Guild Wars 2 Warrior Guide - Some GW2 Warrior Build Will Surprise You!
Guild Wars 2 Warrior Guide
Warriors utilize their physical strength, empowering Banners, shouts, and adrenaline-based burst skills to provide as much value to their team as possible. As a soldier profession, their gear includes heavy armor, which in addition to their large health pool makes them very durable. This ton of defensive stats doesn't mean that they can't fill other roles though. The Warrior can be played as power or condition DPS or offer a ton of team-wide utility when running a support build.
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Possibilities of GW2 Warrior
We already touched on the unique Warrior mechanic - adrenaline and burst abilities that consume it. However, another mechanic is arguably even more important for the meta builds. The most powerful Warrior builds are often referred to as “Bannerslaves”, since their main responsibility is carrying their Banners around, providing powerful buffs to their party. Warriors also have the most possibilities in terms of weapon choice.
Adrenalien is one of the professions of unique mechanics. Every time a Warrior successfully attacks, they receive a single strike of adrenaline. In most cases Warrior has access to three adrenaline stages and filling each one of them requires 10 strikes. Burst skills become more powerful with every filled up adrenaline bar and using a burst ability consumes all of it. The exception is the Spellbreaker elite specialization that only has two stages and their bursts only consume a single bar.
The whole mechanic is strongly inspired by Adrenaline from the first Guild Wars. Just like in that game, it starts to decay after a few seconds spent out of combat. Steroids to generating this resource are pretty valuable since the more stacks Warrior has, the stronger he is.
GW2 Warrior Skills
Besides the burst potential and Banners, Warriors also have access to stances, physical skills, shouts, signets and of course plenty of weapon skills. Additionally, the Berserker elite specialization grants them rage skills, these, on the other hand, allow them to extend the Berserker state. Meanwhile, Spellbreaker comes with some meditation abilities.
Banners – the Banner mechanic is inspired by the Ebon Battle Standard skills from the first game. Each banner skill provides significant buffs to nearby allies. You can plant a Banner in the ground, but you can also pick it up and carry it with you. While you carry a Banner, your weapon skills are replaced with another set of abilities. They are not the most useful in combat and that’s why builds focused around it are often called “Bannerslave”.
There are five available Banners:
Banner of Defense – increases health and armor of allies in range
Banner of Discipline – provides an extra critical hit rate and critical damage to nearby allies
Banner of Strength – increases both the power DPS and condition DPS of allies in range
Banner of Tactics – grants bonus healing power and extended boon duration to nearby allies
Battle Standard – upon placement, it revives all allies and finishes all downed enemies in range, then it continuously grants boons to allies.
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Thanks to the weapon mastery Warrior has access to a huge variety of weapons. Certain specializations provide some special synergies with specific weapon types, but we’ll dive into that a little further down the road. The whole list looks like this:
Main-hand: Axe, Sword, Mace, Dagger (Spellbreaker only)
Off-hand: Axe*, Mace*, Shield, Sword*, Warhorn, Torch (Berserker only) and Dagger* (Spellbreaker only)
Two-handed: Greatsword, Hammer, Longbow, Rifle
*a lot of possibilities for dual-wielding
Specializations and traits
The choice of the right specializations and traits is a crucial part of constructing an efficient build. You can only have three specs equipped at the same time and just one of them can be elite. Picking the right ones is only half of the job. You also have to optimize the three major traits in each of them.
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Warrior’s core specializations are Strength, Arms, Defense, Tactics, and Discipline, while Berserker and Spellbreaker are the elite ones.
Strength – this spec increases direct damage and empowers physical skills. It also works well with dodging and two-handed weapons like greatswords or hammers. It’s good for power DPS and the general all-around frontlining builds.
