- 1 Skill Calculator Links
- 2 Build Design
- 3 Tactics
- 4 Variants
Skill Calculator Links
First, I'll give you an overview of what this build is like, the role it fills, and just the overall gameplay feel of it. Then I'll dive into more detail on how the build is put together.I look at builds in two parts. First is the framework. These are the skills, traits, and gear that are essential to the build. Changing part of the framework will have a big effect on how the build feels. The second part is the detail, which is where flexibility comes in. You can change lots of the detail section and still have a build that behaves largely the same, but with a specific focus. This could mean focusing on higher burst damage, more mobility, more control, or group healing, while still having the same basic style of play.
This build all started with Flamethrower. I simply love the skill set that weapon brings. The aesthetic is fun, and the skills are incredibly useful. I'm a big fan of the mid-range gameplay; with ranged enemies, you get in their face. With melee enemies, you can still attack them while kiting (if you're careful). Having a constant stream of frontal AoE damage is really fun too. I love using flamethrower in PvE; it really is astonishing how quickly you can mow down a group of enemies. Flame Jet is one of the most powerful autoattack skills in the game. It does ridiculous AoE damage, interacts really well with on-hit or on-crit effects, and even has a burn component. The [[The rest of the skills are fantastic too: Flame Blast does more damage than Backstab from behind, and it's a 5-target AoE and a blast finisher to boot. An insta-cast AoE blind, a 5-target AoE knockback, and a really long-lasting fire field... this weapon has everything. Consider me addicted.
Once I realized how much I love flamethrower, I started building everything else around it. I experimented with using conditions, but Flamethrower only applies burn so that wasn't very effective. This left me with a power build. I quickly settled on using rifle: an option for ranged damage, an immobilize, a knockback, and a powerful short-range attack. To be honest, I also love the jump. One of my biggest hobbies in the game is exploring, both in areas we're designed to explore and areas the devs never intended us to go. Having a ground-targeted, long-range jump makes all of that really fun; it's one of my favorite skills even without considering the jump finisher or punishing AoE damage.
I found myself preferring gadgets for the other two utility skills; having a wider array of movement and control skills really strengthened what I already loved about this build. I developed a style that involved doing consistent, high damage and staying alive using a combination of control and mobility. I really enjoy the kinetic feel of the build; the skills feel like they have impact. It's incredibly satisfying to toss your enemies around like ragdolls and light them on fire, and I love being able to move quickly around the map.
This is a great build for solo PvE. You get easy access to 100% swiftness uptime, and Rocket Boots, so you cover ground fast. Flamethrower, rifle, and Mine Field give really high AoE damage, which lets you easily kill groups of enemies at once. Against normal map mobs, you have enough dodging and controls to easily stay alive.
In group PvE, this build usually isn't the best. You'll probably want to go with a variant. It's good during trash mob fights. Your damage is enough to help take them down quickly, and your knockbacks can help keep the pressure off your group. However, your defenses are on the lower side so you can die quickly if they pin you down, you're not much good to your group support-wise, and you're not nearly as effective fighting bosses. I'd recommend either a tankier variant or the Elixir Gun support variant. It is a good zerker speed-kill build, though.
This build is really, really fun in sPvP. You can play a variety of roles. With the mobility, it makes a good roamer. You can play a decap focus with the knockbacks. You can drop medpacs and become a pretty effective point holder. You also do well just in the main fight. It takes a lot of resourcefulness and skill to stay alive because your defenses aren't amazing, but your AoE damage and control can really shine in mid fights. No matter what role you go for in sPvP, you'll be able to kill people in 1v1s and group fights, and your control will be able to turn the tide of battle if you time it right.
The flamethrower is the primary weapon for this build. It brings powerful AoE damage, perfect for torching down groups of enemies, as well as a couple powerful control skills. Flame Jet This is one of my favorite slot-1 skills in the game. It's simply delightful. It does really high damage in a frontal AoE cone. It activates right at the mid-range sweet spot: far enough that you can semi-kite melee enemies, and much easier than a melee weapon for chasing ranged enemies trying to kite you. This skill unleashes an average of about 4 hits/second if you spam it, which means this build works really well with any effect in the game that activates on hit or critical hit; if you're fighting a group of three enemies, you're pulling 10+ hits per second! You'll usually activate any on-hit/on-crit effects almost immediately after cooldown. Blind and Aegis are next to worthless against this skill, and it's just as good against similar effects (for example, it will melt Shield of Wrath in under a second). With the long channel it's a good way to still deal damage when you have confusion on you. However, this skill will destroy you if you attack enemies with retaliation; each individual hit will damage you.
Flame Blast ► Detonate Flame Blast This skill does really high AoE damage, and is a core of your damage rotation. Make sure to time the detonation properly: ideally, you want the ball of napalm to float through your main target (the damage from the napalm itself makes up 30% of this skill's total damage) and detonate it right behind them. Sometimes it can be tricky to land a hit with this skill; autotarget often fails to work if you don't already have a target selected, which means the ball will follow the angle of your camera (usually straight into the ground). Detonating the ball is a blast finisher, which is really cool because of the low cooldown (4.8s for this build), but it's still hard to land it properly.
Air Blast This skill is a powerful AoE knockback. It has a short activation, so it's easy to land, and a low cooldown (12s for this build). A great control skill to keep you alive, position enemies, or knock enemies off cliffs in PvP. The skill also reflects projectiles. The reflecting effect lasts during activation and the animation for actually casting this skill. That's not very long, so it takes careful timing to use effectively, but this skill can be powerful against ranged attacks with a visible activation.
