Hi fellow rangers, keep in mind that everything I talk about in here is based on PvE (mainly Open World).
(scroll down for the the build if you don't care much about the introduction or thought process)
The upcoming few weeks are exciting as we enter a new expansion with a lot of new build options available for us thanks to our very diverse new Elite Spec: The Soulbeast.
The new grieving set has caught a lot of people's attention, as well as new abilities that might make a Power('Sic'Em) or Hybrid Power/Condi build viable.
There are a lot of new things that might feel underwhelming (Dagger Main-Hand, Predator's Cunning trait for instance) a bunch of things that do work with our new Beastmode, and a whole lot that doesn't (by either a bug or just not being implemented, for instance, Signet of Renewal's active..), us not being able to swap pet's while in Beastmode (which makes for a ' cluncky' playstyle), etc etc. But, the most important thing, in my opinion, is the diversity we get.
On to the actual build and why I am going to run with this build.
So the name I put up kinda sums up the build, It is a Corrupting (Condi dps) Soul (soulbeast which emphasises on sharing and retrieving boons from our pet) Settler (Settler gear= very tanky with heavy condi damage and sustain through +healing power).
The main thing I wanted to achieve before I decided on Settler gear was trying to get Predator's Cunning to work.
Predator's Cunning has very very low power and healing power coefficients, so boosting its output by those ways is just not possible, so in came the toughness stacking idea.
Having high toughness means that all healing you do is just A LOT more efficient. With toughness this high we are talking an average -40% damage received when compared to our default armor value, and that is without Protection (which we have up 100% of the time), with Protection we take 67% normal damage, which then gets reduced by our high armor even more. I don't know the exact calculations here but assuming our high armor blocks around 60% of incoming damage we then only take ~27% of damage (this is assuming the Protection goes before the damage calculation).
So with Toughness being a requirement and Condition Damage being the way we wanted to deal damage there was still room for 1-2 more stats, Well to make things a bit shorter, I decided on Healing Power pretty fast because after all, I wanted to try and Sustain myself even longer/better.
So then came, which weapons. Well Dagger Main-Hand however underwhelming it might seem at first glance actually has very good condi damage. The auto attack chain gives short applications but with predator's cunning that is what we want, its #2 is very good in that it does quite some bleeding and afterwards makes your next 2 attacks deal poison, and then there is the #3 which is a Leap finisher as well as a quickness generator (It's damage is trivial).
As much as I would like to try a dagger/dagger setup, Torch is just the most absurd condi damage weapon we have access to, so easy choice here.
Our second weapon set could be alot of things, Axe/Dagger could've worked (though then I would go dagger/dagger and axe/torch) but I always liked my Shortbow, and Shortbow is just a good mirror of dagger in that it applies both bleeding and poison, it also has the same type of abilities like dagger#2 in that SB#4 gives our next 3 attacks bleeding and SB#3 gives us swiftness.
onto specializations, Wilderness Survival is a no-brainer, it gives us recharge duration and condi damage on our dagger/torch setup, gives more dodges and protection because of the dodges, more powerful Poison Damage from Poison master (how I wish its active would also work on us in Beastmode.. ) but a very overlooked trait, which is actually very powerful for sustain purposes: Rugged Growth, which gives us ~600 health a second.
The second spec is a bit of a 50/50 honestly, between Nature Magic and Skirmishing, Nature Magic makes us more tanky, gives more healing power, some nice condi clearing when dodging (10sec ICD) some boon duration increase and a nice additional heal. Skirmishing makes our bleeds a lot more powerful, gives fury, swiftness and vigor and the trait: Light on your feed might work very well in this setup (with all the dodging and evading, the piercing is very useful).
So honestly I really don't know what 2nd spec I end up choosing, probably trying both and see how my sustain is without Nature Magic. It comes down to Skirmishing being the DPS choice and Nature Magic being the Sustain choice that also has a higher boon uptime (as well as more stacks of boons).
1) Nature Magic: http://gw2skills.net/editor/?vNAQNAofVnUqAN8id8CerAUtglOBrJYNpOZO/tAwKLv0+ajtpIORPVD-jByCQBH7UAcH9BZU53kU/BAHBAhs/wEeAAmUJIpA8VnG-e
2) Skirmishing: http://gw2skills.net/editor/?vNAQNAofVnUqAN8id8CerAUtgFzjKfi74PmpFGnyp5FCgKJlnEnoaA-jByCQBA4IAkRlfT4BAMJ1fuj+gjdKAMpSQhs/ApA8VnG-e
I think most choices in the spec's speak for themselves, but I will explain a few things anyway:
As you can see quite some choices that are viable, if you get more known with this spec and the trait swaps possible between encounters or in other settings (solo, group, meta), picking the right things for the right situation will come a lot more natural. You can go very beefy, you can go more group support orientated, more damage, etc.
And that is just the specs, not even talking about the utility skills.
First off I would like to say that IF they make Sigil of Renewal's active effect work in beastmode then Bear Stance is a HUGE heal and will be the heal to go to in group settings for sure, to put this in perspective, you draw upto 13 conditions on you, which first off, don't even damage you because of the Resistance but when you activate bearstance will then get eaten for more healing. In total 8 conditions eaten for a total of ~5800 additional healing on top of the base healing of ~5200.. so yes, that is pretty much a full heal
Now this is the most complex part, and honestly, there is no 2 best choice here.
Just make sure you have 2 differend type of pets, where 1 deadly is at least advised (more dmg) the other could be a Supportive , Versatile or Stout one.
I could definitely see this build function as a tank/support build that still deals considerable damage. Where Condi Druid brought group damage buffs and dealt average condi damage, this build should be able to tank or offtank in fractals while buffing his team with stance effects and also dealing condi damage.
Don't let the defensive gear choice fool you, this build still gets around ~2900 condi damage at 25xMight (not counting killstreak sigil).
But for the most part I think this is an excelent Open world PvE build.
So in case you are still reading, thanks for taking the time, and I hope I gave you inspiration in trying something else then a pure condi or power setup that everyone is talking about.
I think with this build you would have to pull a whole lot of enemies to even get close to dying, your damage is still very good since condi damage only really needs 1 damage stat to be effective (where power needs 3..) and with the combination of toughness and healing you should be able to solo pretty much anything honestly.
If you have any suggestions, or other comments, please leave them below!
Have a great time in Path of Fire!!