Here are some setups that’s valid options for an AH/hammer build and ofc its superior runes with one exception.
5Ranger+1Lyssa (Get a decent crtchance in vit/pow/tough, they absolutely need these runes and if you get this don’t bother using anything else then critchance enhancers, 6*Lyssa is a very strong option)
6Soldier (Usable in both berserkers and knights)
6Dolyak (Great in knights with a constant increase in incoming heals. Small healthpools and high toughness benefits more from heals. Can also be used in berserkers but rune of the soldier are better suited for that)
6Forge (20% protection duration and 10 sek protection when under 50% health works really well in knights and ofc berserkers)
6Lyssa, all boons for 5 seconds after using an elite, works will all builds and gear. This is just great with renewed focus and virtues. Statwise it suits vit/pow/tough best since it needs precision.
3monk+3water (useable in knights and ofc vit/pre/heal, 30% boonduration and 150 more in heals on every dodge)
*2monk+2water+2*major rune of sanctuary* (See monk+water except you don’t get more than 50 extra in heals but 40% uptime on boons also great dps setup for vit/pre/heal gear)
2strength+2fire+2Hoelbrak (berserker, knights and especially vit/pre/heal benefits greatly from these babies, max dps with berserkers but with these you can hit extremely hard with the heal gear and still dodge heal yourself for 1k per dodge.)
6Dwayna (You get area regeneration for the team when using a healskill, super nice and goes really well with all gears actually. The paradox is that the smaller the healthpool the easier you fill it and the less you need this for you, see it as support, it’s not for you and you still get AH from regeneration on the team.
2-4runes of vampirism (thx Fabsm for trying these out, I just started testing these and I don’t know yet if I like them but the concept of a lifeleecher is interesting even though I find the proccrate to be kind of low but I will get into sigils that leech so I thought I should mention these as well. They seem to work best with knights gear though)
6Divinity. (Nuff said, great allround runes but god they are expensive. Not suitable for vit/tuv/pov though)
If its just stats you are looking for then upgrades/orbs from BLT is enough and you get those for like 2 silver a piece. Runes are really just necessary in pow/vit/tough (max crit) and if you want a certain function they offer.
I tried a bunch here as well and these also has impact on your secondary weapon so I write the hammersigil first and secondary, if applicable, sigil last, ie Energy+Energy
Energy+Energy, my personal favourite in all kinds of pvp, being able to dodge 3-4 times in a row have saved me so many times in wvw its silly and it also support the animationskipping, in tpvp especially but not so much in wvw. This sigil has really nice synergies with vigorous precision. Can be used with all runes and geartypes
Intelligence+Energy. 100% crit on MB is huge in tpvp and the hammer is the weapon this sigil works best with. The setup is one offensive weaponset and one defensive set.
Strength/battle+Strength/battle these are used to stack might with a build that’s supports it, and if you want might on swap (3 stacks for 20 seconds with battle) or the chance of getting 1 stack for 10s on crit is personal taste but most people will find that in tpvp swap is preferred and in wvw crit is preferred. In pve I would go for might on crit. This sigil has great synergies with empowering might, inspired virtues and renewed justice.
The hammer alone should be able to have you hovering at 10 or more stacks, which improves dps greatly.
In general 1h weapons are superior in might stacking thru swaps + crit and faster attackspeed but its definitely viable.
I would use these with the same gear as I use monk+water, monk+water+sanctuary or strength+fire+hoelbrak.
So if you want to be a healer and hit hard as hell then you use monk+water, empowering might, VoJ and ofc the staff. So use empower on the staff (more might) and then swap and hammer with VoJ and might on crits. If done correctly you will have 20 stacks in seconds and then you hit hard, really hard.
Hydromancy This sigil makes glacial heart obsolete 100% chance to chill on swap for 3 seconds which is nice in tpvp. Sigil of ice proccs on crit for a 2s duration with 10s internal cd. This is also better then Glacial heart.
The only reason to use glacial heart is if you want to stack freeze and then I would go for:
Hydromancy+hydromany and Ice in the offhand and main being sceptre in wvw and/or sceptre/1h sword in tpvp. But it still doesn’t justify glacial heart imo if you look at what you lose out on. Nice on all geartypes.
Accuracy, 5% extra crit is always welcome and has synergies with the entire concept. Well spent money if you haven’t geared up properly. Nice on all geartypes.
Perception or Bloodlust These are really nice in pve and especially in open world. They are best put to use use on sets with low stats in the area where they contribute. Bloodlust increases power which suits vit/pre/heal and Perception favors vit/tough/pow.
