Guilds in this article:
Guild of the Week: Ectos and Shards (EnS)
Ectos and Shards (EnS) was founded in November by a small group of players who were interested in playing serious competitive GvG. Although the guild's age and PvE-referenced name (a hobby for some guild members) might delude others into a false sense of security, EnS competed fiercely during the GWWC qualifying season for Taipei, finishing 9th worldwide and earning a place in the regional playoffs.
EnS now has about 20 members, all of whom are dedicated to staying at the top of the Guild Wars ladder. They also share a desire to compete, while having fun. As a guild, EnS devotes time and effort into thinking about new builds and strategies to stay competitive in the evolving metagame. Nevertheless, occasional visits to the Underworld or Fissure of Woe are not uncommon among some members.
Currently, EnS is working hard to be a serious competitor in the next World Championship tournament.
PvP: Team Build Discussion
- Warrior/Elementalist (Axe): Strength (9+1), Axe Mastery (12+4), Tactics (8+1), Air Magic (5); Eviscerate, Executioner's Strike, Penetrating Blow, Gale, Frenzy, Sprint, Healing Signet, Resurrection Signet
- Warrior/Elementalist (Sword): Strength (11+1), Sword Mastery (12+4), Air Magic (5); Hundred Blades, Sever Artery, Gash, Final Thrust, Gale, Frenzy, Sprint, Resurrection Signet
Both Warriors work separately to apply pressure on different targets, but work together to coordinate Gale knockdowns on a spike target chosen by the Axe Warrior.
- Necromancer/Mesmer: Soul Reaping (6+1), Curses (11+1), Blood Magic (12+4); Offering of Blood, Faintheartedness, Life Siphon, Parasitic Bond, Malaise, Blood Ritual, Mark of Subversion, Resurrection Signet
This character serves provides the Hex degeneration in the build through the use of Faintheartedness, Parasitic Bond, and Life Siphon.
- Mesmer/Monk: Fast Casting (6+1), Illusion Magic (12+2), Inspiration Magic (11+3); Migraine, Arcane Conundrum, Conjure Phantasm, Power Drain, Inspired Hex, Drain Enchantment, Mantra of Persistence, Resurrect
This character is designed to shutdown enemy casters through the use of Migraine or Arcane Conundrum covered by Conjure Phantasm.
- Ranger/Mesmer: Expertise (10+4), Marksmanship (8+1), Wilderness Survival (9+1), Illusion (4), Domination (8); Crippling Shot, Distracting Shot, Savage Shot, Apply Poison, Distortion, Barbed Trap, Blackout, Resurrection Signet
This character Cripples enemy Warriors, spreads Poison, and interrupts crucial enemy skills such as Heal Party and Convert Hexes.
- Monk/Necromancer: Blood Magic (10), Healing Prayers (12+2), Divine Favor (8+1); Heal Other, Orison of Healing, Offering of Blood, Infuse Health, Healing Breeze, Mend Ailment, Holy Veil, Healing Touch
- Monk/Necromancer: Blood Magic (10), Protection Prayers (10+1), Divine Favor (11+2); Protective Spirit, Reversal of Fortune, Offering of Blood, Divine Spirit, Guardian, Mend Ailment, Holy Veil, Divine Boon
Both Monks use Offering of Blood to fuel their skills. A nice complement of Protection spells from the Divine Boon Protection Monk and Healing skills from the Healing Monk sustain the team in fights at the flag stand.
- Elementalist/Monk: Air Magic (12+2), Healing Prayers (9), Energy Storage (9+1); Mind Shock, Lightning Orb, Enervating Charge, Gale, Healing Breeze, Windborne Speed, Contemplation of Purity, Heal Party
This character is designed as a flag-runner who's capable of using Heal Party in the backline. It is also used to "mop" up any Warriors who idle in the backline with Lightning Orb, Mind Shock, and Enervating Charge.
EnS used this build extensively during the GWWC qualifying season for Taipei, finding that it pressured their opposing teams until they collapsed. The deadly combination of Warrior pressure and Hexes causes enemy Monks to choose their healing priorities and make mistakes. At the same time, this build provides enough damage mitigation and disruption that the enemy team's offense is hindered.
PvP: Strategy Tips
During GvG team-based combat, EnS feels that good communication and strategy are essential for developing excellent teamwork and achieving success in GvG battles. Using voice communication, EnS members relay information pertaining to the enemy team's Skill Bars, positioning/extensions, and strategy patterns. Voice communication is also used to coordinate target calling by one of the Warriors, as well as coordinating team movement and positioning. On the other hand, voice chatter can sometimes be unproductive and confusing, so EnS tries to stick to the following guidelines:
- Try to have one player responsible for global team movements or calling targets to be spiked. Other players should relay information to that player so that decisions can be made.
- Try to be as clear and concise as possible.
- Only call out Hexes and Conditions that are really giving you problems. For example: Migraine, Blind, and Cripple probably require your team's attention, while Life Siphon, Parasitic Bond, and Poison do not.
- Coordinate interrupts within your team to shutdown problem characters, and avoid having two players on the same target.
In the midst of GvG combat, EnS feels that many teams overlook individual player positioning and general team movement. EnS recommends that teams take the following into consideration:
- Try to aim for the following battlefield formation: Monks in the backline, casters in the midline, and Warriors in the frontline.
- Keep a close eye on the radar. Warriors should avoid wandering too far away from the Monks and should come back when requiring assistance (healing, Condition/Hex removal).
