Guild of the Week2005/11/15 – Esoteric Warriors [EW]
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This article was initially published on the official website of Guild Wars.

Guild of the Week: Esoteric Warriors (EW)

Within the hallowed halls of the Tomb of the Primeval Kings, a place where so many have met their end, the Esoteric Warriors found their beginning. What started as a pick-up group became the foundation of a guild, and from these humble origins, EW has grown to reach the upper echelon of the Guild Wars ladder, and stands as one of the top competitive guilds from Europe.

While EW may have gotten their start in Tombs, in recent months they've focused heavily on GvG battles. EW finds a greater degree of tactical diversity in guild battles, where you often have very little idea of what you will encounter, both in terms of the strategies that enemies may employ and the builds that they might use.

Even though the Esoteric Warriors aim to be as successful as possible on the field of battle, their first focus on having fun. EW hopes that their guild battles are mutually enjoyable. With its smaller roster of 13 members (as of this writing), EW is a tight-knit group—in their own words, "like a family." While there’s a mutual respect shared among members, that doesn’t stop them from teasing each other and keeping things light-hearted, showing a sense of humor that is sometimes absent within highly competitive groups.

Strategy: PvP Discussion

The following is the build that EW ran during the first month of the new ladder tournament season, along with their strategies for using it. EW managed to hold the #1 spot for approximately three weeks using this setup.

  • Warrior/Ranger: Tiger's Fury, Executioner's Strike, Eviscerate, Axe Rake, Disrupting Chop, Sprint, "For Great Justice!", Resurrection Signet
  • Warrior/Ranger: Tiger's Fury, Wild Blow, Distracting Blow, Executioner's Strike, Eviscerate, Axe Rake, Sprint, Resurrection Signet
  • Mesmer/Monk: Diversion, Cry of Frustration, Energy Burn, Shatter Enchantments, Shatter Hex, Drain Enchantments, Power Drain, Martyr
  • Elementalist/Mesmer: Mind Shock, Lightning Strike, Lightning Orb, Chain Lightning, Air Attunement, Drain Enchantment, Inspired Enchantment, Resurrection Signet
  • Necromancer/Warrior: Vampiric Gaze, Life Siphon, Dark Pact, Strip Enchantment, Shadow of Fear, Sprint, "Watch Yourself!", Resurrection Signet
  • Healing Monk: Focusing on Word of Healing for heal spikes
  • Healing Monk/Mesmer: Using Mantra of Recall for Energy management, and more expensive Healing spells, such as Heal Other, Heal Party, and Protection spells such as Aegis.
  • Protection Monk: Aegis, Reversal of Fortune, Protective Spirit, Guardian, Shielding Hands, Convert Hexes. May include Offering of Blood or Mantra of Recall depending on the character's subclass.

The offensive output of this build is centered around spike damage: quick, focused attacks designed to fell a target before the enemy Monks have a chance to react. Achieving this spike begins with the build’s two Warriors using Eviscerate and Executioner’s Strike on a target. The Eviscerate skill is intentionally doubled-up here so that if one Warrior misses, the other still has a chance to inflict a Deep Wound on their target. Because the Warriors use the Tiger’s Fury stance to increase their base attack speed, these attacks put out a large amount of damage in a very short amount of time. The Elementalist contributes a quick Lightning Orb followed by a Mind Shock, while the Mesmer is on hand to remove any Enchantments that may be on the target and to contribute additional damage through their Mind Burn.

The Necromancer in the build serves as the team’s primary flag-runner in GvG. As it is common to see Warriors used as flag-runners, this setup uses Shadow of Fear to interfere with their damage output should the Necromancer run into any opposition at the flag-stand. Coupled with the assistance of the two Aegis spells that the team’s Monks carry, this strategy can go a long way toward slowing down enemy Warriors.

Another feature of this build is the use of interruption-based attacks to interfere with any spikes that the opposition may attempt. The two primary interrupts on the Mesmer are Cry of Frustration and Power Drain. The Warriors carry interrupts as well, and the inclusion of Wild Blow on the second Warrior serves as a good utility skill against those that use Stances. Trap-based Rangers will often attempt to use defensive Stances before setting Traps, and casters may be using Mantra of Resolve—both Stances that can be removed by Wild Blow.

