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Mesmer Guide

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August 1, 2012 - 4:11pm -- Xerin
Guild Wars 2 Mesmer


The mesmer uses magic that is intended to confuse, disorientate and control the opposing player. Their unique mechanic is the ability to summon two types of illusions (clones and phantasms) and shatter them to create unique effects on yourself or your foes.   As a scholar profession, similarly to an elementalist or necromancer, mesmers wear light armour and because of that could be considered fragile.  However, with their use of illusions to distract enemies and to act as cannon fodder as well as having several cloak abilities, they can survive for long periods of time. Contrary to stereotypical views of caster type professions, mesmers can also excel in melee combat.   

GW2 Mesmer Icon

Mesmer Quick Facts

  • One of Guild Wars 2's three Scholar professions
  • Able to wear Light armor
  • Able to summon Illusions and Phantasms to confuse and damage foes.
  • Can make effective use of cloak abilities to escape or disorientate your enemies
  • Uses a unique mechanic called Shattering
  • Can excel in melee combat 
  • Can turn foes into a Moa bird!

    Mesmer Themes and Combat Roles

    The mesmer can make use of both direct and condition damage in order to defeat their foes but its primary play theme revolves around shattering (which we’ll describe in more detail below) and the use of Illusions and Phantasms to damage or confuse enemies.   Dependent on the weapon set you choose, the mesmer can excel in almost any role based on the fact they have access to a huge array of skills that support their allies and which cause significant problems for the enemy.

    Illusions created by the mesmer look identical to the caster and as a result the profession is great as a solo profession, especially in Player versus Player as opponents can quickly become overwhelmed by the illusions you create. The difference between illusions and Phantasms is that illusions appear as a physical character while Phantasms are pink and translucent.  Phantasms are single use summons, usually with one Phantasm skill available per weapon set, that have a specific repeatable attack.  For example, the skill Illusionary Duellist will summon a Phantasm that has two pistols, which will fire phantom bullets at your target until the Phantasm is destroyed or shattered.  

    Careful use of their cloak abilities when combined with their illusions summoning is also an excellent way of fooling your opponents, maneuvering away from them or going in for the killing blow.  There’s nothing more satisfying than creating an illusion and cloaking before watching your foe attack the illusion you left behind.

    If the mesmer has any downsides it would be that the profession is relatively complex to play and master and requires a great deal of timing and awareness in managing all your skills effectively to ensure you max maximum use of your illusions and phantasms without wasting either.  As the profession also relies on illusions to act as distractions with a limit of 3, if these are killed quickly you can be left vulnerable with the inability to Shatter them.

    Mesmer Weapons

    In the table below are the combinations of weapon sets that the mesmer can use.  Contrary to traditional weapon and skill designs within the genre, the greatsword is actually a projectile weapon meaning the mesmer only has one melee weapon. Like all professions the mesmer unlocks their second weapon set at level 7. Once you’ve equipped a second weapon set you can press the [`] key at any time when out-of-combat to change weapon sets without cooldown.  If you are in combat there will be a short cooldown after swapping sets. For more information on how this system works, please refer to our Intro Guide to Builds.

    Main Hand





















    Spatial Surge

    As briefly mentioned above, the mesmer greatsword is actually a projectile weapon.  You won’t be jumping into melee with it and instead will be firing off a range of spells that cut through the ground or send purple lighting through the air, from afar.  The greatswords autoattack, Spatial Surge, deals more damage to your foes the further away they are while the Phantasm for the weapon has a whirling attack which cripples foes.  It also has an awesome knockback and deals big damage!


    Windows of Chaos

    The Mesmers staff is the only one specifically designed with Condition Damage in mind. With the ability to grant you Chaos Armour (that causes boons on you and conditions on foes, when struck) as well as having one of the best area of effect spells in the game (Chaos Storm) the Staff is a great weapon.  Even if you don’t specialise in Condition Damage the ability to use it defensively with skills such as Phase Retreat combined with Chaos Storm (which can cause fear) makes for an excellent escape tool.


    Mind Slash

    Available as a mainhand and offhand weapon, the main hand sword is excellent. Providing an immobilise and a high burst skill in Blurred Frenzy (which also allows you to avoid damage) it really is formidable.  The fact that the main hand sword also removes boons during auto attacks makes it the weapon of choice for most Mesmers. In regards to the offhand sword, Illusionary Riposte is relatively weak compared to the pistols interrupt but the Phantasmal Swordsman can deal massive damage.  For sPvP two swords make for a powerful mix as the block also deals plenty of damage back to opponents. With traits, a twin-sword setup also allows you to have very short cooldowns.


    Magic Bulet

    As an offhand weapon, the pistol is currently the staple of most mesmer builds. Based on the fact Illusionary Duellist not only deals excellent damage but is also a truly ranged Phantasm. The pistol also provides one of the few stuns available to the profession, making it invaluable at keeping foes glued in place especially if you are using a sword.


