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Note: this article is intended to provide guidance for experienced characters playing a new ritualist or experienced ritualists looking for additional options. If this is your first time playing Guild Wars, please see Getting started in Guild Wars Factions.
The Ritualist profession is only available in the Guild Wars: Factions campaign. Users of other Guild Wars campaigns will not be able to use this profession unless they add a Factions key to their account.
A Ritualist's Place
The ritualist is a 'jack-of-all-trades' that is usually seen as a support character rather than a primary damage dealer. The role of the class is to aid allies with additional damage, healing, and effects brought forth by created spirits.
Ritualists have certain types of skills that are unique to their profession. They can:
- Perform Binding Rituals to summon spirits to bring offensive magic, healing, and protection to the battlefield.
- Cast Weapon Spells onto an ally, providing an effect like an enchantment would, yet being resistant to enchantment removal skills.
- Use Item Spells to create items that have an effect until and/or when dropped.
Being a Ritualist
There are several different ways to play a ritualist, depending on both one's playing style and the situation at hand. The profession is very versatile; it can both support fellow party members or aid them in combat.
If you plan to summon many spirits in battle, consider using the Ritual Lord or Soul Twisting elite skill to lower the normally lengthy recharge time. Casting many rituals very quickly takes up a lot of energy, so you'll benefit by maintaining Boon of Creation when summoning spirits.
Ritualists have many skills and options that allow them to deal damage to the enemy. Pain, a spirit that requires Communing to be effective, is a standard spirit that will attack any enemy within sight. Make sure to summon spirits far enough away from the battle that the monsters won't attack them. It is possible to create an extremely potent artillery ritualist with the use of Pain, Shadowsong, Dissonance, and Anguish - the Ritualist will almost always have at least two spirits available, even after a heavy fight, and can often put up four or five as a "wall" of artillery. The value of attacking spirits lies in the nature of their attacks. Once placed, a spirit will continue to attack any target in range regardless of the actions of the ritualist (in some cases this is a bad thing). Spirit attacks ignore armor, making them quite effective at beating down tough, high-level opponents, and can also be made to do more damage by casting Painful Bond on the opponents they are attacking. The downside to this is that spirits choose their own targets and it is close to impossible to get them to coordinate attacks effectively.
Destruction is another spirit that does damage. It is the equivalent of a time bomb, building up potential damage the longer it is alive. You can time the damage it does by using Rupture Soul after it has been alive for a good time; this will set off a massive spike to enemies within range, doing damage dealt from both Destruction and Rupture Soul as well as blinding nearby enemies.
There are also many spells that deal lightning damage. Most of these have conditional bonus effects that occur when the caster is holding an item or within earshot of a spirit, making skill synergy very important for Ritualists who want to increase their effectiveness. Channeling Magic is the main attribute associated with offensive spells. Spirit Rift, a skill introduced early in the game, will strike many foes in a tight area after three seconds have passed. Spirit Burn can deal a fair amount of damage and cause burning if you have a spirit near you. Caretaker's Charge and Clamor of Souls are both solid elites in the Channeling line that cover their own energy costs when their conditional bonuses are met, and with high enough Channeling, Essence Strike can result in energy gain, provided it is cast within earshot of a spirit. Finally, if you summon several spirits in a typical battle, you may want to consider bringing Doom; you do not need to have channeling to use it and it can deal massive damage with several of your spirits active.
You may consider playing as a ritualist that supports their allies through healing and protection, in which case there are still many options. Some ritualists choose to invest their points in only Spawning Power and Communing, choosing to rely on spirits from just the Communing attribute.
However, a Ritualist using Restoration Magic can be a very effective healer. Unlike a Monk, ritualist healing gains bonuses from meeting certain conditions, rather than spending points in Divine Favor. This means a healing Ritualist needs to plan ahead and combine skills for the maximum health gain.
Shelter and Union are highly effective both alone and when used together. What results is all damage that's greater than 10% of a party member's health is negated, while the damage that does get through is reduced by 15 points. In order to not have your Union spirit take damage before an attack is blocked by Shelter, cast Shelter first and then Union. Union will then only activate on the attacks that get through. Displacement is another spirit that many put in their lineup. Place displacement between Union and Shelter if you're using those skills to make it as effective as possible, as Displacement should only block the leftover attacks that Shelter hasn't.
