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Guide to Conditions versus Boons

July 31, 2012 - 5:15pm -- Xerin
Guild Wars 2 Conditions and Boons

Overview

Conditions and boons can be removed in two ways: skills or traits, with this broken down into forced/direct removal, transfer or transform and skill combinations, through Combo Fields and Finishers.  It should be noted however that there are no Combo Fields and Finishers that remove boons, as this only works for conditions.

Every profession in the game has some form of condition removal whether from skills, traits or both, but not all professions have access to boon removal as this is predominantly the role of the Mesmer or the Necromancer.

If you are keen to take part in structured PvP I would sincerely recommend you have at least one skill or several traits which remove conditions from you as this will make your life a whole lot easier if you encounter condition focused players.  Where boons are concerned, unless you are a Mesmer or Necromancer you will struggle to directly counter professions that make heavy use of boons but that doesn’t mean you can’t compete against them.

Conditions Removal

The most common form of condition removal is from profession specific skills, which come in three forms: individual, area or passive.

Individual

Consume Conditions

These are the most common of the three profession specific skill types and are often skills that can be used while moving and tend to remove some or all conditions currently affecting you, regardless of the amount of conditions you are suffering from.  Dependant on your preferences, choosing an individual condition removal skill will save you considerable health loss against foes that are intent on stacking as many conditions on you as quickly as possible, because you can simply wipe them out (meaning they then have to reapply all of them).  However, individual condition removal skills tend to have long cooldowns that will leave you vulnerable after their use, while some condition removal skills only remove certain types.

For example, a Thieves Hide in Shadows will only remove Burning, Poison and Bleeding (leaving you exposed to many others) where as a Mesmers Null Field will remove all conditions you are suffering from.  If you want to cover all bases in the Thieves example, you would need to pair this with traits or further condition removal skills to ensure all of them can be removed.

Area

Healing Spring

Certain skills will only remove conditions in an area, at the point where you used the skill or manually placed it.  These skills are great for encounters where you know you need to move very little or if you are fighting on a single location (such as a Capture Point).  Still using the Mesmers example above, their Null Field is an area of effect condition removal skill and with its wide radius will guarantee (if you stay within its boundary) you are unaffected by conditions for its duration. What is also great about such skills is that they extend to other members of your party, meaning they too can receive its benefits if they dip in and out of the area.

Area condition removal skills can be invaluable in PvP encounters where fighting takes place in close quarters as it will nullify any conditions you receive, while supporting your team at the same time (especially team mates who don’t take a condition removal skill!).  I’ve often found these incredibly useful in Capture Point scenarios, defensively or offensively, as approaching the Capture Point you can simply lay down the area condition removal skill and guarantee a large proportion of any incoming damage is mitigated.  It should be noted however that area condition removal skills are often poor when moving from point to point as they rely on you staying within their boundary to receive their effect.  A clever player tends to wait for the skill to end before attacking you if you use it too early, which will then leave you incredibly vulnerable. 

Passive

Signet of Water

Not all professions have access to passive condition removal as the skills tend to be unique to Signets, meaning if you choose a profession that doesn’t have them you’ll have to make use of individual or area condition removal instead.  I think passive condition removal skills are great as they can be relied on to always remove conditions from you, regardless of cooldowns.  However, they only tend to remove conditions every 10 seconds meaning if you do come across a condition focused player, you’re likely to be overwhelmed in a very short space of time as your Signet struggles to keep up.  Paired with traits however (such as those that remove conditions when you heal or when you use a skill) can be very effective at keeping conditions on you low.  I have found that using a passive condition removal skill will see you never condition free in combat but it can keep conditions low enough to not have to worry about them.

Traits

The only profession that doesn’t have access to a trait that removes conditions is the Warrior (that may change) and most other professions can only remove one condition in a specific circumstance, when they actively trait for it.  Some traits will only remove one condition per trigger and some up to three with these traits designed more as a support tool to existing condition removal skills.

