Guild Wars 2 Mesmer PVP Video: 1st Look


I discuss the mechanics for the Mesmer class in Guild Wars 2, based on trying the class in sPvP for the first time in BWE3.

Mesmer is an unusual archetype and from what players have told me, there is a lot of confusion about the mechanics. I frame in simple terms how Mesmer works, while also talking through some fun fights.

Topics discussed:

  1. Mechanics for the two types of illusions: clones and phantasms
  2. The ends of the spectrum for illusion management (consume for shatter effects vs rely on for DPS)
  3. The sword/pistol and staff weapons
  4. Survivability mechanics

In the video I run my “Legion” build. Here is the link to the spec, updated post-launch:
http://gw2skills.net/editor/en/?fgAQNAsaWlwzCq3QTmGZNJi5D92ZGUX0hqA2VSBudhA;T0AA2CnoqxUjoGbNuak1sEZgxBjHGzIA

The build provides the following capabilities for illusions, in particular Phantasms:

  1. Meaningful direct damage
  2. Bleed damage
  3. 3-9% damage buff
  4. 3-9% mitigation buff
  5. Movement speed buff
  6. Regeneration boon

Let me know your questions and feedback.

For in-depth information on my “Legion” build, see the in-depth Guide.

For more Guild Wars 2 content, subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow me on Twitter.

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Posted in Guild Wars 2, Mesmer, PVP, Video
66 comments on “Guild Wars 2 Mesmer PVP Video: 1st Look
  1. EucridEucrow says:

    Good video, good commentary. Wish it was longer but wanting more is a good thing.

  2. SCLOBERNOCKER47 says:

    Good overview of the Mesmer. Id like to see some of the nitty gritty of your weapon and utility choices as well as some of the other weapons. Im a big GS fan myself.

  3. SCLOBERNOCKER47 says:

    Ed, with you building for phantasms, why do you chose +3% dmg per illusion over +15% for you rphantasms?

    • sgilder says:

      I wouldn’t say that he is building for phantasms, as he only has one utility and weapon skill (per weapon set) that makes a phantasm. He is making more illusions/clones than phantasms from the looks of it. So it makes sense to take the 3% buff to me.

    • taugrim says:

      SCLOBERNOCKER47 :

      Ed, with you building for phantasms, why do you chose +3% dmg per illusion over +15% for you rphantasms?

      What would you swap out to get that 10-pt trait though?

      It’s all about tradeoffs, and there is good value in every tree that I invested in.

  4. Jiritsu says:

    Very interesting to see your take on the mesmer. It looks very familiar as I saw many people recommending and using the exactly same weapon set and similar utilities, but I was wondering was there particular other reasons that you didn’t mention, why you didn’t utilize the shatters more, or did you perhaps play another spec that made more use of ’em?
    I personally somewhat like the shatter mechanics, but..(deleted a long rant I was about to post. In summary: technical issues with shatter skills not always connecting). It was a bit confusing too, but fun to learn four extra skills because of the illusion dependancies.

    As a thing I must mention that I didn’t notice how ridiculous amount the runes of divinity give attribute points until I just checked your build.. Dear deity it is a lot!

    • taugrim says:

      Jiritsu :

      Very interesting to see your take on the mesmer. It looks very familiar as I saw many people recommending and using the exactly same weapon set and similar utilities, but I was wondering was there particular other reasons that you didn’t mention, why you didn’t utilize the shatters more, or did you perhaps play another spec that made more use of ‘em?

      As I said in the video, my build focuses on 3 buffs from having illusions, and from increased phantasm damage and HP.

      Shattering phantasms is expensive. Shatter for my build would be fine if the situation warranted it (e.g. for Distortion under focus fire) or if the 3 illusions out were clones, although with this spec there is high uptime on phantasms.

  5. Hey Taugrim,
    The force target drop , Have a question about that honestly I played mesmer as my main in the betas and necro. I even asked my friends and they sayed they never lost target on me , only when i use stealth , and I dint ever have that problem vs mesmers too. Maybe i messed up bad and did not know something but how did u force de-target with the clones?? I seen lots of videos even the warrior 5v5 ep 2, and you never lost the target circle in the second fight with him and he was spawning clones.So i know im not the only one.