There are Restoration skills as well that can heal instead of protecting. Recuperation is a spirit equivalent of the Monk skill Mending, providing up to +3 regeneration (6 health per second) to all allies within the area of the spirit. With an investment of twenty-five energy, a ritualist can grant every party member in range (and allies if you have them) a three point life regen bonus for 40 seconds. Life is another spirit you may want to include - it heals for large amounts when it dies if it managed to stay alive long enough. As with Destruction mentioned above, you may want to chain Life with Spirit to Flesh and time the healing. Finally, there are some straight healing spells that benefit when you have spirits nearby.
The key to using Ritualist healing spells is to ensure they meet their requirements to be completely effective. For example, Soothing Memories will only cost a net 2 energy if you are holding an item. Combining it with an Item Spell such as Mighty Was Vorizun will give you a very cheap heal. Mend Body and Soul is a moderate heal, but an excellent condition remover if you have several Spirits nearby. Wielder's Boon is a low heal on its own, but comparable to Heal Other if its target is under the effect of a Weapon Spell. Most of the ritualist heals cost only five energy and heal for a decent amount. Even so you will have to find a different source of energy management if you plan to spam healing spells. It is worth it to invest some points into Spawning Power to take advantage of skills such as Attuned Was Songkai or Spirit Channeling.
The main use of PvP Ritualists is the spirit spamming. Other PvP builds have included Soul Twisting + Shelter and channeling magic for spike assists, as well as some builds occasionally using a pair of defensive ritualists to replace a monk. More recently the popular Ritualist has used Splinter Weapon and Ancestor's Rage to deal massive AoE spike damage. In balanced teams the Ritualist is mostly used to support the 2 Monks with defensive weapons spells, this build is popular due to the excellent energy management provided by Offering of Spirit.
There are two general trends for pure ritualist builds: those who use many spirits will spend strongly into Communing and Spawning Power, while those who do not will use Channeling and Restoration skills to support the offense or defense more directly.
- Spawning Power: This ability is either extremely important or almost useless, depending on whether your build uses Spirits/Minions or not. Many spirits, such as Shelter and Union, will lose health when they take effect. Having many ranks in Spawning Power allows them to stay alive longer. This also increases Weapon Spell length.
- Communing: When using a mix of spirits and other spells, Communing probably goes farther for you than Spawning Power as it will increase duration and effect of spirits as well as other spells.
- Restoration Magic: The Restoration line is perceived as inferior to the Monk lines, but because it does not require a second attribute such as Divine Favor to be fully effective, it is popular on hybrid characters that like to retain some damage dealing potential. Restoration and Channeling work well together for this.
- Channeling Magic: As with most offensive lines, Channeling tends to be all or nothing. If you have many ranks, it is useful for dealing damage. If you do not, it is better to use your energy elsewhere.
Types of Ritualists
This is not an exhaustive list of builds, but rather a short summary of common themes that many popular ritualist builds fit within. For specific builds see the article on Builds.
Generic Backline Ritualist
Backline Supporters fall under two categories.
Restoration Support Ritualist
A ritualist focused on healing and aiding, either in place of or in addition to a monk teammate. With a focus on Restoration Magic skills and a few spirits, the ritualist can do a good job of healing, and is not as easily countered by enchantment stripping as a Monk.
As with most Ritualist builds, a Restoration Ritualist must be concerned with skill synergy to optimize his or her effectiveness. You can choose to use as few or as many spirits as possible, but remember that relying on spirits can root you to a certain "area of effectiveness"; this isn't always desirable, but it is sometimes useful. Using spells linked to items, such as Soothing Memories or Protective Was Kaolai, allows you to be more mobile, as do weapon spells such as Spirit Light Weapon and Wielder's Boon.
While most compare Ritualists to Monks in terms of healing effectiveness, restoration spells can be the more efficient option; for example, Orison of Healing, with an attribute spread of 16 Healing Prayers and 13 Divine Favor, will heal for 115; at 16 Restoration Magic, Mend Body and Soul will heal for 121, and may also remove conditions if its conditional bonus is met. Spirit Light is another very powerful heal available to a Ritualist, while still being quite cheap in terms of energy, cast, and recharge times. Life is often the spirit of choice to trigger the Ritualist spell's conditional bonuses, as it is also a stronger (albeit delayed) Heal Party that can be even more effective as a party heal when combined with Spirit to Flesh.
Defensive spirits, from both the Restoration and Communing lines, always affect all allies in the area, making them more effective in larger groups. Recuperation is a poor choice for just one person, but it costs the same whether it affects just the caster or an 8-person party with pets and minions. Furthermore, spirit effects stack with enchantments and other effects (like chants) and can only be removed or ended by the death of the spirit. Unfortunately, as the game is now, spirit effects always take precedence over enchants. That means that Aegis or Guardian will not trigger while Displacement is alive since Displacement will block all attacks in its range before a check is made to block an attack via an enchantment.