Guardian Traits

For example, the guardian trait Inscribed Removal will remove one condition from you when you activate a Signet.  As the guardian only has one Signet (which also removes conditions passively every 10 seconds) you can realistically remove two at once by activating the Signet.  If you paired this Purity of Resolve, a trait that removes three conditions when you use Virtue of Resolve, you could within a very short space of time remove 5 conditions instantly (and still maintain the passive condition removal from the Signet).

Pairing condition removal traits with skills in this manner is incredibly powerful and can make many professions and players who rely on condition damage incredibly weak, as they never have the opportunity to stack conditions on you to their full effect.

Combo Fields and Finishers

Although we’ve already touched on Combo Fields and Finishers in the past, they aren’t just used offensively but can provide condition removal to you and nearby allies.  The two main combinations for this are Light + Projectile or Light + Whirl. The former will provide condition removal to anyone in front of you and the latter condition removal to anyone around you.  Although I wouldn’t recommend relying on Combo Fields and Finishers exclusively for your condition removal, it is a viable option to support your existing condition removal setup. 

Boons Removal

As mentioned above, very few professions have the skills or traits to actively remove opposing players boons. As a Mesmer or Necromancer you should be rubbing your hands together at the opportunities afforded to you in this department as you are the only two professions that do this job splendidly.  The Mesmer has 4 skills that remove boons and the Necromancer has 3.

Transfer/Transform

 Archane Thievery

Archane Thievery and Corrupt Boon are formidable skills that will either transfer or transform any boons on a player into random conditions and although they both share long cooldowns, they are incredibly powerful against professions that choose to pursue boon orientated gameplay.  There is nothing more satisfying than removing boons from a player you know is relying on them as part of their setup.

Archane Thievery differs from Corrupt Boon in the sense that it sends conditions on you to your foe and you steal their boons, while Corrupt Boon directly transforms boons on a foe into conditions.   The Mesmers Archane Thivery is obviously a lot more defensive than Corrupt Boon based on the fact you receive boons in the place of any conditions you passed on, but Corrupt Boon also has a significantly lower cooldown so can be used at least three times before Archane Thievery is ready again.

Forced/Direct

Mind Stab

Mind Stab, the last attack in the swords autoattack sequence, removes one boon from your foe.  As the only autoattack in the game that does this, there is little wonder that 90% of all mesmers use a sword, as it allows for you to really cut through defensive boon heavy professions incredibly quickly. Paired with any other of the Mesmers boon removal skills, it leaves very little opportunity for your foes to actually maintain their boons for any length of time.

Null Field, as mentioned above, is an area of effect condition removal skill, however it also removes boons to anyone within its field.  As a Glamour skill there are also various traits that allow you prolong its duration and reduce its cooldown. Considering it only has a 45 second cooldown to start with, it really is an excellent skill to have in the Mesmers arsenal.  Paired with Magic Bullet or Signet of Domination, you can quickly lock a player down inside the area for a long period of time to strip their boons completely.

Guild Wars 2 Caithe

Phantasmal Disenchanter summons an illusion to remove boons from foes and conditions from allies.  As the Phantasmal Disenchanter only uses a skill once every 8 seconds, I’ve often found it much more practical to equip Null Field or Archane Thievery instead as these aren’t susceptible to damage from opposing players while Phamtasms can be overridden should you summon any other illusions.

In the Necromancers circumstance, it has two skills available to directly remove boons from opposing players.

Spinal Shivers

Spinal Shivers is an excellent skill based on the fact that not only does it cause chill but removes 3 boons in the process and with a relatively low cooldown at 25 seconds there aren’t many professions able to reapply boons quickly enough for you can use it again. 

Well of Corruption acts similarly to Null Field, where the player can place the Well down and anyone within its area will see their boons removed every 2 seconds.  With an 8 second duration the skill is exceptional in a Capture Point scenario especially if you know that a Guardian is actively defending the point as placing it in the centre of the Capture Point will force them off it (if they know what’s good for them). The fact it also acts as a Combo Field is an added bonus.  I’d recommend any Necromancer to take Well of Corruption in structured PvP environment.

