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The doppelganger will have the same skills you equip and has 12 in every attribute. The key to winning the battle is to bring skills that you can use more intelligently than it can.
The following tactics are effective or helpful in defeating the doppelganger:
- Punish the doppleganger for attacking
- Hexes, enchantments, stances, and weapon skills that do damage to your opponent when it attacks can be useful if you use them and then do not attack yourself.
- Use ranged weapon attacks at melee range
- The doppelganger will use a melee weapon when in melee range and a ranged weapon when not in melee range. This prevents kiting, but does mean that if you're in melee range and use a ranged weapon, the doppelganger will use a melee weapon, and will be unable to use ranged weapon skills.
- Use weapons that inflict a type of damage required for certain skills
- The doppelganger's weapon will not have any special mods. If you bring skills that trigger on a particular type of damage and use a weapon mod to make your weapon do that type of damage, the doppelganger will not have the same type of weapon and will be unable to take advantage of the skills.
- Use a pet and equip mostly pet skills
- The doppelganger will have no pet, even if you have one, and will be unable to take advantage of pet skills.
- Bring useless skills
- If you bring skills that are of no use in this fight and do not use them yourself, the doppelganger will sometimes waste time and energy casting them. This can be particularly useful for ranger spirits with long casting times. The doppelganger is especially fond of spamming Lively Was Naomei as often as possible.
- Activate buffs early
- You can cast enchantments, use preparations, summon item spells, and activate other similar skills before stepping on the third stone to start the cut scene. This saves casting time and prevents the doppelganger from interrupting them. (Stances can also be activated early, although this is less beneficial since they have no activation time.) The only exception to this is forms, which are removed when the cutscene begins.
- If you aren't attacking, try dodging
- The doppelganger generally will not dodge, but you can if you keep your distance. Dodging means you have to go a while without attacking, but this can be useful if you're not attacking.
- Bring skills the doppleganger is likely to remove quickly
- Skills that are removed when you attack or use another skill (for example Restful Breeze) can be useful, as the doppelganger will likely remove the skill immediately after using it, denying itself the benefit of the skill that you get.
- Strongly consider not bringing any self-healing
- Self-healing skills can be dangerous, as if you can heal yourself and the doppelganger can also heal itself, that can easily lead to a stalemate in which neither of you can kill the other.
- Use PvE-only skills
- The doppelganger cannot use PvE-only skills, giving you advantages that it cannot copy.
- In normal mode with max equipment, no skills are needed
- A level 20 character can usually clear the mission and bonus in normal mode using "max" armor for their profession and a max damage weapon with a fulfilled attribute requirement (both available from various collectors in the Crystal Desert), and an empty skill bar.
- Bring armor-ignoring damage
- In hard mode, the doppelganger is level 30, which greatly increases both weapon and spell damage for any damage affected by armor. Armor-ignoring damage does not scale up, so it can help to use quite a bit of it to neutralize the doppelganger's advantage here.
Profession specific advice
If you have any problems defeating your doppelganger, look for profession specific tips below. Any class can defeat the doppelganger using only skills linked to the primary profession, though in hard mode, this is much more difficult for some classes than others. If you have a well-developed secondary profession and are having trouble, you may wish to look at secondary profession tactics. Another alternative is using PvE-only skills.
If you wish to take a new secondary profession for the specific purpose of defeating the doppelganger, the cheapest approach is to switch your secondary profession to mesmer. Acquiring the secondary profession gives you Empathy by default, without having to buy it separately, and you can beat the doppelganger by using empathy and an otherwise empty skillbar, by casting empathy and then dodging back and forth (and not attacking) until it wears off, and then repeating. Adding increased armor or blocking skills from your primary profession will give you more leeway, as the doppelganger will not benefit from them.
Please do not add strategies or builds that rely on the combination of a particular primary profession together with a particular secondary. While there are myriad such approaches that will work, few players will happen to have your particular combination of a primary and secondary profession. Advising them to go buy skills for a particular secondary profession is very wasteful.
