This build has been archived as of 19:43, 23 May 2008 (EDT), for the following reason:
This build had been designed for the following use:
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This is a team build designed for use in the ruins of the Tomb of the Primeval Kings. While not as fast as an 8 man barrage/pet group, clearing times of under 1:30 are easy and the addition of 15-20 minutes to the run is offset by the increased chance for drops be they ectoplasm or unique items. This build can be adjusted to include 6 or 4 people easily with no major tactical changes. This article will first describe the build idea in generalities and then present an example build.
The primary concern, and what makes farming in this area of the PvE metagame unique, is the monster stance fingers of chaos which has varying effects on PC's depending on their class and subclass. This skill can, however, be exploited by carefully designing your team to avoid most of its ill effects which is what makes this team build workable.
The 5 man base team consists of:
- One wards tank or stance tank, W/E or W/Me respectively.
- One healing monk, usually Mo/N or Mo/Me.
- A minion master, N/Me.
- One SS necromancer N/Me.
- One Bonder monk with Life Barrier, Mo/Me.
There are varying versions of a tanking warrior each with its own advantages and disadvantages, subclasses to avoid are necromancer, ranger and monk. These classes will provide no tangible benefit to a team’s tank and are consequently poor choices. The W/N will cause all foes with fingers of chaos active to lose a hex whenever they strike the tank which can, in some cases, render the spiteful spirit necromancer totally obsolete. The W/R will always be struck when attacked by fingers of chaos and therefore evasion is useless and since most ranger skills reduce damage via evasion this build is simply not feasible here. The W/Mo is completely useless in this area, they cannot enchant themselves reliably because of fingers of chaos so the primary self heals used by a W/Mo, mending and healing breeze, are totally useless. Furthermore the bonder will be unable to keep bonds active for very long on a W/Mo as well which will severely decrease the tanks longevity.
Good choices for the warrior's subclass are elementalist and mesmer. W/Es should bring wards such as ward against melee and ward against elements. As an elementalist you will be interrupted whenever struck by a monster with fingers of chaos so bringing glyph of concentration is a must as well. Mesmer warriors should bring mantra of flame to help handle the fire damage common in this area. Distortion is almost completely unworkable here as the combined energy loss from distortion and "Fear Me!" will be quite high. Physical resistance can be used to great effect; however, it will become less useful in the later stages of the run when fire damage and physical damage are encountered at the same time. Despite this draw back it is highly useful for levels one and two, where physical damage and elemental damage are encountered separately.
Lastly the warrior is the teams source of wurm siege interruption via distracting blow but this requires only an open skill slot and no specific secondary or attribute allotment. The recharge on distracting blow is fast enough a warrior can effectively shut down a single siege wurm making life easier on the rest of the party. Another prime target for this skill is meteor shower.
The most common monk build is a pure spot healing monk, a Mo/Me or Mo/N.
There are two kinds of mesmer enemies in this area, interrupt/shatter and energy denial, and an ideal build would account for both. While the Mo/N has excellent energy management with offering of blood the Mo/Me can benefit from mantra of resolve and mantra of recall effectively ignoring both types of mesmer.
The primary healing target of the monk is the party's necromancers as they will be dealing the party's damage and are least able to defend themselves. The warrior is completely non-essential once a minion army has been formed but is still very useful in helping to manage aggro and should therefore be kept alive if possible but not at the expense of a necromancer. The bonder, who should be positioned just within spell range of the healing monk and a complete aggro circle away from any foes, is the lowest healing priority as they will be taking very little damage. If some enemies manage to break the front line and attack the bonder keeping the bonder over 50% hp is a must but this occurrence is a rarity. Since no member of the party will be attacking directly, for the most part, hex removal is largely optional. As a Mo/Me, however, inspired hex provides modest energy boosts and can be very useful when/if mantra of recall is shattered or rent unexpectedly.
