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A Reaper Build That Has No Problem Getting Hit: The Immortal Valkyrie


mandala.8507
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There's been a lot of passionate discussion about reaper and its place in the meta of gw2, and much of the talk has boiled down to whether or not reaper should be viewed as a selfish, squishy dps or as a resilient and hearty bruiser dps.

If you look at the current meta build for raiding on power reaper, the answer is clear: reaper is a low-dps glass cannon that is punished heavily for taking a hit at any point in an encounter.

However, this build failed to change with the times, and (I believe) it no longer represents the strongest way to play power reaper or the limitations of the class.

To further contextualize this build, it relies heavily on staying in reaper shroud to output the vast majority of its damage with very little wiggle room in terms of life force management and its ability to adapt to sticky situations. It could be described as a "fair weather" build, so to speak. It only works in the most perfect of circumstances.

On top of this, it has very low dps compared to the rest of the meta classes for most any other elite specialization. The rationale behind this, most players think, is that it is because developers have erroneously categorized reaper as a survivable dps spec, capable of doing damage as well as being able to self-sustain and stay alive on its own.

If you ask the meta, that deduction is false and therefore it should be given the power of other similar glass cannon builds.

However, if you ask me, I'd tell you the meta build is outdated and that there is a much better and stronger way to play power reaper.

Okay, so what secret do I know about reaper that the meta seemingly doesn't? Well, the first thing to remember is that reaper has access to shroud, which is a second health bar. Stay with me here hardcore players. I'm not stopping at this point and calling it a day.

The reason this matters for reaper specifically is because of how reaper shroud works.

For one, it scales with vitality. The more hit points you have, the larger your life force pool.

Secondly, while in shroud you take 33% less damage from all sources. Addtionally, this mitigation scales multiplicatively with protection/resolution and other damage mitigation sources, such as reaper's 3 skill infusing terror.

Thirdly, life force generation on reaper and necro in general for the most part is percentage based, meaning your ability to replenish life force also scales with health.

Because of all these factors, reaper can put bonus health to use much better than most other classes.

But we're talking about a dps role. Why does this matter?

Good question. Now we can talk about the meta build and how it's stuck in the past.

For a long time in the meta, the go-to tier 2 major trait for dps reaper has been Soul Eater. It gives us a 10% strike dmg buff when in 300 range of our target and allows us to heal for 4% of the damage we deal outside of shroud.

Chilling Victory, the second tier 2 major, really has no benefit in group play. It gives might and life force for striking chilled foes, but you're giving up too much dps by taking it.

The third tier 2 major seems interesting at first glance. It's called Decimate Defenses and it gives you 2% critical strike chance per stack of vulnerability on your target. Again, at first glance, this seems incredibly overpowered. 50% extra crit chance!

Unfortunately, when you're already building berserker gear, you don't need much extra precision, so it was mostly overkill and didn't help you round the build out at all from a damage perspective. It was just a straight loss compared to Soul Eater.

But there's a catch. Since the rework to squad composition and the removal of banners, many classes failed to receive adequate compensation for that loss in extra precision. Now, whether or not the devs ever intended for the banners/spirits/assassin's presence squad power level to persist into 2022 could be debated, but I won't do that here. The point is, Reaper is one of the classes that now struggles heavily with precision for this reason and also because the trait in soul reaping, Death Perception, was altered to make it more streamlined and less shroud reliant.

The result: power reaper now has to find extra precision elsewhere, and it does this by running Thief Runes.

Thief Runes are evil. It's mostly ostracized and neglected power builds that run these runes, and they're horrible because they give you precision and condition damage while forcing you to flank for a 10% bonus dmg buff.

The saddest part about them is you're only getting about 14.3% crit chance from using them, so you can see how builds that lost those valuable last few percentage points of crit chance would end up stuck with them.

Recall though, we still have a tier 2 major trait that gives us 50% crit chance in Decimate Defenses. Of course, we have to have 25 stacks of vuln on our target to achieve this, but in most groups you'll have very easy access to almost perfect vuln uptime.

So where am I going with this? Back to how reaper loves vitality.

The biggest catch of this absolutely massive amount of precision is that the most optimal dmg gear already gives you so much of it: berserker gear. There really isn't an alternative to zerker that increases your dps as a power class.

