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How to play Firebrand


Sephollos.4829
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I recently trained and geared a firebrand (viper gear), but I'm struggling to figure out how exactly to play the class. I'd like to use it for fractals and potentially raids/open world. I haven't spent much time on it yet so I'm by no means experienced yet, but it just feels really slow and clunky to me thus far. All of the skills are low-range, the only real mobility skill is on a 45s cooldown, and the cooldowns on the tomes are long enough that I'm always a bit hesitant to use them. I haven't been using tomes on non-elite mobs at all, because I don't want to use it on normal mobs and then not have it if a stronger monster appears.

The lack of mobility has been huge, since I'm used to playing either a warrior or dragonhunter, both of which have very low-cooldown leaps or charges that I use in essentially every single encounter to close the gap. That extra 2-4s of walking ends up causing me to take a lot more hits than normal, and kill things slower...sometimes my health has dropped by 75% by the time I even reach a monster group.

Does anyone have any advice on how best to play the class? I think it's mostly the mobility and cooldowns that have been causing me to struggle.

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I recently got some gear for condition firebrand as well and tried it out for the first time doing some silver waste yesterday. It was pretty fun but like you said I felt pretty slow...on dragon hunter I had my skills keybound that could possibly be why I feel slow on firebrand last night I was clicking everything and reading what the skills do before I clicked them lol. But to answer your question about the long cooldowns on tomes...are you using the virtues traitline? And also are you using the elite skill meditation focus or whatever it is? It makes immune to all damage for 3 seconds then recharges your tomes. Also for tome of justice there’s a trait in radiance line that renews it upon you killing an enemy

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Firebrand has a steep learning curve until you know what all the skills in your tomes do. After that you become very powerful. My advice is to use the raid build and learn the dps rotation (Snow Crows is good). Experiment with the different Tomes. Learn how to open against different types of enemies when solo. Against more difficult groups of enemies you will need to pre-buff yourself with Tome 3 and use your reflects. Also, nothing is stopping you from replacing sceptre with greatsword in open world. If you are traited properly Tome 1 (Tome of Justice) resets on kills that give you experience so you should be spamming this tome. Use skills that give yourself quickness.

example: GS3 into enemy, GS5 pull, swap to axe, Axe2 daze, Tome 1-->3,2,4,5,2, Axe 2, etc

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Thanks for the info - I actually had no idea about the tome resetting on kills. I usually overlook the traits that I don't have to actually select. One thing I couldn't figure out: the Snowcrows guide recommends only using the torch 4 skill or Tome of Justice if you recently cast symbol of punishment...is there a reason for this? Does the symbol amplify its damage or something? I tried looking through all of my traits and skill descriptions, but couldn't figure it out!

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@"CptAurellian.9537" said:If you don't place the symbol before entering the tome, you simply lose its ticks that would do damage "passively" while you're casting the tome skills.

Ideally you're also running a trait which gives you a damage modifier versus enemies standing on one of your symbols. Hence the symbol causes your tome burst to hit harder.

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@"Sephollos.4829" said:Thanks for the info - I actually had no idea about the tome resetting on kills. I usually overlook the traits that I don't have to actually select. One thing I couldn't figure out: the Snowcrows guide recommends only using the torch 4 skill or Tome of Justice if you recently cast symbol of punishment...is there a reason for this? Does the symbol amplify its damage or something? I tried looking through all of my traits and skill descriptions, but couldn't figure it out!

As far as I can tell that's actually a mistake. Their Firebrand build isn't running Zeal, which has a trait that increases damage to opponents in symbols.https://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Symbolic_AvengerMight just be a leftover from an earlier build that did use Zeal.Bottom line, just ignore that for now.

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@Korvous.6340 said:

@"CptAurellian.9537" said:If you don't place the symbol before entering the tome, you simply lose its ticks that would do damage "passively" while you're casting the tome skills.

Ideally you're also running a trait which gives you a damage modifier versus enemies standing on one of your symbols. Hence the symbol causes your tome burst to hit harder.

You don't run that trait with the current viper build. I'm pretty sure that, unless it's really just a mistake, the reason for placing the symbol right before going into the tome is simple: The damage done by the symbol and the burns it causes outweighs the cost of delaying F1 by 1-2 seconds.

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@Sephollos.4829 said:All of the skills are low-range, the only real mobility skill is on a 45s cooldown, and the cooldowns on the tomes are long enough that I'm always a bit hesitant to use them. I haven't been using tomes on non-elite mobs at all, because I don't want to use it on normal mobs and then not have it if a stronger monster appears.