Many of the important skills in this build are duplicated, as builds that have an overly strong reliance on a single character can leave the rest of the team vulnerable if the enemy is able to neutralize or defeat that character. While the purpose of the build is straightforward, EW stresses that it is your team’s ability to play the build, and not the build itself, that will make the difference. They place a heavy emphasis on both the use of voice chat for coordination and a familiarity with the playing style of your teammates, both of which are critical to timing attacks and responding to the tactics of their foes.

PvP: A Memorable Battle

This battle began with both the EW team and their opponents running to the flag-stand. EW was using their build as featured above, and their foes were using a Warrior-heavy shutdown build. As the two teams collided in the center, they found themselves nearly evenly matched, trading only a few kills on either side with the advantage going to EW. However, EW had fallen behind on running the flag during the course of the battle, and needed to send someone back to assist their flag-runner. While they had just managed to regain possession of the flag-stand before their foes received a morale boost, healing their flag-runner as he pressed through the enemy’s Warriors and traps had taken a toll on EW’s Monks. Taking advantage of this, the opposing team started cutting into EW’s ranks, forcing them to fall back.

EW attempted to run the flag again, but their previous retreat had allowed the foes to move in closer to their base. In order to get to the flag-stand, they would have to fight through an alley of hammer knockdowns, a Ward Against Foes, and a Trapper. While the odds were against them, EW again managed to capture the flag-stand. In doing so, it left their Monks low on Energy once more, causing them to fall back again.

Being forced back had allowed their foes to seize the flag once more, and this time EW was not able to reclaim it in time. Their opponents gained a Morale Boost. Suffering more losses, EW proceeded to fall back to their Guild Lord as their foes made a push into their base. This left EW in a favorable defensive position, as their opponents could not reach their Monks and casters without drawing the aggro of the guards in EW’s base. Using this to their advantage, EW continued to fight, slowly pushing their foes back and working off their Death Penalty in the process.

Nearly half an hour into the match, EW had worked off their DP and made a hard push at their foes, felling a few of them and forcing the rest to fall back. This allowed EW to successfully reclaim the flag-stand and regain the morale bonus. Taking the initiative, EW continued to press the offensive, and though they were met with tenacious resistance, they were able to wear their foes down and walk away victorious.

As EW says, the moral of this story is not to give up, as it’s possible to come back even from a situation that looks hopeless.

Member Profiles

Get to know some of the members of Esoteric Warriors:

  • Handle: Obscura
    Location: Austria
    Gaming Background: RPGs and FPS
    Preferred Character: I prefer playing Mesmer or Monk. As a Mesmer it is fun to annoy the enemy team and do a lot of damage. As a Monk you have the responsibility of keeping your teammates alive non-stop...that’s what makes it so interesting and fun to play.
  • Handle: Cwoo Too
    Location: England
    Gaming Background: RPG's and RTS
    Preferred Character: Anything. Pick me! Pick me! Pick meee!!!!
  • Handle: Loreal May
    Location: Finland
    Gaming Background: Console and PC
    Preferred Character: Necromancer, Elementalist, Mesmer. I command my character with an iron fist.
  • Handle: Elendar Valar
    Location: England
    Gaming Background: RTS, Space Combat Sims, MMOs
    Preferred Character: Warrior, if there’s one its me that gets stuck with it. Or Necromancer, but really I'll play anything "killy." There’s nothing as satisfying as beating the enemy with a shiny weapon though...mmm..shinies....
  • Handle: Nick Plank
    Location: Netherlands
    Gaming Background: FPS and MMOs
    Preferred Character: Monk, as I believe it will help me overcome the last stage of the path to enlightenment.
  • Handle: Dorm Bloodfang
    Location: England
    Gaming Background: Mostly offline RTS, moving onto online stuffs, more recently coming to GW.
    Preferred Character: Used to like Protection-based Elementalist/Monks and other easy classes; nowadays I like something with bit of offense, but generally I’ll try most things and enjoy them.
  • Handle: Life Pod
    Location: France
    Gaming Background: FPS and some MMOs
    Preferred Character: Usually I'll play any kind of Monk, but I can also be a deadly Elementalist. As a Monk, I never rely on spells to get my Energy back; I prefer using 5-Energy spells and have some good Hex removal. I also like running in circles to mess up enemy Warriors and try to be always in the range of all my teammates.
  • Handle: Shadori Nargaroth
    Location: Austria
    Gaming Background: FPS and MMOs
    Preferred Character: Monk!
  • Handle: Maya VI
    Location: Germany
    Gaming Background: Several MMOs
    Preferred Character: Monk