The minion masters role in this party is to provide a wall of expendable allies that prevent monsters access to the party proper. Secondary roles include massive AoE damage and energy for the spiteful spirit necromancer. The best mix of blocking and damage is bone minions and death nova which provide AoE damage, poison damage over time, and vast numbers. As an added bonus minions spawn in pairs and die fairly quickly and will provide both necromancers with additional energy via soul reaping. Another perk of this build is that enemies will often cast rend enchantments or shatter enchantment on bone minions enchanted with death nova which means there are fewer bonds for the bonder to replace.
In other areas popular minion builds focus on fiends but these are a poor choice in this area as they afford the team no body blocking and are difficult to keep alive due to massive AoE spikes common in this area. By designing your minions to die you exploit this fact and in many cases the minion master can take out entire groups at once from a single enemy cast of energy surge, wurm siege, meteor shower, or fireball.
During combat the minion master will be animating bone minions and enchanting them with death nova non-stop so soul reaping of 10 is a near must. Mantra of resolve is also a near must due to the large number of interrupters present in this area; nothing is more annoying than watching 25 energy disappear when an animate spell is interrupted. Minion heals are used primarily at the onset of combat to help insure minions reach their targets alive and following combat to ensure they survive the trip to the next group of potential corpses.
The only draw back to this build is it contains no direct combat damage and when there are no bodies there is little the minion master can do to help the team. To help cover this weakness and to add a useful elite skill blood is power is added so that when no bodies are available the minion master can provide the spiteful spirit necromancer, healing monk, and bonder with energy. This can also be used mid-combat when not enough minions are dying to sustain the spiteful spirit necromancers energy reserves. Finally this skill also decreases the down time for the bonder when reapplying bonds between levels.
Spiteful Spirit NecromancerEdit
The spiteful spirit necromancer is the group's main damage source and as such should have curses at 16 and use arcane echo with spiteful spirit followed by desecrate enchantments for AoE damage and extra damage boosts on the Terrorweb Dryders who use enchantments. Soul reaping is also essential but, due to the specific minion master build in use, 10 is enough. It can be adjusted to 11 or 12 depending on preference. It is essential that enough attribute points be left over to use awaken the blood and blood ritual with reasonable durations as well as mantra of resolve with a reasonable duration and manageable energy loss, probably 4 or 5 energy.
In addition to dealing direct damage the spiteful spirit necromancer provides defense and combat support. Enfeebling blood can be used to great effect against the mobs of grasps of insanity making them much easier to handle. Blood ritual is for use exclusively on the minion master immediately following combat. This helps insure that the minion army stays sizable and that no corpses go unused. If the monk requires energy mid combat it should be supplied by the minion master, not the spiteful spirit necromancer. There are a few reasons for this, blood is power makes for a much better mid combat energy boost than blood ritual, the spiteful spirit necromancer is likely to have awaken the blood active, and the minion master is better able to self heal via taste of death.
Common spiteful spirit builds include spinal shivers for interruption but this is largely unnecessary here. Spinal shivers is arguably the best single target shutdown in the game interrupting everything whenever cold damage is used. In this area, however, there are no monk bosses, or monks of any kind for that matter, and therefore shutting down a single target completely is not necessary. The only reason to consider it is to shutdown Chaos wurms and this can be done more efficiently by a warrior with distracting blow freeing up skill bar space for tasks that can only be accomplished by the necromancer.
On a side note, you should Arcane Echo Desecrate Enchantments while fighting the Siege Wurms, as they won't take any damage from Spiteful Spirit, since they shouldn't be attacking due to interruption.
The bonding monk's primary job is to protect the party. Life Barrier, Life Bond, Balthazar's Spirit, Mantra of Inscriptions and Blessed Signet make up the core of the build and some variations exist on what additional skills to bring.
Playing a bonder is relatively simple, apply bonds, put the mantra on up, cast blessed signet every time it recharges, and repeat. While playing the most important thing to watch for is fallen bonds but determining which bond was removed can be difficult. Fortunately with practice it becomes easier and easier to determine whose bond was removed. Reapplying bonds can be risky mid-battle, approaching enemies has a funny way of making them attack you, so watch your step. Most of the bonder’s time will be spent on the extreme back line of the party, as far away from combat as possible, while still providing the healing monk with whatever healing support you can muster while maintaining bonds.