But, like I've been alluding to, reaper is different in this regard. Reaper greatly values hp.

Because of this, we can trade most of our berserker gear for valkyrie (which is berserker with vitality instead of precision), and a whole new world opens up for us.

The biggest issue with reaper is of course life force upkeep and management. Getting hit on the meta reaper build feels horrible. Even worse, it feels horrible trying to keep up enough life force to get through the encounter even without taking damage.

Here's a demo of me doing a simplified version of the meta power reaper build and rotation.

https://youtu.be/AT-WoKsebb4

Big yikez. Even with no dmg pressure, I started to run out of room to maintain shroud at the end while still doing optimal dmg. Surprisingly ,the number wasn't absolutely horrible for my standards. I usually hit about 30-31k on condi berserker, so 28k on a build that's supposedly very bad isn't that heinous to me.

But still, when I'm getting hit, I won't be in shroud for very long at all and my damage will tank.

The solution: Decimate Defenses.

With my Immortal Valkyrie build we make a few trait adjustments and pick decimate defenses over soul eater.

With this, we can drop our crit chance down to a measly 25%. We also get to lose the Thief Runes! Yay!

For all the zerker pieces we replace, we choose instead valkyrie. In the end, with a tier 10 jade bot core, we'll be sitting at just over 30k hp. Nice.

We can now also upgrade our thief runes to scholar runes. The top shelf power dps runes, we are now one of the elites. Power mech doesn't have anything on our 50% extra crit chance (well they do, but shhh).

Next, we're going to make a small adjustment in the spite line and replace awaken the pain with signets of suffering. Before you call me out — yes, this is technically a dps loss. If you're feeling extra comfy, don't do this part. But if you want to truly embrace the way of the Immortal Valkyrie, just rip the bandaid off. I promise, it's fun.

Lastly, accompanying our newfound interest in signets, we're going to swap Well of Darkness for Signet of Undeath and make sure we have Signet of Vampirism as our heal skill.

Here's a demo of this new, more robust reaper build:

https://youtu.be/syNtgjKuyaU

I know, I know. The number went down.

It's okay though. Remember; the golem is not a real encounter. We went from 28.2k to 26.7k (a 1.5k dps loss), but we gained things that will effectively make our damage more than the glass cannon current meta version.

We all agree, that build is bad. This one is better.

This one is also tanky as hell. Here's a demo of it with damage pressure on the golem doing basically identical dmg to the pull without dmg pressure:

https://youtu.be/wzKVRzfDn30

And so you can see we've added significant quality of life. But still, the dps seems low, right? Is it justified? I think with the upcoming buffs that we already know are happening, it could be.

It's so important to keep in mind what I said before about how much shroud values hp and how, when the pressure is off for keeping up life force, this opens up a lot of opportunities for reaper.

Here's a pull of Slothasor, a boss that should make reaper players everywhere run for the hills in terror:

https://youtu.be/ghmSRuh4Vpo

As you can see, we are never under pressure to find more life force despite taking exceptional and constant damage. Additionally, our naturally high hp keeps us alive for much longer than we would be otherwise. And shroud amplifies the effects of this 5 fold.

To put it in perspective let's compare the dmg we would take in shroud on our Immortal Valkyrie build vs what a typical glass cannon build would be faced with in a similar scenario.

Let's say...we are about to get nuked for 20k dmg. It's us and a few ele mains, and they're already seeing their lives flash before their eyes. Their pitiful 12.6k hp pools are done for.

Luckily for them, they have access to mitigation from boons too, so they still might have a chance.

With protection, they can reduce the dmg they take here, 20k, by 33%. It's now going to hit them for...13.4k. Oop, they're still goners.

Serendipitously, we have a chivalrous heal warrior in our subgroup and they see the dmg coming. They majestically blow into their warhorn and use the 5 skill, giving us all 4k barrier.

Hurray, the eles are saved. Now instead of returning to their natural downstate, they will survive the hit with a concerning but manageable 3.2k hp.

As reaper mains, we're depressed because we're in shroud and about to take a massive wallop of 20k damage. Normally, this would be the end of our dps train. We'd be playing catchup for the rest of the encounter.

