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Heal Specter - An attempt was made


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On my never-ending search of ways to uproot the mechanist's monopoly on heal support, I experimented with Heal Specter for a week.

Gear: full harrier gear, runes of the pack, sword/pistol and sceptre/pistol with sigils of concentration and transference.

Reasons for the setup:


Pack runes for extra might generation in combat, Sigil of Paralysation could be used to replace Sigil of Transference for even more cc, but it's not necessary. Mainly camping sword, sceptre is either for emergency single-target heal or when you're desperate for ranged damage.


Build: SA (1, 1, 1), Trickery (3, 1, 2), Specter (3, 3, 2). Well of Gloom, Shadow Refuge, Well of Bounty, Well of Sorrow, Basilisk Venom.

Reasons for these choices:


Shadow Arts revamp helped this build a lot in providing extra barrier, superspeed, protection and general healing. Sleight of Hand helps with boon uptime and provides extra cc though at first I tried running Quick Pockets for even more initiative, it turned out to be unnecessary. Specter line provides even more barrier spam, alacrity and condi removal. 3 wells setup allows for a comfortable alacrity uptime (5 second leeway at 85% boon duration), Shadow Refuge is multi-purpose as healing, barrier, faster ressing in case of emergencies and on-demand superspeed). Basilisk venom is where a lot of the cc potential of this build comes from.


So what does this ''meme build'' actually do?

  • amazing CC
  • an enormous amount of barrier
  • decent sustained AoE healing from wells + exit shroud + sword 2 shadowstep spam
  • decent condi cleanse from shroud trait
  • 10-15 stacks of might
  • permanent alacrity
  • reliable access to: fury, swiftness, vigor, protection, regeneration
  • less reliable access to: stability/aegis (self stability is reliable, but group share only from well).
  • decent self-mobility
  • doesn't run venoms - your dps specters in the group will be happy


Some raid/strike encounter specific observations:

  • W1 - Vale Guard: Soaks up greens no problem, can boonstrip blue guardian with Steal. Gorse: Incredibly fast CC, this can either be a blessing or a curse. Sabetha: can flak kite and provide alacrity with wells in-between flak strikes.
  • W2 - More tests needed. Though I imagine the extra CC will be useful on both Sloth and Matthias.
  • W3 - Escorts Glenna without a problem. Apply Devourer Venom on teammates to easily immobilise any incoming wargs, can provide ridiculous amounts of barrier to your tower chrono to make their job stress-free. KC: superspeed on orb phase is nice, barrier comes in handy for orange AoEs. TC: skip last section with Shadow Refuge, can opt in to Shadow Portal in case your team is scared of dodging onto the arch. Xera: can tank no problem, condi cleanse is good enough, though alacrity uptime suffers during tower phases.
  • W4 - Cairn: does the job just like any other healer, though the wells might obstruct teleport circles. MO: constant shadow-stepping will confuse the boss if you run Claim, could mess with any dpsers using Thief Runes, don't Dispel and stack-heal with Sword 2 spam at the same time, just trust me on that. Like any other thief - it's the meta for opening doors to Samarog. Sam: amazing CC, not so great at pushing Rigom though fear from Shroud 3 can assist another pusher. Deimos: can stack barrier on handkite in case of emergencies, fast cc on Dark Saul, wells might obstruct the view of oils.
  • W5 - was not insane enough to try that for the whole wing, but it does just fine on River.
  • W6 - CA: just like any other healer, can stack alacrity wells on mid and then rush to do shields, superspeed will help a lot. Largos: can tank without a problem, almost-instant CC on the twins but whatever you do, don't trust your well to provide stability on the right side - does better on left side by providing barrier before charge attacks. Qadim: you guessed it, the mad CC potential is super useful here. Can either keep Shadow Refuge to res downed in flame wave or bring Scorpion Wire to help pulling the mobs in, another option is Shadow Portal. Perfect Patriarch Tank due to high CC.
  • W7 - Adina: can tank, sword/pistol 3 is great for dealing with the pushback cone, could bring Smoke Screen to help with projectiles from the hands, if your team doesn't need extra heals/barrier from Shadow Refuge. Sabir: awesome CC, Shadow Refuge for ressing the downed (especially in CM). Qadim 2: it can do the druid job better than the druid, 2 shots from pistol 4 are enough per anomaly, just let your team know if they will have stability during pushback, can babysit pylons-in-training.
  • Aetherblade CM - amazing CC, enough condi cleanse and barrier to comfortably carry the team through bullet hell.
  • Xunlai Junkyard CM - enough condi cleanse, extra CC comes in super handy.
  • Kaineng Overlook CM - not recommended, certain areas on the lower platform block your attempts at shadowstepping - that is, your alacrity source and healing. Does well on the upper platform until your team expects stability and only gain disappointment in return. Can CC the sniper nicely though. Wouldn't recommend tanking the mech on this setup - your team won't get a scrap of alacrity. Probably better as a sniper kite.
  • Harvest Temple NM - (sorry, CM groups would crucify me if I attempted to join on Heal Specter!).  Shadowsteps on wells make solo orb pushing a lot easier, the CC is great as always, extra barrier saves countless lives on Mordremoth jumping phase.