These sigils earn a stack if the kill is done with the weapon its mounted in and the stack also remains if you swap. I don’t know if you can have both types in two different sets weapons and both types of stacks, based on the weapon you kill with. If you can these are monsters in pve but someone else has to test that.
Fire works great with this build and adds more aoe.
Blood hits for about 300 and heals for the same amount, in aoe fights this is major thing since 30% chance on crit and only 2s internal cd. I’m trying this out atm and this looks to be a beast in wvw and also pve. I tried this during BWE and it’s not worth it in Tpvp unless you run with a 1h build, 1h handers once more benefits more from this but in wvw it’s definitely an option for hammer gameplay.
Suitable for all geartypes and definitely its an option.
Purity, 60% chance of removing conditions on crit, nuff said, stop whining about conditions and trait and gear for them. Best suited for players that doesn’t know how to stay clean?
Leeching about 1k damage and 1k health on swap, suited for tpvp and pve not so much in WvW since swapping is much more uncommon.
In general the concept of leeching feels more and more desirable and I will definitely explore this further, I just have to finish my tests of the hard hitting healer, it might be so that the “leecher” might be a hybrid offspring from the hard hitting healer.
Rage, just have to mention this one even though its for the staff. When a clash happens pull empower to boost your team, then activate retreat and run into the horde of foe and start use the staffs skill 1. In one or two aoe-hits this sigil proccs and the fun begins. Just saying, try it, if not just for the fun of it and if you can do it with empowering might and VoJ for 6 more stacks of might and ofc boon duration runes and consumables.
14. Elites and Virtues
In almost all aspects the elite to use is renewed focus and the simple reason for that is inspired virtues, these are great in almost every aspect of the game and it’s not just a lifesaver for you, it’s a lifesaver for the team. Our other eltites are much more dramatic but seriously I don’t think they have the huge impact that I sense that renewed focus has.
The only time I think tome of wrath is preferred is in sieges. I would probably review this opinion if stability was reintroduced in the tomes or that casting time was reduced dramatically. In tpvp you look like a light house and as soon as you pull a tome all opponents just jumps you and cc you to oblivion. As it stand now RF is superior and that is a AH/hammer guardians bread and butter.
I hope two of these tastes nice?
- Bowl of Curry Butternut Squash Soup 100 precision and 10% critical damage
- Bowl of Curry Pumpkin Soup 100 precision and 70 vitality
- Bowl of Spiced Meat and Cabbage Stew 60% to gain might on dodge and 20% increased refill rate on endurance.
- Master Maintenance Oil, 6% of toughness into precision and 4% of vit into precision
- Chocolate omnomberry cream 20% boonduration, +10 experience from kills AND 40% magic find while under the effect of a boon. Great in all aspects of pve and pvp.
- Blackberry pie, 40% to steal life on crit and 50 precision and +10 exp from kills.
- Bowl of Orrian Truffle and Meat Stew, grants might on dodge, really nice in combination with a might stacking build.
- Last but not least I would like to mention Omnomberry Pie (Ghost) which offers 66% chance on crit for lifesteal, which is about 340 hp.
The thing is that I would recommend everyone and his mother to choose sigil of blood and the lifestealfood and especially the Ghost. I used it for two nights in WvW and last night I also did some pve in cursed shore. Just to mention my performance in pve, the last boss in the Plinx quest line, the one we all need to kite for minutes, you know which I mean. That little rascal I facetanked from second until he got tired of me and switched target after like 1 minute. That is how powerful this food and sigil are in combination.
This food, and Blackberry Pie, seems to stack ontop of the sigils which gives you 30+66 (40)=96% chance to procc. This means that almost every crit actually triggers the lifesteal which grants you 341 heals (isn’t boosted by healpower) and with 50% critrating that is 170 heals per hit. In combination with vigorous precision that is over 200 heals per hit.
Yeah its overpowered as hell and I will personally report this as a bug.
An average chain+mb with three allies heal you for about 1700 and this would add in over 1k more heals. So roughly just under 3k heals from one chain+mb, it’s a no brainer in wvw but in pve you don’t need it. Crazy OP and I will report it, I just has to be a bug.
Im sure there are others but these are the one I found so far that works really well with the AH/hammer setup.
As the healing skill you have two options really, the obvious one being the signet and it serves not just as a heal but also as a condition remover every 10th second, this in combination with purity is 9 times out of 10 enough for wvw . Ofc you can also put 20 points in radiance and then you get conditionremover when you activate it. Remember, a used heal is 3 less removed conditions in the next 30 seconds.
