Axe/Axe Marshal Druid
Skirmishing: (1) Sharpened Edges - (1) Spotter - (3) Vicious Quarry
Wilderness: (1) Child Of Earth - (2) Refined Toxins - (2) Wilderness Survival
Druid: (1) Druidic Clarity - (1) Celestial Shadow - (2) Lingering Light "Don't take Ancient Seeds. You need the blind & extra heal"
Marshal Amulet / Dolyak Rune
"Dolyak is better than Resistance because it ticks CA bar with #6 ability, stacks 300 tough, and you already have enough condi cleanse as Druid"
Axe/Axe & Energy/Courage
Staff & Energy/Escape
6 - Troll Unguent
7 - Quick Zeph
8 - Sig of Stone "The passive 180 tough stacks with Dolyak 300 for = 480 tough, basically Paladin/Demolisher toughness stat
9 - Light Reflexes
0 - Entangle
Pet 1 - Optional - There is actually a lot of flexibility for what you can do with pet play on this build
Pet 2 - Bristleback - This is mandatory for dealing with stealth heavy Thief & Mes play, as well as having a pet that can land damage safely while staying out of the fray
Just want to point out that I'm not setting this build next to the potency of other specs that are clearly dominant right now. This is simply a post for the Druid players out there who insist on wanting to play Druid. After A LOT of testing within the past month, I can say that this is the build that you want to run if you are still playing Druid. This is not an immob/condi burst gimmick build. This is actually a viable build that has all the utility it needs to allow for larger skill cap play.
So a bit about what's going on here and how/why it works:
- Marshal is: 1000 Power - 500 Precision - 1000 Heal - 500 Condi. This is perfect with Vicious Quarry & Spotter from Skirmishing, in conjunction with all the bleed & poison procs. The VQ will make all Fury add +30% rather than +20%. That in addition to Spotter, makes the crit range 63% and adds +250 Feroc to boot. If an opponent has its side or back to you, a minor trait "Hunter's Tactics" will grant another +10% crit chance, making that range 73%.
- Power & Condi Pressure - This build stacks might quite consistently, which helps to build the power and condi side of its damage output. It deals light to moderate power damage pressure, depending on how you burst with Axe #5 and your pet. It deals light to moderate bleed/poison pressure also by how you burst with Axe #5 but also Axe #2 & #3 and Entangle. Due to the use of Sharpened Edges and the high crit chance on this build, it puts out consistent bleed pressure, as well as the poison pressure off of Refined Toxins. If a good burst can be landed utilizing both the power & condi and pet sides of the build simultaneously, the burst can deal moderate to heavy damage output, and in some cases down players from full health with a single Axe #5. Yes, this is a Druid build that actually has damage, real damage, not gimmick damage that's easily avoided.
- The healing is adequate, but can still yield high healing results if cycled properly. Let me explain the rule of thumb to Druid heal cycles: 1) If CA and Troll are both ready to use, always try to use CA first. If you use Troll first, the heal ticks from Troll will do nothing to rebuild an already full CA bar. 2) Try to time the use of CA #3 and Staff #3 onto the Water Field on Staff #5, even while disengaging. This is really really important now to be able to catch your heal output. If some circumstance pushes you to emergency use these skills out of order, you miss the blasts heals, and boy is it a drop in reset potential after this last round of nerfing. So try to think ahead about when you will soon need to disengage/reset and do it early, rather than trying to do it reactively the moment you hit danger zone.
- About current CA Kit patching - Every single skill in the CA Kit is actually garbage and a complete waste of time/CA charge to use, outside of CA #3. Druid players need to get this through their heads. You use CA Kit as a quick condi cleanse/quick heal blast finisher with a daze/turn it off stealth reposition. If you're in CA Kit longer than 2s at a time, you're doing it all wrong. If you are a player that is good at thinking ahead, you can preemptively use CA Kit for a stealth reposition BEFORE you take damage to begin with, which normally is the best way to go rather than using it reactively after taking damage, if you can make an opponent completely whiff on his burst. A good example would be a Warrior going into Rampage or a Necro going into Lich. If you know it's happening, just stealth disengage early. So get it through your heads! CA Kit is no longer a super bandaid kit and it hasn't been for quite some time. Learn to use it preemptively.
