Is Damage King in Fractals and Raids? — Guild Wars 2 Forums
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Is Damage King in Fractals and Raids?

So I've gotten back into GW2 and am exploring fractals with an Engineer and a Necro. I've settled on Holo and Scourge for these characters' Fractal roles, as Scrapper Healer seems underwhelming and Reaper puts me to sleep. I've gotten up to high T2 on both.

The benefit of the Holo to the group is obvious: burst damage to down enemies and push phases. But I find that running a healing scourge in groups really helps smooth out the group's play in tougher encounters. Online sites geared towards speed clears obviously push damage for both fractals and raids, but what is the utility vs damage tradeoff like in real groups? Is losing 10-15% group damage worth it if you're getting suitability? I'm mostly talking about PUGs of random composition here for fractals, as I'm not running with an organized group yet. Since I'm resource constrained in pursuing Ascended gear I wanted feedback from the community now before I get to T4/raids and run into problems.

Condi scourge would be really fun to run, but it appears to be subpar for Fractal content where you have to shove a lot of damage into a broken bar or boss phase.


  • yukarishura.4790yukarishura.4790 Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 2, 2021

    Pugs run HFB+ Alac as supports in T4/CMs and rest as dps/bs, T1-T3 is quite bad, condi scourge and heal scourge are not really a thing in fractals, but holosmith is a nice dps to have

  • Armen.1483Armen.1483 Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 2, 2021

    @HappyHubris.1096 said:

    Condi scourge would be really fun to run, but it appears to be subpar for Fractal content where you have to shove a lot of damage into a broken bar or boss phase.

    You have actually got it very right. Condi damage underperforms in fractals greatly. Only exception is condi firebrand that does damage by burning which is a condition that rumps up fast by nature, so it works similar to power classes (even better than some of them like pchrono for example which is really a bad pick in fractals). Other condi classes work best in Sunqua Peak fractal and some raids where bosses move a lot or have high toughness making power damage less efficient than conditions. Condi scourge is especially good in some raid encounters because of his skill called epidemic which makes mobs die without concentrating on them. Good example of where to play condi scourge are Mursaat Overseer and Soulless Horror. Take condi scourge as a niche pick that shines in some rare encounters and is suboptimal at others.
    What about scourge heal. It is actually really bad everywhere where it is not really needed. Where you might need a scourge heal is for example in boneskinner strike mission, because the pull and revive of downed allies from dangerous aoes is helpful there. In most raids it is useless, in fractals it is a big no no.
    Damage is really king, but in order to dps classes actually do serious dps they need boons that support classes provide. The must have offensive boons are 25 stacks of might, quickness, fury and alacrity and sadly none of those can be provided efficiently by a scourge nowdays (before someone smart appears, you can actually provide some might and regen with scourge, but it is meh). Apart from those there is Stability (VERY IMPORTANT) and Protection along with other stuff like boonrips, condi cleanses and other secondary boons that are done much better by other classes. In high level fractals people tend to play exclusively with heal firebrand because of the above reasons and renegades (for alacrity and other utilities) as supports. Those two provide all necessary boons and one of them can be a healer (usually firebrand is more popular as a healer among those two, not necessairly stronger though imo). With more expereince and static groups you can ditch the healing stats and make an optimal group with the same firebrand+renegade combo with boons but no heals so you can put more damage in your group. It becomes more risky but more fun to play if everyone plays perfectly. You need good practice before maybe before trying this. I will add here that it is very easy to play fractals with high damage. You don't need much heal either as you kill/phase enemies before they even get out of their stun after you instaCC them. Heals are overrated. What is in reality more difficult and dangerous is having no damage in group. If you have 2 healers for example, yes surely they will somewhat heal your group at start, but damage output will be so low that your group will die at some point as your healers won't be having their cds ready to heal you as fight lasted too long. Again doesn't matter in low level fractals.
    Just go with a heal firebrand in your group. In T2 fractals nothing matters you can play any inefficient build you want and it will seem it's working, BUT once you get to t4s and especially CMs in fractals, metagame becomes real as the necessity to be efficient becomes an issue. WIth scourge heal you might be instantly kicked from groups you enter and I must admit it's for a good reason. Scourge brings nothing to fractals: no boons, no damage and not much heal either. It is just a liability for other players to carry. They will be clearing the fractal with 4 man and you as scourge will be just leeching for the rewards. Even if animations show that you do something, or you pressed some keys.. In reality it didn't matter, as scourge is sadly a dead spec for fractals.
    But hey. Try your luck with scourge heal in Strikes. People doing boneskinner will love you. For raids make a condi scourge for when it is needed sometime maybe. But other than that, use your power holo as dps for now. It is the only class that you have that does really well in most cases in end game content, especially fractals.