Weapon Spells are very useful for keeping your party alive, as they are not an Enchantment or Stance, and so can only be countered by being interrupting when cast. Vengeful Weapon is basically Reversal of Fortune with a life steal, and is useful for healing Warriors while also adding to their damage output. Weapon of Shadow can relieve the pressure on anyone who is the focus of attacks by blinding attackers. Weapon of Warding helps block attacks while adding some regen to the bearer. Resilient Weapon is a good counter for hexes or conditions that cause degen and adds armor, to boot. Finally, the often-overlooked elite Weapon of Quickening can be exceedingly helpful to other casters on your team since it reduces recharge time of spells by a quarter and can be cast on several other people in rapid succession.
For Energy management, spells such as Spirit Channeling and Attuned Was Songkai are helpful. At full Restoration Magic and 9 Spawning Power, Attuned Was Songkai combined with Soothing Memories gives you a 0 energy, 82 point heal every 4 seconds. Boon of Creation helps manage energy costs associated with creating spirits, while Wielder's Zeal and Renewing Memories make for cheaper weapon spells.
Channeling Support Ritualist
Ritualists can be direct damage dealers by using the skills in the channeling line. Builds like this typically make use of a single spirit or an item spell (or both) to take advantage of conditional effects on spells like Essence Strike, Spirit Burn, and Caretaker's Charge. As in the Restoration line, Channeling spells often have their own skills dedicated to energy management and a skilled player will take this into account when devising a build. While Channeling skills do not have the 25% armor penetration inherent in many of the offensive Air Magic spells, (with the exception of the benefits provided by Destructive Was Glaive, which now adds 10% armor penetration to all Channeling spells) most do better damage versus cost. Builds like this can often spam damaging spells by utilizing efficient energy management, resulting in constant damage output.
Spirit Lord Ritualist
Spirit Lords are Ritualists sub-types reliant upon three (or more) spirits as the core foundation of their builds currently fall under these two categories.
Offensive Spirit Wrangler
A ritualist focused on managing offensive spirits. This is probably what you want to focus on if you like doing damage, but don't want to tank. Some good spirits to take are Pain and Bloodsong, along with Dissonance, Shadowsong, and Anguish. A recent buff to Signet of Spirits makes it the elite of choice for many, summoning 3 powerful spirits at once with a tidy 30 second recharge. Painful Bond can easily increase the damage of your spirits, and Spirit Boon Strike will do damage to your enemies while boosting your spirits' HP. Other options to increase the longevity of your spirits include Spiritleech Aura, which allows offensive spirits in range to recover some of the damage they do as health, and Armor of Unfeeling, which reduces all incoming damage your spirits receive by 50%. Soul Twisting and Anguished Was Lingwah can also be used in spirit wrangling builds as many battles occur quickly and getting spirits up early in battle can prevent problems such as interruption while giving the ritualist a means to use important spells. A few healing skills can be taken as a complement.
Defensive Spirit Support
A spirit supporter is a subclass of either the Resto or Spirit Wrangler builds mentioned above. The major difference is that spirit spammers tend to summon spirits as often as possible and to that end include the elite skill Ritual Lord (though some may favor Soul Twisting).
Offensive spirit spammers put points into Communing and Spawning Power to have the healthiest attack spirits. With Ritual Lord, though, the spirit's lifetime and the recharge of the binding ritual are less important. With the exception of the long-lived spirits (Pain and Bloodsong, both of which can last two minutes or more) any spirit should be summoned as soon as its ritual has been recharged, giving a fresh supply of attacking spirits.
Defensive spirit spammers can split points between Communing and Restoration. Protective spirits are favored (the popular combo of Union and Shelter) along with healing spirits (Recuperation, Life, Recovery) to greatly extend the life of the party. Protective spirits often have short lifespans since the activation of their abilities causes a loss of health to the spirit. A spirit spammer can more quickly replace these spirits so a party can make use of their protective abilities more often.
Other non-traditional ritualist fall under these categories.