But with the Immortal Valkyrie build, we get to see just how valuable reaper shroud can be.

Notably, we are no longer starving for life force. We entered shroud with a full tank of 24,850 juicy death hp, and we're sitting at around 19k as the hit is coming in.

Secondly, we have an additional layer of protection against this mountain-sized smackdown of 33%. Already, we've moved from taking 20k to taking 13.4k to taking 8.978k.

And this isn't the end of our mitigation escalation. We also remember we can hit infuse terror for another 20% off!

Now we are at 7.1324k dmg incoming. Still scary. However...barrier scales with YOUR dmg mitigation, so that 4k barrier goes a loooong way for us. We are now going to take a pitiful 3,183 dmg. And it's only to our life force pool.

Now you may be asking, but does that matter to us? The answer is no; we are dripping in life force and it drains very slowly with our current setup, so we don't need more than about 7-8k to get through whatever we need to do in shroud for our rotation.

So, while the ele mains barely escaped annihilation we shrugged the hit off like it was nothing.

Go back to the video of the Slothasor kill and you can see just how unperturbed I am by even the most sinister of his abilities. At one point I even get feared halfway across the room into green goop and 2 poison fields and I still lived to tell the tale of how we vanquished the poor chaos-addled beast.

Here's the log for that encounter, if you're curious about the details:

https://gw2wingman.nevermindcreations.de/log/20221123-211215_sloth_kill

My diagnosis: not bad at all. I'm not saying the dps is good, but for how the fight went it's spectacular. And lightyears better than it would have been on the current meta build.

And I know some people will still say this doesn't matter because the only job I was supposed to do is dps and therefore not doing good dps is bad, but I'll counter by saying that clearing encounters quickly is a luxury. For most players, the goal is to complete the fight in the first place. I strongly believe reaper makes that goal much easier to accomplish, as long as you don't blindly fall into the trap of higher numbers are always better.

Anyway, hopefully this helps people learn to appreciate what reaper CAN do as opposed to what it can't. I had a blast doing several encounters on this build, and all the frustrations normally associated with playing reaper just melted away.

Sorry for being so long-winded, but this build got me excited. Thanks for reading!

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That's quite a long post...

The fact that Valkyrie maximize the shroud potential on reaper is undeniable and I'd even say that the build you suggest is a good choice for some specific encounters. However, for the majority of the encounters found in the game you'll be able to do better with the current metabuild using full Marauder gear (or a mix of Assassin and Berserker gear for something glassier) instead of full Berserker.

Using this kind of Valkyrie dps build is probably "doing reaper right" in the way it's currently designed and there are encounters where such gameplay can be put into play. However it's lackluster and unattractive from a "meta" point of view.

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12 hours ago, mandala.8507 said:

Because of this, we can trade most of our berserker gear for valkyrie (which is berserker with vitality instead of precision), and a whole new world opens up for us.

Yes let's swap out the already low dps that we have with an even lower dps, that's so good and meta! I really wonder what could go wrong, wake up sheeple snow crows and dT are hiding from us the hidden op build! 

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3 hours ago, Parpage.9867 said:

Yes let's swap out the already low dps that we have with an even lower dps, that's so good and meta! I really wonder what could go wrong, wake up sheeple snow crows and dT are hiding from us the hidden op build! 

No, you're not losing damage by taking Valkyrie over berserker gear. You're swapping Soul Eater for the precision trait that gives you crit chance on mass, which enables you to lose precision (a stat that caps at 100%) and take runes that are less reliant on flanking to do competitive damage. Sites like SC don't account for the simple truth that flanking is a huge burden, made exponentially worse the worse your group is.

Most meta build sites are also speed clear focused. The idea of sacking ~1k damage to make a build smoother is antithetical to their whole mission. They want to offer the most dps build to you, which isn't always a good build for normal players.

This optimization to the detriment of a build's functionality is then used as evidence to suggest the specialization is ineffective.

You see people arguing that the glass cannon reaper build should be doing around 37-38k dps, but remember that if that build is doing 37-38k, this very tanky, easy to play, and survivable build is doing 35-36k.

Most of the suggestions for buffing this class are just adjustments to their scaling coefficients. This build benefits pretty much just as heavily from those buffs as the glass cannon meta build.