    Agree on shatter’s atleast in this last beta. Only good reason to shatter them was for Daze or Distortion other then that no real point doing it as they can be better alive then dead in most specs, even on shatter Mind wrack builds the damage was to low to sacrifice the survival / offensive buffs they can have.

    • taugrim says:

      Emmanuel Gonzalez :

      Agree on shatter’s atleast in this last beta. Only good reason to shatter them was for Daze or Distortion other then that no real point doing it as they can be better alive then dead in most specs, even on shatter Mind wrack builds the damage was to low to sacrifice the survival / offensive buffs they can have.

      Distortion seems to be the shatter that generates the most powerful effect.

      I can’t speak to Mind Wrack builds, but certainly for my build for Mind Wrack the “juice is not work the squeeze”.

      • 100% agree , and its a problem too.
        On a Warrior u want to use your class mechanics , same can be sayed with other classes. But Mesmers atm if its not Daze or Distortion, theres no point. They lack reaction to stick to the target, also the trigger of the actual shatter is often missing the target with a simple side step. Pve they work, pvp with targets that move, is like u sayed “juice is not work the squeeze”

  6. Ommie says:

    More Mesmer videos please. This was a good intro but something a bit more in depth and advanced would be great!

  7. Ozmosis says:

    Been waiting on this one as my wife played Mesmer in the past 2 weekends and I’ve been wanting to find some info to help her. Keep ’em coming Taug!

  8. SCLOBERNOCKER47 says:

    Clones dont force target drop anymore. Not sure if its intentional, but its def only stealth that drops now.

  9. Stronghawk says:

    Yeah, I have never noticed a target drop either, maybe bugged?

    So, do you think the Mesmer has better escape abilities than Thief?

    • taugrim says:

      Stronghawk :

      Yeah, I have never noticed a target drop either, maybe bugged?

      So, do you think the Mesmer has better escape abilities than Thief?

      I’m pretty sure having fought Mesmers before BWE3 that it used to drop target.

      Maybe that was changed.

      • Mog says:

        There was a target drop in BWE2, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t in BWE3. I wanted to play Mez so much, but I just couldn’t get it to work for me in a fun way.

        I did find it interesting when I was playing my Engy that it did not appear I was losing target when a Mez popped clones. As I was specifically expecting to from my prior experience w/ Mez.

        Additionally the new downed 2 ability, the one w/ the port + clone was absolutely worthless. That did not break target for someone trying to finish you off either. So no matter where you ended up porting to, you were still dead.

        I’m sure ANet will get the class working better, as they have said that it’s the class that needs the most work. I’m interested to see how different it is in release.

  10. Sanek says:

    I mentioned this aswell on the Buildcast episode and on Guru but creating illusions is NOT a forced target drop. The reason you might experienced this is because you probably werent using the ‘target lock’ option in the options menu. Meaning that you target the closest thing next to you when you use an attack.

    If you look at your video closely you can see this target drop really isnt the case. So please stop saying it and maybe even add a annotation because it gives beginning mesmers a false hope. Think about it, if there was a forced target drop every time you used an illusion PvE would be faceroll easy since you’d just have to time your illusions properly and you’d be able to counter big PvP attacks without even trying in PvP. And that would be bad game design/balance.

    Now it was a good video to show of beginner mesmer play and your build reflected this. I’m pretty sure this was the most common build out there (with variations of course) because its the most easy/straightforward one to make/play. Not that that is any criticism on your behalf.

    • taugrim says:

      Sanek :

      I mentioned this aswell on the Buildcast episode and on Guru but creating illusions is NOT a forced target drop. The reason you might experienced this is because you probably werent using the ‘target lock’ option in the options menu. Meaning that you target the closest thing next to you when you use an attack.

      http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Clone

      A clone is an illusion created by the mesmer. It looks just like the caster and has the caster’s name and basic behavior. Clones can be affected by boons. The creation of a clone will break targeting on the caster, such that a player enemy will have to both find and reselect the mesmer to continue using targeted skills.[1] The clone has low health and attacks based on the main-hand weapon equipped when the clone was summoned.

