This build is something I experimented with a lot to perfect in the last BWE. I highly recommend this build for tournament play, but not as much for pickup games as it relies somewhat on team-mates abilities to use combos. It has a medium skill cap, as your ability to survive is based upon communication with team mates and your ability to dodge. The build relies heavily on bleeds (1200+ Condition Dmg) but at the same time sports very high survivability (1800+ Tough). The build works VERY well against melee specs due to around an 80% swiftness uptime at all times (rough estimate) along with lots of slows and CCs coming from weapons, pets, and utilities. Here is the build highlight video so you can see it in action before you begin reading.
- +100 Power
- +10% Condition Duration
- (5 pt) Gluttony: Causes Vulnerability with the first strike while entering combat
- (10 pt) M Trait III: Keen Edge: Use Sharpening Stone when your health reaches 75%
Gluttony will allow you to deal some extra damage early on in the fight and Keen Edge will be a free activation of Sharpening Stone (it will not trigger the CD) when you are in a fight, allowing you to get 10 bleeding stacks if you time the utility with this trait.
- +200 Precision
- +20% Critical Damage
- (5 pt) Tail Wind: Gain Swiftness when swapping weapons in combat
- (10 pt) M Trait II: Sharpened Edges: Chances to cause bleeding on Critical Hits
- (15 pt) Furious Grip: Gain Fury when swapping weapons in combat
- (20 pt) M Trait X: Quick Draw: Shortbow skills recharge 20% faster
The 10 point major trait, Sharpened Edges, will be very important to stacking bleeds, as this build relies more on precision than it does on power, so the 15 point talent will also synergize with this. The 20 point trait is pretty self explanatory.
30 Wilderness Survival
- +300 Toughness
- +300 Condition Damage
- (5 pt) Increases endurance regen by 50%
- (10 pt) M Trait IV: Vigorous Renewal: Gain vigor when using a healing skill
- (15 pt) Companion’s Defense: you and your pet gain 2 seconds of protection when dodge rolling
- (20 pt) M Trait VIII: Oakheart Salve: Gain regeneration for 5 sec whenever afflicted by poison, bleed, or burning. (20 sec internal CD)
- (25pt) Peak Strength: +5% Damage when health is above 90%
- (30pt) M Trait XI: Empathetic Bond: Pets periodically take conditions from you (working on getting an exact number)
The combination of toughness and condition damage is godly. This is where the beef of your survivability comes from, along with a lot of condition damage (as you can see). a 50% endurance regen is HUGE. Assuming it takes 5 seconds to regularly recharge one dodge roll, you will now only have to wait 3.75 seconds to dodge again, meaning that within a 20 second period, while your opponent will get 4 more dodges (assuming he doesn’t have vigor), you will get an extra dodge and already by 1/3 of the way your next one. Vigor with heal skill is actually really useful because you will put down healing spring A LOT, including when you are at full health to help out teammates. 2 seconds of protection is pretty easy to see the benefits, and regeneration for 5 seconds will help to nullify the effects of DoTs placed on you. The +5% dmg will be great for initiation which will be explained later, and finally empathetic blood is amazing because it is a free and automatic cleanse every so often.
10 Nature Magic:
- +100 Vitality
- +10% Boon Duration
- (5pt) Rejuvination: Gain Regen When your health reaches 75%
- (10 pt) M Trait III: Nature’s Bounty: Regen you apply lasts 33% longer
This part of the build is where increased swiftness and other boons comes in. you are gaining 10% more boon duration, along with the bonus 33% on regeneration specifically. Very practical part of the build, but if you want to go beastmastery with the 10 points, that is your decision. It will make your pet a little harder hitting, but it does make you squishier, and hurts your kiting.
Weapons, Sigils, Runes, and Amulet
Axe and Warhorn
This weapon should ALWAYS be out when you are either initiating into combat or just moving around. Benefits of the warhorn are obvious, a great big chunk of damage on your number 4 (hunter’s call) and an amazing buff for you and your team on number 5. The Axe is great for stacking bleeds in a crowd with number 2 and number 3 is a great freeze ability. For Sigils you are going to want the Sigil of Superior Agony (+10% bleed duration) for obvious reasons along with the Sigil of Superior Earth (+60% chance to bleed for 5s on critical) again for obvious reasons. The earth sigil will stack with your 10 point trait in skirmishing to give you a pretty high chance of inflicting bleed on every crit you land.
After engaging in combat with your axe and war horn, you should swap to the shortbow to keep stacking bleeds and conditions. The shortbow also allows you to keep yourself moving and with the 3 ability you are given another dodge. For the Sigil you are going to take superior battle. I have been questioned as to why I take this sigil instead of something such as the aoe poison or freeze. The first of these reasons is that in addition to granting power, which in this build is very unnessecary, some people forget that it also grants condition damage. Another good reason for not taking an AoE rune is that you are going to be very much “out of the way” when you swap to this weapon anyway so more often than not the effect of an AoE will not hit anyone.
Runes for Armor
In this build you have two options that should depend on what role you will be taking on in your tournament group. If you are going to be someone on the team that pushes ahead early to quickly cap the outer two points (I call this person a scout) than you are going to go with the following rune:
Rune of Speed (x6):
- (1) +25 Vitality
- (2) +25% Swiftness Duration
- (3) +50 Vitality
- (4) +5% chance to gain swiftness on hit
- (5) +90 Vitality
- (6) +7% movement speed with swiftness active
By taking these runes you are going to not only give yourself an extra 25% length on swiftness but you will also gain an extra 7% speed while swiftness is up, allowing you to move between points faster, and even give you a larger speed advantage in combat.