The second heal skill is shelter, it’s a much worse heal but in combination with renewed focus it can give you a rather long period of cover. This isn’t the main reason why this heal is interesting but the fact that it blocks incoming damage and it blocks an infinite number, So far so good. In Valor you have might of the protector, a minor trait, and what that does is that it let you gain might per block, This means that if you run scepter+focus as secondary you theoretically can build 23 stacks of might really fast. So shelter might be a choice you consider if you want to create mayhem. The signet is the obvious choice in pve.
In short all shouts are valid and they all serve their purpose.
Hold the line and Stand your ground in Tpvp. Great shouts with great impact.
Retreat and SY in wvw and open world pve for movement and SY and Stand your Ground in combat.
In dungeons Hold the Line and SY.
It ofc depends on group setup, if in a group with no speed boosts then use retreat as both an offensive and defensive shout, in ww.
In general you should not use more then two shouts since traited virtues in reality are an additional 1.5 shouts. You should at least keep one slot open for the job you are set to do, this makes you much more diversified. The exception is spvp and tpvp where ”three shout” builds are valid.
Judges intervention, can be used in wvw, it’s great for moving around, great for escaping and great for catching, what’s not to like about it. Too bad you can’t teleport up on wall anymore, that was so great but you can still use it to trap groups in RoW, in a aoe death-trap, and also teleport and use banish while doing it. Worth mentioning is that you can start one skill and in the middle of the cast you can pull Judges Intervention and finish the first skill in a different place. Ie start banish and teleport in and finish where the opponents are.
Smite Condition and Contemplation of Purity: our two “active” condition removals. Very useful on fights against mobs that you can’t risk yourself having to gamble on the passive condition removal. Example would be the Bandit Cutpurse in CM Ex. One Death Blossom will equal to 12 bleed stacks AND a poison.
Wall of reflection, can ofc be used untraited and its still super strong. It has great impact in both pvp and pve and hasnt to be traited in order to be valid.
Hallowed Ground: this skill needs to be in its own section. HG and SYG are two of our strongest support utilities. Stability is very rare among all the professions, but we have two, not to mention that it’s for the whole group. HG is a must on some encounter such as the Inquests in Arah Ex Mursaat or the first bosses in CM Ex Asura and Butler even if you don’t have 10 points in Virtue.
Purging Flame: same as above but group condition removal. Bonus: provides a 5 seconds fire field.
Both purging flames and hallowed ground has their uses in pvp as well and the above mentioned fire field adds to their usability when considering a mightstacking build. If you have 10 points in virtues you have both hallowed ground and purging flames and both are fire fields that grants 25 sec of might and 3 stacks each and you trigger them with mighty blow. With the proper runes and food those lasts 25 second +60% uptime with the boonduration increasing runes and food. Besides giving 16s stability and purge conditions ofc which can be increased with major traits as. Sanctuary is also an option.
Signet of Judgement passive -10% damage and in combination with protection it’s a 43% reduction of incoming damage and then add 3300 in armour to that. If you want to switch to offense, activate it in the crowd (600 range) and get heals from retaliation (AH) and ofc weakness in 600 range, that is just huge!!!! This one is as close to meta as a utility skill can be and can be used in all aspects of the game.
Shield of the Avenger: even though this is a spirit weapon skill, it’s extremely powerful in conjunction with Wall of Reflect on fights against a large amount of range enemies such as the riflemen in CM Ex.
Other valid utility skills
If 20 points in radiance an other signet might be valid, why not signet of wrath for a 24 sec root and one more condition remover if you trait inscribed removal.
17. Gameplay and our job on the battlefield
As I pointed out in chapter 6 the gameplay differs greatly from playing gs or 1h sword, at least as long as you want to maximize damage while minimizing incoming damage. The weapon isn’t made to spam skill one as gs and 1h are but requires a bit more finesse and thought.
First we have the dodging in the chain, between step 2 and 3, and then we have animationskipping, These are some basic stuff we need to learn in order to maximise output. Second we need to understand that the direction of the dodge is crucial for out next move. Dodging away from an opponent isn’t necessarily a defensive move and dodging towards isn’t an offensive move..
Dodging as much as I suggest that we should do also introduces a risk that we reduce the personal effect we get from the symbol, besides AH. This is even more important to understand if you use a build that’s built for boon duration. How come, isn’t that build less prone to have a downside if we miss one tick from the symbol. No, the answer is no. The reason for this is that a build we no boonenhancers actually has other stats to compensate, like vitality and toughness from rune of the soldier, while the “boonbuild” actually is designed for taking advantage of the boons it produces.