      The Wiki agrees with me, and from what I remember from Beta prior to BWE3 there was a target drop with clones. Maybe it was changed.

      Sanek :

      Now it was a good video to show of beginner mesmer play and your build reflected this. I’m pretty sure this was the most common build out there (with variations of course) because its the most easy/straightforward one to make/play. Not that that is any criticism on your behalf.

      I wouldn’t know whether it’s common or not common, given that I didn’t research other people’s builds prior to coming up with this one.

      • It probably was change for pvp targets, as in this beta i did see that pve AI will target them and not the mesmer, part of the reason it was so easy to solo all the pvp npcs as a mesmer.

  11. saggi says:

    Do illusions’ moves scale with gear and stat gains from traits or do they have static damage and are affected by related traits only?

    • Phantoms do, they are affected by trait , gear and jewels. They are not affected by Passive signet buff, vitality\toughness and weapon sigil.
      Clones are the same also. So going high power\crit\condition will change the damage they do.

  12. VinoTecha says:

    I’d like to see more Mesmer videos over the 5v5, at least at this stage of the game.

    Taugrim did you play around with the portal ability at all? Was it effective as an escape, or offensive ability?

  13. Sharlatan says:

    Interesting build, shame its basically using the main class mechanics as mobile dots, rather than actually shattering. I hope Anet make shattering worthwhile as its kind of the unique mechanic of the class.

    • Sharlatan says:

      Oh and more mesmer vids please.

    • taugrim says:

      Sharlatan :

      Interesting build, shame its basically using the main class mechanics as mobile dots, rather than actually shattering. I hope Anet make shattering worthwhile as its kind of the unique mechanic of the class.

      Well, I think part of the genius of the build system is you can decide which mechanics you favor and which you do not.

      Also keep in mind that my illusions, in particular Phantasms, provide the following capabilities:
      1. meaningful direct damage
      2. bleed damage
      3. 9% damage buff
      4. 9% mitigation buff
      5. movement speed buff
      6. regeneration

      This is why my build works.

  14. Sharlatan says:

    Its not really genius when the base class mechanic (the above action bar abilities) for mesmer are so useless no one uses them!

    If its really a choice, then yes I agree, but as it stands, shatters are pretty useless in PvP, not only do your clones die real quick to any aoe, the shatter delay means that hitting a moving target is a right pain.

    If they made shatters better it would be a real choice between keeping the clones for buffs or shattering them, as it stands now, its a no brainer, dont shatter unless you really need the survival from F4.

    • sgilder says:

      Pretty sure he was stating that you get the choice of how you want to play the mesmer, in that you can:

      –Shatter things like illusions that you can make frequently (probably for a condition build)

      or

      –Create phantasms that do more damage and use them more like pets rather than cannon fodder.

      Its makes sense with his build that you would not want to use the shatter skills often since he wants his phantasms around to deal damage, as well as provide him with the damage buff, mitigation buff, and movement speed buff.

      I will agree that illusions might be taking too much damage currently from AoE skills, and the delay on shattering (allowing people to walk away before the shatter occurs) is quite annoying. I don’t agree that shattering is useless though, it can use some adjustments but then again this was the last class revealed/implemented and Arenanet has stated that this class is still being tweaked; we shall see how well that worked out on the 25th I suppose.

      • taugrim says:

        sgilder :

        Pretty sure he was stating that you get the choice of how you want to play the mesmer, in that you can:

        –Shatter things like illusions that you can make frequently (probably for a condition build)

        or

        –Create phantasms that do more damage and use them more like pets rather than cannon fodder.

        Its makes sense with his build that you would not want to use the shatter skills often since he wants his phantasms around to deal damage, as well as provide him with the damage buff, mitigation buff, and movement speed buff.

        Correct.

        sgilder :

        I will agree that illusions might be taking too much damage currently from AoE skills, and the delay on shattering (allowing people to walk away before the shatter occurs) is quite annoying. I don’t agree that shattering is useless though, it can use some adjustments but then again this was the last class revealed/implemented and Arenanet has stated that this class is still being tweaked; we shall see how well that worked out on the 25th I suppose.

