Note: this article is intended to provide guidance for experienced characters playing a new mesmer or experienced mesmers looking for additional options. If this is your first time playing Guild Wars, please see one of the getting started guides.
Knowing your enemy as well as yourself is the path to victory for Mesmers, whose primary function is to control the enemy's agenda. Mesmers enjoy a vast array of tools to disrupt or turn enemy actions against them, as well as more standard degenerative and nerfing skills.
The guide is divided into three sections:
- Primary mesmer: Fast Casting and energy management
- Mesmer roles: discusses the key team functions for which mesmers excel — enemy control and containment.
- PvE vs PvP: highlights distinctions for PvE mesmers and their PvP counterparts, who have slightly different skills and deal with a faster pace.
The primary attribute of the mesmer, Fast Casting, speeds up activation of spells and signets significantly. At rank 12, spells are fired off in just over half the time it would normally take and signets take only two thirds as long as for other professions. Mesmers need this to be able to respond quickly to enemy actions. FC can also be used to quickly cast slow spells from other professions, e.g. Meteor Shower. Fast Casting also reduces recharge times, but only for mesmer spells. Unfortunately, FC has no effect on the aftercast times that affects all spellcasters.
The mesmer should rarely be caught short of energy, since the profession offers a wide array of skills to help manage it, including those that increase regeneration, steal energy from foes, or return energy as a result of some other action. Good Mesmers often invest attribute points in Inspiration Magic, which offers most of the useful skills in this area, which are detailed below.
Another important tool for mesmers (along with other casters) is carrying multiple sets of weapons. Mesmers should have at least one that includes a focus inscribed with Live for Today and a wand with Seize the Day; this provides a temporary energy boost (up to +30e) until the mesmer can make use of skills to restore/regenerate energy. (Note that this combination severely reduces the mesmer's natural energy regeneration.)
Generally, players need to concentrate on the target called by the party leader; it is the party's job to remove that threat quickly. (What constitutes a threat is beyond the scope of this article.) Remember, however, that the mesmer's primary job is controlling and distracting the enemy, which means (sometimes) that instead of focusing on the called target alone, the mesmer must also worry about other foes that can interfere with the party's objectives. For example,
- An enemy monk is the called target, so Warriors, Assassins, and Necromancers alike start pummeling the poor healer. The mesmer Power Blocks the monk's first healing attempt, shutting him down briefly, and allowing the mesmer to interrupt the enemy Ritualist who tries to help out his fellow monk.
- The called target is a ranger who is interfering with the party's spellcasters. While the rest of the team concentrates on taking her out, the mesmer can make the ranger clumsy, giving the mesmer time to also prevent the enemy elementalist from finishing casting Maelstrom.
Thus, the mesmer remains responsible for distracting the called target and must make use of the target's downtime to look for other threats to the party's strategy and tactics. Fortunately, this dual role is made easier by the mesmer's Fast Casting combined with short-activation times for skills.
In order to be effective, the mesmer must consider each build in context with the expected opponent in order to bring the right combination of tools. Mesmers are not typically responsible for killing the enemy. Instead, they are geared towards making it difficult or impossible for the enemy to get anything done, while the rest of the party does the damage.
Enemy control and containment
There are 3 main ways that the mesmer controls and contains the enemy: shutting down specific opponents, turning the enemy's strengths against itself, or nerfing the enemy's effectiveness. Shutdowns are tools that the mesmer uses to prevent the enemy from acting at all, including interruptions and disruptions. The mesmer can turn the enemy against itself by causing foes to interrupt/disrupt each other or by damaging themselves by attacking, casting, or using skills. Finally, mesmers can snare opponents and force massive armor-ignore degeneration upon them.
- Anti-caster mesmers use energy denial, skill denial, or interrupts to shutdown casters.
- Anti-melee mesmers focus on disrupting close-combat opponents.
- Shutdown Mesmers hybridize a variety of techniques to prevent skill use.