Spirit's Strength Ritualist
Ritualists have the option to be powerful melee or ranged attackers, as well. By using the elite skill Spirit's Strength and coupling it with a weapon spell, a Ritualist is a force to be reckoned with. Daggers and bows were once the more commonly-seen builds, but those utilizing a spear are quite popular these days, too. (One can use any weapon they desire, but wands and staffs aren't as effective as melee weapons). Weapon Spells are usually either Weapon of Aggression, for increased attack speed, or Vital Weapon, for a long-lasting weapon spell. Sight Beyond Sight is a popular choice for a cover enchantment; it has the added bonus of making the Ritualist immune to Blind, the bane of most melee builds. Keep in mind that attribute points can be spread pretty thin with this build; a happy medium between a Weapon mastery, Spawning Power, and the attribute containing your weapon spell will likely leave you with little else.
Flagger Hybrid Ritualist
These Ritualists, common among GvG teams, use skills like Dash and Weapon of Warding to run the flag and provide moderate support and utility when needed. Typically, these Ritualists use several Restoration Magic skills like Protective was Kaolai and Life with other Channeling Magic spells to help with both offense and defense in a pinch. It is crucial that their skills can be used to help themselves when running, and others when called for as they are more often than not alone on the battlefield.
Minion Bomber Ritualist
For a ritualist, energy management is provided by Boon of Creation and/or Reclaim Essence, instead of the Necro's Soul Reaping. At 14 Spawning Power, Animate Bone Minions provides very cheap and hardy minions, and can be used as often as the spell is ready. When combined with Boon of Creation, Explosive Growth, or Spirit's Gift the accelerated minion creation takes full advantage of the minion creation enchantments available to a ritualist. When used with Jagged Bones, these skills can lead to cascade effects of several concurrent area of effect explosions combined with area of effect degeneration and even allied healing.
- See the general minion mastery guide for more notes on running minion builds.
The Secondary Profession Dilemma
- See also Secondary professions for a Ritualist.
Perhaps moreso than any other profession, the choice of secondary for a Ritualist is difficult. The Ritualist plays very well when using only Ritualist skills. It can be difficult choosing a secondary when none of the choices seems to offer anything the class can't already do. A common (though perhaps unwise) strategy is to choose anything just to be able to progress past the initial Shing Jea Monastery quests and then ignore it. That advice however, can leave a new player unable to decide, and PvE for a ritualist can stall over this conflict.
The primary benefit to the assassin profession is mobility. Shadow Arts offers a variety of skills to move your character around the battlefield. While skills like Heart of Shadow and Viper's Defense are primarily defensive, Death's Retreat and Return can be used to get out of a tight spot quickly. Further, since a ritualist controls the placement of her own spirits, Spirit Walk can be used to shadow step to a predetermined location, while Swap serves double-duty to a ritualist: it can be used to get the ritualist out of trouble while bringing a spirit (like Destruction) into the center of the action.
Since the Ritualist's Channeling Magic line deals lightning damage, it has some possible interaction with Air Magic skills. Further, Glyphs can also be used to reduce recharge time and energy cost for Ritualist spells. Elementalist skills that knockdown, the majority of which lie in the Earth Magic line, also benefit from Earthbind. A defensive ritualist can also make use of wards, such as Ward Against Melee, to further protect the party while allowing Union to stay alive longer. One may also consider throwing up Ward Against Foes to slow down enemies charging directly to spirits. Please note that wards do not affect spirits, however. Aura of Restoration may also be used in combination with Ritualist spells for a minimal self-heal without attribute points required.
While an excellent complement to most spellcasting professions, a Mesmer secondary is of limited usefulness to a Ritualist. Mantra of Resolve and Mantra of Concentration can be useful to prevent interruption of key skills, but Tranquil Was Tanasen works better, even if it is elite. Arcane Echo can be used to copy any spell, but binding rituals are not spells and can only be copied with Echo. Some useful energy management skills lie in the Inspiration magic line, but Ritualists already have a decent supply of their own energy management skills. The true strength in an Rt/Me would come from the differences between the professions. Mesmers have stances, interrupts and hex removal, none of which are available to a pure ritualist.
Choosing a Monk secondary carries the support/healing build to an extreme. Note that Ritualists cannot rely on Divine Favor for incidental heals to boost the effectiveness of lackluster spells like Orison; attribute points would be better invested in Restoration Magic for healing and using other skills like enchantments and signets from Protection Prayers and Smiting Prayers. Martyr or Draw Conditions can combine well with Resilient Was Xiko and Resilient Weapon to effectively manage conditions, as well. Perhaps the most welcome benefit of a Monk secondary is the addition of the Monk's vast repertoire of hex removal skills, the well-known weak point of most pure Ritualist healers; consider Empathic Removal, Holy Veil, or any of the other hex removal staples. Finally, Zealot's Fire works just as well with spammable weapon spells as with monk spells, allowing the smiting ritualist to damage enemies while buffing allies.
