For all of you who enjoy strange and far out builds, I submit for your consideration: The Assault Engineer.
As all engineer players know and most of the rest of you know, engineers were announced as a purely ranged based class. Just looking at their weapon sets and skills and its hard not to see this class as a class optimised for ranged play. I am here to dispell those notions.
Not only CAN the Engineer be a melee class, it can be extremely effective in melee. This does not mean this is an easy build to play. In fact, this is probably the most challenging build I have created and played since the BWEs and launch.
With that in mind, how do we build an Assault Engineer?
Tool Kit and the Basic Build
Every Assault Engineer starts and ends with his Tool Kit.
This is an often neglected skill with seemingly very little advantage over the other weapon kits. It neither generates a great deal of debuffs nor a great deal of utility. However, this kit does offer all the basic ingredients of a melee class:
- Smack/Thwack/Whack: Spammable AOE melee ability on your 1st skill slot
- Box of Nails: Cripple skill that keeps enemies from running away
- Pry Bar: Very high damage single target attack that also debuffs with Confuse (pairs very well with your block).
- Gear Shield: Blocking skill that is on par in duration and cooldown to every other shield blocking skill.
- Magnet: An excellent pulling skill. Also effective for catching stray targets.
With your Tool Kit in hand, what about your basic build?
- 30 trait points – Invention (Select the Major traits: Stabilised Armor, Reinforced Shield, Elite Supplies)
- 20 trait points – Alchemy (Select the Major traits: Protection Injection, Backpack Regenerator)
- 20 trait points – Tools (Select the Major traits: Speedy Gadget, Power Wrench)
Base Weapon Set: Pistol + Shield
Healing Skill: Healing Turret
- Rocket Boot
- Personal Battering Ram / Throw Mine
- Supply Drop
Items: Focus on getting items with a high Toughness and Power. Healing Power is also extremely effective due to your Backpack Regenerators’ per-second constant regeneration.
Basic Tactics (using the above build)
There are few things to consider for any melee class, but most will tell you that the most important is survival.
While GW2 doesn’t have a standard “Holy Trinity” type of “tanking”, it does have a very robust “mob control” system, which can be used for “tanking”. For some, this involves weaving in and out of combat ensuring that you take the least amount of hits possible (i.e. thieves). For others, this means creating an area of control where you have various defensive and offensive advantages over the enemy (i.e. guardians). For yet more, this means controlling the mob themselves through various disables and debuffs (i.e. warriors).
An Engineer can perform any of the above, but most Assault Engineers will find the last strategy of debuffs and disables the easiest to implement. To this effect, you will rely on your various Knockback, Pull, Stun, and Block abilities. Normally, these skills are intended to keep your engineer out of the reach of melee combat. With an assault engineer, these abilities will be used to disable your opponents.
To this effect, you should remember that all Knockback, Knockdown, and Pull abilities will stagger your opponent. The greater the knockback or pull effect, the longer your opponent will be staggered. During this time, they cannot attack, move or use skills.
- Magnetic Shield: Reflects all projectiles.
- Static Shield: Blocks all attacks
- Gear Shield: Blocks all attacks
- Static Shield > Throw Shield: Dazes for 1 second
- Static Shield: All melee blocks stun for 2 seconds
- Supply Drop: AOE stun for 2 seconds
- Magnetic Shield > Magnetic Inversion
- Throw Mine > Detonate
- Personal Battering Ram
Combining these abilities, the timeline of my attacks are usually:
- While running in, Static Shot as soon as the mobs are in range (this should aggro all the mobs and cause them to bunch up).
- Follow up with a quick double-tap on Static Shield (to trigger its cone attack)
- Next hit Poison Dart as you start to enter melee range. (Being so close to your enemy, most of your darts should hit)
- As soon as you are in Melee Range, switch to your Tool Kit and start Smacking
- Use your various disable skills as needed
Your healing turret is extremely effective at this range. Not only does it provide an instant heal and area regeneration, it also provides a quick AOE attack by detonating it. On top of this, you can also hit your Tool Belt healing spray. I generally reserve this for when any range attackers are about to launch into a rapid volley (to trigger the combo field effect).
Disable your opponents as needed with the above skills. Block any Red Circle of Death attacks.
Advanced Tactics and Maths
If you are still reading, you are may be wondering about the heavy focus on Toughness.
The reason is in the below two formulas. First, damage calculation:
Final Damage = Attack – Armor
Attack is the sum of all the various buffs and skill damage modifiers. For all intents and purposes, this number is a static sum as critical damage is normalised over any extended time interval.
Second for Armor:
Armor = Defense + Toughness
Through extensive data mining, you will find that Defense on medium armor is only 6.8% lower than heavy armor. Any sufficiently high level player will also tell you that your Toughnesscan easily become more than 3 times that of your Defense stat.
Armed with the above knowledge, you should conclude that the actual difference in Armor between Heavy Armor and Medium Armor users is significantly less than 6.8%. In fact, you can easily get as high Armor as a Heavy Armor user.
With such a high Armor, your one critical weakness is against damage-over-time skills that cause Bleeding, Burning, or Poison. These attacks completely bypass Armor. Against these types of attacks, your best defense is a large HP pool and regeneration. This is the primary reason for the investment in Alchemy. First, it provides you a crucial buff to your HP pool. Second, the Backpack Regenerator trait synergises extremely well with the +Healing Power from Invention.
Overall, your Assault Engineer should be one of the beefiest melee characters on the field.