Biggest problems (and suggestions on how this healer build could be buffed up to top-tier):

  • Might generation - currently the only sources of might are 10 stacks from traited Steal, 5 stacks (not always) from Runes of the Pack, and a truly pathetic single stack from Well of Bounty which won't proc half the time anyway. Putting some AoE might on either sword 2 or any of the shroud skills would go a long way in making this a more viable build.
  • Stability access - it's incredibly frustrating to give to others because of Well of Bounty. Shroud 5 provides some self-stability, could this be extended to 5-man boon share maybe?
  • Well of Bounty - this skill has great potential for support specter but the order in which boons are provided is... terrible. Current order of boons (with ones already accounted for by other skills and traits crossed off) is: Regen, Protection, Resistance, Swiftness, Vigor, Quickness, Alacrity, Fury, Might (sad single stack), Resolution, Stability, Aegis. Which means, you're forced to provide a ton of borderline useless boons before you get to the good stuff - Stability and Aegis. As a matter of fact, the well ticks 5 times so you're guaranteed to give Regen, Protection, Resistance, Resolution and maaaybe Stability if your Quickness DPS is not slacking. My suggestion: change the order of boons to: Regen, Protection, STABILITY, AEGIS, Swiftness, Vigor, Quickness, Alacrity, Fury, Might, Resistance, Resolution.
  • Wells obstruct some mechanics, most notably teleports on Vale Guardian and Cairn. This is frustrating in training runs, I'm there to heal the newbies, not to cover the deadly aoes with my wells so they downstate on my watch. Could something be done about the obstructing graphics of the wells?


TLDR: It's actually alright and enjoyable to play. Got barrier and CC for days. Put some might-generating QDPS or DPS in the sub and you're good to go.


- Yours sincerely, a thief-main desperate for a healing build

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/22/2022 at 2:39 PM, Indecipherable.3621 said:

Shroud 5 gives you and the target you tether to stability not just you.

While this is true, I think it  would better served for group content if we were able to upon initiation or detonation spread this to five people in a group. 

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On 8/22/2022 at 10:04 AM, Jumpel.3972 said:

Ritualist or Shaman feel better in my opinion because of  comsum shadow

I think for this context they were looking for a healing build specifically towards content where they would be full support. Ritualist and shaman are more suited for support but not as a primary healer. 

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I'm a fan of the idea of heal-support specter and came up with an idea to improve this and maybe make this viable in end game content. Would like to get some feedback.


While I in general like the shadow arts revamp, I still think, minors Meld with Shadows and Shadow Siphoning are a little bit underperforming. 

So, my idea was to combine those effects, maybe call it Shadow Strength or what ever, and create a new minor trait. Or switching some traits and make the new one a major one.

This may be something like:


(Enter fitting name here)

A percentage of the healing provided is converted into barrier, if allies are fully healed.

(Only works, if heal is recieved at full heal, does not work when allies recieved healing to bring them up to full heal before)

Converted heal amount: 15% (?)


This would synergize great with the healing traits with shadow steps and other sources. 


Or would this be in the end too OP with specter in terms of Rod Wallow Venom?


Any comments?


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On 8/26/2022 at 1:42 PM, LyraOrpheo.8450 said:

Have you ever tried barrier share with Shadestep and Rune of the Sanctuary?

That last row is a tough choice in WvW. Even without Shadestep though I still set up group stealth for barrier. Bonus if I hit up someone with dragonbanner, their RWV looks like a wave. 

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