Guild Wars 2: Combat Mechanics you MUST know! | Mounts, Combo Fields, CC and more!


Hey there guys, In this video I want to discuss some advanced combat mechanics. These go a little further than just pressing random skills and will make you more efficient in group or solo content. And, of course, this will make your experience within the game much more enjoyable. Some of the topics in this video are derived from comments and others I compiled myself. Got a useful tip yourself? Don’t forget to leave it in the comments! Oh, at the end of video I will start mashing my keyboard, stick around if you want to see that. Without further ado, let’s get into the video. Let’s start off with Mounts. Yes, I’m sure you know about this or have seen other players doing it.

But why do they do it and what mount do you use for a specific encounter? You see a lot players using a mount to initiate on a boss or encounter and completely miss the mark by jumping past the enemy or it not having the desired effect. So, let’s start of with why you are using a mount to initiate a fight. At most encounters a mount is used to break the Break Bar of a Champion or Legendary boss. In most cases, when the Break Bar, the blue bar under the health bar, breaks the boss will become exposed.

This is similar to your favorite YouTuber getting exposed. But instead of losing subscribers, a boss in Guild Wars 2 takes extra direct damage and from damage conditions. This moment of exposure is very brief. It only lasts about 2-3 seconds but if everyone brings their A-game to the encounter, you can do significant damage to this boss. The most common mount to do this with is the Springer. The Springer mostly stays in one position when you use its engage skill. You don’t move back or forth and you can really aim where you want to land. Make sure you have your masteries leveled by the way. You can only break the Break Bar if you have the Forceful impact mastery leveled on your Springer from the Path of Fire expansion.

For the rest of the video I will assume you have these masteries, else this video will be a bit long-winded to go through! You can easily unlock those masteries while playing through the Path of Fire story. So, anyway, you usually use the Springer in these boss like scenarios. However, there are other mounts that are better suited for different situations. Let’s go over these real quick. Let’s have a look at the Raptor. This mount is ideal if you want to pull multiple enemies together and then start the fight.

Of course, this only works if you have all the masteries for the Raptor. When you packed them tight together, you can start using your AoE skills on them to do a good amount of damage. I also really like to use the Raptor to jump into a fight that has already started. The Raptor can travel a good amount of ground in a short period of time and then quickly engage with his first skill. This will damage a boss, break his Break Bar a little bit and pull surrounding enemies into the fray. Another great mount to engage a fight with is the Skyscale.

Instead of stunning or applying Crowd Control to a specific boss, the Skyscale leave a fiery field when you use its engage skill. This will damage the boss or an enemy and can be used to combo your skills with. More on these combo fields later in the video. This is ideal when the enemies are already clumped up or you can pull them together in your fire field. You can also use this engage when a boss has no Break Bar or his Break Bar has recently been broken by other players. There is one downside to this engage skill; it is very hard to aim. Well, you get the hang of it after a bit of trial and error. If you want your fire field exactly on the boss or a specific mob of enemies, you actually have to use your engage skill in front of it. This is because the Skyscale will move forward a little bit before it uses its fire field.

Therefore, it can be a bit harder to aim if you are trying to aim for a boss or a group that moves around. It is worth practicing! The other mounts, the Skimmer and the Jackal are great to support allies that are in trouble. The Skimmer can heal your squad and the Jackal can grant them shields in the form of a Barrier. This is really helpful if you have a smaller group that could use some support when they are in trouble fighting a boss. I would not recommend using the Rollerbeetle to initiate a fight. So far, this mount does not bring much to the table in terms of initiation with its engage skill. It does not offer any kind of Crowd Control, Support and does not do a lot damage. And next to that it’s extremely hard to aim since you are going extremely fast.

So, to summarize, use the Springer for precise aimed Crowd Control on a boss or enemies that are already close together. Use the raptor to pull enemies without a Break Bar together or when you want to engage in an ongoing fight. Use the Skyscale for a Fire Combo field and overall good damage. And use the Jackal and Skimmer to support your squad or allies. From now on, I don’t want to see you guys using a Skyscale on a boss with a Break Bar! Nah, just kidding. You get the idea. Let’s move on to a feature I just mentioned, combo fields and finishers. To be honest, you can play this game without even knowing what a combo field is and still be very efficient. But if you really want to get the maximum benefit out of every situation and learn how to buff your allies in combat, you got to use a combo field or a finisher.

Have you ever noticed that some skills leave a field and are easily recognizable in battle? Then it is most likely a combo field. Every profession has multiple of these combo fields. Even your profession has some! You can easily find out which skills will cause a combo field by hovering over them and look for the text “Combo Field”. Once your figured out which skills will create a Combo Field you should see what kind of Combo Field it will create. Is it Fire, Light, Water, Dark or something else? Keep this in mind while we look for your finisher! So, once you used your skill and created a specific field, you want to follow that up with a finisher. Currently, there are 4 types or finishers; Blast Finishers, Leap Finishers, Projectile Finishers and Whirl Finishers. Using one of these 4 finishers inside a combo field will give you a buff based on the type of finisher.

