Guild of the Week2005/06/22 – The Fianna [Fi]
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This article was initially published on the official website of Guild Wars.

Guild of the Week: The Fianna (Fi)

Happy birthday to the Fianna guild (Fi), which turned one year old this June. This small guild—it currently has only twenty-seven members—was formed by a group of players who have known each other for several years and who desired a strong, competitive group of consistent players for Player-vs-Player. Aware of the drama, hierarchy, and bureaucracy that can often be found in online guilds, Fi members strive to keep these negative aspects out of their guild.

Fianna mainly plays PvP, but since the release of Guild Wars, Fi members have focused on unlocking options for their PvP characters while playing in the Tomb of Primeval Kings tournament. But other guilds beware: they plan to return to competitive Guild-vs-Guild combat in the near future.

Strategy: PvP Play

Fianna's PvP teams use voice communication and typically designate two players as "leaders." The first of these is tasked with identifying and calling priority targets, while the second calls out strategy and tactics. During combat, all other team members remain quiet unless they need to communicate vital information, such as requesting the removal of a critical Hex (for example Backfire on a Monk).

When forced to fight against two other teams simultaneously, Fi members engage one of the enemy teams and wait for the second to close from behind. Fi members then run through the first enemy, putting them in the middle. This strategy works best in combination with ground control skills such as Maelstrom or Ranger Traps.

In PvP play, especially competitive Guild-vs-Guild battles, the Fianna guild recognizes the importance of tactical flexibility and build flexibility—the ability to counter your opponent's build and subsequent counter builds. The Fianna guild experienced the importance of this concept firsthand during the final Beta Weekend Event, when they played three Guild-vs-Guild battles against one of the top Korean guilds: Korea (KOR). Having heard that KOR was using a build with four Warriors, Fi included Ward Against Melee on one of its characters. In the first match, this character used the skill to protect Fianna's Monks. KOR however, reacted by immediately switching to targeting the unprotected non-Monks and by doing so, managed to win easily.

In their second match, Fi members knew they would be unable to win against KOR in a straight damage fight. Changing tactics, they maintained Ward Against Melee constantly and kept all their vulnerable non-Warrior characters within its bounds. With this change in tactics, Fianna neutralized KOR's ability to deal large amounts of damage and was able to concentrate its own attacks more effectively.

KOR returned with a modified build for the third match, having replaced a Monk with a Mesmer. The Mesmer was able to disrupt the Fianna guild's healing and the Ward Against Melee, which, unfortunately, allowed KOR to achieve a second victory.

The Fi Boon Healer

During the final Beta Weekend Event, The Fianna earned a chance to submit a PvP character template to ArenaNet. They chose to submit the "Boon Healer," a character they had used with a lot of success that particular weekend. The Boon Healer combines the high healing-per-second rate granted by Divine Boon with the Energy regeneration power of Offering of Blood.

The Fi Boon Healer is thus capable of healing large amounts of damage in very short periods of time and becomes an efficient counter to enemy builds that rely on quick bursts of damage. This "spike damage" can often be the biggest challenge faced by a healer, and the Boon Healer is designed to reduce the pressure on the player. When played well, this character is a very efficient healing build.

In Guild-vs-Guild team builds, Fianna typically utilizes two variants of the Boon Healer in combination with a Monk that uses Protection and Hex removal skills. This third character effectively covers the shortcomings of the healing-focused Boon Healer, dealing with removing critical Hexes and Conditions.

PvP Quick Tips

When playing PvP, Fi members offer the tips and strategies below:

  • As a healer, position yourself just outside the range of the enemy team and remember that you do not need line of sight to heal your allies.
  • Do not chase an ally who is beyond your healing range. This wastes critical time better spent protecting other team members. If you are not a Monk, stay within range of the Monks on your team.
  • It is normally best for a non-primary Monk (for example, a Mesmer/Monk with Fast Casting) to resurrect fallen allies.
  • Target Monks first, but be prepared to switch to another target supplied by your own Monks. Commonly this will be an interrupt Mesmer; it is important to "prevent the prevention."
  • Keep an eye open for targets of opportunity. For example, a Necromancer using a lot of sacrifice skills.
  • Players with Mesmer characters should try playing a Monk. This will provide them with a better understanding of how best to shut down Monks.
  • Battlefield awareness is most often the difference between "good" players and the "best" players. Avoid focusing on a single target or objective.
  • Play a proven and effective build before attempting to design your own. Test your own builds in Tombs, Arena, or Unrated GvG battles before using them in ladder competition.
  • When designing a team build, avoid "one-trick" and "jack-of-all-trades" builds. One-trick builds are easily countered, while jack-of-all-trades builds frequently lack the ability to finish off an enemy.

Member Profiles

Meet some of the members of the Fianna guild.

  • Handle: Adam
    Location: Sweden
    Gaming Background: WarCraft 3 (2v2)
    Preferred Character: I play whatever the team build requires me to play at the moment, although lately I've been getting more and more into Monk characters. Although I prefer playing healing Monks, I actually prefer designing protection Monks.
  • Handle: Timeetyo
    Location: Western NY, USA
    Gaming Background: WarCraft 3 (2v2)
    Preferred Character: I prefer a trapper or a damage-focused Warrior.
  • Handle: SonOfRah
    Location: Australia
    Gaming Background: Diverse
    Preferred Character: Healer/Protector. This combo gives me a very hands-on and active role in the group, which I enjoy. When playing competitively, you constantly need to be on the ball to deal with any problems that arise. Failure to do so means that someone on the team is going to die. This puts a lot of emphasis on your skill as a player, and it stresses the importance of your role in the group.
  • Handle: Reaper
    Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
    Gaming Background: PvP in FPS, RTS, and fighting games
    Preferred Character: I like annoying the other team as much as possible. For this reason, my favorite two classes are Mesmer and Necromancer. For Mesmer, I prefer Domination and Inspiration, and my favorite current combo is Echo followed by Shatter Hex/Enchantment. For Necromancer, I prefer Blood and Curses, using Blood spells like Wells, the Orders, and BIP to help support allies, and Curse spells to shut down attackers and hinder defenses.
  • Handle: The Jade Guardian
    Location: Tacoma, Washington, USA
    Gaming Background: MMORPG and FPS
    Preferred Character: My favorite character is a Warrior/Elementalist with Earth Magic. Who wouldn't love the spike damage Backbreaker, Crushing Blow, and Aftershock can do in three seconds? I also like the Mesmer/Monk combination because I love how it can disrupt Monks and allow the damagers to do their job, and its fast-cast resurrection ability is just awesome.
  • Handle: Citizen
    Location: Florida, USA
    Gaming Background: Diverse
    Preferred Character: Monks. I play Monks exclusively and enjoy all variations and builds. Personally, I find the role of the Monk more challenging and micro-intensive.
  • Handle: EzE
    Location: California, USA
    Gaming Background: RTS
    Preferred Character: Trapper build or Mesmer Energy denial. I like the tactical role you play as a trapper, and few things can beat an Energy-denial Mesmer.
  • Handle: Maya
    Location: California, USA
    Gaming Background: PvP in RTS, FPS, and RPG
    Preferred Character: I enjoy being adaptable and trying out many different builds. I like to gain more personal exposure and experience with different aspects of GW play, so that I can gain a greater understanding of how everything works. I find this type of information to be invaluable when optimizing technique and strategy for efficiency.
  • Handle: Morello
    Location: Tacoma, WA, USA
    Gaming Background: PvP in FPS and fighting games
    Preferred Character: An anti-cast or damage Mesmer is my favorite. I enjoy frustrating opponents and causing them to make more mistakes. The more I monkey-wrench the enemy, the more satisfied I am with my character. This character is always a heavy Domination build.
  • Handle: ZepherIx
    Location: Florida, USA
    Gaming Background: RTS, FPS, and console
    Preferred Character: The classy but very sexy Warrior/Monk. I enjoy this combo because I love the craziness of the up close fighting. The trick to playing a Warrior or any melee character is to watch for the large AoEs and to keep from getting body-blocked. I can help teammates run from an enemy by blocking the enemy.