This build doing practically top tier dps would be incredibly unbalanced. I can't see how anyone could justify it being so strong, yet they are. 

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3 hours ago, Parpage.9867 said:

Yes let's swap out the already low dps that we have with an even lower dps, that's so good and meta! I really wonder what could go wrong, wake up sheeple snow crows and dT are hiding from us the hidden op build! 

 

No , of course not . You should just mindlessly copy every glass cannon meta build and totally ignore that fact that most players will achieve better results playing something more tanky and safe.

I mean it's not like 10-15k dps is enough to beat any encounter and you have gigantic room for improvisation and making a builds that would work the best for you and your team , right ?

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3 hours ago, NovaanVerdiano.6174 said:

People have tried to shill Valkyrie Reaper since HoT launch

I remember liking the concept even before I cared about DPS so I tried it when I returned to the game after my first brake. Damage was so bad I scrapped it right away =:/

36 minutes ago, mandala.8507 said:

No, you're not losing damage by taking Valkyrie over berserker gear. You're swapping Soul Eater for the precision trait that gives you crit chance on mass, which enables you to lose precision (a stat that caps at 100%) and take runes that are less reliant on flanking to do competitive damage

if that's the idea just run Dragon Stats then...

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14 minutes ago, Arianth Moonlight.6453 said:

I remember liking the concept even before I cared about DPS so I tried it when I returned to the game after my first brake. Damage was so bad I scrapped it right away =:/

if that's the idea just run Dragon Stats then...

Dragon's stats is actually the worst stats for this build out of all the various combinations of power and VIT stats that is available. In fact, when used in the optimal scenario, there isn't a combination of stats where you can shed enough precision to not exceed crit cap without unnecessarily lowering your DPS from power and ferocity.

I'm actually going to put forward the idea Decimate Defenses should be changed to reduce it's impact on crit rate because of how easily and over-effectively it buffs crit rate. It's just another example of one of those traits that makes solo Reaper so effective in offensive capability that it can't gain benefit from being in a team as well.

The concept of the build itself is sound and in the right situation, the small DPS loss is more than offset by the Shroud advantage and the VIT increase ... even more so when we get a 15 second Soul Barb. 

Edited by Obtena.7952
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hmm... Implying you can pull the DD gimmick; the Valkyrie build I linked should definitely do more damage than the standard Berserker build with a massive HP boost (even more HP than Marauder).

Berserker build: http://gw2skills.net/editor/?PSgAEZlFwOYVMF2IOSXlNbA-zRIYRU9XG1mqVUVeeAC43/phCLYAA-e

Marauder build: http://gw2skills.net/editor/?PSgAEZlFwOYVMF2IOSXlNfA-zRZYBBBOEBjYUx9VG1mqVUV6fAC43/phCLYAA-e

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2 hours ago, Arianth Moonlight.6453 said:

hmm... Implying you can pull the DD gimmick; the Valkyrie build I linked should definitely do more damage than the standard Berserker build with a massive HP boost (even more HP than Marauder).

Can you define exactly how you mean that? What do you mean with "more damage than the standard Berserker build"?

Edited by REMagic.8937
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Just now, REMagic.8937 said:

Can you define exactly how you mean that? What do you mean with "more damage than the standard Berserker build"?

He means that with the extra vitality to tank hits, you can stay in shroud longer and do more dps than berserker in real world situations.  This was outlined in the first post but I understand if you didn't have the patience to read it.

What he didn't account for was that the best case scenario (max damage and no incoming damage) has pitiful dps it just gets worse from there in real world situations no matter what build you run. In essence, no one cared that you were the last time die in a wipe. People cared that you dealt less damage than a support without helping to support. You're a burden to the team just as someone playing s junky build in pvp causes their team to unnecessarily struggle. Its up to arena net to fix this imbalances and ignore the crazy people thinking this is a single player game.

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1 minute ago, Dr Meta.3158 said:

He means that with the extra vitality to tank hits, you can stay in shroud longer and do more dps than berserker in real world situations.  This was outlined in the first post but I understand if you didn't have the patience to read it.