Do be warned that many of the strategies listed below will fail in hard mode, especially if not in the hard mode subsections. Such tips may still be useful to those who do not have access to hard mode yet, nor to all of the skills that it may take to do well in hard mode.
- Bring lots of skills with very long cast times. The Doppelganger will usually waste its time casting these skills, giving you plenty of time to kill it. When using this strategy, consider using skills like Meteor Shower or Maelstrom.
- Bring the spell Iron Mist, but do not cast it. Don't bring any skills that do lightning damage. The Doppleganger will cast the spell and won't be able to do any damage to you.
- Cast glyphs before stepping on the last stone. This will give you an advantage in battle, as you will waste less time casting.
- Cast Kinetic Armor before entering and bring a cheap, spammable spell with which you can keep kinetic armor up. Bring one fairly limited interrupt (so you won't be interrupted very much), and use it when the Doppleganger when tries to cast kinetic armor, leaving you with an enormous armor advantage.
- Take only the skills Aura of Restoration and Flare, before stepping on the last stone cast Aura of Restoration, when insde the Mesa, keep casting Flare until the Doppelganger dies.
- Take Mark of Rodgort but bring no fire damage skills, just a Fiery weapon with a relatively quick attack rate. The Doppelganger will waste time casting it on you with no effect as it cannot deal fire damage, while you bring it down more quickly with degen. Combine with Conjure Flame to increase damage while still doing the Doppelganger no good.
Hard Mode Notes
- Hindering its damage dealing ability may be of great help, as you do not have as high armor as other professions have. Blinding Flash or Blinding Surge is a good option to stop it from dealing too much damage with attacking, though it will still do far more damage with spells than you.
- Bring Mark of Rodgort, Conjure Flame, Kinetic Armor, Stone Daggers, and nothing else. Put all of your attribute points into fire and earth magic; energy storage doesn't matter. Bring a fire wand or staff. Cast Conjure Flame and then Kinetic Armor just before entering. Cast Mark of Rodgort immediately when the battle starts, then use your staff or wand to attack. Cast Stone Daggers often enough to keep Kinetic Armor up. You'll do damage mainly with Conjure Flame and the burning from Mark of Rodgort, both of which ignore armor and neither of which the Doppelganger can use, and the very high armor from Kinetic Armor will prevent the Doppelganger's attacks from hurting you very badly.
- Use Empathy and Physical Resistance/Distortion and let the Doppelganger kill itself. If you choose to get in melee range, take Mantra of Lightning instead of Physical Resistance — the Doppelganger's axe deals lightning damage.
- Be careful with interrupts. The AI almost always has faster reflexes than you, so it is likely you will get interrupted.
Hard Mode Notes
- Empathy and Physical Resistance still works. If you don't have viable PvE gear, try adding Ineptitude or Signet of Midnight, or simply dodge attacks.
- The AI will not use Regeneration skills like Healing Breeze to counter health loss, but will use it only to counter degeneration. Use this to your advantage.
- Monks have little options to deal damage, so try focusing on Smiting Prayers.
- Using Restful Breeze as an alternative to Healing Breeze along with Retribution and 12 points in Healing and Smiting prayers will guarantee no healing for the Doppelganger. It will kill itself in under 2 minutes this way, just don't attack.
- Get the Doppelganger to cast Life Attunement to dramatically reduce damage from its attacks.
Hard Mode Notes
- In Hard Mode, the AI will force the Doppelganger to use Healing Breeze.
- Use Retribution, Shield of Judgment, Scourge Enchantment, and Restful Breeze. Cast Retribution before the battle and leave it up for the entire battle. Use Shield of Judgment as often as the cool down allows. Use Scourge Enchantment often enough to keep it on the Doppelganger constantly, as this will ensure that even with the Divine Favor healing, Doppelganger's casts give it roughly no net healing. Keep Restful Breeze on yourself most of the time, and do not attack, as this will end Restful Breeze. Retribution and Shield of Judgment do enough damage to kill the Doppelganger in well under 2 minutes.