The lack of mobility has been huge, since I'm used to playing either a warrior or dragonhunter, both of which have very low-cooldown leaps or charges that I use in essentially every single encounter to close the gap. That extra 2-4s of walking ends up causing me to take a lot more hits than normal, and kill things slower...sometimes my health has dropped by 75% by the time I even reach a monster group.

I don't worry about perfect rotations too much:Use mounts to close gaps if neededAxe 3 pulls mobs towards youF1: damage tome: I burn through this whenever off CD (3 has AOE mob grouping)Once on CD use axe/offhand and switch to second weapon.Don't use F2/F3 much solo as quicker to kill usually than defend/heal. Useful for kiting though if you over-do it.

I use mantras and spam first 2 charges as needed, unless in a map with lots of water where they reset (annoying)

Don't worry about long CDs, if you do, you will never use the ability and it is a waste to have.

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@CptAurellian.9537 said:

@CptAurellian.9537 said:If you don't place the symbol before entering the tome, you simply lose its ticks that would do damage "passively" while you're casting the tome skills.

Ideally you're also running a trait which gives you a damage modifier versus enemies standing on one of your symbols. Hence the symbol causes your tome burst to hit harder.

You don't run that trait with the current viper build. I'm pretty sure that, unless it's really just a mistake, the reason for placing the symbol right before going into the tome is simple: The damage done by the symbol and the burns it causes outweighs the cost of delaying F1 by 1-2 seconds.

The symbols don't burn either without Zeal but this could still be indeed why.

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@Sephollos.4829 said:Thanks for the info - I actually had no idea about the tome resetting on kills. I usually overlook the traits that I don't have to actually select. One thing I couldn't figure out: the Snowcrows guide recommends only using the torch 4 skill or Tome of Justice if you recently cast symbol of punishment...is there a reason for this? Does the symbol amplify its damage or something? I tried looking through all of my traits and skill descriptions, but couldn't figure it out!

That thing about symbols is a Damage uptime thing. Symbols can continue to deliver damage while you use other skills, so its saying thats part of the maximum DPS potential by delivering 2 attacks in the same time span. It makes sense when you look at step 2, and run into why this tip is brought up. Having been playing with FB the last few days, that thing about Radiant fire is it triggering via traits will actually Flip Torch 4 if you have it equipped. If you're not aware of this, you might try to manually activate zealot's flame (which is instant cast), but get stuck doing the throw flame animation instead. I found this out the hard way, and took a little while to realize what was going on.

So what hes saying is, a crit hit will trigger the trait, try to fire off a symbol, and throw the flame before it times out. You then immediately follow up with activating Torch 4 (zealots flame) which never went on cool down, and throw the second flame. This assumes you have good ping to the server- because I can tell you right now that at 230ms, doing this chain would be impossible for me before Zealots flame expires.

Ironically, despite the tight timings, the rotation is actually not that complicated. And while botching the rotation is a significant loss of DPS, its mostly due to how potent burn stacks are individually. I would argue this rotation wouldn't work well in Fractals, due to the constant evasion you'll be doing at higher levels. In comparison, raids allow players to be static for significant periods, and build in specific burn phases to allow for it. That said..... the Torch 4 caveat of the rotation leaves you pretty vulnerable, is based on your reaction speed, and being in position at the right time when the trait triggers (which is usually an opening at the start of the fight, but the timer has be mentally tracked from that point on). So for fractals I wouldn't worry TOO much about the DPS loss, since that rotation is too difficult to maintain while avoiding damage. Unless you're comp can tank it.... but how often does that happen in pugs?

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@"Snowjob.7245" said:https://qtfy.eu/guildwars/guardian/condi-fb-build-guide/

That's the build with zeal you're looking for.

I think it is technically better on single target by a bit but the virtues build is about a billion times better if there is even one add. So virtues build for fractals for sure.

If grieving/zeal was better against single targets, you can be pretty sure that it would be meta at SC. The difference is probably still pretty small (since there haven't been big changes), but expect viper/virtues to be ahead for single targets.

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The qtfy build hasn't been updated since before the quickfire/ashes of the just nerf, so I wouldn't rely on that build at all.

I also wouldn't really use Firebrand for high level Fractals. Generally condition builds are not great as you don't often get the chance to ramp up those condis, whereas DH with its burst is generally considered one of the best.

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