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Full Celestial Quickness Berserker Can Do Almost Competitive DPS: Starberst Banner Warrior


mandala.8507

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On my quest to both broaden the scope of endgame PvE buildcraft and expand my knowledge of the gw2 combat system, I have stumbled upon a really interesting endgame PvE build for banner warrior that uses full celestial gear while still hitting ~93% of the dps of the meta variant for quickness supports.

Because quickness berserker barely needs 40% boon duration to give permanent quickness using 2 banners, warrior is able to hit that number and then some by running full celestial gear, allowing it to swap into much more competitive dps runes while also greatly increasing its maximum critical strike damage and survivability.

In my testing, I was able to hit pretty stellar dps numbers on an extraordinarily tanky build, so I decided it was worth sharing. I'm calling the build Starberst.

With the most recent changes to berserker, this build is almost identical to the meta build, but we can make a few adjustments because cele gear gives us slightly more expertise. So, with the changes from Feb. 14, this build will run 6 expertise infusions and renegade runes over the meta firebrand runes, as well as all gear being swapped to celestial. Also, due to the bugfix for blademaster, we'll be swapping food to Red-Lentil Saobosa to cap out our bleeding and burning durations.

Conveniently, this build plays identically to the current meta quickness banner berserker build as well, so anything you learn playing this build can transfer over to the other build if you really don't need any of the quality-of-life buffs it gives.

Celestial berserker isn't an entirely new concept, but I thought I'd take the time to share the build here because I'm sure most people aren't aware it can be a strong alternative even in a super strong and experienced group and I took the time to update and tweak it for the most recent patch. Here's a demonstration of how it plays:

Note, I am not a benchmark level player, so the dps number may seem low compared to the best player taking their best grinded pull ever, but I assure you this dps is very good and only about 7% lower than the dps I'd be doing in full Viper gear with firebrand runes.

This build also comes with more than just survivability.

Ascended celestial gear actually gives you over 42% boon duration, so this build has extra wiggle room for maintaining quickness uptime on your subgroup. Additionally, because this boon duration is flat and not just for quickness, all other boons you provide (whether it be fury, stab, resistance, might, or boons from other banners you could flex into) will have longer durations.

And speaking of flexing in other banners, this build has pretty high healing power, so banner of defense can be a strong flex utility option if your group is taking too much damage and you want to be more of a team player.

And of course, you are way more tanky. To put just how much tankier you are into perspective, your effective hp with both vitality and toughness factored in is greater in value than the hp from 3 emboldened stacks. This build is great for any unfortunate floor connoisseur that needs a helping hand staying upright throughout a fight, but also for any player who finds themselves on a tough boss with a less experienced group or that just wants more agency and to be more self-sufficient. Despite mostly not needing any of the survivability myself, I found playing this build took the edge off in fights like Boneskinner where you can quickly tell just how good your healers are.

Beware that you do have very high toughness, so when fighting any raid bosses that target players with the highest toughness you need to make sure you don't accidentally become the tank. Luckily, that mechanic isn't present in strikes or fractals, so in those game modes you don't need to worry about this.

Anyway, since the build is so similar to the meta variant I won't dwell on how it works, but I did want to share it for anyone who thinks being a little safer is worth a slight dip in dps.

I'm trying to approach endgame accessibility through a different lens with this build, so of course it won't be for everyone, but I thought it was cool still.

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1 minute ago, Infusion.7149 said:

If you want to go celestial you are better off with firebrand (the spec not the rune) though. There is zero use for healing power on the build you are running as you do not even use tactics traitline.

We don't care that we're not getting a ton of value from the healing power in the build because celestial stats just give us a ton of everything else. Of course stat numbers aren't 1:1, but a Celestial ascended chestpiece gives 603 stats while a Viper's chestpiece gives only 376. Even if we subtract the healing and say it's totally worthless (which isn't quite true; we still have a heal skill that we are using and a banner we can flex into that values healing power), we're getting a ton of stats that we do care about and that help us tailor our build better to our role of boon support.

Mainly, we get basically the same amount of expertise and precision, but we also get a lot of concentration and ferocity that allows us to compensate for the lost power and condition damage (both with more crit damage and better runes) while also giving us a crazy amount of survivability stats with toughness and vitality. Even if we don't count vitality, toughness, or healing power as valuable in any way, we still are getting 402 stats from the cele gear vs the 376 from the Viper's gear.

I think the way you've framed your comment, saying "if you want to play cele, there is a better option" isn't really the point. I could say the same thing about every power build but weaver right now, no? "Well if you wanted to go berserker gear, you'd be better off with weaver". When someone's looking for a warrior build, it's not really relevant that there's a better build on another class for their gear stats. And I'm not even sure the Firebrand build is better. Not only from a pure numbers perspective, but also firebrand is a lot more technical and less fun than it was before they updated the tomes.

