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Guild Wars 2 Mesmer Condition Build

Guild Wars 2 Mesmer Condition Build by Astus

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen someone post a mesmer condition build, so I decided to write up a guide. I’m obviously not the first to come up with such a build, and thank you to the many other posts that allowed me to hone this build. This guide is not meant to start an argument of what is better – a DPS or condition build – as I think both are strong given the right play style. Instead, it’s to summarize how to build and play a condition mesmer.

This build focuses on applying burns, bleeds, and confusion to your enemy by mostly using your staff, staff clones, shatters, and ability to get out a constant stream of clones. It is sometimes argued that condition damage is inferior to direct damage, which may be the case with some classes, but the mesmer tool belt allows for a condition build that is very strong and survivable.

QUICK BREAKDOWN (with food and stacks):
Power: 1319
Precision: 1699 (41% crit chance)
Toughness: 1799 w/ staff (2719 armor)
Vitality: 1235 (18,272 health)
Condition Damage: 1780 (773 dps burns, 132 dps bleeds, 397 dmg per stack of confusion and 2,382 dmg with 6)
Critical Damage: 32

In a nutshell, your strategy should revolve around keeping up staff clones and well-timed shatters to apply confusion. It’s important to realize that your clones inherit the condition damage you have (minus runes, but plus stacks for sigils.) This means that with an inheritable condition damage around 1700, your clones can do burns around 750 dps and bleeds around 130 dps with two-thirds of their winds of chaos casts (the other 1/3 applies vulnerability). In addition, all winds of chaos hits bounce back to allies, including those from your clones, giving might or fury to you and your allies.
Laying out your clones is similar to most shatter builds that use the staff. Because staff clones generally stay in one spot, it’s best to lay them near the target in case you have an immediately good opportunity to shatter.

When approaching a target, I like to generally do the following – cast chaos storm on target, roll into the chaos storm (pick up a few boons + create 1st clone), phase retreat out after a few seconds (get chaos armor from ethereal field combo + create distance + create 2nd clone), then potentially roll to the left or right to create a “triangle” of clones around the target. If the target remains in that “triangle”, I will use a shatter (remember that Cry of Frustration can apply up to 6 stacks, while the others apply up to 3 stacks), putting confusion on him/her. If not, I will likely leave them up and let them work their burns/bleeds, only shattering once I’ve lured the target into a vicinity surrounded by my clones. Of course, it’s not always as cut and dry as this because you’re clones will die, move, etc., but it’s important to realize that one should not just spam shatters with this build. Sending clones to chase the target will stop them from casting winds of chaos and your shatters will hit less frequently if not done when your target is “cornered” by clones.

EDIT: While fighting more than one opponent, I have a tendency to shatter A LOT more for a few reasons. First, the added chaos makes it harder for opponents to recognize clones running at them. Second, the shatter AOE effect is more likely to apply confusion to someone, even if it’s not my intended target. Third, in this situation, clones are more likely to be killed by crossfire, so it’s better to try and apply confusion rather than have them die. Overall, applying AOE confusion to an enemy group is much more detrimental than focusing on a target with your clone’s winds of chaos. If an enemy group is huddled together, I’ll charge in with an approach similar to above and drop 3 clones + cast a no-hesitation Cry of Frustration. More often than not, they will melt themselves, regardless of their toughness or health pool, as they try to attack you +/- the rest of your group. For the remainder of the fight, I’ll generally stay somewhat close and continually spam clones + apply shatter AOE confusion (this is doable because of your survivability discussed more in depth below.) But, if things start to get rough – I’ll blink, decoy, or distort to create some distance and heal up. Wash, rinse, repeat.

