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Rush’s Guide to Smoother Dungeons

Well hey guys, apologies for the lack of content from me during the past few months. I have been hammering away at school, but now I actually have the free time to write up another handy dandy article!

In this guide, I will be sharing with you my preferred team composition for faster, safer, and smoother dungeon runs. During this guide, you may be all like “Wha? What about this class for this spot”, to which I will reply “Who’s writing the guide, me or you?”. No, that won’t happen, I am too nice to say that, but seriously, keep that stuff to yourself for now.

We’re going to take a step by step look by shoving our metaphorical microscope into each piece of the “smooth dungeon” pie.

    1. The “Smooth Dungeon” Epiphany
    2. Fluffing the Party: Guardian
    3. Fluffing the Party: Warrior
    4. The Warbanner Warrior
    5. The Durable Deeps
    6. Side Notes

The Guildies

A. The “Smooth Dungeon” Epiphany

I have to give a warning to all the super fans of the game, I am not trying to “ruin” your game experience with this. Get that thought out of your head straight away. You can use this guide, or leave it on the wayside, but my only intention with this guide is to show a smoother approach to dungeons.

The epiphany hit me about a month ago, maybe a month and a half. I had been running dungeons with guildies, and we were not sticking to a team composition. Sometimes the dungeons were easy, sometimes we had trouble. It hit me that the reason some of the runs were harder was the fact that we had too many squishies in the group, and no one playing a support role. Even in my guild, when I shared my thoughts on designing a team with the intent to make dungeon running easier, I was met with criticism on how the game is supposed to be played (the word “Elitist” was said a lot). Because everyone can do everything, some people were assuming that nobody should be forced to fill a role.

Luckily though, there were some guildies who shared the same thoughts I did, and we proceeded to hash away at the team composition until we figured it out. We break the party down by asking three questions:

  • Do we have a support (Fluffer)?
  • Are the deeps spec’d for glass cannon?
  • Are the deeps spec’d for durability?

Those 3 questions allow us to see how smooth the dungeon experience in going to be.  If we are iffy on any part, we take a couple minutes to fix it.What you want to shoot for is more durable deeps than glass cannons. Durability will give you more leeway in fights.  Here is a break down of my parties when I go and enter dungeons (most of the time):

  • 1 Fluffer
  • 1 Glass Cannon
  • 3 Durable Deeps

This is the basic team comp to shoot for. It keeps everything nice and cozy, and makes for a smoother run. Here comes the part the super fanboys need to prepare for,

The Fluffer needs to be a Warrior or Guardian, and you’ll need 1 more warrior in the party depending on who is fluffing. Why? You will see in the next part.

B. Fluffing the Party: Guardian

Guardian support is one of the best supports you can bring with you for dungeon groups. An equal to it is the Banner Support Warrior, which we will take a look at later on in the guide. Right now though, the Guardian is our focus. Guardian support will be able to put 12-15 stacks of might on everyone in the party, and provide some very good healing to them as well. They can keep themselves up through out any fight (I have personally seen one solo the kaboodium part of CoF path 2) and they can keep you up too.

You can find the information for the traits and skills here: http://www.gw2db.com/skill-builds/2424-guardian-staff-fluffer

Weapons

Staff and situational Scepter|Focus or Mace|Shield

Stats

You want either Cleric’s or Magi’s for your stats.

Runes and Sigils

For your armor you want

  • Superior Rune of Altruism.png Altruism: It will greatly increase the duration of your might stacks.

For your weapons you can put whatever you like on them. I suggest the following on your staff:

  • Superior Sigil of Life.png Life: The increased stacks will help with your big heal

How to Play

Spam Empower when it comes off cool down. That is one of your main focuses for this build. Not only will it have a heal between 4k-5k (with exotic gear) you will also apply 12 stacks of might. With your increased boon duration from your trait line and altruism runes, you will keep that might up for around 15-18 seconds (depending on your gear quality).

Since your dodge heals at the end of a roll, when you see someone dodging away with half health, dodge right to them and hit them with that heal. Most likely, you will be dodging with them anyways, so your heal will be very helpful.

Orb of Light should be saved for some extra heals, pop it on top of your allies. Also take advantage of combo fields with it, since it is a blast finisher. Top three I suggest popping over are fire, water, and light combo fields. Fire will give might, water; regen, and light; retaliation.