This means that you need to choose the build based on what type of objective you are set out to handle. If it’s open world pvp frontline headsmashing then a high toughness, high crit, low critdamage build is the answer. Protection is just situational and inherent toughness is the important part,
If its defending a keep where the frontline door has fallen then a boonduration and toughnessbuild is the answer.
if its protecting your mates who tries to take down a towerdoor then a healbuild with larger long lasting symbols might be the answer, healing with dodges, the staff and placing SoP at the door so our team can work at the door with constant protection.
If your job is to protect a flank on a zerg or you run in a small party then a high crit, high critdamage build with great capabilities to remove conditions on the team is the answer.
The AH/hammer guardian can be all that and so much more, but not at the same time and you need to have multiple gears with you and also a couple of secondary weapons. Staff is the obvious one but I would also always have a scepter and 1h sword+focus available in the inventory
The scepter is kind of obvious but what has the one hand sword to do with anything, well I find the 1h sword to have two huge advantages, first it very quick and has very high single target dps and second it can block a lot and has blinds on really low cd. This makes this weapon a nice semidefensive option to the hammer which lacks almost any means to a successful defense in openworld pvp. In general scepter is better and there are situations in wvw when 1h and hammer are a match made in heaven.
If you like I have a mightstacking hammer/gear and also might stacking 1h and focus this is also the setup to rip small parties to pieces with. 1h+focus (skill 5 might on block, shelter might on block, aegis*3 might on block) builds stacks of might so fast that 15-20 stacks is rather easy to get in a few seconds. And then when you switch to hammer with 60% critchance and 54% critdamage, 20 stacks of might and 3300 in armor its as close to a nuclear charged Leopard MBT you can come and jumping from one opponent to another with MB placing the symbol and then switch target is as close as mayhem you can come, we are talking about 8k of damage per chain+MB here. It is even easier if you add in two fire fields from hallowed ground and purging flames.
In tpvp it’s a bit different and you can’t achieve the stats you do in wvw/pve so here im ofc first in but I play the game a bit more reserved then I do in wvw. It’s more at stake and the opponents are infinite better.
In tpvp the hammer isn’t an obvious choice and some might even say it’s only good for defending points, well they are both right and wrong. If you gonna play tpvp with the hammer you need to play in a team where it’s very clear that the guardian shouldn’t ever run alone. This is imo true in general but with a hammer guardian it’s almost a must to have a teammate, this weapon and build is so much better in a group setting and if used as a group aoe monster on cappoints with teammates in reach then its definitely viable. Its downside is soloplay hence why I always have either a scepter or a 1h sword as secondary set. I can also admit that sometimes I switch to a 1h setup completely during a fight, if things needs a change, and the fun part is that this build also works relatively well with a pure 1h setup.
In dungeons I favour hammer and 1h sword and the situation dictates if I use a scepter or not. The gameplay isn’t as hectic and strategic in dungeons and it’s kind of simple to get the team to get inside the symbol or position the boss so I can dodge the way I want. In fact hammer is super easy in pve since all you really have to do is spam skill 1 and traited increased duration on the symbol and dodge once in a while.
There is only one thing to point out here, you play the AH/hammer guardian as you want and without changing build you can actually go full support, full control or full dps and do very well in all aspects. The truth is that you can in fact maintank as well even if Anet hate that word. A full knights guardian can do all that and much more.
One more thing, an elementalist is your best friend, they have tons of combofields and especially water and fire are just supernice. If you want to improve in your gameplay learn how an elementalist works.
18. Recommended stats for it to work
This is almost a cut and paste from the original thread, the only thing that got a major change is heal stats and the reason for that is that pre/vit/heal gear actually works really well with this set up. I also updated some other stat based on my experience based on the new gear I got and tested. The range of valid builds has definitely increased and also the choice of gear has followed that trend.
What stats to look for then?
- 40-60%% crit
- 2800-3400 Attack
- 14k-18k health
- 2400-3300 armour
- 200-1200 heal power
- 51-105% critdamage
Here I will present a number of builds I tried and got to work, some better than others but I find them all to work in a variety in situations.
I won’t tell you what runes/sigil to use, that you can find in the text, but I will show the distribution of points I used and that performed well. You also need to make your own choice of weapons and also the utilities/traits you want to use. But if you look at the distribution of points and what utilities/traits I mentioned you will have no issues figuring out valid builds and valid secondary weapons and when to use them.
If needed im willing to make builds and comment on them but as of now I don’t have more time to spend on this, hope you understand. But if needed i make the time to improve this chapter radically.
I named the builds after playstyle which also reflect the choice of gear you should try with them.
The bold one
Call a friend
Instead of a spouse to hug
The stupid one (Breaking the doctrine (no inspired virtues) I know but a full out control build should be possible as well and its an acceptable excuse for breaking it)
This one also serves very well as a AH build for 1h and Scepter and a very nice setup on these weapons are might on swap and life steel on crit with lifesteal food.