        I think illusions have about the right level of survivability.

        If you make them too squishy, they’re too easy to clear with AOE.

        If you make them too durable, they’re problematic from a balance perspective.

        The Shatter mechanic probably needs some revision. I would prefer to have Shatter instead of blowing up the illusions provide some short-term boons, conditions, or other effects. That way there is no issue with the Shatter mechanic destroying the illusions.

  15. Sharlatan says:

    sgilder :
    Pretty sure he was stating that you get the choice of how you want to play the mesmer,

    Thing is that whilst yes thats a nice idea, the way shatters actually work its not really worth using them.
    If Anet can get it sorted then yes, its marvellous the flexibility, but as it stands at end of BWE3, shattering in pvp is pretty much a waste of time.

  16. taugrim says:

    Sharlatan :

    Its not really genius when the base class mechanic (the above action bar abilities) for mesmer are so useless no one uses them!

    If its really a choice, then yes I agree, but as it stands, shatters are pretty useless in PvP, not only do your clones die real quick to any aoe, the shatter delay means that hitting a moving target is a right pain.

    Mind Wrack (Shatter 1) can be good if traited for it.

    Distortion (Shatter 4) is a clutch survival tool as it provides evasion.

  17. Tattoomi says:

    Nice overview of the Mesmer-class (even if i don’t understand every detail ->german-native ^^). Your build seems to be pretty durable for a cloth-wearer… but is there a way to make the Mesmer really tanky for PvP?

    I’m currently playing around with various builds for Necro & Ele (BWE3 was too short to test all 3 squishies) as the idea of a cloth-wearing “tank” with the ability to hold a point for serveral minutes is very appealing to me; playing that role with the Mesmer would be the icing on the cake ;-)

    • taugrim says:

      Tattoomi :

      I’m currently playing around with various builds for Necro & Ele (BWE3 was too short to test all 3 squishies) as the idea of a cloth-wearing “tank” with the ability to hold a point for serveral minutes is very appealing to me; playing that role with the Mesmer would be the icing on the cake ;-)

      If you are looking for the tankiest cloth-wearer, that would be Necro from what I’ve seen. The Death Shroud mechanic is really powerful for survivability.

  18. Aakek says:

    Very good overview.. Scepter is also another good choice for a condition build. If I see more condition builds than anything else I will run Arcane Thievery as well for the boon/condition swap (looking at you necros).

    Last that I had heard Devs where still looking at changes to Mesmer class as it was the last one added. In its current state the class mechanic Shatter is underwhelming and quite frankly useless more often than not. Right now its only saving grace is the target drop.

    I would comment more but my focus is more upon Wv3 play. While most things sPvP still hold true, I can not say how well Wv3 translates back to sPvP. However it is worth mentioning the potential use of Mirrored Feedback vs projectiles (which in Wv3 includes siege weapons) as a counter.

    • taugrim says:

      Aakek :

      Very good overview.. Scepter is also another good choice for a condition build. If I see more condition builds than anything else I will run Arcane Thievery as well for the boon/condition swap (looking at you necros).

      Unless I try or switch to a condition spec, I’ll probably avoid using Sceptre. Sword mainhand is really fun between the gap closer, evade while channeling, and the boon stripper from the auto-chain.

      Aakek :

      Right now its only saving grace is the target drop.

      Folks have been posting that the target drop was not working in BWE3.

      Regardless, I found Mesmer with the spec I played to have good durability and very good escapability.

      • Aakek says:

        Yes, you where spot on with what you where aiming for in the build. In sPvP, its probably what I would favor as well.

        While the class is fun, it does not feel like it has the impact others do currently.

  19. Freddo says:

    On a side note, are there any professions that have more or less rng built in them? I’m kinda tired of rng and procs. Give me synergy any day.

    • Aakek says:

      Guardian seemed to be pretty straight forward overall. I can’t think of anything offhand that was a random chance proc. 1 every 5 passive burning on attack or F1 to apply to next etc.

    • taugrim says:

      Freddo :

      On a side note, are there any professions that have more or less rng built in them? I’m kinda tired of rng and procs. Give me synergy any day.