- General disruption mesmers tend to work on breaking the rhythm and flow of the entire enemy party, rather than one or two targets.
- Fast Casters are mesmers that primarily cast spells from another profession, e.g. elementalist spells with long activation or recharge times.
Energy denial is a tactic that attacks caster energy instead of health. This is very effective in PvP (where casters have strict energy budgets) and often useless in PvE (where enemies seem to have unlimited blue bars).
- Priorize targets based on the current state of the battle. Early on, ease pressure on your team by draining the team's offensive casters and countermeasures (e.g. Elementalists). Pressure opponents by draining their defensive measures (Monks and other healers).
- Save interrupts to prevent enemy's from managing their own energy.
- Pay attention to target energy levels: as casting slows, space out the denial skills. In PvP, the average player regains 5 energy approximately every 4 seconds.
- Important skills include Energy Burn and Energy Surge and interrupts that disrupt energy management, e.g. Power Leak is a popular choice, as is Shame. Chaos Storm is useful to force casters to move (and therefore interrupt themselves) while denying energy to those who remain.
Skill Denial is a technique that renders skills unusable or disrupted.
- Interrupt selectively: anyone can learn to interrupt any spell; great mesmers interrupt the important ones.
- Use the right skill for the right opponent, e.g. Migraine and Arcane Conundrum shut down healers but have little effect on protector monks.
- Group Interruptions:' Panic causes foes to interrupt each other (use on a skill-spammer in the middle of a group for maximum impact). Clumsiness causes attacks to interrupt surrounding foes.
- Recharge prevention: Diversion slows down recharge for a single skill while Power Block affects all skills from a given attribute. Be careful not to spam either, but spread the joy to more than one caster.
- Mesmer Jujitsu: Empathy and Backfire respectively cause attacks and spells to damage the caster, in effect causing the foe to shut itself down (rather than commit suicide). Both spells have longer activation times.
- Damn them if they don't: Wastrel's Worry and Wastrel's Demise punish foes who are waiting for the above hexes and techniques to expire. (Both are especially effective against pets, since they do not use any skills.)
General Disruption techniques combine a variety of skills (including non-mesmer ones) to provide a stream of constant disruption against any enemy type. The technique is more flexible but also more susceptible to opponent mesmers.
- Signet of Judgment or Glyph of Energy can be used with Gale to spam knockdowns.
- Echo or Arcane Echo can be combined to spam Maelstrom, Meteor, or other elementalist skills to pressure opponents or damage them severely at choke points.
- Wandering Eye and Clumsiness provide relatively quick recharging interrupts that also disrupt or damage neighboring foes. This also puts early pressure on healers to restore health to the front line. Wait for frontliners to build up energy (watch for Frenzy); hexing them too early is less effective.
- Ineptitude blinds clumps of opponents, making them ineffective.
- Illusion spells use up energy fast; use Glyph of Energy to reduce energy use or Auspicious Incantation to restore it quickly.
- While waiting for recharages, spam degeneration hexes, such as Ether Nightmare, Shrinking Armor, or Illusion of Pain
- Snare opponents using Crippling Anguish, Ethereal or Kitah's Burden, or Shared Burden.
Signet of Illusions mesmers use that skill to generate builds of non-elite spells from any profession. Combined with Fast Casting, it allows the character to make effective use of 6-7 attributes instead of the usual 2-3. SoI builds can be used to farm, as counters to Power Blocking or other shutdowns, or as a utility team player.
Keystone Signet mesmers emphasize this Fast Casting elite to produce low-energy requirement builds that interrupt and damage groups.
PvE vs PvP
PvE: Mesmers in PvE can take advantage of faults in the enemy AI. Other techniques are wasted.
- They ignore self-damaging hexes;
- Always flee DoT AoE (with 1-2 exceptions);
- They remove most hexes as quickly as possible.
- PvE players can bring title skills, including mesmer-specific ones such as Cry of Pain and generic ones, such as Pain Inverter.
