, your pet will automatically move to engage once you hit this distance. If the opponent is out of LoS, your pet will go around the obstacles. Your pet can be body blocked by other opponents though, so keep an eye out for that happening.
  • Maiming Strike + Feral Lunge + Scavenger Strike (Repeat Maiming Strike if recharged, and target is above 50% health)
  • If target is below 50%, Brutal Strike + [Optional: If your optional is a finisher]
  • Refresh Heal as One whenever: a) It's about to run out, b) You or your pet need healing.

Optional Slots

  • Finish Him! [Requires EotN] - Makes for very powerful petspike, and doesn't require stats.
  • Draw Conditions - At Protection Prayers [3], completely deconditionifies your pet, and heals you for 10 per condition. Since you're Pure BM, blind/cripple on you don't matter much - and those are the ones you really want to remove from the pet.
  • Healing Breeze - At Healing Prayers [3], +5 health regen. Only take this if both your pet (and by extension, you - with Symbiotic Bond) are taking a large amount of damage that Heal as One cannot heal through. This is what I brought to defeat Magni the Bison.
  • Never Rampage Alone [Requires Nightfall] - Replace Call of Haste with Run as One if you want to use this.
  • You Move Like a Dwarf! [Requires EotN] - Knockdown effect is useful for interrupts (only on targets that can be knocked down, naturally). Cripple effect is unconditional, and you can use Scavenger Strike to regain the e from YMLaD. Shout, so it doesn't matter where your pet is.
  • Pain Inverter [Requires EotN] - You easily have the e for this. Toss this at bosses and elementalist foes for numbergasms.
  • Great Dwarf Weapon [Requires EoTN] - Knockdown chances, and extra damage fun. Nuff said! (Well, ok, not quite enough. At R0 Deldrimor rep, using GDW will give you 50-60dmg autoattacks on a 100ar target.)
  • Poisonous Bite [Requires Factions] - Unconditional conditioner (hee!) except against non-fleshy foes.
  • Disrupting Lunge - Interrupt that requires your pet be beside the foe to hit, so it can be tricky to land. Gets easier with practice.
  • Bestial Pounce - [Requires Prophecies] Knockdown effect is useful for interrupts, but bear in mind not all casters can be KD'd. (Hydras, etc.) Replace Maiming Strike with Bestial Mauling (daze on KD'd target) for synergy.
  • Distracting shot - Great interrupt, doesn't need any points in MM. But obviously, you'll need to switch in your bow for this, then back to the staff.
  • Hard rez - You won't be horribly gimped if you need to bring one.
Optional slots that DID NOT work for me
  • Spirit Bond [Requires Factions] - Because Symbiotic Bond splits half the damage your pet takes to you, much of the time, the individual damage packets aren't high enough to trigger this either on yourself, or your pet.
  • Feral Aggression [Requires EotN] - At Beast Mastery [16], it lasts 21s. Since Call of Haste already provides your pet with Improved Attack Speed, what this gives you is improved consistent damage. I didn't find it to be worth it, but your mileage may vary. If you bring something other than Call of Haste though (Call of Protection, for instance), then this would work very well.
  • Otyugh's Cry [Requires Prophecies] - Can't be kept up constantly, and since my pet doesn't get blocked much unless fighting rangers/sins, didn't seem worth the slot. Could work if you only have Prophecies.
  • Melandru's Assault [Requires Prophecies] - Doesn't trigger Splinter Weapon, Strength of Honour, Mark of Pain or Barbs. Makes it very 'meh' as an aoe. Could work if you only have Prophecies.
Counters
  •  Heavy degen on you or your pet.
  • Heavy e-denial.
  • Losing track of your pet's location (pet is bodyblocked and you can't see it, happens a bit when learning to use the build).
  • Can be tricky to multitask Pet Target Locking + Target calling + controlling H/H all at the same time.
Additional notes
Agh! I can't keep all the buffs up, all the attacks straight, and my pet locked on a target, all at once! My brain is exploding!
As mentioned, it can initially be tricky to get the hang of this (or any other) pure BM build, because it's yet another level of micromanagement. What I find works best for me is to a) get my target, b) lock pet target, c) call target so that I can d) return to the pet target if I had to target another target at any time.

Is there a keypress to make my pet go attack my target? When I ctrl-space, he just sits there like a lump.

There is no key-binding for Lock Pet Target that I know of (If you know better, please do share!), so you need to keep your mouse near the silly Lock Pet Target button ALL THE TIME. -_- This is a bit of a pain, but once you learn to leave your mouse there after doing whatever it is you feel like doing, it gets easier.