What he didn't account for was that the best case scenario (max damage and no incoming damage) has pitiful dps it just gets worse from there in real world situations no matter what build you run. In essence, no one cared that you were the last time die in a wipe. People cared that you dealt less damage than a support without helping to support. You're a burden to the team just as someone playing s junky build in pvp causes their team to unnecessarily struggle. Its up to arena net to fix this imbalances and ignore the crazy people thinking this is a single player game.

I actually did read the OP 😄 I am trying to figure it out how it's meant here in the comment.

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Just now, REMagic.8937 said:

Do you mean on the golem?

raw damage, yes. Look at the numbers. the Valkyrie build I linked gives 2942 power and 233.67% crit. dmg with Runes of the Scholar. Full Berserker gives only 2767 power and 218.67% crit. dmg with Runes of the Thief. Both have 100% crit. chance with fury (and 25 stacks of vulnerability in the case of Valkyrie).

if you add the dmg modifiers you have +10% from Soul Eater and +10% from Runes of the Thief IF you can meet the requirements (both are conditional) on the Berserker build. The Valkyrie Build have only +5% dmg from the runes of the Scholar but it's also conditional.

still, do the math and see how much damage you do if you take into account the dmg modifiers.

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6 minutes ago, Arianth Moonlight.6453 said:

raw damage, yes. Look at the numbers. the Valkyrie build I linked gives 2942 power and 233.67% crit. dmg with Runes of the Scholar. Full Berserker gives only 2767 power and 218.67% crit. dmg with Runes of the Thief. Both have 100% crit. chance with fury (and 25 stacks of vulnerability in the case of Valkyrie).

if you add the dmg modifiers you have +10% from Soul Eater and +10% from Runes of the Thief IF you can meet the requirements (both are conditional) on the Berserker build. The Valkyrie Build have only +5% dmg from the runes of the Scholar but it's also conditional.

still, do the math and see how much damage you do if you take into account the dmg modifiers.

Okay, thanks, I can work with that to debunk you.

Your problem is that you are not including 25 stacks of Might in your builds, and yes that changes the calculation.

Let's compare Berserker / Assassin(let's face it, near full assassin) Scholar build (running Soul Eater) with your Decimate Defences meme:

Your valk build has 3692 Power.

An Assassin Soul Eater build would need to reduce Power by 300 to crit cap, so it has 3392 power.

3692 / 3392 - 1 = 8.84% damage increase.

But the Soul Eater build has a 10% modifier.

Therefore, it's going to do ever so slightly more damage.

Remember, so far we only used Scholar runes, so no argument to be had about "but flanking!". Assassin is actually the worst way to gain crit and we only do it when other options are not available.

Both Accuracy sigil (replacing Impact) and Thief rune (replacing Scholar runes) are more stat efficient at gaining the 300 precision that are required.

So in the end you get a rough 3.5% DPS difference between your suggested Valkyrie build and the meta build using Soul Eater. But even under your most favorable conditions (simply playing Assassin + Soul Eater, instead of Berserker + Decimate Defences) you are already wrong about your claim.

Okay, now you can retreat to your position that the HP gained is somewhat significant. But that point you made here is just not matched by the math.

Edited by REMagic.8937
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12 minutes ago, Dr Meta.3158 said:

What he didn't account for was that the best case scenario (max damage and no incoming damage) has pitiful dps

 

Yep. It's 26k now instead of 28k.

Total trash.

Unplayable.

Literally being carried.

What a garbage.

Totally burden to a team.

I mean what the hell is this ?

How anyone can handle this ?

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4 minutes ago, Arianth Moonlight.6453 said:

and what the heck are you talking about? Who is the hell using Assassin gear? Sigil of Accuracy? WAT?!

Tell me which part is unclear. I don't know how much I need to explain which step and I don't want to write wall of texts on things that you might understand in one line 😄

I compared the valkyrie build to something with Scholar rune + Soul Eater + Assassin + Berserker gear

And explained why that does roughly 1% more DPS than your valkyrie build.

Then I went further to explain that the thief rune meta build is actually more efficient than that (though it requires to flank) which ultimately causes a 3.5% DPS gap between the valkyrie build and full Berserker.

You claim the Valkyrie build is better DPS wise, and that's not true.

Edited by REMagic.8937
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