    A little edit: to answer your question about "losing 10-15% group damage worth it if you're getting suitability". Definitely worth it ! But with scourge heal you can't do that sadly, the DPS loss will be much bigger. The trade is between having a healer or not in fractals (meta suggests playing without a healer) and for raids most meta sites suggest playing with just 1 healer per group, while in reality people also add an offhealer (which is not necaissarly a scourge heal again, mostly firebrand or something similar that can provide boons + heals). So in 90% of cases when we are playing with pugs we are not using the META comps from those sites but rather something similar that is safer. The fractal example: META suggests playing a quick fb + alac rev + bs + 2 dps, while in reality you see most groups run HEAL fb instead of the quick fb. Just bear in mind whatever the case you ALWAYS NEED THE BOONS. The reason why we play heal firebrand is first of all to have the boons and then the heals. Boons are mandatory imo if you want to play smoothly, heal will make things even smoother.

  • Infusion.7149Infusion.7149 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2, 2021

    Holosmith is one of the better DPS classes for general fractals (and raids with adds such as Bandit Trio or Sloth) because it has a large amount of cleave , it crit caps by itself especially with fractal potions, self heals via Heat Therapy / can ignore instagib mechanics with A.E.D., has some CC , and if things go really wonky you can use grenades to range AOE or swap to scrapper for immense sustain (ignores the -80% heal debuff for Ad Infinitum CMs too). In challenge modes where there is reflect to abuse and a really short phase then soulbeast is preferred mainly due to One Wolf Pack + Whirling Defense. Because "Sic Em" is single target, in general usage soulbeast is okay but not overwhelmingly better: if you see someone auto-ing away on longbow (especially soulbeasts with the movement signet , Signet of the Hunt) they're not playing properly.

    For the sake of the sanity of your healbrand and (less likely in low tiers) alacrity renegade, do not play scourge in T1-T4 normal mode fractals. It is highly likely you will do less damage than the renegade since the ramp up time on the conditions is lengthy. The only places a scourge is remotely acceptable is where there is a boss fight such as Sunqua Peak , Siren's Reef Arabella Crowe (use epidemic for adds), Twilight Oasis (sort of not really since it phases quick in low tiers), or Mai Trin (sort of not really since it phases quick in low tiers). The only time a reaper is helpful is when there is no boon rip whatsoever in your party and the instabilities spit out protection ; the reaper can't really keep up with the Vengeance instability sometimes but with No Pain No Gain it is quite doable due to Greatsword 4 (Nightfall) / axe 3 (Unholy Feast) / scepter 3 (Feast of Corruption or Devouring Darkness).

    I play all 4 tiers regularly and help out with CMs for ad infinitum. I would say T3 is by far the worst because people can't be carried by mere power burst and if they aren't using fractal potions it is actually more difficult than T4 with full potions plus food /utility.

    I suggest perusing the resources at discretize: if you're serious about fractals.

    As far as gearing , discretize has a gear calculator:
    Snowcrows' gear optimizer also has a fractal checkbox:

  • Thank you for the detailed replies all; I will focus on my holo.
    A follow-up question: if I leave the grenades out to simplify as I'm learning, how disastrous would that be for my contribution? I was thinking of using Hard Light Arena for pull/protection or Photon Wall for defense.

  • Aravind.9610Aravind.9610 Member ✭✭
    edited April 3, 2021

    The lack of grenades isn't really much of a dps loss in a sword holo build. It can be noticeable on a dps meter but the added utility from whatever skill you are replacing it with should usually make it worthwhile to swap grenades out.

  • Nephalem.8921Nephalem.8921 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Aravind.9610 said:
    The lack of grenades isn't really much of a dps loss in a sword holo build. It can be noticeable on a dps meter but the added utility from whatever skill you are replacing it with should usually make it worthwhile to swap grenades out.

    It is very noticable in fractals since you lack the explosions for explosive temper and grenade barrage which is your burst.
    I would replace turret first.