Life Barrier should be applied to the entire party to halve damage from Fireball spikes and Balthazar's Spirit should be used on the bonder. Life Bond should be applied with the following priority, tank, spiteful spirit necromancer, minion master, and finally healing monk until the bonders upkeep limit is reached, which will vary depending on the exact attribute set up and equipment in use.
If the bonder can keep more than these 9 enchantments up, which is entirely possible, other upkeep enchantments can be added to help provide healing for the group and as cover enchantments. Some options include using Balthazar's Spirit on the warrior as well as the bonder and adding Watchful Spirit on top of the other enchants to as many party members as possible. Life Attunement is also a possibility for the warrior as they will be dealing little to no damage in combat and for the monk for the same reason. Vital Blessing is another possibility and can provide team members with an extra 200+ hp in emergencies but Watchful Spirit provides a similar level of healing without the added complication of characters dying if the enchantment is stripped, rent, or simply removed.
In a 5 man group there is often little to no room for error which means that miscommunications between group members can often prove fatal. This may sound daunting but in practice this is easily accomplished, even in PUG's, with a few simple rules which I will outline here:
The warrior, and only the warrior, will engage groups with one exception, noted below. All other party members are to remain outside the warrior's aggro circle while the warrior moves into position and pulls enemy groups to the desired location. Once all monsters are targeting the warrior the rest of the party can move in and begin working, typically the minion master will move in next followed by the spiteful spirit necromancer with the healing monk coming in last. While pulling groups the warrior is left alone, during this critical stage Watchful Spirit is probably the best way to keep the warrior alive as it provides +2 regeneration as well as the opportunity to spike heal, should the need arise, and does this while safely outside of range.
The spiteful spirit echo iteration is extremely energy intensive which is why the minion master has been outfitted with Blood is Power. Typically the casting iteration will be Awaken the Blood and Mantra of Resolve right before combat, Enfeebling Blood first on the grasps that have formed around the warrior, then Arcane Echo, Spiteful Spirit x4. Arcane Echo should be ctrl cast to 'call' announce it to the rest of the party and the minion master should immediately hit the Spiteful Spirit necromancer with Blood is Power. This allows the Spiteful Spirit necromancer to complete this loop.
Whenever combat ends and there are unexploited corpses around the spiteful spirit necromancer should immediately use Blood Ritual on the minion master and continue to cast it until all corpses have been exploited or disappear. This ensures the party has a healthy group of minions with low degeneration and good HP levels
At the beginning of each level the minion master will have no corpses available to him, and for the first group in each area, should be standing with the bonder at the extreme backline of the group. This allows the minion master to keep Blood is Power up on the spiteful spirit necromancer and both monks without having to be terribly concerned with sacrifice loss. For the first groups of each level it is best to wait for all but one enemy in the group to fall and then begin animating minions. This ensures that at least 4 minions are available for the next group.
Exception to Rule #1Edit
The only exception to Rule #1 is when approaching a group consisting only of casters, which only happens twice in the entire run. For these two groups the best strategy is to have the minion master prep the minions with death nova and then use the minions to aggro the group by standing just outside of aggro range. After a brief pause the minion army will break ranks and form a circle around the minion master which will put them just inside aggro range, while the master remains safely outside, and the minions will run off. At this point the master should take a few steps back, the warrior should move in followed by the spiteful spirit necromancer, and the rest of combat will proceed as normal.
Special Circumstances #1: Level #2 'The Hall'Edit
'The Hall' is a section of the second level of the run where Terrorweb Dryders line all sides of a 'T' shaped valley formation. This area requires a unique approach and should be assaulted in the following manner
Step 1: Pull Pop-Up GroupsEdit
First, watch for the chained soul at the end of the hall to die. Then, have the warrior run in alone, attract some Grasps, and back up just past the arch. The rest of the group can move in at this point and eliminate this group fairly easily with no real danger. Repeat until all pop ups have been removed from the corridor.