0 / 20 / 25 / 0 / 25
The above point allocation is debatable, and I personally move 5 points here and there depending on how I feel. Nevertheless, I always keep these 3 trait lines because of their great synergy in this build. Basically, the Dueling lines allows clones to inflict bleeds (condition damage) on critical and allows for higher staff clone output (deceptive evasion). The Chaos line gives you significant survivability via added toughness, its passive traits, reduced cooldown on staff (more clones plus increased chaos armor uptime), and increased boon duration (specifically for protection and aegis). Further, 25 points in the chaos line adds 5% of your toughness to condition damage. Finally, the Illusion line – just look at what it gives you – it’s a no brainer and I don’t need to explain it here. However, I will mention why I don’t put 30 points into it below.

Dueling (20):
- Summary: Gives you and your clones greater precision, giving more chance to apply bleeds (clones via sharper images and you via sigil of earth)
- Critical Infusion (Passive): Gives you vigor and keeps your endurance up to create more clones on dodge (see below)
- Sharper Images (Passive): Illusions inflict bleeds on critical hits – no brainer with condition build
- Blade Training (Adept): I’ll explain why I use the sword in this relatively low power build later
- Deceptive Evasion (Master): Create clones on dodge – no brainer in a shatter or condition build – more clones = more condition damage and more confusion with shatters.

Chaos (25):
- Summary: Gives you AND YOUR CLONES more toughness, making everything about you harder to kill.
- Metaphysical Rejuvenation (Passive): Really not all that helpful considering this build has close to 0 healing power.
- Illusionary Membrane (Passive): Excellent passive trait that allows you to survive almost any unforeseen attack (thieves.)
- Chaotic Transference (Passive): One of the reasons I don’t go 30 into Illusions. With around 1800 toughness in this build, this trait gives you 90 additional condition damage, as opposed to 50 more with an additional 5 points in Illusions. Hence, putting 25 points in Chaos instead of 30 in Illusions gives you an additional 50 toughness and 40 more condition damage.
- ???? (Adept): Pretty much all of these traits are good. Personally, I mostly run with Illusionary Defense, as I keep my clones up often enough to notice its benefits.
- Chaotic Dampening (Master): Core to the build. Having phase retreat roughly every 5 secs allows for increased clone output, attack evasion, and ability to get combo-armors from etheral fields. The reduced cooldown on chaos storm allows you to place this seriously debilitating AOE more often, while giving you and your allies some amazing defensive boons (it’s one of the strongest mesmer skills in my opinion.)

Illusions (25):
- Summary: Your best friend – more condition damage, increased shatter recharge rate, increased confusion duration, confusion and might upon shatters, and added staff bounces.
- Illusionists Celerity (Passive): Useful if you use mirror images
- Illusionary Retribution (Passive): Core of build – shattering clones applies confusion.
- Shattered Strength (Passive): Additional condition damage and temporarily makes up for low power via might stacks.
- Master of Misdirection (Adept): Gives a very noticeable 33% increased duration to confusion you apply.
- Illusionary Elasticity (Master): Your staff (not clones) winds of chaos gets an additional bounce. I believe clones are “supposed” to inherit this trait, which would be very nice.
Now to address what most people are thinking – why not 30 points in Illusions for “added condition damage” and Illusionary Persona. Well, I addressed the fallacy of added condition damage above. In regards to Illusionary Persona, I’ve tried it many times and don’t find it all that useful in this build because shattering is situational and 2 more stacks of confusion is not really needed with the amount of damage that just a few confusion stacks can do. In a DPS heavy shatter build, it would be essential, but in a condition build, I’d rather have the added 40 points of condition damage and additional toughness, as chaos would be the only line you could remove 5 points from.