    Phantasmal Mage

    The torch allows the mesmer to blind nearby foes before cloaking and on reappearance cause burning.  This can be an incredibly useful escape tool if you don’t wish to take a utility skill that cloaks you. Its Phantasm, Phantasmal Mage, creates an illusion which confuses enemies.  Compared to other Phantasms (such as Illusionary Duellist) at times it’s actually quite poor and relies on you have plenty of Condition Damage for it to be worthwhile. However, if you are condition specialised it really is a must.


    Ether Bolt

    Like the sword, the Scepter is available as a mainhand. The main hand scepter is thankfully a little better and is intended to be a defensive weapon set.  Its main attack causes confusion and creates a clone on the final skill of its attack chain while its channel skill, Confusing Images, also causes confusion and deals quite a large amount of damage. The scepter also allows the mesmer to cause torment, a high damage condition. Considering the scepter now also attacks faster, it compliments the torch very well.


    Temporal Curtain

    The offhand Focus allows you to lay down Temporal Curtain that cripples foes and provides swiftness to allies.  Its Phantasm, Phantasmal Warden, is designed to protect allies by creating a defensive bubble.  In reality, the Phantasm doesn't really protect you a huge deal, but the "pull" of Temporal Curtain makes it a must when running around the map in World versus World (speed buff) or for pulling players off walls.

    Shattering and Illusions

    The unique profession mechanic for the mesmer is called Shattering. Shattering is one of four skills [F1] to [F4] that effects your illusions and phantasms.  Pressing any of the corresponding Shatter skills will cause your Illusions and Phantasms to run to your target and destroy themselves, causing an effect on your foe or you.  Each of the four Shatter skills causes a different effect and all four have independent cooldowns, so you can choose which to use dependent on the circumstance. Unless you have active Illusions or Phantasms however, you cannot use your Shatter skills.

    Mind Wrack

    Mind Wrack

    Arguably the mesmers most practical Shatter, Mind Wrack it is all about raw damage.  As [F1] by default, using Mind Wrack will cause all your illusions and phantasms to run to the target and shatter, dealing a damage spike based on the number of illusions and phantasms (to a maximum of 3).  Using Mind Wrack to finish a player off or as an early warning shot is its common use while its damage is determined by your Power. 

    Cry of Frustration

    Cry of Frustration

    Using Cry of Frustration causes confusion on your opponent based on the number of illusions you Shatter. Each Shattered illusion causes 4 seconds of Confusion with each stack dealing 65 damage per skill use.  Generally Cry of Frustration is considered quite weak but can still be useful if your Mind Wrack is on cooldown. 



    Diversion causes your opponent to be dazed based on the number of illusions or phantasms you Shatter on your target.  A single Shattered illusion will cause 1 second of daze, with 3 seconds being the maximum (for 3 illusions/phantasms).  If you don't use a pistol offhand, Diversion is an excellent tool at disrupting your foes, especially if paired with Imbued Diversion to make the daze effect multiple targets.



    Last but not least is my favourite Shatter: Distortion. Some might argue its lack of worth, but the fact it provides invulnerability to the mesmer for 3 seconds (if you shatter 3 illusions/phantasms) can be invaluable.  The mesmer has limited tools to mitigate damage so this can work wonderfully to buy you precious time if your heal isn't quite ready.

    Mesmer Trait Lines


    • +10 Power per point spent
    • +1% Expertise per point spent
    • Improves - General Damage, Signets and some Shattering


    • +10 Precision per point spent
    • +1 Prowess per point spent
    • Improves – Pistols, swords and Illusions as well as Mantras


    • +10 Toughness per point spent
    • +1% Concentration per point spent
    • Improves - Conditions, Survivability, cloaking skills


    • +10 Vitality per point spent
    • +10 Healing Power per point spent
    • Improves - Phantasms, Glamour skills and Shattering


    • +10 Malice per point spent
    • +1% Guile per point spent
    • Improves – Shatters, Confusion and Glamour Skills

    Additional Mesmer Tips

    1. Illusions are only designed to be a distraction and deal little to no damage.  Phantasms are there to really hurt opponents.

    2. Illusions can over-ride your phantasms so be careful when summoning them.  Over-riding your phantasms with illusions that deal no damage will see your damage output seriously reduced.

    3. The staff is an amazing tool for escaping players who are attacking you.  Simply cast a Chaos Storm at your feet and use Phase Retreat.  Not only will you teleport backwards, but also obtain a Chaos Armour as part of the Combo Field and Finisher.

    4. Using cloaking skills doesn't just have to be an escape tool, use it to maneuver around your enemy to strike from behind or their side!

    5. Don't waste your Shatter skills.  Timing their use based on the circumstance is incredibly important as they have relatively long cooldowns.  

    I'll be producing more mesmer guides in the coming weeks, providing much more detail in relation to builds and greater skill analysis so do make sure you stick around! 

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


    Lewis B's picture
    Submitted by Lewis B on

    Thanks Fate, that seems to have been merged with Scepter for some reason! :) I've separated it out under the Focus header now :)

    Wedge7's picture
    Submitted by Wedge7 on

    Excellent article. I especially like the breakdown of the weapons and traits. Most useful. 

    MokiCzech's picture
    Submitted by MokiCzech on


    well written article. I had like 5 minutes to try Mesmer in BWE, so it is good to at least read about it. Also, a few words about Phantasms would be great. I have no idea what that is, I thought Mesmer only uses Illusions. But that is me, heh.