Blast Finishers are usually caused by magic attacks but even some Warhorn skills will create a Blast Finisher. Blast Finishers are most commonly used to buff your allies. For example, using “Eruption”, a blast finisher, on a “Geyser”, a water field, will cause an area healing effect. Leap Finishers are granted on using a leap or a “jump” skill through a field. This usually grants you a defensive buff in the form of an aura. For example, using “Leap of Faith” through a “Symbol of Wrath” will create a light aura which reduces your damage taken and damages enemies when they damage you. These auras usually reduce your damage taken and will damage enemies when they damage you. Projectile finishers are pretty self explanatory. You shoot a projectile through a combo field which will buff the skill you used and apply that effect to your enemy. Let’s say you shoot an arrow through a fire field. That arrow basically becomes lit and will burn your enemies.

And last but not least are the Whirl Finishers. If you use a Whirl Finisher in a Combo Field it will shoot all kinds of bolts to surrounding enemies. As with the other finishers, the effect of these bolts is based on the field you use the whirl finisher in. The most common example of this is Guardian’s “Whirling Wrath” in any field. Here you see my Guardian using “Whirling Wrath” in a Fire field. As you might have guessed, Whirling Wrath will cause you to shoot fire bolts to surrounding enemies. Luckily, Guild Wars 2 illustrates what the effect of your combo finisher within a combo field was. To better illustrate this, here is another example. If I would use “Wildfire” on my Elementalist, it will leave a Fire Field to combo in. I can follow that up with “Phoenix”, a blast finisher and this will give me and nearby allies might which allows us to deal more damage.

If I would follow up “Wildfire” with a leap, I would not get might but instead I would get a Fire Aura that burns foes that damage me. As you might have guessed, there are endless possibilities with Combo Fields and Combo Finishers. These Combos can also be used strategically. Let’s say you want to get past a couple of enemies but you don’t want to fight them? Use a Smoke Combo Field with a blast finisher to give yourself a few seconds of Stealth. This commonly used in PvP to escape nasty situations or you can use it if you want to surprise your enemy. But are these Combo Fields and Finishers really that important? Yes there are! Experienced groups highly depend on these fields to significantly increase their damage output. Back in the old dungeon days, Elementalists used their Fire Field and used a number of blast finishers inside this field to get 25 might in a matter of seconds. The might you would get from these combos would last fairly long and allowed you to start the fight with a lot of extra damage.

During the fight you could keep dropping these fields to continuously buff yourself and your allies. Nowadays, these combo fields are in almost every profession’s end game max. DPS rotation. I encourage you to go to Snow Crows, Metabattle or any other website and you will usually see a combination of a combo field and a combo finisher in a build’s rotation. So, these are not just things of the past. They are essential to optimize your damage rotation and buff your allies. It is good to be aware of the functionality of your Combo Fields. What happens a lot in open world and should be avoided in endgame content is overruling one’s combo field. Let’s say we are in a Raid or a Strike Mission and there is a fire field on the floor. Usually, people will follow that up a blast finisher to grant more might to the party or squad. This way they will deal more damage and it allows them to kill the boss much faster. If anyone would throw a water field on top of that and people would use their blast finisher on that field, it would cause everyone to get healing instead of might.

There are some situations that this is useful. However, a healer will usually keep the team alive and this will slow down the process of killing a boss. This could lead to your team not being able to execute a mechanic or a DPS check in time and would cause your party or squad to fail. Usually, a Chronomancer or Renegade will supply these boons for you so there is not much to worry about. But it is good that you are aware of the functionality of your skills, combo fields and combo finishers. There are a number combo fields and combo finishers that are commonly used. I could explain them all step by step, but then this video would be about 16 hours long. That would be a nice challenge actually… Luckily, the awesome people that contribute to the Guild Wars 2 wiki made a table with all the combinations of the combo fields and finishers. I have highlighted the ones that are most commonly used in the game.

You have a favorite Combo Field and Combo Finisher combination? Let me know in the comments! The next thing I would like to discuss is Soft and Hard Crowd Control. I will abbreviate Crowd Control to CC in this segment. In the first segment of this video, the one with the mounts, we already discussed Break Bars and the boss being exposed to your attacks. But now, did you know you can actually control the amount of CC you do? You can do this with Hard CC, which is usually just called CC or Crowd Control, and Soft CC.

Hard CC, are your knockbacks, Pulls, Launches and Stuns. But also Fear and Taunt are counted as Hard CC’s. These are basically effects that completely stop the actions of the enemy you apply CC to. If you use these effects on a boss with a Break Bar, it will lower that bar by considerable amount in an instant. And next to these hard CC’s, you have your soft CC’s. These are usually skills that slow your enemy down but not completely stop their actions. Examples of Soft CC are Blind, Chilled, Crippled, Slow or Immobilize. In contrast to Hard CC’s, these Soft CC’s will slowly degenerate the boss’ Break Bar. Since Hard CC’s usually have a longer cast time and a longer cool down, it is good to know that are also other ways to break a Break Bar.