When you can use your Virtue of Justice, use it. It’s good damage, especially with the increased virtue power from trait line. Use your Virtue of Resolve to heal someone who needs it, it will pop around 4k, and apply regen. Virtue of Courage is a stun breaker for you, and I suggest you only pop it when you have no other stun breakers, or you’re team is in need of an aegis.

Your shouts will be used differently. You want to use “Hold the Line!” as much as possible. The down time on the boons from HTL will be small. Use “Stand Your Ground!” when your party needs the 4 second stability (or if you need an emergency stun breaker), and save “Save Yourselves!” as a stun breaker and a team condition removal. Be careful though on what conditions you take, grabbing 25 stacks of bleed with poison will most likely end up with you dead.

C. Fluffing the Party: Warrior

Warrior support is similar to the Guardian support, but there is a more finesse to it. Banner spec will be the choice for this Fluffer. That leaves you standing around for 95 seconds waiting for the cooldowns on your banners. Your banners will provide regeneration (a lot of it) and they will also increase the stats of everyone in the party. You won’t be able to unleash big heals like the Guardian can, but the stat increases combined with the regen will keep parties up through fights. Throw in a Warhorn for extra condition removal and boons and you have your Warrior Fluffer.

So what about the build requires finesse? You will find that standing around is fairly boring, and you personally are not providing that much to the fight. You don’t do very much damage, and your conditions don’t last long, so what do you do?

You equip a mace and a shield, and you keep throwing out stuns. Your damage is helpful, but not as much as your stuns. Mace and shield on the warrior provides 3 stuns, which have low cooldown timers and long stuns.

Stats

You will need a full set of Cleric’s armor, weapons, and trinkets. The healing bonus from this, along with the power and toughness, will make sure you never die. You can go for Magi’s, but you will be really squishy.

Runes or Gems?

Totally your call. Sapphires will help increase your base stats, but there are some rune sets that will help you as well.

  • Superior Rune of Dwayna.png Dwayna: This provides great bonuses to your regen.
  • Superior Rune of the Monk.png Monk: Using Warbanner will also give aegis, making the revive safer.
  • Superior Rune of the Flock.png Flock:  The bird summon causing blindness will really help in fights.

If you find one that fits you better, then use it.

Weapons and Sigils

You will need Mace and Shield, with Sword and Warhorn in your second weapon slots.

Your call on the sigils. I prefer these on my Mace and Shield:

  • Superior Sigil of Life.png Life: The charges will help your healing power.
  • Superior Sigil of Paralyzation.png Paralyzation: Increases the stun length.

For my Sword and Warhorn I like:

  • Superior Sigil of Hobbling.png Hobbling: Increases your sword cripple
  • Superior Sigil of Energy.png Energy: A nice boost for your dodging in later stages of large fights.

The Build

You can find the trait and skill information on the build here: http://www.gw2db.com/skill-builds/2423-warrior-banner-fluffer

How to Play

Quite simple really, throw down your banners when you can, and apply stuns as you see fit. The cooldown is 95 seconds, so if you are moving from fight to fight constantly, make sure to have your party pick up the banners and take them with you. Your party will hold about 50 seconds of regen while the banners are up, so if something happens and you can’t put the banners back on your party (you were killed and are running back) the regen will last long enough to help cushion your loss.

Use your banners as blast finisher’s. Keep a lookout on which combo fields are down. You don’t need to drop the banner directly into the middle of the field, you only need to place it on the edge. Remember this so you aren’t making a situation difficult on your team by dropping banners directly onto them. In the heat of the moment, someone may see the yellow on their screen and think it is loot.

If 2 or more people are down, then it is time to use your Warbanner. You can also use your #3 downed skill and pop Warbanner to revive yourself (this is buggy right now though). You also will use it if anyone goes down in a fight that the team is unsafe ressing in (Lupi for instance).

If a boss targets you with a huge attack, use shield stance to block the damage. When your party starts taking on conditions, use your warhorn skills to remove them.

Like I have said before, apply stuns. Against boses, you don’t need to wait for adrenaline stage 3 to use your mace F1, burn through his defiance by using mace #3/shield #1/F1 at stage 1. Having teammates constantly applying CC’s will help as well. Work with your team, figure out your stuns, and save the 6th stun to interrupt the big bosses attacks.

D. The Warbanner Warrior

If your fluffer is a Warrior, then you can ignore this, but if your fluffer is a Guardian I suggest you put a warrior with Warbanner in your party. This is to help prevent wipes, or bring people up in fights that you can’t stop to res (Look at almost all boss fights in Arah 3).

