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Understanding Firebrand build/armor variants?


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Returning old school player here. Barely touched PoF on launch and recently renewed my enjoyment of Guardian with the Firebrand spec.

I've been enjoying doing my daily T4s on my Daredevil, but I'm thinking about setting up my Firebrand as a backup. I've tried to do some research on like metabattle and some of the more popular raiding guild sites, but, the thing is, there's a lot of varieties in FB builds as far as which gear/role to fill, and I'm not really sure I'm understanding the nuances, and I don't have the in-game resources to test all variants of armor.

I want to be in a more healing/buffing role. What's the nuance between a Quickbrand and a Healbrand? How easily can a Healbrand provide 100% quickness? Where is the line drawn between running Minstrel's, Harrier's, and Cleric's gear?

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Quickbrands are built mostly for damage. They wear berserker gear and take mostly damage traits/utilities, with the exception of those to maintain quickness. The Healbrand is a dedicated healer. They wear harrier gear and mostly take traits/utilities that give out buffs and heal other players. Healbrands can more easily provide 100% quickness.

When it comes to gear choices, you'll want Harriers for PVE, and Minstrel for WvW. The reasons for this are simple: Additional toughness will PVE aggro, and with all of the healing/aegis you have it will matter very little for your survival. Harriers gives you enough damage to matter, while also giving you all of the concentration and healing to support a group. However, in WvW the amount of damage you can safely dish out is very low, and you'll be focused by players who want to kill the healer first. Because of this, Minstrel is better for personal survival AND for supporting the squad.

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There's two quickbrands, one is power and one is condi. The condi variant does more damage overall if the full burning duration is utilized. Discretize recommends the power variant despite the condi variant (grieving+sinister+viper mixed to hit 100% burn duration with Balthazar's rune) doing more overall damage because oftentimes things die faster than the burn will tick except for bosses.

Healbrand is basically built in two ways, minstrel or harrier. Both sets have boon duration but minstrel's has higher healing but lower boon duration because it is a 4 stat set; Rheyo from FoTM guild uses minstrel's because the DPS you get from Harrier is abysmal so you don't lose out on much if the rest of your party isn't garbage.

If you're pugging you will probably want to build harrier.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Diviner's pieces have been used in the past, but all current builds use Stalwart Speed to benefit from higher ferocity/condition damage rather than boon duration and people are looking for heals oftentimes.You'd need 55% boon duration without stalwart speed and 15% with it (so just fractal pot is 225 concentration at 150AR), because "Feel My Wrath" was changed.

Diviner's is used on Renegade because you're trying to hit > 78% boon duration.

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The main point is that all variants of firebrand can give permanent quickness easily with minimal investment in boon duration. Thus, this is your most important job. In fractals, diviners is not needed because of the fractal potions and full zerker is taken for power quickbrand. You can still mix in some diviners should you struggle with quickness. Also with the mistlock, you can cast Feel My Wrath twice, since touching it refreshes your cooldowns, further reducing the need for uptime.

Condi quickness firebrand is basically just the same thing, but with condi damage. Condi is a bit troublesome for fractals because enemies have low health and bosses have phases which do not allow your condis to tick. However, condi firebrand is quite strong with fractal cms or raids due to the higher enemy health.

Healbrand is generally considered an easy way to carry pugs through fractals. Minstrels is best for fractals due to instabilities such as frailty reducing your health. The only use of harrier is for raids, because of tanking mechanics-- having more toughness than the tank will screw up boss aggro. In fractals there is no tank anyways. While harrier will also work for fractals, there's really no point since it has less healing and negligible damage anyways. The boon duration is not a big deal because of fractal potions.

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Reporting back. Thanks to those who initially gave some basic advice early on as well as those who have kept this conversation going.

I just finished my fully ascended Harrier's set last Wednesday and have been doing T4s every day on my Guardian.

In short, if you are not a very experienced player, or tend to shy away from classes with small health pools and limited mobility, I would recommend going Minstrel's for Pugging T4 Fractals.

The long version: In full Harrier's gear with Monk Runes, I have under 12k health. You can technically give yourself Vigor with your F2 Tome (generally I've found F2 #3/4 to be a waste of GCD), but, especially when you consider most builds don't run a Stunbreak or a repositioning tool, a misstep can mean not only your death but possibly an entire party wipe, especially in 99/100. I know I can still improve, but I also tend to find myself hyper focusing on player's health, positioning, and current boon timers. This leads to a fair bit of situations, especially in times of high damage being taken, when I might not even target an enemy, let alone hit them, so the Power Primary of Harrier's can go to waste.

Now, I don't regret building my Harrier's set and have no intention of building Minstrels. I can just wear some cheap Exotic Soldier's Gear if I want more Tankiness in WvW. One of the draws to Harrier was based on the prospect of Raiding, but I'm unsure if I'm going to seriously pursue raiding.

Some notes about the builds I've been reading up on and adjusting:https://snowcrows.com/raids/builds/guardian/firebrand/heal/https://metabattle.com/wiki/Build:Firebrand_-_Support_Healer

Honor and Firebrand traits are obviously mandatory, and, at the moment, I really prefer Virtues as my third. I think Radiance leans too hard on your team being good, and Valor only really brings Monks Focus, which might be worthwhile if made room for a Meditation skill (or two).

Utility-wise, Mantra of Potence and Mantra of Lore are essentially mandatory. There are certain times you could technically drop Lore on certain fights/adds/instability combinations, but, even then, regen is nice. Personally, I have been underwhelmed by Bow of Truth, and felt like the additional healing pulses are generally wasted, which might change if I start running CMs/Raids. In it's place, I really have grown fond of Merciful Intervention. It's basically a two-way "get out of jail free" card. It can CC Break and heal yourself if you whoopsie, OR, perhaps more importantly, the downed player revive aspect is incredibly useful when running with.... unreliable PUGs.

TL;DL: Built Harrier's, enjoying T4s. If you run PUG T4s and nothing else, Minstrel's might make your life easier.

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@Blood Red Arachnid.2493 said:

When it comes to gear choices, you'll want Harriers for PVE, and Minstrel for WvW. The reasons for this are simple: Additional toughness will PVE aggro, and with all of the healing/aegis you have it will matter very little for your survival. >You have explained most of stuff right but i disagree on running harrier gear . Toughness matters in raids where boss agro you.but with harrier u have 11k hp , in fractals u often get oneshoted because of instabilities like boon overload or outflanked . Even some strike missions like boneskinner it's easier with minstral.talkong about damage if u want more damage , why would u run healer in fractals , u don't need a healer to do fractals and also harrier gives u power and fb's most damage comes from burn so it's not much damage difference.with minstral gear u can carry pug groups in fractals as you are tanky and can't die easily.

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