    All in all, very well done! Registered just to comment on this one! :)

    I'm a master baiter!

    Yski's picture
    Submitted by Yski on

    Welcome aboard!

    Phantasms are transparent, pink illusions that do a lot of damage.

    The difference between them and clones is that clones are there mostly to distract the enemy: they look just like you and have the same name as you do but don't do much else unless shattered.

    Phantasms on the other hand are easy to recognize, but they actually do decent damage or have some other effects (There's a 50% chance I chose the right word there) for example Phantasmal Warden(focus) that reflects projectiles.

    Every single forum I've used to spread anti guardian propaganda has subsequently died out on me. Coincidence? I think not!

    MokiCzech's picture
    Submitted by MokiCzech on

    Probability seems to be in your favor! I ain't no grammar grandmaster, it just kinda kicked me in the eye.

    Thanks a lot for explanation. When I played Mesmer in BWE, there was such a mess in Asura zone that I almost had no idea what is going on, hehe. 

    Keep up the good work!

    I'm a master baiter!

    Lewis B's picture
    Submitted by Lewis B on

    Thanks Moki, I've tidied that up I've also added greater clarification in relation to illusions and phantasms in the Mesmer Themes section.  I'll be expanding on Mesmer skills more in future guides (including a greater analysis of illusions and phantasms).

    Welcome to Hub! :)

    MokiCzech's picture
    Submitted by MokiCzech on

    You are fast! I am glad I managed to find Hub, since our Czech site unfortunately has much less info, and mostly just translate articles (they always give credit where it's due though, that is how I got to you guys!).

     Awesome job you are doing on guides, looking forward to Engineer guide (since that will be most likely my main).

    I will be sure to pass this site to my friends!

    I'm a master baiter!

    Lewis B's picture
    Submitted by Lewis B on

    I cover the engineer as well Moki, hopefully it should be up this week :-) 

    sylvinstar's picture
    Submitted by sylvinstar on

    Welcome to the Hub MokiCzech.



    Thanks for the tidbit about killing their illusions.  I tried for 2 BWE's to get this class to click for me and I just couldn't do it, but it's great to know at least one way to counter them.wink

    Lewis B's picture
    Submitted by Lewis B on

    The best tip to fighting a mesmer is to select the player and press Control+T to paint a target on their head. You can then never lose them in a crowd or mistake them for an illusion as they've a big red target painting them constantly :)

    MokiCzech's picture
    Submitted by MokiCzech on

    That sounds kinda gamebreaking, to be honest. I hope they are going to do something about it, because it seems to be a bit unfair and it renders illusions pointless, illusion-wise.

    I'm a master baiter!

    sylvinstar's picture
    Submitted by sylvinstar on

    I just clicked until I found them via the mask icon.  That was a dead giveaway.  The targeting I hadn't thought of.  That would be even easier.

    Lewis B's picture
    Submitted by Lewis B on

    The mask icon being missing is fixed now.  I hope they fix the targeting on mesmer too.  I think it might drop off the mesmer when they create a clone now... 

    pinkdino99's picture
    Submitted by pinkdino99 on

    The Mesmer is a really interesting class, and can be played a variety of ways, depending on your goal, your build and your game type (PvP, WvW, PvE).

    PvP "shatter" build is a quality+fun build. The aim here is to put all traits into improving your shatter (including shattering yourself). Get in close with Broadsword 1 on 1 and inflict massive humungo damage.

    PvE is so flexible. Chaining is easy vs massive mobs using staff and sword/focus.

    In your guide it states that Illusions (clones) do little damage, but it is possible to do huge damage with clones using - staff + Mirror Images + phase retreat. Winds of Chaos bounces negative effects like bleed + fire which stack on your opponent (whilst giving you positive buffs!). If there are 4 of you (you + 2 x mirror image clone + phase retreat clone), you can gank large single opponents really quickly.

    I use blink to get out of danger spots quickly. I use clone cool-down buffs (1st trait any summoning mesmer should have) + clone death effects in traits (dead clone = cripple). I use Null field and the other combo field which comes on the staff to phase retreat out of the combo-field to get an additional chaos armor, which makes you very tough. Added to this the cripple in temporal curtain is fantastic when chaining + gives you mobility to circle around the mobs. If you get boxed in blurred frenzy on the sword, then blink, combo-field, phase retreat etc. The trick is to keep summoning and summoning and summoning.

    Additionally, temporal curtain allows you to sprint for 12 seconds with only a 30 second cool-down. This is EPIC for PvE, just getting around the maps !

    The thing to remember is that when your enemy dies, the illusions die, so remember to shatter them. I always look at the recharge timer for my mirror images. As soon as it is charged, shatter, then deploy new clones. It's all about timing.

    I am torn as to which build is best WvW, as it depends on what role you are playing, however the torch is superb against a zerg (blind + fire damage) as long as you are quick to get out of there to recharge / heal. I do find whilst being zerg-ed that I am the last man standing. (Whether that's because I am so stupid that I don't run away with the others is a different matter for another day!)