The minor traits will allow you to deal damage while dodging and to restore endurance* when using burst skills. The last one makes the might boon stronger on you. As for the major ones, Peak Performance empowers your physical skills and provides bonus damage, which makes it almost always the best option in the first slot. Great Fortitude makes you even tankier, but you can go for Forceful Greatsword if you want to use this type of weapon. For the final Trait, Berserker’s Power grants you extra burst damage for every adrenaline stage and it’s great for builds focused on dealing damage.
*endurance – a stat used for dodging
Arms - if you want to play Warrior as a condi DPS, you’ll need this specialization. It’s focused around inflicting bleeding and critical strikes. As far as weapons go it works well with swords and dual wielding. It also empowers signets.
All of the minor traits are focused around generating fury and increasing the damage from bleeding that you will apply. The major ones, for the most part, synergize with them very well. Basically every Arms build includes Wounding Precision since it extends the duration of debuffs that you apply, based on your critical hit chance. Sundering Burst empowers the burst skills, while Furious allows you to cycle through them faster. The two options that are gear-dependent are Blademaster for sword users, and Dual Wielding if you want to use a main-hand weapon in the off-hand slot.
Defense - specialization focused around durability, self-healing, retaliation* and generating adrenaline. It’s not really used in any of the current meta builds, at least for PvE. You can consider using this spec if you’re in for a tank build.
The minor traits grant you toughness, self-healing, and retaliation. Major ones give you a few viable choices. For the first slot, Shield Master reflects projectiles, while Cull the Weak provides extra conditions and situational damage. Defy Pain is a great option for surviving at the frontlines. The last slot is entirely optional. Lack of clear best option is one of the reasons for the low popularity of this spec.
*retaliation – a boon that deals damage to the enemies who are attacking you
Tactics - one of the more supportive specializations. It works well with shouts, reviving and healing your team Gear-wise it can empower longbows and warhorns. This spec is often used in Bannerslave builds, but sometimes it can work with DPS too.
Minor Tactics traits improve your revival and healing capabilities. Most builds use the same major traits combination: Empowered, Empower Allies and Powerful Synergy. This way you get as much direct damage bonuses as possible. Some other possibilities are Burning Arrows for longbow users and Vigorous Shouts for extra healing in more supportive setups.
Discipline - most importantly, it improves Banner usage. At the same time, it synergizes well with weapon swapping, accelerates the adrenaline gain and empowers axes as well as burst skills. This specialization is a must-have for every Bannerslave build, but it’s also used with many other setups.
All of its minor traits are related to the weapon-swap mechanic. They make it so this activity generates adrenaline and might*. In the first major trait slot basically everybody goes for Warrior’s Sprint for the extra mobility, in the second slot Doubled Standards are great for Banner-heavy builds, while Brawler’s Recovery removes conditions when you swap weapons. Axe Mastery works great in the last position for dual-wielding axes setup for additional ferocity. Burst Mastery empowers your burst skills and makes them refund a part of the adrenaline cost, so you might consider taking it too.
*might – a boon that increases both the direct and condition damage
Berserker – this elite specialization has been introduced to the game with the Heart of Thorns expansion. It provides you with access to torches and introduces a new mechanic called Berserk Mode along with rage skills and the primal bursts. It’s used in multiple Warrior builds, including Power DPS, Condi DPS, and Bannerslaves.
The minor traits of this spec are connected to the Berserk Mode and give you more movement speed and damage as you enter it. There are two most popular ways of choosing your major traits. If you want to focus on power, go for Smash Brawler, Blood Reaction and Bloody Roar, it will make you stay in Berserk Mode as long as possible and deal more damage when it’s active. The condition setup is: The last Blaze, Heat the Soul and King of Fires. These traits synergize with each other to make you inflict as much burning as possible and to deal the most damage with it.
Spellbreaker – the second expansion – Path of Fire brought another elite spec for every profession. For Warriors - it’s Spellbreaker. This specialization enables you to wield daggers, use meditation skills and has access to a brand new class mechanic called Full Counter. It’s a burst skill that allows you to absorb an attack, immune the incoming damage and counter attack the mobs around you. The Elite specs happen to be quite strong and popular, this one is no exception. Spellbreaker is mostly used in power DPS builds, but it also provides a lot of survivability.