These take advantage of the mesmer’s core design of deception and evasion. They are useful for both getting away and deceiving the opponent during a fight.
- Blink: Not only good for creating or closing distance, but extremely sneaky if used to blink behind the opponent when they are facing/charging you
- Decoy: Excellent tool during a fight as any stealth causes the opponent to drop you as a target. Further, if you dodge during stealth, clones will spawn, leaving the enemy to think you came out of stealth. When the stealth wears off, stand still and pretend you’re a clone while you and you’re clones apply burns/bleeds.
- Null Field / Signet of Domination / Portal: This slot depends on the situation. Null field is nice for condition removal and a chaos armor combo with phase retreat. Signet of Domination is useful for added condition damage and stun. Portal is nice for various situations in WvW or when players fall somewhere debilitating in PvE.
- Mass Invisibility: Great in both 1v1 and group situations. In a 1v1 situation, it can either deceive the opponent or give you time to regroup if needed. In group situations, every enemy looses a target that goes stealth and everyone in stealth essentially gets a “free attack”. Use this only when you think you can pull it off as it is easily interrupted and takes a good second to cast. On another note, I only use time warp in PvE and on golems (WvW) as I find mass invisibility every 90 seconds much more debilitating to the enemy rather than a quickness AOE field which enemies can retreat from. Plus, it has a long cooldown..

Ether feast, ether feast, ether feast. Even with close to no healing power, this heal is a beast if you have a few clones out. And, even if you are shattering a lot, your ability to get clones out quickly means that you should never really have to do a heal with less than two active clones. A quick tip for this – you have a short window to heal with the added bonus from clones even after you cast a shatter. This means that if you shatter and then realize your health is low, don’t be afraid to cast ether feast, as the animation +/- gap closing of the clones gives you a second or two to still enjoy the added heal bonus of active illusions.

The chosen gear provides a lot of additional condition damage, while making up for some of the weaker stats of the build via trinkets. I’ve tried countless combinations and this is what I’ve found to work best. Specifically, I have found that going all precision/toughness/condition damage is less effective because sometimes you need that little bit of extra power (breaking siege, small DD burst via sword and mind wrack, etc.) Essentially, every piece of gear should give you condition damage, and it’s up to you what other combinations you would like.
- Armor: Exotic 6 pieces of Khilbron (condition main, toughness/precision minor)
- Rings: Ascended (condition main, toughness/precision minor)
- Earrings: Exotic (condition main, power/vitality minor)
- Amulet: Exotic (condition main, power/vitality minor)
- Back: Ascended (condition main, toughness/precision minor)
- Weapons: Exotic (condition main, toughness/precision minor)
- Runes: Divinity (one could go with the Runes of Undead, which I’ve tried, but I like the 60 points added to all traits for more balance. Specifically, the added 12 points to crit damage provides a nice “umph” to your critical hits and makes up some for the low direct damage).
As an aside, the reason why Divinity runes are superior to other gear that spreads out stats (rings, amulets, earrings) is because it actually adds significantly more points to your raw total stat pool, whereas trinkets and the such simply spread out the numbers compared to their counterparts. A set of most runes will give you somewhere around a total of 240 points added to you stats + a special effect. 6 Divinity runes gives you 60 points in 6 areas (360 total points) + 12% more critical damage. That is a pretty significant difference IMO, and well worth it.

As I’ve touched upon the staff so much already, I won’t mention it again here. Instead, I’ll discuss what secondary weapons I’ve found useful – which are sword/scepter and focus/torch.
- Sword: Despite this build’s lower power, blurred frenzy still does decent AOE direct damage, makes you invulnerable upon using it, and can proc bleeds or fire depending on the sigil you choose. Further, the sword #3 ability spawns another clone, allows you to catch and finish enemies who’ve decided to run away at lower health, and is a stun breaker. Your investment into the Dueling line allows you to easily pick up the Blade Training trait, increasing your precision with the sword and reducing its cooldowns so that you can get off sword #3 and #2 twice before switching back to the staff. Overall, this weapon gives the build added balance via the ability to do decent direct damage and I generally run with this instead of the scepter.