Step 2: Kill Terrorweb Dryders on Either SideEdit
Have the warrior approach, favoring one side, and drop a Ward Against Elements. The spiteful spirit necromancer can now move in and pick out a target to eliminate. Since the Terrorweb Dryders here are too far apart for the AoE Spiteful Spirit damage to work only one Spiteful Spirit should be used at a time here. Echo Desecrate Enchantments instead. The minion master should stay behind with the monks so the minions don't run off and attract any monsters. After the first Terrorweb dies the minion master can move in and spawn a pair of minions from the corpse, apply Death Nova, and then use Taste of Death on both to help take out the second Terroweb Dryder. Repeat this process for both sides.
Step 3: Pull Remaining GroupsEdit
At this point there will be a trio of Terrorweb Dryders left on the ridge at the end of the hall and two patrols moving around behind them. The warrior should move in again, pulling the group of Scythes and Grasps first. The group of Riders and Terrorweb Dryders should be pulled next after the minion master has formed an army from the bodies of the Grasps. After both groups have been eliminated all that remains is the trio of Terrorweb Dryders
Step 4: Take the RidgeEdit
At this point the party can take the ridge on the left (west) side and begin assaulting the entrenched Terrorweb Dryders; the warrior can move into melee range now and begin using Distracting Blow to shut down meteor showers. This group should fall easily at this point just keep up the pressure until it does. The minion master should try and save at least four minions for the next group.
Special Circumstances #2: Level #4 at the BeginningEdit
At this point you will have no minions what so ever and there are no less than four groups, three patrols and a group of Grasps hiding under the surface of the depression immediately in front of the group. Pull the pop up group back the stairs when the patrols are gone, and take them out. Eliminate each patrol one at a time and you should not have a problem.
Special Circumstances #3: Level #4 'The Stairs'Edit
After taking out the Siege Wurms at the top of the narrow corridor immediately following the first bridge there is a long stair case with a huge group of enemies at the bottom. Pull as many as possible, no really, go ahead and pull them all at once. The group will get choked up on the stairs and even with only four minions, and a good minion master will have around sixteen at this point, the stairs will be completely clogged and no monster will be able to make it through. With all the Grasps and Scythes at such a close proximity to each other Death Nova and Spiteful Spirit will easily take out this whole group in record time. In fact with a large enough starting army completely prepared with Death Nova the minion master can take out this entire group by themselves with only some help pulling from the tank.
Special Circumstances #4: Chaos WurmsEdit
With bond and barrier active no Chaos Wurm, or even pair of Chaos Wurms, be they the siege or tunneling variants, will pose much of a threat to the party. They can, however, take some time to eliminate. When encountering a Chaos Wurm the easiest way to kill them is to stand still, preferably under a bridge or on a ridge. The Chaos Wurm will surface and stay up as long as you remain stationary and if the Chaos Wurm surfaces under a bridge or on a ridge they will not attack at all. For Siege Wurms encountered in pairs the warrior should interrupt the Siege Wurm you are not trying to kill. This will allow Spiteful Spirit to trigger making killing the Siege Wurm much easier. Whenever possible kill a Siege Wurm at range without engaging the foes around them. This can be difficult in practice, however, especially on level #3 so if this is not possible clear the area around the Siege Wurm first by pulling groups away from the Siege Wurm and then move in to attack the Siege Wurm directly.
<pvxbig> [build prof=warri/eleme streng=12+1+1 earthm=12][defy pain][dolyak signet][i will survive][ward against elements][ward against melee][distracting blow][glyph of concentration][resurrection signet][/build] </pvxbig>
A fairly standard Strength and Earth Magic based defensive warrior. Take note that Dolyak Signet can be exchanged for Armor of Earth for extra defense. Armor of Earth is harder to keep active due to its energy cost, however, and is also easier to interrupt due to its cast time. Pre-cast the glyph before battle and use it to drop down a Ward Against Melee after the grasps of insanity approach. Next use Dolyak Signet and wait for Defy Pain to charge. Do your best to keep these three skills active at all times and try to time activiation so that you are never without at least two of them at any given moment. "I Will Survive!" is an awesome self heal in this area due to fingers of chaos, which causes random conditions on warriors. With the number of condition typically active on a warrior in this area this skill acts as a cheap 6-12 net regeneration. Against the Terrorweb Dryders use Ward Against Elements instead of Ward Against Melee.
