As I’ve said before, GW2 builds are all about tradeoffs.
I’ve been considering the main thing that is lacking for each of my current Warrior builds in PVP:
- “Run and Gun” (RnG) lacks sustained CC to control situations (Axe/Warhorn has no CC capability)
- “Captain Hammer” (CH) lacks sufficient DPS to apply meaningful pressure
Hammer has continued to grow on me, and Rifle is an excellent ranged weapon, so I decided to pair those weapons together. After experimenting with various builds I landed on the “Hammer Gun” (HG) build. HG works well in sPvP and in WvW, just make sure for WvW to take the falling damage trait (Death From Above) instead of Bersker’s Power.
Build Calculator and Gear
The spec lacks the sustained healing, mitigation, and boon uptime of CH, but the burst and sustained DPS are significantly higher and I can apply meaningful pressure to targets, and the ranged capability of HG is vastly superior.
HG lacks the AOE mobility and endurance effects that the Warhorn provides with RnG, but HG provides far better control, and the dropoff in overall damage from Hammer to Axe hasn’t been that significant. Although to be fair I do not take the Axe traits with RnG.
HG has excellent synergy with Adrenaline, specifically the 3 Adrenaline-based buffs (up to 12% damage, 9% crit, and healing ticks for 360 every 3s) and enabling use of the Hammer burst ability Earthshaker, which is awesome in AOE situations.
While HG lacks stability and doesn’t have particularly high mitigation, the ability to interrupt and lockdown opponents provides high value in group situations and in 1v1s.
Build Pros and Cons
- Very good sustained CC capability: 2 knockbacks (one is AOE), a knockdown, an AOE stun, and an AOE fear
- Good sustained damage
- Ability to skirmish up to 1200 range and handle close-quarters combat
- High crit rate (47-56%) triggers crit-based effects: Sigil of Superior Air procs, vulnerability, and bleeds
- Sustained condition removal via shouts and Mending
- Lacks high-end burst damage
- Lacks stability boon and oh-crap buttons
Narrated PVP Videos
“Hammer Gun” Build Overview
Conclusions From Build Testing
I theorycrafted and tried various Hammer / Rifle specs, and here are my conclusions:
- Berserker’s Amulet outperformed Knight’s Amulet. While the latter provided more HP, fights took longer to resolve because of the lower Power (-229) and lower Crit multipler (1.85 vs 1.7). This reinforces a theme that has become increasingly apparent to me in GW2: it’s better to end fights quickly than try to try to wear down your opponent. DPS seems to beat damage reduction, and by reduction I mean mitigation and condition removal. I have witnessed this dynamic in tournaments, as multiple guildees have run tank builds that perform well in sPvP but simply don’t work in tournaments because they can’t apply meaningful DPS or boons or debuffs or sustained CC or area denial.
- 30-pt Tactics healing trait Vigorous Shouts does not provide meaningful healing unless you stack +healing. If you invest 30 points into Tactics but don’t stack +healing, what you end up with is healing that is not significant, even factoring in the AOE aspect of it. Shout healing without +healing is merely a speed bump for opposing DPS.
- 30-pt Defense retaliation trait Spiked Armor wasn’t worth the investment, even for a Power build. The main issue is that the boon only lasts 5s, and even with 30% duration from 30 points in Tactics, the 6.5s uptime wasn’t enough to justify the opportunity cost. Other classes (e.g. Guardian) have better retaliation mechanics.
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- 2012/12/09: replaced Sigil of Superior Air with Fire, replaced Rending Strikes with Deep Cuts for Attack of Opportunity uptime, and replaced Heightened Focus with Inspiring Shouts
- 2012/10/15: switched from Sigil of Superior Blood to Superior Air for more burst damage
- 2012/10/01: updated build links to use intothemists.com’s calculator