There are no special builds for this, you just need a Warrior with Warbanner.

E. The Durable Deeps

Oh my god, the amount of damage dealers I have seen in dungeons that think they can all run glass cannon is insanely large. I facepalm every time I see more than 1 glass cannon in a party. You need a precise team to survive with 5 glass cannons, and if you are running with PUG’s I doubt you will get that precision. It is just something that you cannot prepare.

How do you avoid this? You make a deeps build that revolves around toughness and/or vitality. You can either have armor with those stats, or a trait line that increases those stats. You can even mix both. On my Guardian I run a crit build with Knight’s armor. My trait lines choices are Radiance (Precision) and Valor (Toughness) with the remainder in Zeal (Power).

What are the names that have the stats you want?

Knight’s: Toughness|Power|Precision

Rabid: Condition Damage|Precision|Toughness

Soldier’s: Power|Toughness|Vitality

Cavalier’s: Toughness|Power|Critical Damage (Only available in Fractals)

Toughness and Vitality are what makes it or breaks it in dungeon groups. They will greatly increase your durability in fights, which is what is needed in dungeon groups.

For your upgrade components on everything, it is your call. Once you have the toughness/vitality, you can customize everything else how you want. On my Guardian, I run emeralds in my armor, with a Sigil of Strength in my sword, and Sigil of Air in my scepter. Strength provides me 30% of might on crit, and since I use Knight’s armor, my crit chance is high.

For your deeps, I suggest 1 melee weapon set, and 1 ranged weapon set. This will allow you to flow through fights safely. If you are taking damage, or lose your timing on dodging in melee, you can switch to ranged and get your bearings.

When you are playing this, your main focus is to deal damage AND survive the fights. Don’t take risks if you can’t survive them. You also need to keep an eye on the condition your party is in as well, if someone drops then head over and res them, unless you are in a situation where you cannot safely pick them up. It’s better to have 1 person on the ground than 2.

F. Side Notes

These notes aren’t important enough to have their own segment in the guide, but they are not minute enough to be left out.

  1. Practice your build! Having the best stats on your armor and weapons will not make up for your lack of skill.
  2. Make sure to dodge. Even with a fluffer and durable builds, you will be killed if you take a bosses full attack to the face too many times.
  3. Know your team. Learn who you are playing with, build a relationship with them. The better you know the people you run with, the smoother it gets.
  4. Learn the dungeon paths. You need to know the dungeon path before you jump in, either have someone give you the information you need to know, or run with someone who knows the path.
  5. Make sure you start a fight on the weapon set you need. It will throw you off for a few seconds if you start a fight with the wrong set.
  6. Don’t be a dick when you are in dungeon groups, but don’t be a pushover either. If someone is making a mistake, calmly explain to them what they are doing wrong and how to do it correctly.

I do have to say, don’t let my preference for a heavier team stop you from taking professions other than Guardian or Warrior. As long as they are built like a durable deeps, they will be useful. Once you know your team, you can also run with more glass cannons for faster runs as well. It’s just not good for your repair costs if you go into a fight with 3 glass cannons and no fluffers. Even with proper dodging, you will see guys go down more often than you want them too.

This is my preferred team composition:

1 Fluffer (I don’t care which, I love both)

1 Might on Crit Guardian

1 Dual Axe/Rifle Crit Warrior

1 Greatsword Guardian

1 Empty slot

If the party is built with the 4 previous spots filled, anyone can fill the last spot. The party will not lose any of it’s smoothness, unless the 5th person is just a complete washout who can’t play. I could go on and on about what I love from each profession, but I won’t. I will let you guys find your own preferred team comps.

I also have to give credit to my guildies who helped me figure this all out. A humongous thank you to Dehzva, Strafe, Serjfan, Grim Jack, Exo, Josaiya, and Engineer Bear, and anyone else in [Echo] I am forgetting about. We beat our heads against the dungeon brick wall and came out better players.

With headaches.

Good luck and may Dwayna bless you all!


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  • great guide and intresting point of veiw, sadly your build links all point to blank builds :(

  • I am curious as to how this relates at all to that article that had talked about the ‘effective health pool’, i.e. the toughness vs. vitality levels where sometimes having the extra health will allow you to survive more rather than reducing the damage taken.

    Also sad to see but rather understanding of how higher end game appears to be conforming to Glorious Heavy Armor Master Race. I’ll admit that there’s been times where I as a guardian look at another guardian and two warriors in the party, and don’t even bother noticing what the fifth party member is half of the time.