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4 minutes ago, mandala.8507 said:

We don't care that we're not getting a ton of value from the healing power in the build because celestial stats just give us a ton of everything else. Of course stat numbers aren't 1:1, but a Celestial ascended chestpiece gives 603 stats while a Viper's chestpiece gives only 376. Even if we subtract the healing and say it's totally worthless (which isn't quite true; we still have a heal skill that we are using and a banner we can flex into that values healing power), we're getting a ton of stats that we do care about and that help us tailor our build better to our role of boon support.

Mainly, we get basically the same amount of expertise and precision, but we also get a lot of concentration and ferocity that allows us to compensate for the lost power and condition damage (both with more crit damage and better runes) while also giving us a crazy amount of survivability stats with toughness and vitality. Even if we don't count vitality, toughness, or healing power as valuable in any way, we still are getting 402 stats from the cele gear vs the 376 from the Viper's gear.

I think the way you've framed your comment, saying "if you want to play cele, there is a better option" isn't really the point. I could say the same thing about every power build but weaver right now, no? "Well if you wanted to go berserker gear, you'd be better off with weaver". When someone's looking for a warrior build, it's not really relevant that there's a better build on another class for their gear stats. And I'm not even sure the Firebrand build is better. Not only from a pure numbers perspective, but also firebrand is a lot more technical and less fun than it was before they updated the tomes.

If people thought that way (just adding up the stat total) nobody would run cDPS and pDPS quickness or alac. Even if you are tanky you have zero sustain built into the build which just delays the inevitable if you do not have a healer.

Celestial is run almost exclusively for builds that have healing power payoff because of the DPS hit versus the usual ritualist or diviner. Firebrand is a special case due to relying on a single condition for 80%+ DPS. Harbinger or specter are examples of builds that originally intending to use celestial but ended up on ritualist gear. There was a variant of condi alac ren that ran cele for a while (which does have payoff due to soulcleave) but ritualist in a few pieces is the standard way to play now.

Also nobody is going to suggest playing power weaver to new players. It simply is not realistic.

Firebrand on the other hand has been the defacto choice for quickness for nearly all PUGs and there is a limited number of places where it is less effective (mainly KC and CA).

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For newer players Cele is the safest stat no? I don't see anything wrong with starting on cele and then when someone is more comfortable, switching over to more specialized stats. IIRC new players who get boosted receive a free set of cele gear as well now.

I know I would raid more if raiders were just less strict on stat and build composition because for me I need to learn the mechanics first before anything else.

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1 hour ago, Infusion.7149 said:

If people thought that way (just adding up the stat total) nobody would run cDPS and pDPS quickness or alac. Even if you are tanky you have zero sustain built into the build which just delays the inevitable if you do not have a healer.

Celestial is run almost exclusively for builds that have healing power payoff because of the DPS hit versus the usual ritualist or diviner. Firebrand is a special case due to relying on a single condition for 80%+ DPS. Harbinger or specter are examples of builds that originally intending to use celestial but ended up on ritualist gear. There was a variant of condi alac ren that ran cele for a while (which does have payoff due to soulcleave) but ritualist in a few pieces is the standard way to play now.

This is a severe oversimplification of the principles at play here.

Firstly, I did already say that stats can't be compared 1:1. However, damage profiles of condi builds in particular are more complicated than you've made it seem. Lots of condi builds do a significant amount of strike damage. For instance, 30% of the condi virtuoso build's damage is strike damage.

Secondly, Ritualist's gear falls flat on berserker due to its poor interaction with the Arms traitline and the grandmaster Berserker trait King of Fires. Precision in particular is quite valuable on condi berserker, and so running a stat set with no precision has a larger than normal opportunity cost for this specific build. The Ritualist's build isn't very good.

If we wanted to hone in on exactly what the tradeoffs are for this build over the meta build that runs full Viper's and uses firebrand runes, we can list out exactly what stats and modifiers we're trading (and I'm only going to list essentials at first for the sake of clarity).

For running the cele build over the viper's build we lose:

  • 529 condition damage
  • 534 power
  • 40% quickness duration from runes

And as you pointed out, all stats are not equal. Condition damage is very valuable on a condition build, so this trade has to be super good for it to be at all comparable.

Luckily, here are the things we gain from running celestial and renegade runes over viper's and firebrand runes:

  • 639 ferocity from gear stats
  • 100 ferocity from runes
  • 6 precision
  • 11 expertise
  • 639 concentration = 42.59% boon duration
  • 7% condition damage modifier from runes

Of course, this is still a losing trade since condition damage is so valuable, but it's not as bad a trade as it might seem at a glance, which is why we only lose about 7% of our damage from it.

And when we consider that defensively we also gain:

  • 639 toughness
  • 639 vitality = 6,390 health

The trade starts to look pretty good.

I'm absolutely not trying to say that this particular stat exchange works in all scenarios, but for some builds, it can — like this one.

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