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Introduction to the Mesmer

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Mesmers are very unique profession in the MMORPG world. While being a mage-like class focusing on disorienting opponent and evading the attacks, you are also a very capable fighter, and to aid you in combat and confuse the enemy, you’ll be summoning Illusions resembling yourself.

The main power damage weapons Mesmers can wield are Greatsword, Swords, and Focus, while more condition-focused weapons are Scepter, Torch, Pistol, and Staff.

If you don’t know anything about Guild Wars 2 profession, and you maybe are looking for a short comparison, check out our introductory guides:

Profession mechanics

Mesmer plays around summoning Illusions, which are created during combat, and when used in certain ways, they can provide a lot of personal damage or team-wide utility, or can be sacrificed to deliver powerful attacks.

Illusions

There are two types of illusions: Phantasms and Clones.

Phantasms are short-lived illusions that will execute very strong attacks when generated, it is not uncommon to associate a phantasm with a utility purpose as well. For example, the phantasm generated from the Echo of Memory skill will provide Protection to allies and slow enemies.

This type of illusion doesn’t last for long, once they finish their attack or special ability, they will disappear and a Clone will appear in their place.

Clones are long-lasting illusions that deal little damage, but they will persist over time as long as the player is in combat and the target is alive or until they are destroyed by either an enemy or the player themselves by Shattering.

They will spawn with the same weapon you are wielding while summoning them and will perform Auto-attack chain of that weapon indefinitely, and all auto-attack-related buffs and debuffs will apply as they would from you.

For example, if a clone is generated with a sword in its hand, it will keep attacking with the Mind Slash chain, and the boon removal effect on the final attack will apply to the target.

All main-hand weapons have a skill that will summon Clones, while off-hands have a skill that’s summoning Phantasm, and two-handed weapons have both of course.

At any point in time, the player can have an any number of phantasms alive limited only by skills that summon them.

However, there can only be three clones alive at any given point. If a new clone is created either by the player or by a phantasm, then the oldest persisting clone will be destroyed and replaced.

Shatters

Shattering is the purposeful destruction of your Clones (not Phantasms) for a specific effect. The number of clones available for shattering is visible above your weapon skills as three small pink dots. As additional clones spawn, the pink dots will light up.

F1-4 skills are your Shatters, using any of those will destroy (“shatter”) your clones for an improved effect, although you can use them at any point in time, even without any active clones for the weakest effect.

Each of the available shatters serves a different purpose, Mind Wrack will do high amounts of direct damage to nearby targets, while Cry of Frustration deals condition damage with Confusion. The other two Shatters are more of a utility, Diversion is a very valuable Crowd Control skill, and Distortion offers a very powerful defensive ability in form of a long Invulnerability.

Skills

Signets

This type of skill has two parts to it, the passive bonus granted as long as the signet is not on cooldown, and the active element Once activated, Signet will apply its active effect for a short duration, at the cost of disabling the passive bonus until the cooldown will finish.

   

Active effects of Mesmer’s skills are not tightly bound to the theme of the passive effect as it’s usually the case for other professions. Instead Signet of Domination and Signet of Humility are CC (Crowd Control) skills with the elite not only being great PvE skill for massive Defiance damage, but also extremely powerful competitive Crowd Control, as you can’t Stun Break out of transformation.

Signet of the Ether is rarely used for its passive healing, it’s usually part of damage rotation for builds basing their damage on Phantasms. Similarly Signet of Illusions is only used for active effect in very dynamic builds.

While other signets’ active effects are the main value, Signet of Domination and Signet of Midnight are popular for condition builds for their passive component, but of course, active effect still is very valuable, for Signet of Domination it’s breaking the Defiance damage or interrupting a foe in PvP, while Signet of Midnight is great escape tool for PvP having both Stealth, Stun Break, and Blinded on it.

Mantras

Powerful instant-cast skills with 2 charges, used in all game modes, each Mantra will offer vastly different effects when used, from damage or healing to Crowd Control or its prevention. There is no elite Mantra.

 

Mantra is an “ammo” type skill, which means you can use it multiple times in short succession and the cooldown will start in the background (indicated by the white progressing border).

The first use will start the background cooldown (time is indicated by “Count recharge” in the tooltip), next charges will start their cooldown once the previous one finishes.

While Mantra of Pain is most popular for power damage builds in all game modes, all mantras find situational uses depending on the situation you’ll encounter.

Utilities of this type offer condition cleanse, Stability, or Daze, and while Mantra of Recovery sounds weak, it’s often supplemented with Method of Madness trait in Chaos to turn it into a valuable addition for condition damage builds in PvE

Manipulation

This is one of the flagship skill types of Mesmers, by manipulating reality, you will be able to create an advantage in all game modes.

   

EliteMass Invisibility finds its place in some PvE encounters and multiple competitive builds, as well as of course aiding you in avoiding danger during map exploration.

In some competitive builds, Feedback and Portal Entre will be a very good addition, especially Feedback in large-scale WvW and Portal Entre versus condition-based opponents in both competitive modes.

A practically must-have skill for any PvP build is Blink, but you’ll also find multiple uses for it in PvE, even in instanced content.

And finally Mimic, which essentially allows for double casting any heal or utility skill is a niche, but great utility skill is mainly used in conjunction with Portal Exeunt in Open World.