If, however, you are going to be staying with the bulk of your group, dealing damage and supporting with healing spring, than I recommend this rune configuration:
Rune of the Krait (x5):
- (1) +28 Condition Dmg
- (2) +25% Bleed Duration
- (3) +55 Condition Dmg
- (4) +5% Chance to cause bleed on hit (5 sec CD)
- (5)+100 Condition Dmg
- (6) +100 power while under water
As you can see the sixth effect of the Krait rune is useless unless playing on the rumored underwater map, so for the last rune you can either take something that gives Condition Damage as its first tier if you want to pump out more direct damage on your bleeds or you could also take precision if you want to up your chances of proccing bleeds in the first place. The choice is really up to you.
One of the main parts of this build is since you have the extra survivability from all that toughness you are going to want to take healing spring. I cannot say it enough how much of an AMAZING utility this was to us in tournaments. In teamfights you are able to turn a 5k heal with a HOT into an easy 10k+ heal for yourself and another 5k+ for your whole team. As I stated earlier though, this will only work with coordination from other team mates with blast finishers. Dpecifically I was in constant communication with an elementalist with five blast finishers, and each of his blasts would pump out between one and two thousand heals to anyone close enough. This ability requires extra coordination, but it could mean the difference between a win and a loss in most team fights
Very simply this is an extra dodge that in addition to jetting you away from any melee or just the “hot zone” of a fight, will give you 100% increased regen on endurance. This should be used when trying to escape from being the focus in a teamfight, usually after you have already used one of your dodged so that the vigor is not being wasted.
The second you are in range, pop this, and keep popping this. This should never be off cooldown unless you are in between fights. Very simply, if you aren’t using it then you aren’t doing the damage this spec can do.
For your last choice, you can take one of these two, but the second choice will require you to change traits as well
This is the one I have been questioned on many times. A lot of people feel that taking spike trap to be more efficient due to the fact that it will bleed as well, but I disagree for the simple fact that you are loosing CD reduction in order to obtain it. Both of the abilities will cripple, but while spike trap only does this for a measly 2 seconds, muddy terrain will continue to do this as long as the target remains in the AoE or until the AoE expires 20 seconds after creation. Muddy terrain will also immobilize anyone within the creation zone for 2 seconds, and this is what can really save your life especially if you are being chased by someone using melee weapons. If you feel you need the extra damage however, you may take spike trap.
This is a perfectly viable option as well as it will give a bonus 3 stacks of bleeding and cripple the enemy for 2 seconds. In order to use it to it’s full effectiveness however, you will need to swap your twenty point skirmishing trait to Trapper’s Expertise which will allow you to target where you want the trap to go. You will be increasing your shortbow CD’s by 20% but you will gain an extra 3 stacks of bleeds every 25 seconds
For the moment, I think that this ultimate is better than rampage for the simple fact that it will almost guarantee an escape or sometimes even a teamfight for the simple yet hilarious fact that some people are not able to realize how to escape from this ability. On a more serious note though, this will ensnare anyone with a 600 range with vines that need to be killed before they can continue fighting, or at least moving. I have found this takes usually at least 5 seconds to be freed from, so that is five seconds that you can either escape with or five seconds that the enemy is not hitting you or your team and that you can use to destroy them.
The Hyena is by far one of the most powerful pets right now, as not only is it able to make a full fledged copy of itself to double it’s damage, but it has a killer knockdown!
The Fern Hound is a great utility pet to use as its F2 ability gives you about 1.5k extra heals. You should bring him out if you dip below 50% health, and then swap back to the hyena once you get the chance, as his attacks are kind of “meh”
For the last part of this guide I want to quickly talk about rotation and tactics to use while fighting. Please note that this is just a general rotation for weapon abilities to be used in an “all is well” scenario. Every fight is different, and you should try to adapt your own styles of play as well to keep the enemy guessing.
Step 1: Warhorn
As you begin to move in on the enemy your number 5 should already be popped, and as soon as you are in range pop your number 4 ability call of the wild to get the damage rolling. More than likely you will stack some nice bleeds off of this as well with the amount of hits it will do.
Step 2: Axe engagement and begin kiting
When you first come up onto the enemy, whatever he or she may be, first engage with your number 3 chill ability then immediately follow it with your number 2 to continue stacking bleeds. If you need to dodge away to keep at a comfortable range than do so, but make sure to stay on the outskirts of the point (which you should be on by now)
Step 3: Shortbow comes out to play
After all of this, so long as no more CD’s have come up, swap to your shortbow, and immediately pop number 4 to cripple and add another stack of bleeding as well as number 2 to add on some poison damage. Continue to auto attack and use number 2 and 4 as they come up. If the enemy tries to run, use number 5 to stun him and finish him off. If he gets too close, use your number 3 to retreat quickly (but keep yourself within the range of the point). One good routine to get into the habit of is kiting on the very outskirts of points to give yourself the most room to kite, but you will want to be very careful utilizing this against professions with heavy amounts of knockbacks such as guardians. If all goes well however, your opponent should be dead in no time.
Step 4: Swap and repeat
No explanation needed here. Keep swapping and bleeding until he or she is down, then finish them off.
Tip: SWAP WEAPONS
One thing I cannot emphasize enough is how important it is to keep swapping because you have abilities on both weapons that will stack bleeds easily. A good formula I always use is that if nothing is coming off of CD within 2 seconds and I have the ability to swap, then swap because it is wasting damage time. Usually (and this is just me pulling from memory) you will be able to get one rotation of the axe/warhorn abilities and 2 rotations of the shortbow abilities before you start to have a lot of what I call “dead time” (continuous auto-attacking for 3+ seconds) and you will need to swap.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this guide. I hope this build works as well for you as it does for me. I will be posting much more in the future including an update to this guide at launch (if necessary), so if you like what you have read now, please be sure to check in often.