- Scepter: I use this sometimes, but the problem with it is that only the #3 ability is of real benefit with its confusion stacks and decent damage, but even this is slow, easily interrupted, and can only be cast once before switching back to the staff. Opening with #3 on an unexpecting opponent is devastating, but that doesn’t happen too often. In 1v1, it’s great, but when managing multiple opponents, I find it lackluster. For example, in 1v2 situations, you will often get interrupted or hit for serious damage while you are trying to stay within 900 range of your target. You are then stuck with it for 10 seconds, doing feeble damage with scepter #1. I will say that the block can be nice and can do decent damage if you land one. It can also be useful for harassing towers in WvW as scepter #1 will create clones on every 3rd shot if you have line of sight, which you can then shatter. Further, it will do more ranged direct damage to oil pots/cannons than your staff, but if an enemy is manning one of those, you want to use the staff because its bounces can hit the enemy and apply conditions.

- Focus: Probably the most underrated weapon IMHO. The swiftness boon is an obvious nice to have given the mesmer’s notorious lack of ability to get it. However, its ability to control fights is often overlooked. From pulling enemies off walls/bridges/higher ground/away from you in WvW, to giving you 2x retalliation when you sword #3 twice through it, it’s invaluable. As for the iWarden, I think it gets a bad wrap because people tend to focus on its lack of movement and and don’t know about its other abilities. Firstly, it is another control mechanism as most players in WvW know by now to stay far away from that thing and you can push people back by casting it. Secondly, it negates projectiles if you are close to it while it’s attacking (and reflects them if traited for it in Inspiration.) Thirdly, it’s a great finisher when facing more than one opponent – cast it on a downed guy, move on to the next target, and it will usually finish the downed guy while you continue fighting. Finally, it’s a whirl combo finisher. This last point means that if you cast it and then immediately switch to your staff and drop chaos storm on it, it shoots out AOE confusion bolts, which is a very powerful tool with this build. Do this combo on an enemy oil pot and watch the defenders on the wall scatter.

- Torch: I use this sometimes and it can be an extremely useful weapon in a condition build, giving you added stealth and a phantasm that stacks on confusion. However, I find the overall utility of the focus better and have that equipped 99% of the time.

- Sigil of Corruption (Staff): Because condition damage transfers to your clones from sigil stacks, it is a must.
- Sigil of Earth (Staff alternate): Once you’ve got your 25 stacks, switch to this for a chance to apply more bleeds.
- Sigil of Fire (Sword): This AOE does very nice damage. Keep in mind that it’s not a burn so it isn’t increased by your condition damage. The reason why I don’t choose Sigil of Earth here is because you use the sword primarily for it’s blurred frenzy, which lasts about a second. The Sigil of Earth has a 2 second internal cooldown, so you’ll at most get 1 bleed. Hence, the Sigil of Fire is better for overall increased damage.
- Sigil of ? (Focus): It’s really up to you here, but keep in mind not to pick a sigil that has a cooldown (all “on weapon swap” ones do), because all sigils share the same cooldown. For example, sigil of energy would be nice for the added endurance, but its 5 second cooldown will likely negate your ability to proc AOE fire from your sword.

- Superior Sharpening Stone: To give the build a little bit more power, which IS noticeable. However, I sometimes play with the Superior Crystals to take me up to 1900 condition damage.
- -40% condition duration, +70 vitality(forget name): Essentially cutting down condition damage by 40%, which can be very nice during an encounter with another condition build, as mesmers are notorious for having terrible condition removal. Also, it decreases the time of effects/conditions like chills, weakness, vulnerability, etc.
That’s pretty much it. I’ve played all of the mesmer builds and like them all for various reasons, but my playstyle makes this one the most powerful and forgivable for me. I honestly don’t know the last time I lost a 1v1 to any class with this build. I will say, however, that the one class – I repeat one class – that I sometimes have trouble with is a DPS heavy mesmer. I think this stems from the fact that staff clones often get distracted by the closest target (enemy clones/phantasms included), disrupting their ability to apply focused shatters and conditions.
If anyone has any questions/comments/additions, feel free to post em. If you want to get into the argument about its effectiveness and viability, please try to refrain, as this guide is meant to help those looking to try a mesmer condition build, not state that it’s better than others.

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