- Use Ray of Judgment, Restful Breeze, and Retribution, but leave the rest of your skillbar empty. Keep Restful Breeze active while dodging but not attacking, but stop to cast Ray of Judgment when it is available. Get out of the way when the Doppelganger casts Ray of Judgment; the Doppelganger will take substantial damage before getting out of the way. With the Doppelganger not smart enough to match your healing from Restful Breeze, you can survive indefinitely while you wear it down.
- Bring Insidious Parasite, Enfeeble, and an otherwise empty skillbar, and let the doppelganger kill itself. Dodging is counter-productive here, as the attack needs to hit for the hex to work.
- Remember that there will be nothing dying in this battle, so Soul Reaping bonus and corpse exploitation skills will do you no good.
Hard Mode Notes
- Insidious Parasite and Enfeeble still work quite nicely.
- Bring many slow-casting Nature Rituals like Favorable Winds and Quickening Zephyr. The Doppelganger will waste time casting the rituals while you attack.
- Equip bow attacks and stay within melee range of the Doppelganger; it will switch to its axe and thus be unable to use the bow attacks.
- Alternatively, get your pet to do all the damage. Skills like Enraged Lunge, Call of Protection and Symbiotic Bond work pretty well. To prevent taking too much damage, try to hide behind a wall and let your pet do the dirty work. Another way is to just bring the skill charm animal, a high level pet along with a few arrows should defeat Doppelganger easily.
Hard Mode Notes
- Even in Hard Mode, the Doppelganger will try to use any spirits before attacking. Use this to your advantage.
- Toxicity, Poisonous Bite and Predator's Pounce is a great combo if you have all three campaigns and a high-level pet. Let the Doppelganger cast Toxicity for you. Keep it poisoned and spam Predator's Pounce.
- Equip Frenzy, but don't use it. The Doppelganger will, putting itself at a significant disadvantage. Couple this with a few attack skills, preferably energy-based so you use them right away, and it will go down very quickly.
- The Doppelganger does not use a shield, so bringing skills that require a shield (such as Shield Stance and Shield Bash) gives a significant advantage.
- Equip an attack combo from left to right in reverse order (such as Final Thrust, Gash, Sever Artery). The Doppelganger doesn't understand the order certain skills should be used in, and prioritizes them from left to right on the bar when they are charged.
- Any skills that cause you to lose all adrenaline (such as Wild Blow) can be a great benefit. Ignore them yourself and let the Doppelganger waste its own adrenaline using them on you.
Hard Mode Notes
- A reliable way to kill the Doppelganger is to use block skills like Riposte, Deadly Riposte and Gladiator's Defense, and stand close to the Doppelganger so it can attack you with its axe to ensure you can block it. Be sure to bring enough blocking skills to always have one active. Good choices are Shield Stance and Defensive Stance, as well as Deflect Arrows at the start of battle when the Doppleganger is still using a Spear. For Great Justice helps you build more adrenaline to fuel your skills.
- The 'attack chain in reverse order' strategy will not work in Hard Mode.
- The Doppelganger will usually not use Frenzy in Hard Mode, but will use Frenzied Defense.
- If you are or have an elementalist second profession, then a reliable build to use would be Deadly Riposte, Sliver Armor, Armor of Earth, and Frenzied defense. Simply get within melee range but do not attack him, upkeep Armor of Earth, and activate Deadly Riposte and Sliver armor every time they recharge. With that, 45 seconds should be enough to kill him.
- Combine blocking with PvE only touch skills. Consider Ear Bite, Brawling Headbutt, and Ebon Vanguard Assassin Support along with Soldier's Stance. You will block most of the Doppelganger's attacks while bypassing his blocking.
- A build which relies on a lot of attack spirits can work quite well. The elite skill Signet of Spirits is best, if you have it, while Bloodsong, Pain, Shadowsong, and Anguish are the best non-elite choices. Summon all your spirits as soon as you enter. Back away until you are out of range of the doppelganger's spirits, and it will follow you, keeping it in range of your own spirits. Attack the doppelganger to make sure your spirits attack it instead of its spirits.