      You can spec to be less crit dependent, and that helps to an extent.

  20. LoveCoach says:

    Hi ;-)

    I played GW a lot but didnt try beta for GW2 so I have no idea how mesmer class works now. Seems to me that it is not heavy cc class anymore? I recall playing mostly mesmer back then and it was all around diff type of controls, drains, interrupts, damage enemy on hit etc etc… That stuff is gone? Thanks in advance for your time and best regards

  21. Aakek says:

    The current build that I am looking at for Mesmer is very close the only really notable change being: Persisting Images -> Wardens Feedback then drop the staff then use sceptre/focus (or sword/focus).

    With the changes to Focus 4 and the damage potential of Warden (as well as no longer getting fear from chaos storm), changing to wardens feedback helps you have greater control over the battlefield than before. With both focus skills now have reflect from the trait and being able to pull/knockdown enemies with focus 4 you can cause some real havok on the battlefield.

  22. Naglifar says:

    Actually sclob is wrong…
    Most of the clone abilities do drop targets on pvp. Your character will still finished casting or channeling in the event (such as a warrior using killshot) but you have to re target the Mesmer. I can’t name a list of which ones still drop target, but even in the aug 15 ST I still had to re target the lil buggers.

    • Aakek says:

      Nag, the main issue is with call target and its something that devs apparently are aware of according to reports from Gamescom.

  23. Reptilen says:

    Hey Taugrim :) first of all thank you for the now two best builds I have tried so far… I was 100% to play warrior with your run n gun build, and really did good with it. But found your mesmer build kinda like my playstyle and had to try it … man was I in for a threat, my friens from my guild all wants to send a nerf mesmer email til Anet after yesterdays stresstest hehe.

    But to get to the point, I found mostly in sPVP that my Null-Field was on a to long cd, and I had tons of 1vs1 or 1vs2 fights, so I kinda needed something with lower cd. I just really cant dedice what is best. The Null-Field is insane for those 7 seconds, if people stand in it off course.

    But I tried the illusionary defender, which takes 50% damage for you while it is out, and it can allmost be out 90% of the time. It seems good, I just found myself summoning alot in fights.

    Also tried the two clones, but dont know how many illusions you can have maximum, so not sure they were worth it(didnt seem so good)

    How good is that illusionary disenchanter ?

    What would you recommend?

    ps: sorry for all the questions, you just seem to understand the mechanics of this game like no other :)

    • taugrim says:

      Reptilen :

      Hey Taugrim :) first of all thank you for the now two best builds I have tried so far… I was 100% to play warrior with your run n gun build, and really did good with it. But found your mesmer build kinda like my playstyle and had to try it … man was I in for a threat, my friens from my guild all wants to send a nerf mesmer email til Anet after yesterdays stresstest hehe.

      :)

      Reptilen :

      But to get to the point, I found mostly in sPVP that my Null-Field was on a to long cd, and I had tons of 1vs1 or 1vs2 fights, so I kinda needed something with lower cd. I just really cant dedice what is best. The Null-Field is insane for those 7 seconds, if people stand in it off course.

      There have been some recent significant changes to Mesmer which should make my spec perform better, with some minor tweaks:
      1. Clones no longer replace Phantasms
      2. Sharper Images has been moved or changed. I am going to replace it with Desperate Decoy trait
      3. Given that, I am going to replace Decoy utility with Arcane Thievery (cooldown reduced from 90s -> 45s) or Phantasmal Defender

  24. Reptilen says:

    ps: is Arcane Thievery might an option now that its on a 45 sec cd ?

  25. Reptilen says:

    Hi again ;) sry for the spam … I snooped around and got most of the questions I had for you myself, just cant delete the post from your wall.

    I was looking at http://guildwars2mesmer.com/articles/gameplay-video/guild-wars-2-mesmer-pvp-guide-and-commentary-video/#comment-30

    And he says that its no good idea to have the 10 extra points in duelist, since you cancel out your phantasm’s, whenever you dodge and create a illusion.

    Could it be a better idea to get the 10 points in domination for Empowered Illusions(30%dmg) instead? If phantasm’s actually count as illusions.