Telling your pet to use a skill WILL NOT cause your pet to attack. If you want your pet to attack, you either need to a) attack the target yourself (whether through a direct damage skill/spell, or autoattack), b) make sure your pet's target is locked while it's close enough to the locked target (see minimap image).

If you bring a pure caster setup (minions work fine), your pet can be an amazing tank if allowed to wander on in first. 

Hey, I pressed all my pet skills in sequence, and used up a crapload of e, but nothing happened?
Your pet can only use skills as fast as it can attack. This means that you need to keep a close eye on your pet's buff bar (the skill it's about to execute is shown there as well). If you don't, you'll just be wasting E, hitting skills before your pet can execute them. Only one pet skill can be active at any one time, and hitting a new skill cancels the old one - but you still lose the e.

What happens if my pet is blinded, and has a skill buff up?
Skill charges will not be expended while your pet is blinded.

It's hard to target my pet because I have to leave my mouse cursor over the Lock Pet Target button.
To quickly target your pet to remove conditions/for whatever reason - click your pet's health bar in the pet panel. No need to mouse all the way to the party panel. 

But pets are so squishy in Hard Mode!
As of the August 2009 update, PvE pets (especially BM pets) are far from squishy. In PvE, since the updates, pets gained a 33% damage reduction, as well as a 33% damage-dealing increase. Scary beasties. 

What if I only have Prophecies? Heal as One is a Factions elite! 
Use Ferocious Strike, and replace Scavenger Strike with Comfort Animal. You won't need the e-management from Scavenger Strike, and you do still need to bring your furry/scaly/feathered/beasty friend.

Can Heroes use this?
No. They absolutely refuse to use Heal as One. Even if you threaten to send them to bed without supper. Or stuffed toys. Or without even a bed.
 
Where have you tested this?
All over the place! But most notably, in the walk from Beacon's Perch to Droknar's Forge. I couldn't find a runner, and I wanted my Drakescale armour. XD So I walked (and fought my way through) from Beacon's Perch to Droknar's Forge on NM. This means that the 2 henchies I brought were essentially fodder for Ollie's minions. (Stefan + Little Thom at level 10.)

As I was still learning/testing the build at this point - this is where I found out that pet could be an uber damage-dealing Tank. Most of the time it was just me and Ollie since I didn't bring a rez. >.>

 

Dire Was Barbie! With Extra Pinksauce

One of the things I love about Guild Wars is that all their armour sets are given lots of love. It doesn't matter whether the armour is 'Elite' (read: expensive) or not - the models are equally gorgeous.This means you can look good right out-of-the-box as a newbie. *prances*

My new ranger with her pink armour mix of happiness! (Drakescale with Sunspear legs.)

Now, if only the Hall of Monuments let you a) store elite armour, and b) display mixed sets, this nugget would be a Fulfilled Nugget.

Protection Ritualist with Soul Twisting

Guild Wars February updates gave me ever so many shiny new toys! It's a pity I've been so busy working I haven't been able to play with them all.

This is one of my shiniest latest toys - but be warned, I suspect it will be nerfed. It feels... too good. Years of gaming gut instinct tells me this one will die, so enjoy it while it lasts!


Template Code
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The Concept
Keep up ally-wide Aegis (Displacement), Protective Spirit (Shelter), Pimped-Up Shielding Hands (Union) at least 80% of the time. Never run out of energy. Run around all you like (with spirits every 15s, you're highly mobile).

Skills
Soul Twisting (Elite)
Shelter
Displacement
Union
Feast of Souls
Mighty was Vorizun
Boon of Creation
Flesh of my Flesh [optional slot]

Stats
Communing [12]
Spawning Power [12]

Gear
  • Superior runes of either type. Communing will give you fatter spirits. Spawning power will give a longer duration on Soul Twisting, bigger heals on Feast of Souls and also slightly fatter spirits. Works with minor runes too, so just pick according to your playstyle (and/or budget).
  • Weapon doesn't matter, you'll be clutching your ashypot 99% of the time.
  • Radiant or herald's insignia work best.

Campaigns Needed
Factions. That's it. =) No PVE skills needed. Good for baby rits.

How To Use

  • Keep Mighty was Vorizun and Boon of Creation up at all times.
  • Keep Soul Twisting up whenever you can refresh it - once you get into the rhythm of it, it's not hard. Soul twisting is an instant cast, and cannot be stripped.
  • Place your spirits, refresh Soul Twisting when it's available again.
  • For single spirit party heals (100hp), spread your spirits out so you only 'eat' one at a time with Feast of Souls.
  • For a 300+hp party spike heal, put the spirits in a ball, and eat them all. Be aware that the spirits are major damage mitigation, and if you do that, and all prots are gone, your party members may drop like stones. Experience will teach you when it's safe to eat them all.