- Foes seem to have infinite energy, making Energy Denial ineffective
- Hard Mode foes (especially bosses) cast very quickly, making them difficult (if not impossible) for some players to interrupt consistently.
- You always know which enemies (and builds) you will encounter.
PvP: A good mesmer in PvP focuses on disruption. It is important to realize that the primary objective for a mesmer is not to destroy their opponents, but rather render them incapable of achieving their goals. Mesmers have several tools at their disposal to allow for very flexible builds.
- Opponents are smarter about fleeing, removing hexes, and dealing with self-damage.
- The pace is faster, although opponents have human reaction times.
- Energy is carefully managed.
Specific PvE techniques
- Opponents largely ignore Backfire and Empathy in PvE, causing enemies to kill themselves quickly.
- Hexes expire faster on bosses (especially in Hard mode), which means skills that have effects when they end work more quickly. Spam Wastrel's Worry or combine Shrinking Armor with Fragility.
- Chaos Storm is still effective in pressuring casters.
- When encountering heavy hex removal, use Phantom Pain; when stripped, it triggers Deep Wound, especially devastating low health targets.
- Images of Remorse will often do its conditional damage since AI foes always attack in-between skills, making it a cheap damage dealer and a spammable cover hex.
- Distortion allows a mesmer to survive attacks long enough to shutdown or kill the foe. Use Spirit of Failure to increases the chances of a miss as well as compensate for the energy cost of Distortion.
- Cry of Pain and Wandering Eye can be used to generate direct AoE damages.
- Shut down energy users, such as Assassins and Dervishes with Spirit Shackles, combined with Images of Remorse and/or Mind Wrack.
- You can always bring the right elemental protection: Earth, Flame, Frost or Lightning. (Or combine with MoF with Winter or MoF with Greater Conflagration.) Other circumstances make Physical or Elemental Resistance the right choice.
Specific PvP techniques
- For Illusion Mesmers and other hex-based builds, make good use of 'cover hexing.' Most opposing parties will have a hex remover, but many skills only remove one. 'Cover' your powerful hexes by casting a weaker, less important hex on top of your primary stack; the weak hex is removed (last on, first off) leaving the meat of your attack intact.
Choosing a second profession
- Main article: Secondary professions for a Mesmer
Attribute-based skill lists
Function-based skill lists
Energy management skills
- Lyssa's Aura (Elite) adds pips of energy; renews on spellcasting.
- Energy Drain (Elite) steals energy and returns it doubly (PvP) or triply (PvE).
- Energy Tap steals small amounts of energy and returns it doubly.
- Mantra of Recall boosts energy when it ends.
- Channeling adds one energy for every foe in the area.
- Auspicious Incantation returns all the energy of the next spell cast (and then some).
Energy boost as a bonus:
- Power Leech (Elite) hexes foes to interrupt them and send energy your way, whenever they cast a spell.
- Leech Signet interrupts any skill, returning energy if it interrupts a spell.
- Drain Enchantment removes an enchantment and restores both health and energy in exchange.
- Power Drain interrupts and returns energy.
- Inspired/Revealed Hex are identical spells that remove hexes on allies, while returning energy. They also copy the hex, allowing the mesmer to cast it against the enemy (especially interesting when dealing with Monster skills).
- Inspired/Revealed Enchantment are identical spells that remove enchantments on foes, while returning energy. They also copy the enchantment.
- Spirit of Failure forces the target to miss 25% of the time, returning energy on each missed attack. (Especially effective when the attacker is blind or otherwise having trouble attacking.)
- Guilt/Shame (Domination Magic) both cause the next enemy spell to fail and return energy. The first works on spells targeting your allies, the second on those target the target's allies.
- Ethereal Burden/Kitah's Burden (Illusion Magic) snare the target, returning energy when the hex ends.
|Effective profession guides|
| Warrior • Ranger • Monk • Necromancer • Mesmer • Elementalist|