  26. Reptilen says:

    Well, even if they arent cancelling our phantasm’s … do you think the damage is better than having the trait empowered illusionist? It does stack with the other trait, så you get a full 40% illusions damage. (25+15)

    • taugrim says:

      Reptilen :

      Well, even if they arent cancelling our phantasm’s … do you think the damage is better than having the trait empowered illusionist? It does stack with the other trait, så you get a full 40% illusions damage. (25+15)

      It’s a tradeoff decision.

      You can certainly stack both +damage traits to increase Phantasm damage, but you’ll have to give up other trait(s) to do so.

  27. Diego says:

    Hey taugrim a got a few questions about your trait regarding the utility skills you use. In the Dueling section you use Protected Mantras, but you dont use mantras on this build at all. Wouldnt it be better to go with Blade training?

    Regarding weapons, why do you choose to go with staff aside from 2h sword? is it personal taste? or theres a reason for it? Staff, for what i have tested, gives needs you to be in a constant phase rather than the quick trade weapon skill, With 2h sword you get a quick phantasm (with alot more damage without having to add conditions) plus a knockback rather usefull.

    • taugrim says:

      Diego :

      Hey taugrim a got a few questions about your trait regarding the utility skills you use. In the Dueling section you use Protected Mantras, but you dont use mantras on this build at all. Wouldnt it be better to go with Blade training?

      I updated the build this week:
      http://www.gw2build.com/builds/taugrims-legion-mesmer-phantasm-1283.html

      Diego :

      Regarding weapons, why do you choose to go with staff aside from 2h sword? is it personal taste? or theres a reason for it? Staff, for what i have tested, gives needs you to be in a constant phase rather than the quick trade weapon skill, With 2h sword you get a quick phantasm (with alot more damage without having to add conditions) plus a knockback rather usefull.

      I haven’t tested GS yet. But I will when I play Mesmer this weekend.

  28. Seiney says:

    Try swapping Deceptive Evasion for Blade Training, and use the sword offhand. I’ve done some testing, and the sword phantasm does a lot more damage (often critting for 6k+ though 5k is the norm). Counterblade on Riposte can be used for interrupts to make up for the loss of magic bullet.

    I’ve had the most success using Phantasmal Defender and Signet of Illusions, which makes you very sturdy.

    These changes make the build excellent for soloing, which I think is a good niche for guarding a node. It forces the opposing team to send two. Play defensively, and let phantasms do the work.

  29. Gab says:

    Ok man, I’m trying to be the best mesmer possible, taking your build seriously, but I have those questions : Why Staff,why Disenchanter and why sigil? Thanks.

    • taugrim says:

      Gab :

      Ok man, I’m trying to be the best mesmer possible, taking your build seriously, but I have those questions : Why Staff,why Disenchanter and why sigil? Thanks.

      1. Staff for the utility (instead of Greatsword)
      2. Phantasmal Disenchanter provides condition removal and is another Phantasm on a short cooldown
      3. Might sigil boosts DD and condition damage

      • Gab says:

        Okay, what about this signet? Do you actually use this CD reset thing or is it really just for the +50% health to your phantasm? I believe you want your 3 phatasm as fast as possible on the game to be as strong as possible. Disenchanter does little damage tho, you only want him for the Debuff? Why not Null Field then? And Condition damage seems kinda unsignifient in this build, since we don’t use them much. Sword seems to do the most damage of this build, no?

        • taugrim says:

          Gab :

          Okay, what about this signet? Do you actually use this CD reset thing or is it really just for the +50% health to your phantasm? I believe you want your 3 phatasm as fast as possible on the game to be as strong as possible. Disenchanter does little damage tho, you only want him for the Debuff? Why not Null Field then? And Condition damage seems kinda unsignifient in this build, since we don’t use them much. Sword seems to do the most damage of this build, no?

          Signet of Illusions is strictly to provide more HP for illusions.

          Phantasmal Disenchanter is there for condition removal, and for build-provided buffs. Not damage. The incremental damage is just a side benefit.

          Null Field is good but only lasts 7 seconds. Good luck the other 38 if you don’t have any more condition removal.

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