Napalm Napalm is the longest-lasting fire field in the game. That's worth it alone for the combos; this build has several blast finishers, so you can stack a good amount of might with this skill. Since this build is power-focused, the damage from burning isn't amazing, but like all conditions fire ignores armor, so it's worth using. Great for applying pressure to a point, and much more effective against groups.
Smoke Vent An instant-cast AoE Blind. This skill can be used in the middle of casting another skill, without interrupting it. It can even be used while stunned. It's a powerful reactive defense skill: if you see a powerful attack incoming, this skill is a great way to mitigate it. Again, the low cooldown (16s for this build) makes it a powerful skill.
Incendiary Ammo A simple skill: adds a lot of burning to your next three attacks. Adds a burst of good condition damage to your build, and the burning makes Flame Jet do 10% more damage. The duration is almost as long as the cooldown, so use it as soon as it cools down. If you use it 20s before a fight, the odds are that it'll cool down during the fight and you'll get to use it twice.
Throw Mine One of my favorite skills. A ranged, unblockable, AoE knockback with decent damage and boon removal to boot. There are a variety of ways to use this. It makes a great blast finisher that's easy to position and easy to time. You can use it as offensive control to keep enemies knocked down while you damage them. It is a great survival tool; if forced to run away from enemies, you can drop it behind you to slow them down and make it easier to escape. A flexible and powerful control on a low cooldown. It's also worth noting that a big part of the reason I took this skill was for Mine Field.
Mine Field An incredibly powerful skill. The primary reason I take it is for the boon removal. Two big counters to this build are Stability and Retaliation; Mine Field is effective for dealing with both. It's also really strong against any build that relies on boon stacking. It's a great counter to Empower, especially since the long cast time on Empower makes it easy to get in position to hit them with all five mines. This build also does high damage; if all five mines hit, it's the highest damaging skill this build has. It's a powerful AoE; if used in the middle of a group, each enemy will take damage from several mines. Note, however, that each mine will only remove one boon; this makes it difficult to remove boons from a specific enemy standing in a group. Works well in combination with Net Shot. Forceful Explosives makes this skill much more powerful, and much easier to hit enemies with.
Immediately going for the stomp isn't always the best option with this build. First, let's look at how this build works with different classes.
Warrior, Guardian, Engineer, Ranger, and Necromancer: All of these classes have stomp-breakers (like Hammer Toss) that you can nullify using Smoke Vent. Once their character starts casting their stomp-breaker, cast smoke-vent mid-stomp and it will miss. This can allow you to get an easy stomp on the first try, as long as Smoke Vent is available and you time it right. If you see an ally trying to stomp one of these classes, stand nearby and use smoke vent to make sure they get the stomp off. Just because you're not the one stomping doesn't mean you can't support the effort.
Thief, Elementalist, and Mesmer: For these classes, blind does not work against their stomp-breaker. This means that it will always take two tries to stomp their character. This build is high-damage, and these classes are typically lower on defense. I often find it's a better idea to simply burn down the enemy with damage rather than trying to stomp. However, this depends on the situation (see below).
Let's explore a couple ways you can handle downed enemies.
Bleedout cap. This scenario usually applies when you just won a 1v1 on a point the enemy controls. If the enemy dies on the point, it prevents you from beginning to cap the point until they're dead. Use Overcharged Shot to knock them out of the ring, and then use damage to burn them down. This has a couple of benefits. First off, it allows you to cap the point sooner, which means more points for your team. It also keeps the enemy on the ground bleeding out; while they're there, they're not respawning and thus no good to their team. However, you run the risk of an enemy coming up and reviving them, leaving you with a 2v1.
Revive interruption. This applies in most group fights. This group usually doesn't have the defenses to actually go for the stomp. In an AoE-heavy environment, three or more seconds of standing still can often be fatal. Often, your best bet is rather to focus on preventing the enemy from reviving the downed player while dealing AoE damage to the both of them. With three knockbacks in the build, you're supremely suited for this role. Keep up a constant stream of high AoE damage on the downed player, and use your mine and Air Blast to interrupt revivals. If one of the enemies reviving the player has Stability, use Overcharged Shot on the downed player. This gambit is risky; a tanky player can still revive the enemy, especially if your team isn't focusing fire on the downed player. However, even if they do get up, you should have severely damaged the tanky player; you can then focus fire on either one, and should be able to bring them down quickly. Interrupting revives can often lead to a second free kill; the player trying to revive presents an easy target for your team. This can also provide time for a tankier player on your side to get the stomp off (remember to assist with Smoke Vent if applicable). As an added bonus, the longer the enemy can lie bleeding on the floor, the longer they're effectively out of the fight; as long as you can prevent them from getting back up, this really helps your team.
Shadow Refuge can give thieves a powerful tactical advantage if they can pull it off. It can afford them a free escape or a safe revival. However, this build is perfect to counter it. Shadow Refuge creates a glowing blue border around its field for the four-second duration of the skill. If any player stealthed by Shadow Refuge crosses that border, they are Revealed. Use Throw Mine or Air Blast on a Shadow Refuge as soon as the thief drops it, and you can instantly reveal all enemies inside it. This leaves them surprised and incredibly vulnerable, as they'll be unable to stealth for four seconds after you pop them out.