- Watch the other team's Warriors. If you see Warriors collapsing on you, kite immediately!
- When facing a team relying on projectile attacks like Ranger spike or Lightning Orbs, rapid strafing left and right ("zigzagging") can allow you to dodge a decent number of their projectiles when you are close to the maximum range of their attacks.
- Avoid clumping up in a small area, such as chokepoints. Area-of-Effect spells/Conditions such as Energy Surge, Signet of Weariness, and Disease can have devastating effects on your team.
- When retreating, offensive characters should assist in covering the retreat for the backline, either by body blocking or slowing the other team down. Losing Monks during a retreat can cost you a match.
EnS believes that one useful but underused tactic in GvG is body blocking. Body blocking can effectively decide a game. Some scenarios where body blocking should be used include forcing Morale Boosts by blocking the other team's runner, making full use of the catapult on the other team's NPCs and players, and trapping opposing players in small corridors. They offer the following tips on using body blocking effectively:
- It is preferable to use Warriors and Rangers for body blocking, as they are sturdier targets.
- Try to make a line across a narrow passageway or chokepoint by spreading 2 to 3 players evenly apart, and avoid unnecessary movements that would cause leaks.
- Support the "body blockers" by having healers close by.
- Use a map that suits your play style and your build. For the team build listed above, EnS prefers to use Warrior's Isle because the map encourages an 8v8 battle, with a slight possibility to sneak off and kill NPCs if required.
- Remember that the flag stand is important. Have your flag-runner keep track of when the other team is going to gain a Morale Boost. If your flag-runner is falling behind, it may become necessary to temporarily dual-run with two characters.
- In GvG, adaptation is very important. If the ongoing battle turns into a stalemate, discuss what is preventing your players from successfully doing their job, and act accordingly. Even when losing, a discussion like this can allow you to come up with a plan that can change the tide of the game.
- Momentum is important. If the opposing team is struggling, push hard enough to capitalize on their struggle. Ideally, follow up quickly so the enemy team does not have enough time to regroup. However, be aware that there are many situations where it is not opportune to push hard and doing so would result in your team losing an advantage.
- Remember the win condition in GvG and "Victory or Death!" It is important that you prepare for "Victory or Death!" ahead of time by setting up the catapult and by clearing as many NPCs as possible.
- Before playing GvG, be prepared for the eventuality that you may need to split your team. Decide ahead of time who should be responsible for defending and attacking.
At the end of the day, it is important to remember that not all battles are won. EnS advises you to discuss and analyze lost matches in attempt to improve.
Get to know some of the members of EnS.
- Handle: Elrade
Location: Ontario, Canada
Gaming Background: RTS, RPG, FPS
Preferred Character: I like to play healing Monks or boon Protection Monks. There is nothing quite like being the pest that nobody can seem to catch. Although, with the recent release of Observer mode, I almost want to start playing a Warrior again.
- Handle: Aburame Skyro
Location: California, USA
Gaming Background: RTS, RPGs, MMOs
Preferred Character: Any form of Necromancer or Mesmer. I enjoy working in the background and overwhelming my opponent unnoticed.
- Handle: Dren
Location: Maryland, USA
Gaming Background: I used to play a lot of CS, then my friend showed me Guild Wars. At first, I made fun of him for playing an MMO and wanting to go slay dragons. Then he got me to play, and now I can't stop. And I found out I like killing dragons.
Preferred Character: Ranger, because I get to use Barrage. Barrage is so awesome.
- Handle: Andy or Third Quarter
Location: BC, Canada
Gaming Background: C++, Notepad
Preferred Character: Everything, though I am terrible at Monk. I am particularly fond of builds comprised of simple, general tools that can be applied in a number of ways. It's very rewarding to turn the tide with a bit of battlefield awareness and imagination. I typically play disruption characters, "Hexers," and Elementalists.
- Handle: Ess Jay or Immortal Ric
Location: Ontario, Canada
Gaming Background: FPS
Preferred Character: Target-calling Warrior, shut-down Mesmer, Crippling Shot Ranger, or any role where I look good in Observer mode.
- Handle: Entrepreneur
Location: New York, USA
Gaming Background: FPS
Preferred Character: Mesmer, primarily because I like casting things on people that makes them sad. Ranger, because sometimes I get to 1v1 or go off on a secret mission.
- Handle: Bug
Location: Washington, USA
Gaming Background: MMOs, FPS, Console RPGs
Preferred Character: I primarily play Warrior or Elementalist. I like seeing big numbers, but it isn't to compensate for anything, I swear. I think an important aspect of playing a Warrior is staying calm, a common problem Warrior players have.
- Handle: Morgant
Location: New Mexico, USA
Gaming Background: FPS, RTS, RPGs
Preferred Character: Monk, usually boon protection. I've been trying out other characters lately due to the surplus of protection Monks at the moment.
- Handle: Skull
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Gaming Background: Putt Putt Saves the Zoo, Freddie Fish: Haunted Schoolhouse
Preferred Character: Warrior, because you get to bash on things, and flag-runner because it one of the few chances to 1v1 in the game.
- Handle: Dave or Facepuncher
Location: Iowa, USA
Gaming Background: CCGs, MMOs
Preferred Character: Hammer Warrior, because I like to make people fall down a lot.
- Handle: Taion
Location: California, USA
Gaming Background: FPS, RTS, CCGs, single-player RPGs
Preferred Character: Boon Protection Monk. This is a versatile defensive character who can protect while still delivering healing when necessary. Plus, this character is much faster and has more effective spells than a straightforward healer.