I can give you a number situations where I ran out of Hard CC but could still help breaking a Break Bar by using a skill that caused Soft CC. You probably have more skills that cause soft CC than hard CC, so make sure to use them. It is also possible to combo these CC’s. A favorite combo I used when I used staff about 99% of the time was the Gust/Static Field combo. I trapped my enemy in a static field and used Gust to push that enemy in to edge of my Static Field.

This would leave the enemy stunned for a number of seconds and I could follow this up with Lava Font or another strong damaging skill. But when would you choose Soft CC over Hard CC? A great example can be found at the Raid Boss Gorseval. Gorseval is a boss that tests the DPS of your squad. I don’t want to dig too deep on the specific encounter but after a few of his attacks and phases he will try to purge the field and your party has two options; Do enough damage as a party to trigger his next phase or take an updraft at the sides of the platform. Usually, more experienced players will go for the DPS check and will do enough damage to trigger the next phase of the fight. But before these experienced players put their DPS to the test, they will delay a specific phase of the Gorseval Fight. And this is, the CC phase.

Experienced players are encouraged to only use soft CC or no CC at all and only to focus on damaging him. This way, it makes it easier to get Gorseval down to 66% percent and you can avoid the phase that he clears the field. So, next time you are at a world boss or doing Gorseval and run out of hard CC’s. Don’t forget to use the occasional Blind, Chill or Cripple to break a Break Bar! The last thing I want to discuss is your auto-attack. Never underestimate the power a good ol’ auto attack chain. And with this I mean the first skill on your bar, your skill number 1! [Starts Mashing Keyboard] NO. NO. NOT LIKE THAT YOU DUMMY! Jeez, that’s not how you play Guild Wars. …Alright, let me explain to you why we use it. What makes auto attacking so strong is your last skill of your auto attack chain. This last skill usually does a lot of damage, gives you or your allies a boon or strips a buff from your foes. After you have used your, so to say, big damage skills it is good to focus on using your auto attack chain.

Instead of having all of your skills on cooldown it could be better to let your character have at it for a while. At least, that is what I used to do and still do in other games. Use all my skills at my disposal although it might not result in the highest DPS. In Open World PvE, this would not have much impact. I can say with certainty that the right gear and a few good skill to combo this with have more effect than your rotation. But if we take a look at end-game content like Fractals, Raids and Strike Missions auto attacking makes more sense.

This all highly depends on the profession, weapon and the role you have in a squad. If you know the mechanics of a specific boss and you use your big damage skills right before a boss enters his next phase, then most of the damage is lost because that boss will be invulnerable for the next few seconds. So, in this scenario it might be better to hold off from using that big damage skill until the boss returns to the playing field. Also, like I said before, when you have used your big damage skills, you might want to switch over to auto attacking since your other skills might not directly deal damage to a boss.

You don’t want to use your immobilize a boss when there is no Break Bar to break. I think it is a weird human trait to have everything on cooldown before you use an auto attack as a last resort. [Mashing Keyboard] Let’s take one of the best DPS dragonhunter builds to illustrate this a little better. Right now, I have used my big damage skills. Both my Whirling Wrath and my traps are on cooldown. There are two things I can currently do, swap weapons or auto attack. Since I use the Big Game hunter Trait from the Dragonhunter traitline, which increases my damage on enemies that I have tethered with my Spear of Justice, I want to stay on Greatsword. Whirling Wrath is one of my stronger skills so I want to use that skill as much as possible to max.

Out my DPS. Weapon swapping would not allow me to switch back to Greatsword fast enough to get the maximum effect from the Big Game Hunter trait. So, therefore, I choose to auto attack and use Whirling Wrath as soon as it is off cooldown to maximize my DPS. This all might sound a bit complicated but it is all about min/maxing the damage you do here. Don’t be discouraged you will get the hang of it once you try out the build.

I think the best example of an auto attacking build might be the Daredevil Raid build. This build uses a staff as a main weapon and this will be the main source of your damage. What makes this build great is that it highly depends on auto attacking. The last skill in your auto attack chain, Punishing Strikes, hits the target 4 times and applies vulnerability to your foe. In combination with the Bounding Dodger trait, which briefly increases your damage after you have used your dodge, and Assassin’s Signet, which increases your power, you can do an incredible amount of damage by just auto attacking. There are a number of other skills you use to maximize your damage but auto attacking is the core of this build. So, sometimes it is good to not use every skill that is available on your bar.

Leave it be, be cool and just auto attack. For the best DPS rotation and when to – and not to start auto attacking I would refer you to Metabattle or the Snow Crows website. These players invest a huge amount of time in explaining every mechanic of a specific build and will help you deal the most damage at a specific raid or strike boss. So, these were my advanced combat techniques in Guild Wars 2. I’m sure you guys have another tip or an addition to my video so make sure to leave it in the comments.

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Read More: Guild Wars 2: Ascended Gear Guide | Armor, Weapons, Trinkets & Backpack

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