Easy mode raids — Guild Wars 2 Forums

Easy mode raids

Yes, yes. I know. Not ANOTHER easy mode raids thread. But fear not, this is not going to be a "anet implement xyz so we can easy mode raids" rant. Rather Im trying to explain common mistakes that make raiding more difficult than it actually is... and Ill offer a comp with builds for easy access raids.

Ive been raiding with a static and with lfg squads ever since raids released. I was there when tempest was the only dps allowed, and when mirror comp got "discovered" as meta. And I always used to react quite snidely towards players wanting easy mode raids. Because to me, raids in gw2 already are easy. Not because Im such a pro player, simply because Ive been there for ages spending a good chunk of my online time doing raids. In my opinion, gw2 raids are the perfect entry level into raiding in other mmos. Encounters are short so you can hop in for half an hour and then hop out again. Mechanics are very well telegraphed and quite intuitive. Gw2 combat system is the perfect mix of classic mmo playstyle with action combat mixed in, so when you get overwhelmed by all the flashy stuff, you can just take a second, only autoattack and focus on whats going on. I could go on here, but you get the gist of it.

So, ever since chrono support got first buffed and then nerfed, Ive been observing, scrutinizing. What is it that makes raids such an unpleasant thing for so many players. And to me, it comes down to two rather huge mistakes especially casual raiders do:

a) Going for speedclear tactics, compositions and builds - but not really.
b) Low boon uptime.

Everything revolving around speedclearing means cutting down on defense to maximize squad dps. But that only works if you then also bring enough dps to the table to skip phases. For example, if you cant burst VG into next phase during one seeker spawn, you absolutely need a second healer. If blue isnt dead until green comes over... same. Those are the kind of dps checks you have to hit to implement speedclear comps.
Now thats rather obvious, so what most lfg commanders do, is they just double down on the "support" builds offered up by speedclear guilds like snow crows. Hence the 2x chronotank, 2x druid comps. The problem I see with this, is that those builds arent made for those comps. Now, Im not saying you cant clear raids with that. Ofc you can, after all raids in gw2 are easy, and dont punish you for bad setups. But is it enjoyable? No, not really. And does it feel difficult? Yes. Because you have to compensate those non-fitting builds and comps with more skillful playing, instead of it being the other way around.
Here's an example: Samarog. I like that boss especially because its such a sneakily designed encounter. The more dps you do at Samarog, the more cc skills your squad has to bring. Now a much neglected part of SC website shows what teamcomps are best to use for each boss. And there you can see - for samarog atm - that they recommend using daredevils for their elite venom cc. If you bring instead 5-6 dragonhunters, then you lack cc, and the dragonhunters would have to compensate by using signets with signet trait and switch out spirit sword against spirit hammer. All things not really done by casual raiders. And so you bring a second druid to keep the cc target alive for those 10seconds or longer cc phases. Your dps are twiddling their thumbs half the fight while your druids are in a cold sweat trying to outheal the cc. Ofc you still kill it, after loosing a chrono, dps usually drops low enough for cc skills to be up again for next cc. But thats not the clean and easy kill it could be.

Boons in gw2 are completely overpowered. Just stand at golem first without any boons and just autoattack. Then with 25 might, fury, quickness and you will see how big the difference is already. Add to that banners and dps trait specific boons like retaliation for guardian... well... its like playing a whole different build. Running away from walls at desmina without swiftness... just so much more difficult. Protection lowers dmg done by quite a lot sources by 33% AFTER dmg calculation. So its pretty much a 33% dmg decrease. Aegis gives you a freepass to do something foolish or not have to evade a specific mechanic. Stability keeps you dpsing when otherwise you'd loose 2-3 seconds to a knockdown/knockback/stun/evade. Etc.
Personally, I consider boons the real easy mode. If you want easy, non-challenging raiding, you should make sure to get as many boons as possible up to 100%.

And towards this goal, here's my favorite "easy mode raiding" comp.

