The sword trait is because the other tier 1 traits of that line don't appeal to me. I can easily swap for a trait giving phantasms fury or adding some effect to blocking.
The lack of tier 3 traits is because none of the tier 3 traits excite me. I might be missing something. I find there's lots of fun tier 1-2 traits, but all the tier 3 ones sound meh. A lot have to do with mantras (which I don't care for) or interrupting (which I don't want to rely on because I find it hard in GW2 to do it well, it was already difficulty in GW1 for me). There's some fun ones in inspirations or illusions.
I didn't realize I had two break-stun skills. Nice. I just love them because they give more clones (and sometimes, stealth is good to get out of trouble in WvW).
Comments about your build...
1) You've got a lot of minor traits! Not good or bad, just an observation. I try to get as many major traits as I can, not sure it's a good thing.
2) Phantasmal defender, I didn't find it very good. I used it for a while, but then switched to decoy instead. I find if you produce enough clones, you don't really need the extra life on illusions, or the extra defender, it gets redundant. imo of course.
3) Signet of illusions: interesting... how do you use it? Is it more for the passive, or the active? Or it depends on the situation?
I use it more passively, but sometimes when i'm frustrated at the lack of recharge i use it.
Edit to add: I think you're right about the defender... before I had my points spent in chaos and inspiration, I found i was too squishy, so used that to be able to re-direct some damage. I think I'll give the decoy a try, or maybe something else altogether =]
Second edit: Also! I find desperate decoy to be a life saver, literally. Sometimes it cloaks you at precisely the right time and saves your life. It's pretty sweet. I only mentioned it because you said you don't know what to pick for the dueling major trait.
I find my mesmer to be pretty resistant to death. I mean, I get downed quite a bit, but with tons of clones and stuff doing damage, I usually find it easy to get back up.
Besides, imo investing on falling damage or on downed mode goes against my philosophy of optimising combat.
Well the trait I'm talking about isn't for the downed state; it cloaks you when your health hits 25% and leaves a clone behind. It is usually right on time for me to make an escape and not get downed at all. (Unless it's a champion or a boss that can usually do more than 25% hp damage to me)
I tend to have trouble getting up when my mesmer finally goes down. It takes a while to get downed, but once I do it's pretty much fight over unless someone comes to res me. Maybe I need to spend some more time practicing the downed state, but that seems so... backwards, lol.
Also! I put decoy instead of the phantasmal defender, much much much better. Saved my butt in Orr more than once! Thanks for that.
If you're packing the short sword then a break stun is handy.
Actually Raye, you're build looks interesting to me. If only it were as easy in GW2 to switch builds as it is in GW1 I'd give it a try right now.
I've never been a fan of the sceptre before, but I'm happy to give it a try.
This is mine.
I use F4 to add extra survivability and as I'm dodging around all the time creating clones anyway I have plenty to shatter.
I noticed the staff skill that teleports you backwards works if you're KD'ed.
I haven't used F3-F4 at all, how good are they, what are they good for, and how should I use them?
The #2 staff skill is like an extra dodge for me :)
I tend to teleport off cliffs with that darn skill... >____>
Sent from my Little Robot
Except better because it even works if you are KD'ed.
In addition to blink, decoy, and summon clones, I have a lot of ways to get out of jail free. I should learn to use them like that...
So after being back on my mesmer a bit I'm slowly getting back my groove. :)
Scepter/focus with staff as second weapon are good for confusion and shattering.
I'll probably switch things around at lvl 40 to try being up close and maybe more interrupt/domination to see how that feels.