- Alternatively, you can run to the edge of the arena, and spawn your spirits there. The Doppelganger will spawn his spirits in the center, then attack you. This will keep you safe outside his spirits' range, and him inside yours'. Painful Bond will speed up your victory. This will also work in HM within bonus time, for a Ritualist secondary.
Hard Mode Notes
- Use a similar strategy as above, but add Painful Bond to your skill bar, and back away immediately before summoning your spirits. The doppelganger will summon all its spirits before it moves, so you will be far out of their attack range. Put Painful Bond on the doppelganger, and he'll die in just a few volleys.
- Assassins have plenty of options to defeat the Doppelganger. By equipping Vampiric Daggers with high Critical Strikes and Dagger Mastery, you can easily kill it simply by attacking and without even using skills.
- Don't take any Dual Attacks, but include hexes that trigger on them to have the Doppelganger waste its time and energy casting them.
- As a general rule, if you can start a dagger chain that you can use but the Doppelganger will not, it is quite easy to out damage it. One such skillbar is Dancing Daggers, Fox Fangs, Death Blossom, and Impale.
- Bring Deadly Paradox and some attack skills. It will disable its attack skills with Deadly Paradox, while you take advantage of them.
- Shadow Walk is a good choice, combined with several enchantments that keep you alive. If the Doppelganger uses Shadow Walk, it will not be able to cast the enchantments.
Hard mode notes
- Bring Flashing Blades and a variety of other stances: Shadow Walk, Shadow of Haste, Dash, Smoke Powder Defense and/or Deadly Paradox. Take a strong chain of attack skills (but avoid using unblockable attacks, remember that both you and the Doppelganger are enchanted by Divine Fire). Put attribute points into dagger mastery and critical strikes, and ignore shadow arts. When the battle starts, use flashing blades and your attack chain. The doppelganger will often prefer one of the other stances rather than flashing blades, or end flashing blades by using one of the other stances soon after casting it. This lets you block most of the doppelganger's attacks while it cannot block yours.
- Use a lot of Spear Attacks, and stay in melee range. The Doppelganger will use its axe, and will not be able to use these attack skills.
- Equip chants that have an effect based on spell casting, such as Aria of Zeal or Aria of Restoration. The Doppelganger will waste time and energy using these for no benefit.
Hard Mode Notes
- It can be kind of close, but the spear attacks in melee range strategy still works.
- With high scythe mastery and using Vow of Strength, you can easily defeat the Doppelganger by simply attacking it.
- A few high damage attacks (such as Reaper's Sweep, Irresistible Sweep, Pious Assault, or Victorious Sweep) should be enough to quickly overpower the Doppelganger before it can do the same to you.
- Another option is to take Wearying Strike and nothing else. Let the Doppleganger use it and weaken itself while you attack it with your scythe.
Hard Mode Notes
- For Hard Mode, the tactics described above are usually not sufficient, as the Doppelganger simply out damages you. A good way of defeating the Doppleganger is to use Ebon Dust Aura with an Earth weapon. The Doppelganger will not be able to take advantage of Ebon Dust Aura, but you can. Try to keep it blind as much as possible, and kill it with your scythe.
PvE-only skill advice
The Doppelganger cannot use PvE-only skills, which makes them very advantageous to the player, especially in Hard Mode.
- Ursan Blessing can easily make quick work of the doppelganger.
- You can summon allies using Ebon Vanguard Assassin Support and Asuran summoning skills (e.g. Summon Ruby Djinn).
- Necrosis provides good damage. Combine it with a PvE-only based hex/condition (e.g. Pain Inverter or Ear Bite) so that the doppelganger can't use the prerequisite skill against you.
- Sneak Attack inflicts blindness, mostly neutralizing the doppelganger's attack damage. Additionally, you can combine it with a high damage attack chain that depends on a lead attack; without their own lead, the doppelganger will not be able to begin the chain.
- One effective PVE-only chain is: "You Move Like a Dwarf!" + Ebon Vanguard Assassin Support + "Finish Him!", which will take your foe down quickly. If your Norn or Vanguard title rank is low, you can add profession-based skills (at the risk of those being used against you).