  • 2x Quickness firebrands: it doesnt really matter if heal or dps oriented, they just have to output around 10-15 might (some scepter camping and quickness mantra does the trick already), 100% quickness, aegis every 10seconds roughly, stability or condi cleanse on demand and other nice things if necessary, like pulling in adds at xera or sloth with axe3.
  • 1x harrier/cleric renegade: renegade is imo atm best value healer. It brings burst heals on ventari, sustained healing on kalla, 5man AP, staff5 cc, 10 man alacrity, and kalla elite is such a nice dps buff.
  • 1x harrier or givers herald: after some testing, Im more and more convinced that druid just doesnt fit into fb/renegade comps. Herald brings much needed boon extension for the renegade with either f2 passive or active (not quite sure yet whats really better... just letting it tick through or use it on cooldown on glint), additionally a herald brings perma regen, protection, swiftness, fury and might. Problem with might on herald gets solved actually by the 2 firebrands bringing some "burst" might stacks at the beginning of a fight. You dont really need anything else to maintain 25 might after that. If you are lacking due to firebrands not being able to supply enough might, or some other issue... you can run retribution instead of devastation for around 23 might maintained. A big plus compared to druid, is that your herald pulses boons around him. No messy spirit management, remembering to explode spirits before 10% phase on dhuum etc.
  • 1x bannerwarrior: the usual
  • 5x dps: the usual, though Im suggesting some additional cleave dps (like holo, power reaper or scourge) for bosses with adds. But its really not that important, if you properly tank on mid at sloth, then axe3 pulls are surprisingly enough.

Alternatively you can bring quickness chronos instead of firebrands, but then your renegade has to supply might for one sub-grp and your bannerwarrior (core) has to supply might for the second subgrp. It gets a bit more messy, but its still easily doable, thanks to Signet of Inspiration extending the might for so long, on top of herald boon extension.

Now, like so many of you, the first time I thought about this comp, I was totally against it. Four healers? Ridiculous, you'll spend HOURS on raids with that. But if you think about it, compared to the old 2x chaos chrono meta its not a dps loss in the least. You're replacing chronos with firebrands. Either they heal more, or they do more dps. You're replacing main druid with a herald, which means, you are trading frost spirit for AP and better (because faster and more) cc. And you are replacing your second healer, with a heal renegade - again, very high and fast cc, AP for the 2nd grp, kalla elite which is more dmg than frost spirit nowadays.

But what about heal scourge? Well, I have rather mixed feelings about healscourge. In the hands of a really good player, healscourge is immensely overpowered. In the hands of a casual player, healscourge is in best case not noticable... worst case it will wipe you with panick-infusion into dmg. Additionally, because healscourge doesnt really apply many boons - you need a good druid and good chronos, for it to really shine. For me healscourge is more a tool to carry and show raids to newbie players. Its imo rather not suited for casual raiders, due to its predictive playstyle.

Tanking. Both revenants (herald and renegade) can quite comfortably tank everything. Staff3 is a nice long block, aegis from firebrands helps as well and you can bring retribution for the dmg decrease while under stability trait. Heal firebrand also is quite good at tanking. Chrono if you bring one ofc can do that as well.

Downsides. Theres one, I have to admit. Condi pressure. If you bring dps quickbrands, then you have to get creative with condi removal on desmina for example. The condi remove on ventari eats way too much energy and the cooldown on it doesnt make it any better. That leaves you with outhealing conditions and staff4. Of course, your condi scourge should/could use F2 anyway for one subgrp, and then theres other dps builds that bring condi remove... like soulbeast or holosmith. It is something to be aware off, but not a huge problem.

LFG. How to search for that on lfg? Some of you might have noticed it, I was admittedly trying out some variations over the last week ;p Best results was actually straight up just searching for 2 quickness, 1 heal renegade, 1 herald or druid. I would say 2chrono, 2druid lfgs fill slower, but the sample size was too small. Reason probably was because its a bit more flexible and it wasnt on monday.

So, but onto the best part. The builds. As promised, Ive got for all healer builds a budget and an ascended version.

