In today’s spine-tingling installment of Grenth’s Grog, Sardu dives headfirst into the pros and cons of a build wholly focused on ground targeted area attacks. The playstyle of a Focused Rituals necro is far more active than many other build concepts, but offers an extremely high degree of control over the battlefield than those that focus primarily on single target attacks.
Read on to see how staff, scepter, wells, and Lich Form can be combined to make one of the more interesting team support builds available to necromancers.
I’m Doing Wells, Thanks
Another of the many necromancer skill lines that I’ve been eyeballing quite intently for a long time now, I decided it’s high time I shared some of my findings on the awesome power of Wells. With the right traits, necros using a combined build focused on marks and wells has the power to control the field of battle like no other profession in the game.
For today’s experiment, our test subject will be using a build that focuses almost wholly on Wells for utility skills, and any traits that specifically support that skill type. We’ll also be adding in the variable of using a staff for Marks to see what happens when you combine the two skill types.
Warning: This conceptual necro build can be one of the most difficult to master. If you’re a skill spammer or have a tendency towards lame WoW style PvP jousting, this combat style probably isn’t for you. But if you are a control freak who wants to become the ultimate master of AoE and manipulation of your surroundings, read on.
Oh, and don’t forget to put your safety goggles on!
Experiment Phase One: The Concept
The concept here is to create a build that focuses almost wholly on ground-targeted abilities. This can be easily achieved through a combination of staff as your primary weapon, scepter / dagger as your secondary set, wells in your healing and utility slots, and Lich Form for your elite skill.
Why would you want to create a build that’s almost wholly focused on ground-targeted AoE (GTAoE) and foregoes nearly all direct damage in the process?
The short answer here is control.
It’s deeply engrained in our gamer brains that you don’t stand in fire, and you certainly don’t ever want to stand within GW2’s red circles of doom. We instinctively dodge out of the way when we see these things, but what happens when those damned circles are planted right where we need to be?
Before we go any further, please be aware that this concept is wholly intended to fulfill a support role. While its primary use is structured PvP, it can also be highly beneficial in the massive meta-events in PvE, world v. world, or even for certain dungeon boss encounters. The one thing it’s not so great for is solo play, and that absolutely applies to trying to be a lone gunman in sPvP. You are factoring in team composition and roles when creating builds for sPvP, right?
Experiment Phase Two: Skills and Traits
By now you should be well versed in the necro’s weapon skills, so let’s begin by taking a closer look at our friendly neighborhood Wells. A thing to focus on here is that you only have 3 utility slots, but 4 different wells to choose from. For this experiment we’ll be assuming you’re using Well of Blood for your healing skill, but let’s start there with our quick rundown.
Well of Blood
Conjure a well of blood to heal nearby allies
At the end of the day, this is really the only necro heal worth keeping on your bar outside of general PvE even if you’re not planning on playing a nutty build wholly focused on GTAoE. For starters, it heals more than any other option thanks to the 10 second regen. Secondly, it also heals allies and has a very strong supporting trait (Ritual of Life) for revives. Lastly, Focused Rituals can make this heal even more beneficial to your group without you having to ride around on your teammate’s shoulders Master Blaster style for them to benefit.
From here you’re going to need to make a few major choices. These include:
- Which three Wells should you slot?
- Should you focus traits primarily on marks, wells, or a combination of both?
- Are you mainly interested in supporting allies, damaging enemies, or self-preservation?
The answers to those three questions are largely symbiotic in that the answer to one will help dictate what the answer to the other two should be. In other words, if you’re mainly interested in supporting allies, that helps you determine which traits to focus on and which specific wells are going to be most beneficial.
Speaking of the available wells, the current lineup includes:
- Well of Corruption - Transforms boons on foes into conditions every two seconds
- Well of Darkness – Target area pulses, blinding foes with each pulse every two seconds
- Well of Power – Transform conditions on allies into boons every two seconds
- Well of Suffering – Damage foes and inflict weakness every two seconds
Without factoring in traits, some universal elements to be aware of with wells include:
- 60 second recharge time
- 8 second duration
- Creates an AoE with a radius of 240
- Are considered a Point Blank Area of Effect (PBAoE) centered on the caster
- Creates a Dark combo field
Pretty much all of that is good stuff, apart from maybe the 60 second recharge. Thankfully, that can be improved with the Ritual Mastery trait which reduces well recharges by 20%, or down to 48 seconds. Traits really are at the heart of taking the all-in approach with wells, so let’s take a look at where you’ll want to consider spending your points.
The three lines you’ll want to focus on are Curses, Death Magic and Blood Magic. The traits associated with wells in each line are listed below, along with one or two that pair exceedingly well with wells, even if the tooltip doesn’t explicitly state that’s the case.
- Pitch Black – When you Blind a target, you also apply confusion (pair with Well of Darkness)
- Focused Rituals – Wells become ground targeted
- Ritual of Protection – Wells apply protection when cast
- Ritual of Life – Create a Well of Blood whenever you revive an ally
- Ritual Mastery – Well recharges are reduced by 20%
- Vampiric Rituals – Wells also siphon health
As you can see, focusing your traits on wells will see you spending your points in three specific lines: Curses, Death Magic, and Blood Magic. These same lines also neatly tie in with some of the traits that have a direct impact on your weapon skills, assuming you’re aiming to increase the effectiveness of Marks to stick with the overarching build concept.
You’ll have to make a few choices here between which will give you the most bang for your virtual buck, but assuming you’re sticking with the same three trait lines you’ll also want to consider some of the following from the Death Magic line:
- Greater Marks – Increases the area of marks
- Fateful Marks – Marks are unblockable
- Staff Mastery – Staff skills recharge 15% faster
Don’t forget that you can play around with the awesome build tool over at GW2Build.com to get a feel for not only where to spend your trait points, but which accessories and runes you may want to consider using as well.
Experiment Variable: Lich Form
I’m only going to briefly touch on Lich Form here, but I’m factoring it into the Focused Rituals necro concept based on the fact that it adds some additional GTAoE skills into the mix. I’m not saying it’s necessarily the absolute best choice, but I’ll just reiterate that for our experiment we’re mainly interested in the core concept and playstyle if offers.
I’ve only spent a limited amount of time experimenting with this particular build concept so far, but will likely continue to refine it a bit more this week during the stress test, and again for the next BWE. The biggest things to note thus far include that it is easily one of the most active builds I’ve used in that you’ll be weaving together skills from both weapon sets and your utilities quite a bit more than many other necro builds out there.
Let me put it another way. Before factoring in Death Shroud skills (Dark Path can be great for chilling enemies to keep them within the radius of Wells), out of your 14 available skills this build will grant you a total of 10 ground-targeted abilities, with Lich Form adding a couple more.
I’m also going to reiterate that this build is by no means intended to be that killer DPS build that sees you landing the most killing blows in sPvP. Instead, it will offer a ton of team support and soften up enemies to let your DPS focused allies get in and do their thing. Given the sheer volume of GTAoE involved, this concept can be particularly effective at capture points in sPvP, but can also shine in WvW in certain situations.
If any of you have experimented along the same lines, I’d love to hear your findings as well. And if you haven’t yet, give it a whirl during the stress test this week, and then be sure to let me know what you think of the Focused Rituals necro concept.