If you look at these distributions you will find that they have almost the same overall dps or it can be balanced with gear and still they do very different jobs.
It kind of amazing that the last “build” looks very much as a tanky build and that hits like a noodle but with the gear I suggested it will not hit like a noodle, it will be a killer and a great supporter.
Note by Raye: I think the builds got messed up when gw2skills.net updated... I'm not sure. The traits are there though, which is the important bit imo.
20. Final words
Frankly people need to stop and think that tanky healbuilds are good support and high dps builds with almost the same heals, better control and much higher dps is in any way or form bad supporters.
In fact what I learned in this game during beta, bwe and launch is that healbots are a waste of space and heals are the worst kind of support. Boons and utility is what matters and there is no need to build tanks in order to keep the boons flowing.
I would go so far to say that I feel almost sick in wvw when I see a staffguardian standing in the back and contributing with mediocre heals, yes a hammer guardian in the front is also the best healer around with a coordinated elementalist and waterfields, and I find it to be a mediocre use of the profession.
At the same time this is a game and people can play whatever way they enjoy it the most but it’s a huge misconception that the wow stylish gameplay in fact is beneficial when in most cases it in fact makes the the team one man short, the guardian. There are a couple of threads in the forum that defends this type of gameplay and I just stay out of them as long it’s not a teammate or a guildie stating it, then im obligated to help out, as of now I can only hope people read this guide to the end and understands it. You don’t have to agree with it, understanding is more than enough.
I hope you enjoyed this guide and that you take the time to give positive and negative feedback and ofc post if you want it as a sticky.
21. Killing the myth of low dps on the hammer.
Average killtimes on medium golem in the mist, naked and untraited with purple weapons.
1h sword 51s
The reason why hammer is so strong it that it actually hits at least 7 times and procc burn once or twice on every chain and ofc the symbol and that the third hit hits hard, really hard.
If we use symbol+chain om Mace, GS and hammer (still only skill 1) and we apply the symbol whenever its off cd then average killtimes are:
Hammer still 51s ofc
If we add in ww, mb and ZD as well we get this:
Hammer still 51s
This also means that when traited with 2h mastery GS will improve somewhat compared to hammer on single targets and the killtime is 48 seconds.
On the other hand when you trait writs then it will improves hammer more then GS and make it possible to have 24/7 uptime on aoe.
Add to this that the symbol on hammer has about 400 in ranges as well.
So for single targets 1h sword is the best, why i use one in tpvp btw and why its really nice combined with hammer whihc is weaker on single targets.
If you want a hybrid of single target and aoe then GS is an option.
22. Animations skipping, Ninjaskipping and Evasive Skipping
Basically there is two ways to shorten animationlength on the hammer but they have different benefits.
The first one is what we from now on call “ninjaskipping”. And what you do is that when you do the chainattack you time a dodge just when the second step hits. To be accurate its 1200 ms into the animation. If this is done perfectly it will give the impression that you infact dodge first and hit slightly after your dodge started.
As the dodge starts you then press one and activate the third step whch will abort the dodge. If this is done properly a huge chunk of the third step animation, and part of the second step as well, will be skipped which results in a much faster 3third chain.
This generates higher attackspeed and increased dps.
animation skipping in dungeons is great, because it allows you to use evade for heal, without rolling all over the place. This is illustrated in the gif-image below.
The second way to skip parts of the animation is to time a dodge at the end of the third step, from now on we will call it evasive skipping. Once again if done properly it will appear as you dodge and still hit the opponent while dodging. If done perfectly this will mean that the dodge and chain will take just as much time as just a single chain without dodging.
The benefits are ofc that you can dodge, opponent cant hit you, out of reach, opponent cant hit you, and exploit the the aoe from might blow. So basically you dodge away from and/or towards a secondary target and then bounce back in with MB. When practicing this the keypoint is to aim the dodge so it fulfills your purpose in the next move. Towwards the opponent if you want to stay close and away fo you want to create a gap. Both of them can be offensive and densive.
Both ways are best tested at the dummies in Lions Arch and when you start out to test/practice this, use autoattack so you can focus solely on the dodge and to time that right.
Imo ninjaskipping has a much higher sucessrate if you dodge sideways or towards the target, evasive skipping can be done either way.
When you start to get the hang of it you can drop the autoattack and start doing it manually.
not that in real combat you will have much more endurance which pretty much points out why critchance is very important.
Both types of skipping are done on your own risk, at the present date we dont know if this is intended use of the hammer or if its considered an exploit.