Equipment Suggestion: A strength based shield is a must for this build, ideally one with -2 damage and hp +45, while enchanted is better than in a stance. The ideal primary weapon is a one-hand weapon with a perfect Furious hilt or haft, a number of grips and pommels are useful for this build including of Defense, of Warding, of Shelter, and of Fortitude. A secondary weapon should be held in reserve as well, an Earth Magic wand with "halves recharge time of earth magic spells (chance 20%)" which can be obtained from Collectors William Pennington, Cember Goreaxe, and John Verado. Switch to the wand to drop wards and back to the weapon to charge Defy Pain.
<pvxbig> [build prof=monk/mesme divine=9+1 healin=12+3+1 inspir=9][healing breeze][dwaynas kiss][infuse health][healing touch][mantra of recall][mantra of resolve][inspired hex][restore life][/build] </pvxbig>
This is a fairly standard spot healer build with a lot of room for customization. The only skills that can be said to be essential are Dwayna's Kiss and Restore Life. Restore Life is definitely the preferred resurrection skill for the healing monk and it can be used on the party's necromancers in case of death mid combat without disabling the resurrected player or the monk for any longer than the spell's cast time. The bonder monk should be carrying Rebirth in case of total party wipes so equipping it on the healer as well is unecessary. Infuse Health will easily counter the occasional spike and can help cover party member if they lose one or more bonds. Healing Breeze and Dwayna's Kiss make for a very effective combination in any situation and the addition of two or more bonds triggering the extra healing from Dwayna's Kiss as well makes for some cheap heals that rival Heal Other in size. Mantra of Resolve is by no means essential and can be switched out for another healing skill if desired, simply be aware that you will be occasionally interrupted without it so positioning yourself properly will become much more essential.
Equipment Suggestions: This build works poorly with any item equipped that lengthens enchantment durations as this will increase the time that Mantra of Recall is active and, as a result, diminish its energy gain over time. The ideal off hand item for this build, and any spot healer, is probably The Stonehart, although this can be exchanged for a Collector healing ankh from Radamon or Mourn Drakespur. For the main weapon it would be ideal to have a holy rod with +5 energy while hp is above 50% or while enchanted and halves skill recharge of spells (chance 10%), this recharge chance will stack with the chance of fast recharge from the focus item. A cheap replacement for a +5 energy holy rod, which can be difficult to find, would be the quest reward holy rod that has +3 energy while health is above 50% and halves skill recharge of spells (chance: 10%). Another weapon option would be the Holy Staff available from Mag Ironwall upgraded with a perfect insightful staff head and a staff wrap of healing with +1 to healing prayers (chance: 20%).
<pvxbig> [build prof=necro/mesme deathm=12+1+3 bloodm=3+1 soulre=9+1 inspir=9][animate bone minions][death nova][blood of the master][rotting flesh][taste of death][blood is power][mantra of resolve][resurrection signet][/build] </pvxbig>
Death Nova should be used on all minions immediately before battle or as soon as they spawn in battle. It is useful to note that if you are casting death nova on one minion you can queue another casting of death nova after it by selecting a different minion and activating the skill again before the first has completed casting, just like you can when using two differnt skills in a row. Use Taste of Death to trigger Death Nova as soon as several monsters are in its range to deal damage and to start the poison damage. Taste of death does not require target selection to be used so once a large group of minions is in place just start spamming it and watch the group fall.
Equipment Suggestion: Lengthens enchantment duration is by far the best mod for this build as it increases the duration of death nova and blood is power. A Bone Staff obtained from: Collector Luven Underwood in Diviner's Ascent, or Collector Merin Trollsbane in Snake Dance upgraded with a perfect insightful staff head and staff wrapping of Enchanting would make for an effective weapon for this build.