Spellbreaker’s minor traits focus on conditions, crowd control and removing your enemies’ boons. As far as major ones go, the first slot is usually occupied by Pure Strike for extra critical strike damage. In the second position, Loss Aversion gives you extra damage and adrenaline as you remove foes’ boons. If you’re going for a dagger build you can also choose Sun and Moon Style for extra bonuses while wielding this type of weapon. For the third slot, Magebane Tether is great to increase your damage even further. If you’re looking for more of a tanky build you can instead use Guard Counter and Revenge Counter, but it’s less efficient.
GW2 Warrior Builds
Now we’re going to break down some of the best working PvE builds for open world and dungeons to see how different traits and specializations synergize with each other. Understanding why a certain build works are crucial to later adjust it, depending on the location. This can allow you to find your personal favorite build. Luckily, Warrior is a pretty versatile class, so you have a lot of possibilities.
We're not going to dive into sigil and rune choices, as they may vary in different areas, the same goes for food and other consumables. In general, Superior Rune of the Renegade and Superior Sigil of Malice are great for condi DPS setups. Meanwhile, Superior Rune of Strength and Superior Sigil of Force are the safe bet for builds based more on direct damage. The remaining sigils are pretty situational, you can also try to experiment with different runes, but it's unlikely to find better options. We'll not talk about the PvP builds either, as the playstyles are completely different and even some skill choices are balanced differently.
Spellbreaker Dagger Build
This setup’s main points of power are direct damage, sustain and crowd control. Besides obviously the Spellbreaker elite spec, you will also run Strength and Discipline. Proper execution of this build is based on dodging and weapon-swapping to optimize the damage output and remove all the conditions and immobilizing effects. It recharges your burst skills really quickly and allows you to use them frequently to increase the damage output. This setup can be an extremely effective GW2 warrior build in the open world, but you definitely need to learn your combo.
Recommended traits are increasing your critical damage, which is why it’s important to get skills that improve critical strike chance. Signet of Fury and “For Great Justice!” are really good options, you can also consider Banner of Discipline for locations with longer, stationary fights. The elite Signet of Rage provides plenty of useful things for this build – crit chance, damage, and mobility. Mending is a great healing option if you need to cleanse conditions, otherwise, you could also go with the Healing Signet. If you need additional defensive abilities, Endure Pain is a great option for one of the utility slots. The skill expression really comes down to play in the difficult areas, since in the easier ones you can simply auto attack enemies to death.
It’s extremely important to have at least two strong weapon sets for this build since efficient weapon swapping provides a lot of power here. The setup we’re presenting is dagger/axe, but you can also run this build with a mace or a sword in your off-hand, or move the dagger there and get another main hand weapon. If you’re not using axes, just make sure to replace the Axe Mastery with Burst Mastery. Optimally, you should have a dagger in each weapon set, either in the main-hand or in the off-hand.
This build is really good for the open world as it brings a lot of damage and some great defensive capabilities. It’s also fairly difficult to run, the most difficult parts are learning to swap weapons optimally and using Full Counter at the right time (to block the most powerful attacks). Don't forget about using the dodge roll, when this mechanic is on cooldown - face-tanking everything is not a great idea in GW2.
Luckily, the rotation and skill chain isn't that important and you can do a lot of damage with auto attacks, especially if you don't interrupt the attack chains. If you don’t have Path of Fire and want a similar-style build, you can run Arms instead of Spellbreaker and get the Dual Wielding trait, but you can gain a stronger direct DPS core build using a greatsword and utilizing Rush and Whirlwind Attack. If you really feel like spending some money on nourishment, Bowl of Sweet and Spicy Butternut Squash Soup can greatly amplify this setup.