The Ritualist's Spawning Power enchantments such as Explosive Growth, Boon of Creation and less commonly, Spirit's Gift can be combined with minion creation skills to create a formidable Minion Master to rival Necromancer primaries. Spawning Power itself is quite useful when summoning minions; it provides a sizable health bonus to the Ritualist's summons.
Ranger traps can be combined with Spirit placement to corral victims into bombardment. Serpent's Quickness can serve as a weak version of Ritual Lord in the early game, as well. A Ranger secondary also has access to Antidote Signet, an unlinked skill that allows the Ritualist to remove multiple nasty conditions at once with a fast recharge. Generally speaking, the Ranger's huge variety of utility and survival skills can be helpful to the Ritualist.
Combining Splinter Weapon with Barrage, in the right circumstances, will cause lots of damage. Those wishing to utilize Spirit's Strength can enjoy the relatively safe range of bows when attacking, utilizing skills such as Dual Shot to create some impressive damage.
For casting Ritualists, some survival skills are available in the Tactics line; stances such as Shield Stance provide a high block rate in times of crisis, such as when summoning important spirits or casting key spells while under fire from ranger interrupts or melee attackers.
Spirit's Strength Ritualists have three options available to them here; Hammer Mastery, Axe Mastery, and Swordsmanship. Each have unique benefits to a Ritualist; hammers allow for some knockdown (which can pair well with Earthbind), axes allow for some armor penetration and area of effect attacks, and swords offer balanced damage with several good energy-consuming attacks (as opposed to adrenaline consuming attacks).
Both offensive and defensive Ritualists will see little benefit from a Dervish secondary; Earth Prayers and Wind Prayers each contain some skills which may provide a moderate amount of self-defense, but not many. Careful review of the skills available may allow for some unique builds to be created, but will likely not result in much benefit for healers, Spirit spammers, Spirit wranglers, or Channeling Ritualists.
The same does not hold true for Spirit's Strength Ritualists, however. A Dervish secondary allows a Ritualist to make use of a Scythe, a powerful weapon that can hit up to 3 enemies at a time. With a variety of offensive skills at his or her disposal, a Ritualist swinging a scythe can be a very dangerous foe for clustered enemies.
A Paragon secondary is a unique choice for Restoration Ritualists, as the vast number of shouts and chants can benefit from Vocal Was Sogolon, an item spell that increases their durations. Paired with skills such as "Incoming!" or "Fall Back!", a Ritualist can maintain an almost constant increased movement speed on his or her teammates, as well as provide a little healing.
Spirit's Strength Ritualists with a Paragon secondary have the option to take up a spear, a ranged weapon with good damage output. The availability of both energy and adrenal skills tied to the weapon allow the smart Ritualist to keep a good handle on both without depleting either too quickly, allowing for more consistent and comfortable skill use.
Armor & Runes
Armor varies as much as the multitude of roles the ritualist can play. Armor bonuses may be granted for being enchanted by a weapon spell, controlling spirits, holding items (notably including urns), or while activating skills (think of the long activation time for spirits).
Keep in mind that binding rituals are not spells, and as such weapon mods that grant faster casting or recharge to spells will not affect your rituals. Also note that while using item spells, you will lose any bonuses granted from your weapon as long as the item is held.
Spirits cannot be healed directly, but can be healed via the Spirit Boon Strike spell or the Spirit's Gift spell, can be targeted by attacks, and are immobile. Spirits' effects either work within a range around them or they target single enemies within their range. The exact range varies according to the spirit. Detailed information on Spirit stats is available within the Spirit article.
Managing Your Spirits
Important factors for your spirits are the recharge time and the placement. You want your spirits to be up at the correct time at the correct place. Defensive spirits are usually placed a good distance away from the actual fighting, so they don't get targeted by enemies. It is best to start placing these spirits before the fighting starts, to allow you to better focus on the combat to come and so lengthy recharge times can begin. When the fighting starts, watch for the recharge and search good places for your new spirits so that they are out of harm's way but still cover your team mates, who might have moved since the fighting started. Finally, do not stack spirits in one place. Any form of AoE will be devastating to your lightly armored spirits.
