For those of you that don’t like retaliation, here’s one with two skills swapped out (same distro):

Contact me for a more in-depth explanation/guidelines. This is directed more towards those who have been playing mesmer for a while and were curious about how to incorporate mantras.

Two slightly different builds, and both seem like they have a lot going on. These are actually very simple to play with the ability to drop almost every condition (save for immobilize and fear), as well as access to every boon in the game, including stability.


Lots of boons, lots of conditions, and tons of retaliation. While you don’t do any damage, this can quickly backfire on your burst damage classes. Both you and your phantasms will frequently have retaliation. Double block (one on scepter and one on sword, with torment on scepter), 3 different forms of control effects. You also effectively have 3 stunbreakers. While this doesn’t seem like a lot, two of these grant you stability as well.

Frequent questions about this build:

Do you really need that much retaliation?
No, not really. But it’s nice to have some form of damage, and you won’t be doing a ton of damage with this build. Survivability is the focus. With 916 power, 9% crit chance and 10% crit dmg, you won’t be doing much. Bunker down.

So how much retaliation are we talking exactly?
Well let’s see… 3 seconds of retaliation on block, retaliation on your phantasms, retaliation on Cry of Frustration, and retaliation as a possible boon from your chaos storm…you get the idea.

Why choose block over blur?
One word: torment. While blur is generally more useful (as it blocks ALL incoming attacks), we’re not using utilities or traits to gain clones. The only clones you’ll be getting are from your weapons. Each successful block creates a clone, plus the block on scepter puts 5 stacks of torment on your target. Check out the section I have on torment for specifics.

No clones on dodge?
Nope. We’re not running a shattercat build, and having clones up actually gives us some bonus points in toughness. Between blocks, phantasms, and other skills that produce clones, this is more than enough to have plenty of clones up.


On to the build:

I’m going to quickly cover the trait distro. You’re going to learn a lot more from this build by going and getting used to it (as it can be a little awkward to run at first) than listening to me talk about how it’s supposed to be played.

10 points in dueling for the 3 seconds of retaliation on block (III). We won’t be doing a lot of critical hits, so critical infusion makes a very minor difference, if any.

20 points in Chaos:
5 points gives us regeneration at 75% health, and the minor trait at 15 gives 3 seconds of protection when you gain regen. Illusionary defense gets you 3% reduced damage per illusion you have up, and Mirror of Anguish mirrors back any disable effects back to the source. This gives you an advantage not just because your attacker will be disabled too, but because you have 3 other stun breakers, giving you the next chance to attack.

30 points in Inspiration gives us a nice little Vitality boost as well as (more) retaliation and a few ways to make the most of phantasms. Vengeful Images gives phantasms retaliations, Phantasmal Healing makes them grant regeneration to allies, and Phantasmal Strength gives them a 15% damage boost. For major traits, pick up Vigorous Revelation – III for vigor on shatter (applies to you and any nearby allies), Restorative Mantras – X, (heals allies every time you cast a mantra) and Restorative Illusions – XII which also heals every time you shatter.
Our last 10 points can go into illusions for II or VI. With II, Cry of Frustration grants retaliation. If you’re sick of hearing retaliation (I know I’m getting sick of saying it), pick up Illusionary Invigoration to recharge your shatters at 50% health. Coupled with Signet of Illusions, this can be pretty useful.


Heal Utility: Ether Feast is hands down the best heal, but in this case we’ll want to pick up Mantra of Recovery. It may not heal quite as much as ether feast, but don’t forget we’re traited for a little extra healing (2600 healing with a 600 radius) when channeling a mantra. Keep in mind this is when channeling, not when activating. Two completely different things.

Utility 1: Signet of Midnight – Stunbreaker #1. It’s passive bonus is nice, but I really don’t seem to get stunned a lot. Even so, I wouldn’t recommend going through this one unless you know you know you’re about to take a big hit, or your Mantra is on cooldown.

Utility 2: Signet of Illusions – Grants more health to your illusions passively. Actively, this is another way to recharge your shatter skills if you need to. (I primarily use this if both Diversion/Distortion are on cooldown and I have an immediate need and ability to use them).

Utility 3: Mantra of Concentration – Stunbreaker #2 and #3. This is one of the most useful utilities you can have when you need to bunker down a bit. Not only can this be used (twice) to break you out of a stun, but it can also be used when you need stability.

Elite: Moa Morph – Yep. You guessed it. While I generally don’t like using this and prefer stealth (or time warp in party situations), I’ll be the first to admit it’s pretty damn funny to watch your enemy go running like a chicken with its head cut off. (Murk found a video that proves chickens can indeed run around without a head).

Most people, when they get morphed, will go running. There have been a few times when I’ve had someone turn around and attack, but generally they just run. While moa skills are actually somewhat usefull, they generally don’t get used. So while they’re busy running, this will give you time to kill them (if they were low on health) or buy someone else time to get there to help you.
That about sums up the build. I’ll be creating a video guide for a better explanation and some gameplay to give a better idea on how to run this.

Optional (mandatory) reading:


For anyone who hasn’t really looked at torment, it has a pretty big damage potential. So let’s say with this build you’ll do about 59.78 (59.775 to be a little more accurate) dps per stack. That’s roughly 298.89 damage per tick, and deals damage twice (597.75) per tick if your enemy is moving. That’s a little over 4700 damage (given they don’t stop moving around) in the span of the 8 sec duration. Even in a few seconds, and especially if they’re low on health, this can make all the difference. Also don’t forget, illusionary has a fairly short cooldown (12 seconds?).