Traits

Only the Thief, Mesmer, Necromancer and Guardian are capable of removing boons through traits and each only have access to one capable of doing it.  I personally don’t use the boon removal trait on the Mesmer as I don’t specialise far enough into the Domination trait line to actually use it (I prefer Crippling Dissipation) although Shattered Concentration can be incredibly powerful for those who don’t use the sword.  Where the Necromancer is concerned, their trait offers a 10% chance to removes boons every time your minions attack which is formidable if you take every minion available.  But, with plenty of options already there to the Necromancer for boon removal, it might be worth taking other traits instead but it does afford you some flexibility. 

TomeofWrath

The Thief if specializing in the Trickery trait line can remove two boons by stealing from their target which can be useful if you open combat with a steal or save your steal for mid way through a fight. Lastly, the Guardian when using Searing Flames has a 25% chance to remove boons every time they burn an enemy. From virtues alone the Guardian has a high chance of causing burning but even more so when using Torch off hand and skills such as Judges Intervention or Purging Flames.

Conditions versus Boons Summary

  • Every profession in the game can remove conditions in some way.
  • Condition removal stems from skills, traits or combo fields and finishers.
  • Not all individual condition removal skills remove all conditions; some will only remove specific ones.
  • Area condition removal skills are great when defending or attacking a Control Point to mitigate your damage received and to help your party.
  • Passive condition removal skills are great for keeping minor condition affliction at bay but you can easily become be overwhelmed against condition specialized players.
  • Utilizing a combination of individual or area condition removal skills, coupled with traits, is the most effective way to neutralize condition specialized players.
  • The mesmer and necromancer are the only professions in the game that truly excel at boon removal.
  • The Mesmer is the only profession in the game that has an auto attack capable of removing boons.
  • Only four professions have traits capable of removing boons (Thief, Mesmer, Necromancer and Guardian).

You can contact the author of this post by email at [email protected] or follow them on Twitter @PersistentWorld

Wedge7
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An excellent article, as always. It's good to know Necros and Mesmers excel at condition and boon removal. 

sylvinstar
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Does Well of Power aid the Necro or just allies?

vanguardsoul
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Great article, I love all the good info in all of these articles. Just a quick note, Warriors get "Quick Breathing" which has a description of "Warhorn skills recharge 20% faster. Warhorn skills convert 1 condition into a boon." which does a remove but also a transform. Also Engineers have good utilities to remove and transform conditions in the various elixirs.

Lewis B
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Engineers are excellent at Condition removal! Elixir C is absolutely brilliant but as a Mesmer I do love removing their boons the moment they use it! :D

vanguardsoul
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Too true Lewis, I could almost hear you and every other Mez cackling when you mentioned that. It's also nice that an Engi can throw them at their feet and get the affect twice.

ArcherAvatar
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Engineers also have the capacity to remove boons from enemies with the revamp to the Mine utility skill.

Akilles7
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At the Forced/Direct part, in the next-to-last paragraph, you have mentioned Spinal Shivers and "Necromancers Scepter leans towards Condition Damage you really need to specialise in it to get the most from it" this just to remember you that Spinal Shivers isn't a Scepter skill but from the off-hand weapon Focus.

Aside that it's a good article cheeky

Owatatsumi
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Great stuff. I personally like the idea of running a condition build for classes such as the Mesmer and yet have it still be viable and competitive in PvP.

You mentioned in your article that "Pairing condition removal...is incredibly powerful and can make many professions and players who rely on condition damage incredibly weak..." Do you have any ideas how to still run a strong condition build and make it work? Also, how the build/player could counteract condition removal or somehow work around it? The only thing I can think of is to use an interrupt skill on your opponent, but it wouldn't be able to counteract any passive or trait condition removal that they may have.

Lewis B
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The best thing to do is load up your opponent with your default conditions caused by your auto-attack (such as Bleeds from an Engineers explosive shot).  You can then force them to use their condition removal in panic and once they have, you then turn up the heat and hit them with all your condition skills all at once, in the knowledge that they can't remove them.  

Alternatively, using Daze/Interrupts is really common but I've found forcing them to use a removal skills is the best method (as Daze/Interupts don't last long). 

 

 

Owatatsumi
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I'm sorry for the late reply. Thank you for the great advice! I'll definitely take it to heart and add this tactic to my playing style and overall strategy for conditions builds.

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