Spiteful Spirit NecromancerEdit
<pvxbig> [build prof=necro/mesme curses=12+1+3 bloodm=5+1 soulre=9+1 inspir=8][enfeebling blood][desecrate enchantments][spiteful spirit][arcane echo][mantra of resolve][blood ritual][awaken the blood][resurrection signet][/build] </pvxbig>
Pre-cast Awaken the Blood before battle. Once a group of enemies has formed around the warrior and/or minions, cast Enfeebling Blood then use Arcane Echo with Spiteful Spirit, recast Spiteful Spirit as soon as it recharges, and toss in a Desecrate Enchantments whenever additional damage is necessary. Bear in mind that the minions will be exploding right next to melee enemies so the primary target should be casters and ranged units.
Equipment Suggestion: The ideal weapon for this build would be a wicked staff available from the Collectors Hoknil the Lesser and Mourn Drakespur upgraded with a +5 energy insightful staff head and either a staff wrap of enchanting with lengthens enchantment duration 20% or of Curses with +1 Curses (Chance: 20%).
<pvxbig> [build prof=monk/mesme divine=10+3+1 protec=12+3 inspir=8][life barrier][life bond][balthazars spirit][signet of devotion][blessed signet][mantra of inscriptions][watchful spirit][rebirth][/build] </pvxbig> This is a near exact copy of the standard Build:Mo/Me Barrier Bond Monk build. A few of these skills are not essential and the build should be tailored to suit the bonder’s tastes and play style. The focus should obviously be on maintaining as many bonds as possible and replacing any that happen to fall.
Equipment suggestion: The build shown here is designed for use with The Soulstone or a similar item with +1 to divine favor skills which provides the opportunity for 27 energy from blessed signet instead of 25. Any wand that adds energy will be good for this build, +5 energy while enchanted would be ideal. Items that decrease spell recharge or spell casting times will be of little use to this build as they will not effect blessed signet.
Variants and DiscussionEdit
Dedicated Interrupter VariantEdit
In this variant, a mesmer or ranger is added that specializes in skill and spell interrupts for a total of 6 people. While useful this addition is largely unnecessary and does little, if anything, to cut down on the length of the total run. This group is arguably safer since it has a much more reliable source of meteor shower and wurm siege interrupts. The addition of a 6 man, however, adds bonding requirements for the bonder that, had they been used else where, would have covered whatever damage the interrupter would have prevented. Adding another party member also reduces the chance that each person will receive ectoplasms or unique items. This build is helpful as a 'training wheels' version of the 5 man build as it provides the group a greater margin for error but the interrupter can easily be dropped if each group member is fairly familiar with their role.
In this variant, an elementalist is added to the group for a total of 6 people. This is probably the best version for loosely organized PUG's as it provides a source of damage when the minion master is without corpses. The increase in damage and kill speed is offset here by the addition of another party member who, as in the dedicated interrupter variant, require additional bonding and also factors into drops. In general this variant is the easier to work with in PUG's than the dedicated interrupter variant because interrupting can require a degree of finesse not typically present in PUG members.
4 Man VariantEdit
A pair of variants, actually, where the minion master is dropped from the group entirely. Each of these situations provides its own set of challenges to the remaining members of the party and therefore the group is more susceptible to party wipes than the standard 5 man version.
Dropping the minion master will result in a significant damage reduction and dropping the monk will require the group to pull enemies in smaller groups and be much more efficient. In practice both situations require much more time be spent on a run, in some cases as much as doubling the clearing time. Since the build started as the interrupter variant and experimentation was done to drop the interrupter from the group successfully these builds represent an extension of this experimentation on what is needed and what isn't. Considering the clearing time this variant is useful only to provide group members with one of the harder PvE challenges available at the moment. As a build focused on maximizing drops it is inferior to the standard 5 man version even if you factor in the increased drop chances.