Optional Slots

  • Great Dwarf Weapon [requires EotN Campaign] - Your physical damage dealers will love you
  • Great Dwarf Armor [requires EotN Campaign] - Getting bored standing around while waiting for your spirits to die so you make new ones? GDA is a wonderful mini prot that doesn't take any stats.
  • Pain Inverter [requires EotN Campaign] - You'll never run out of E anyway, toss this at bosses and elementalist foes for numbergasms.
  • Breath of the Great Dwarf [requires EotN Campaign] - Great for areas with lots of burning - also functions as a mini heal party.
  • Armor of Unfeeling - Wiki has mixed reports on how well this works. I found it didn't lengthen my spirits' lifespans for long enough to bother with, especially since Soul Twisting allows such a fast recast. Experiment with it to your own preference. 
    Update: [Courtesy of my friend Star Guards Squad 1234567890] If you intend to use your spirits as a spirit wall, and NOT a backline/out of line of fire prot that covers your frontline, you must bring this. They die way too fast otherwise.
  • Spirit to Flesh - If you're good at targetting your allied spirits - this one is for you. Take it either as the optional slot, or the alternative to Feast of Souls. Be aware that it heals *nearby* allies though, and will not function as a party-wide heal the way Feast of Souls will. Works particularly well if standing beside a Minion Master with a nice batch of bone fiends.

Optional slots that DID NOT work for me

  •  Restoration - Eating this spirit with Feast of Souls didn't make my Master of Whispers stand up. I could have sworn he was right beside me, but I might have misestimated the distance. Use at own risk.
    Update: [Courtesy of my friend Star Guards Squad 1234567890] Restoration will resurrect party members if you use Soul Twisting, and cast it twice, replacing it with a copy of itself.
  • Spirit's Gift [requires Nightfall Campaign] - Mighty was Vorizun and Boon of Creation mean that every 45-60s or so, you have to stand still for 4 seconds to recast them. This is too much for some trigger happy people who will leap ahead, not letting you catch up. Piling Spirit's Gift on top of this tendency made me an unhappy camper. If you can find a sane lot of people though, it could work

Counters

  • Having both Mighty was Vorizun and Boon of Creation interrupted.
  • You can survive on only one, but if you lose both, kiss your energy goodbye.
  • Not having Soul Twisting up when summoning spirits.

Additional notes

Why Mighty was Vorizun, rather than Energetic was Lee Sah?
Boon of Creation doesn't reduce energy cost, it refunds you the energy after you've already spent the original amount. Vorizun therefore lets you cast with the huge energy pool you need, while Boon ensures that you never run out of E. Additionally, Vorizun can be kept up all the time, Lee Sah cannot.

Help! My party is taking way too much damage, and all three spirits die too fast! This sucks!
If your party is taking a massive influx of damage, spread all around, you need to pick ONE spirit to chain cast 3 times. If the damage is elemental, use Shelter. If the damage is physical, use Displacement. Union is (imo) your least likely spirit to chain, since it works best against small, fast attacks. Each time your spirit dies, recast it with Soul Twisting still up. This should leave you with at most 3-5s without any spirit protection.

Feast of Souls is useless! When I eat my spirits to heal people, everyone is healed and then drops dead! Oi!
To use Feast of Souls effectively - needs a bit of practice and planning. Ideally you should know beforehand when you drop the spirits if you will be needing to eat them or not. If you think you will need to eat them, but retain prots, space them out so you can pick which one to eat. If you know you can eat them all (and thus drop all prots) without consequences (i.e. massive party heal from lots of degen), then ball them up and eat them all. Feast of Souls is strictly 'in a tight spot' support, and should not ever be relied on as the main party heal.

Can Heroes use this build?
Yes. Soul Twisting AI for heroes was updated, and heroes use this beautifully now.

For a hero, though, I'd replace Feast of Souls with Spirit to Flesh, since heroes can much more reliably target the low-health spirit to chomp on for spot heals.

Where have you tested this?
Dzagonir Bastion (HM + bonus)
Underworld (NM)
Issnur Isles Vanquish
Destruction's Depths (NM + HM)
Heart of the Shiverpeaks (NM + HM)
A Time for Heroes (HM with H/H)
I don't tend to run prot or heal when I run with H/H, so other than A Time for Heroes, all the rest were done with real people + heroes, or plain real people.