Offensive spirits can also be created before the battle. In that case, the enemies have to be lured towards the spirits (like in a trapper build); as spirits have longbow range, it can be wise to strike an enemy from a distance and allow spirits to begin their assault from afar (an effective strategy against immobile targets). Other spirits will only be cast during the battle. Make sure you get close enough to the enemy for these spirits to work, but avoid getting too close and making yourself an easy target.
Consider Draw Spirit or Summon Spirits as an option to bring vital spirits with you as you move, but be careful to not waste it on a short lived spirit in the heat of the moment. Spirits that take a lot of damage or have short life times are simply not worth the effort, even if the recharge time for them is long.
The hardest part of spirit management is not actually the spirits, but your teammates. Avoid 'go-go-go' PUGs if at all possible. When they run, all your spirits will be left behind, and with them all the support you could have provided until your recharge comes around. More than likely, you will get the blame for their error. A spirit spammer is a build that works best on a thinker's team. You want a team willing to let you set up a 'battle / spirit platform' (the area where you cast the majority of your spirits) and then to defend that space until the fight is over. You want them to draw in the opposition as opposed to chasing it.
With henchmen, this becomes easier to manage. Most henchmen will not stray too far from the PCs, and when they do will return if you choose not to follow them. On the other hand, they will not seek out and draw in opponents as readily as fellow players might, and often you will have to leave your own spirit platform to draw in an enemy, then flee back hoping the hostiles follow and your henchmen don't stop them too far away from the spirit platform. It is a delicate game, but it can be managed easily with patience.
Spirits can, and should be positioned aggressively, as some will take their toll on enemies' backlines, like Dissonance (PvP). Since players tend to move back when facing trouble, Pain (PvP) and Anguish (PvP) are good calls too, but it also means Shadowsong (PvP) or Preservation (PvP) will be best used in your own mid or backline. Keep in mind that spirits in PvP have longer casting times than those in PvE; as such, spirit spamming builds can be effective, but take some getting used to.
Spirits can be used for organized pushes to get a hold on enemy ground. In such a scenario, the ritualist will place spirits progressively closer the enemy group, making sure to be covered by the previous spirit or a healer, as this would mean going to the frontline. This could be achieved for instance by raising Displacement (PvP) first in the mid line to avoid being quickly spiked or interrupted by a ranger, then moving forward to set Wanderlust (PvP), and forward again to the enemy group to set Shadowsong (PvP). The ritualist will back up as soon as he starts being pressured or if the opposing team is clever enough to target the spirits instead of the ritualist himself.
On some maps, two to three spirits can be used to body block narrow passages like bridges, while still allowing the ritualist and his teammates to move back and forth, since the game mechanics allow you to move closer to an ally than to an enemy.
Ritualists have a few energy management skills at their disposal; Essence Strike and Spirit Siphon, both parts of the Channeling Magic line, require nearby spirits. Offering of Spirit, perhaps the most popular choice, does not require nearby spirits to gain energy, but instead involves a large health sacrifice without them. Boon of Creation is often vital for spirit spammers and Ritualist minion masters, and Restoration Magic Ritualists may rely on the Spawning Power elites Attuned Was Songkai or Spirit Channeling as an exclusive skill to give them a leg up on monks. If the above options don't fit your plans, try a secondary profession for your energy management needs.
With Flesh of My Flesh, Lively Was Naomei and Restoration, the Ritualist might be equal or even superior to the Monk in resurrecting dead allies during battle, although both are (arguably) now outdone by the Paragon's Signet of Return. If your team wants to resurrect team mates during battle the Ritualists is the better choice (but always keep in mind that Resurrection Signets might be even better). For resurrection after a near-wipe, the Monk's teleporting Rebirth and Unyielding Aura are unbeaten though.
If you use Death Pact Signet, keep in mind that while it is the fastest resurrection, using it on people who jump right back into combat may not be the best idea. Death Pact Signet draws aggro to a player and when and if they die again, you're going down with him, though dying via Death Pact Signet will not cause Death Penalty.
Lively Was Naomei and Restoration are the only two skills in the game that resurrect the caster. They are also unique in the fact that they allow people to be resurrected on the field even while under the effect of Frozen Soil, making these skills even more useful when it comes to fighting in Heroes' Ascent as Frozen Soil is often set down by the other team. While Lively Was Naomei is more common in Heroes' Ascent, some people prefer Restoration because it falls under the Communing attribute line, so they do not have to invest points into the Restoration Magic attribute line. If you plan on using the Restoration spirit, it might be wise to consider bringing a spirit-killing skill such as Rupture Soul in order to get an immediate resurrection.
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