Firebrand (heal):
Weapons: Scepter or staff for might. With chronos/herald extending the might, Im tending more towards staff, but the immobilize on scepter is also nice on some bosses. If you dont need axe pull, bring mace instead. If fury is missing on your subgrp, because you have a druid instead of herald, you either have to bring axe for it or elite shout. Both works well enough.
Optional utilities: Where to even start. Theres so many goodies. You can bring condi remove with Mantra of Lore, or one of the shouts is always a nice option (Stand Your Ground is 10man, so good). More cc via spirit hammer or bane signet. Wall of reflection on bosses like sloth or matthias... btw you can backup yourself with tome3 skill3 reflect there if you misplace the wall. Extra healing with merciful intervention or spirit bow.
Optional elite utility: If you have enough stability/stun break or dont need it, then elite signet is better. If your grp is lacking fury (though make sure its even needed... for example daredevils and dragonhunters dont really need extra fury, picking up banner of discipline once or twice at beginning of fight and pressing 2+3 is already enough), then the elite shout is a good way to cover that.
HowTo: Healfirebrand is pretty straightforward. Make sure to place your symbol on the grp on cooldown for the healing. Keep your quickness mantra on cooldown, use additional aegis/stability on demand. For clutch situations you have your f2 tome. Activating it already removes 3 conditions, skill5 should be the first to use, since it removes another 5 conditions and puts an increase healing modifiers on allies. Skill4 is a pulsing healing field. Skill2 removes even more conditions, skill1 heals in front of you. If you have a charge left over, use it on skill3 for some buffs. Your f3 tome is for stacking up boons mostly, or to use the reflect bubble on skill3. F1 tome, skill3 is a nice pull, though the radius is a bit small with only 240. However, it also interrupts, which is always nice.

Renegade (heal/buffs):
Weapons: Staff is your main weapon set, your second weapon set is for utility. For some small pulls, axe offhand is quite nice. Sword offhand has a short immobilize. Shortbow works nicely for kiting on dhuum, and if you have power dps chronos in your squad, you can help stack up some slow for danger time trait. SB5 also has another cc on top of staff5, which you should rather use than for example ventari elite or daze summons on kalla.
HowTo: Your goal is to stay on kalla with active kalla elite for as long as possible, while using F4 (alacrity) on cooldown. The energy management needs a bit to get used to, but with some practice its a pretty straightforward build to play. Your kalla elite counts as upkeep for upkeep traits, with a low cooldown on re-casting it. So if the boss moves out of it, make sure to cancel the upkeep channel and place it on the new spot. If you have to leave kalla before your energy runs out - due to needing the bubble or heals on ventari - make sure to always empty your energy first, for example by placing icerazor or using F2. On ventari, your main heal should be moving around the tablet (healskill), NOT natural harmony. Natural harmony is your clutch heal. Condi remove on ventari is not a skill Id use, its very costly and slow. Your staff4 has a condi remove on it, always use that first. The bubble on ventari destroys projectiles and is also an upkeep skill. Quite nice if you are tanking on desmina and not all wurms are dead yet. But you shouldnt neglect kalla elite over it. Your main cc is staff5, it removes a good chunk of defiance bar, make sure to always have 20 energy left over when a cc comes up. Daze summons is very strong as well, but also a rather slow cc, which makes it much less effective, so its better to bring shortbow for a second cc skill.

Renegade (tank):
HowTo: Tanking on revenant builds is a bit less comfortable than on chrono builds. Your staff3 has a 2 second block, make sure to use that to block big incoming hits/mechanics. Make sure to keep your stability on you for as long as possible, it reduced dmg taken. For everything else the usual tanking mechanics apply. A lot of hits can be avoided by standing inside hitbox, sidestep big windup animations, make sure to tank in a way that you are still in range to buff alacrity.

Herald (heal/buffs):
Weapons: As with renegade, staff is your main weapon, though with an added reason. On the third autoattack, you spawn little spheres around you. If allies pick them up, you buff them swiftness and regeneration... and you trigger shared empowerment trait with that. So, always make sure to autoattack something.You should stay on glint for as long as you can, only switch to ventari for clutch heals. Easiest (though probably not quite as effective, but whatever) is it to just keep f2 pulsing. Never use it, and re-activate it immediately when you ran out of energy. On glint, you should always pulse regeneration (your healskill) and might facet. Swiftness, fury and protection, you just activate and immediately consume on cooldown. You can use the protection facet to knock away seekers, otherwise make sure to always use it in a direction without mobs, or your firebrands/chronos will get angry really fast ;) Before swapping off glint, always consume your might facet. Avoid consuming your healskill facet, the cooldown on it is too long. On ventari its pretty much the same as with renegade. Move your tablet, use natural harmony if people are below 40%, and trust in your f2 + regeneration healing ticks.

Herald (tank):
HowTo: Herald tanking is pretty much the same as renegade, except that you get more upkeep healing from steadfast rejuvenation trait and the radius of your boons is bigger. If might is a problem, then you have to trade Steadfast Rejuvenation for Vicious Reprisal in retribution traitline. This can happen on big hitbox bosses like gorseval or dhuum because the orbs spawn on the wrong side of the boss and dont get picked up.

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