Berserker Condi DPS Build
This interesting Warrior build uses a longbow to inflict a lot of condition damage with bleeding and burning. The version utilizes Berserker and Arms specializations to increase condition damage as well as precision, and Discipline for mobility and condition removal to get even more advantage in battle. The other variants replace Discipline with Tactics for more utility and increased longbow damage, but less adrenaline gain.
You still have to swap weapons to optimize DPS, but arguably it is not as important here. That being said, you still need a good second set for an effective rotation. Sword/torch or axe/torch are both great melee combinations for condition DPS and we recommend going for either one of those. Use the sword if you can, since Blademaster increases condition damage for this weapon type. However, axe in your main-hand provides access to the powerful burst ability Eviscerate.
As far as the skill bar goes, everything is pretty straightforward. Inflict conditions on as many foes as possible, try to stay in Berserk Mode as much as you can and frequently use the primal burst ability Scorched Earth for powerful AoE damage. Combine Head Butt and Outrage to stun your enemy and break out of self-inflicted crowd control. With the setup, you should be able to keep up the damage output in dungeons, fractals and maybe even some raid bosses.
This build is great for the open world and it can work really well in dungeons. Again, it’s not that difficult to execute the combo, but it does still require constant weapon-juggling during your DPS skill rotation. Unfortunately for core players, running a condi DPS warrior without the Berserker elite specialization is pretty much impossible, so we can’t give you a good core version.
Power Bannerslave Build
Finally, we can take a look at the long-awaited Bannerslave build. This one (or a slightly adjusted version of it) is used in more difficult content, like endgame dungeon and fractal clearing. The variant we’ll discuss utilizes Strength, Discipline, and Tactics, but Tactics is sometimes replaced with Spellbreaker or Berserker. This build enables you to have a huge impact on your team, but you need to position well and play around the recharge timers of your most important abilities.
This is an offensive support build. You won't be able to do much healing with this build, its main function is increasing the damage output of your group during battle. In order to do so, it utilizes the Banner skills and Tactics traits (especially Empower Allies). Keeping the Banner buffs on your damage dealers should always be your priority. However, your secondary task is providing as much power as DPS as possible. In most situations, you’ll plant your Banners in a good spot and start using your weapons, but sometimes you can use the banner weapon skills too, they’re not that powerful though.
As far as weapons go, dual wielding is the best option, as it provides access to the dual strike skills. Go for an axe or mace in each hand. A greatsword is also worth considering. Your most important utility skills are Banner of Strength and Banner of Discipline. The first one increases power and condition damage, the second one buffs critical hit chance and critical damage. Combined together, they provide an extremely powerful boost. There’s much more freedom of choice in the remaining positions. Throw Bolas and Kick are good options as the last utility skills. “To The Limit!” works well as the healing shout. As for elite, you can go for Rampage, Battle Standard or Signet of Rage.
The difficult part of this build is mostly Banner placement and optimizing DPS in the meantime. It can be pretty difficult at the beginning, but you can get a hang of it pretty quickly. This Bannerslave setup is based completely on the core specializations, which makes it available to everyone. On the other hand, there’s no reason to run it in the open world content or in the easier dungeons, because short fights make Banner management more difficult and less efficient. If you're using an axe, make sure to utilize the Throw Axe to cripple important targets and Cyclone Axe as well as Whirling Axe for some AoE damage.
Guild Wars 2
There are many different ways of playing a warrior in Guild Wars 2. This ArenaNet MMORPG gives multiple viable builds and playstyles for all the other classes too. If you don't feel like carrying a Banner across the raids, consider playing: Elementalist, Engineer, Guardian, Mesmer, Necromancer, Ranger, Revenant, and Thief.
People who play the game can engage in plenty of different activities including dungeons, fractals, raids and face other members of the player community in PvP or WvW. A lot of new and returning events take place in Tyria every year. At the same time, the game world itself is constantly evolving and new chapters of the great story unfold before the players’ very eyes. Make sure to follow our blog for more news, guides and different kinds of content related to GW2 and other top MMOs.