- One thing that makes this build different from previous Druid builds - So I'm sure Ranger players of all forms have noticed lately how EVERYTHING has projectile nullifications and plenty of it, which has been putting projectile play into a sort of handicapped position. The staff is a channel that pulses 3x hits per 1 1/4th second cast. This 3 hit channel cast in conjunction with the high crit chance and Sharpened Edges, usually makes for at least 1 bleed per 1 1/4th second animation. Sometimes you might get 2 bleeds, sometimes none. But in general it's rather consistent and it turns the Staff into a damage hose that can't be stopped by projectile nullifications. Remember, these bleeds & power damage from the Staff channel is also working with Refined Toxin poison procs. So builds that normally would proj reflect you and have a moment to cleanse off condis and then do a small heal for 2k-3k, aren't able to do this vs. the Staff. The Staff maintains the pressure and the poison procs for -33% heal output, which is huge when players are trying to gain small resets. The best part is that this makes the Staff dangerous enough to kite around and use like a Longbow, rather than previous Druid builds where the Staff damage was completely negligent, turning the Staff into a disengage only tool. <- And that right there, being able to maintain reliable channeled attrition pressure simultaneously while disengaging, is where I found viability in Druid again. The utility in Staff Kit and the condis tied to the Staff channel is in every way better than Shortbow.
Here's a quick list of what you counter and what counters you:
- Druid > Guardians/Dragonhunters - You will win as long as you don't make gross errors and get caught in some super burst
- Druid = Firebrand - Usually an obnoxious battle that never ends
- Druid > Warriors & Berserkers - They don't have the utility to catch the Druid to secure the kill
- Druid = Spellbreaker - The Spellbreaker can kill you. This is mainly due to Magebane Tether Reveal & Pull. The Spellbreaker actually can turn himself into a hard counter vs. Druid if he swaps a few traits & utilities, but most Spellbreakers would never do this in a conquest match unless they were gunning specifically for the Druid.
- Druid = All Revenant/Renegade builds and Condi Herald
- Druid < Glass Cannon DPS Power Shiro
- Druid > All Other Ranger builds - If you play this build correctly, it counters its own kind easily, especially after the Maul/Wi nerfing now
- Druid > Thieves - You should be winning against every Thief build. If you aren't, you probably didn't listen to me and aren't using Bristleback
- Druid > Core Engi
- Druid = Scrappers & Holos
- Druid > All Mesmer builds - Mesmer is just bleh right now
- Druid = All these new variations of ele builds
- Druid > Reapers - It'll take awhile, but you can out kite it and kill it
- Druid > Scourge - Again, takes forever but you can kill it
- Druid < Core Necro - This is the one Necro build that possesses weird tools to be able to beat the Druid, including Reveal from Shroud #5 and teleport gap close from Shroud #2. Then of course there's Lich ranged projectiles and the fact that the Core Necro is just so sustainy that it is hard for the Druid or any class for that matter, to pump out enough damage quickly enough, to even be able to put the Core Necro into the dangerous zone during a 1v1.
This build is meant to be played as a side node duelist as it is best in 1v1s, but it is also a capable team fight presence when needed. Remember to get it out of your heads that "Druids are Bunkers" because that stopped being true a very long time ago. A Druid is now a 1v1 duelist like anything else. It needs to be played carefully and with the purpose of avoiding 1v2s, unless you KNOW you are good enough to engage that situation.
Oh and before you all ask, yes it works great in WvW. Atually it's a lot stronger in WvW. To transition the build into WvW, just use all Marshal gear + Dolyak Runes, same exact setup I have listed here, but add these:
- Energy & Air on Axe/Axe - The extra damage off Air Sigil is optimal for DPS output on this build in WvW.
- Energy & Cleansing on Staff - Escape doesn't exist in PvE
- Food: Holographic Supercake "gains 80 health per second - 30% endurance regen" Of course that health tick per second works for CA just like Dolyak does
- Utility: Writ of Masteful Accuracy - +200 prec health above 90% = lots more crits, lots more power and bleed damage