Glamour

Glamour skills are the domain of WvW and PvE, by manipulating energy and light, Mesmers create beautiful domes and effects granting allies reflection, boons, or even hiding them from the enemies.

  

Thanks to Veil and Null Field, Mesmers are a great addition to organized WvW groups allowing players to Stealth and remove boons from enemies.

In PvE Feedback and Time Warp sometimes are used situationally, Feedback for a few end-game encounters, and Time Warp as a niche addition for a few boon-providing builds.

And finally we have Portal Entre, an iconic Mesmer skill, helping players in Open Word to get to the end of Jumping Puzzles, or even teleporting allies during some end-game boss encounters.

Illusion

The last skill type, Illusion, revolves around summoning powerful Phantasms and distracting Clones.

Phantasms summoned by this skill category often offer more utility over the ones summoned with weapon skills, Phantasmal Disenchanter is a powerful Phantasm and a great tool to remove boons from bosses in PvE, while Phantasmal Defender can be used in Open World in a clutch.

Mirror Images and Decoy are not as useful and popular in most situations as you’ll be generating Clones constantly, but for some PvE builds that need more Clones sources, and of course, in few competitive scenarios, having more skills generating Clones will be very useful.

Specializations

Domination

This trait line focuses on improving Shatters, Greatsword, and power damage directly and by synergizing with Vulnerability.

What it’s all about (buffing, raw dmg, condition, stealing), spec theme basically

The most common picks for power PvE builds are 121 traits (Bountiful Blades,Egotism,Vicious Expression) for raw damage increase and Greatsword boost.

In competitive modes, Shattered Concentration is taken for boon removal and supplemented with traits used in PvE builds or Rending Shatter and Power Block.

Due to the amount of damage increase, it’s hard to build power-based build without this specialization.

Dueling

Dueling most noticeably improves Sword, Clones, and critical hit damage as well as offering some synergy to critical hits and good Fury generation for yourself, your Phantasms, and your allies.

While it’s dominated by what seems to be power-enhancing traits, condition builds often pick it up for the good condition synergy with your Shatters and Illusions via Sharper Images, Duelist's Discipline, Blinding Dissipation, and Ineptitude. Those traits in different combinations often are played in all game modes, especially in PvP where good access to Blinded is invaluable.

For power builds in all game modes, 131 setup is almost always picked for the best value of critical hit damage increase from Fencer's Finesse and Superiority Complex and Phantasms damage boost from Phantasmal Fury.

Chaos

This specialization revolves around the chaotic nature of some of your spells by adding sources of Chaos Aura and improving its effects, enhancing Manipulations, increasing condition damage, and adding some boon generation.

Because Chaos’s strongest suit is condition damage, it’s most often taken by condition builds, usually with 131 traits in PvE with Method of Madness, Chaotic Potency, and Chaotic Interruption.

In competitive game modes Bountiful Disillusionment is an amazing addition to standard traits, or you can switch it up and enhance your defense with Prismatic Understanding or Illusionary Defense.

Inspiration

This will be your defensive trait line, adding multiple healing sources, applying Aegis, condition cleansing, and improving Signets and Focus.

Because there are no defensive support builds for Mesmer, Inspiration in PvE is rarely played, only Open World builds can benefit when swapping to it to defeat particularly strong enemies, traits like 322 are very good for that, Sympathetic Visage and Restorative Illusionsfor additional condition cleanse and heal, and Illusionary Inspiration for decent healing.

Very good choices for competitive gameplay are Medic's Feedback for group support and Blurred Inscriptions for great synergy with Signet of Midnight, making 123 usual traits selection in PvP.

Illusions

Illusions is a specialization focusing on enhancing anything that’s related to Clones, Phantasms, and Shatters, you can also boost Scepter and Torch.

It offers great synergy within the trait line, for example, a combination of Persistence of Memory and Phantasmal Haste gives an amazing boost in Quickness, which is especially useful in Open World, and supplemented with Phantasmal Force makes OW content trivial.

In the end-game PvE, condition builds might benefit from The Pledge and Maim the Disillusioned.

You can also improve your Shatters with Shatter Storm and Master of Fragmentation, which is especially useful in PvP.

Hidden Mechanics

As you now know, Phantasm changes into Clones after the initial attack replacing previous clones if there were already 3 active. Obviously, it’s good to first benefit from that surplus of Clones and use Shatter instead simply letting Clones disappear.

More skilled players will properly time their Shatters, and while having max Clones already existing, they will use Shatters while summoned Phantasms performs its attack. This essentially reduces your time without the clones to a minimum.

Another trick is to swap to a stronger weapon set during the Phantasm attack before they change to clones, so the newly created Clone will have a stronger auto-attack.

Greatest “hidden” mechanic for Open World (but not exclusively) is doubling your Portal Entre use, this can be done with Mimic in a specific way:

  1. Portal Entre
  2. Mimic
  3. Portal Exeunt

After that, you’ll have Portal Entre available again.

Gameplay Tips

Try to get used to proper timing of Shattering and swapping weapons to control your Clones and Phantasms, and if you are playing with Signet of the Ether, try to time it the best you can, so it will reset multiple Phantasm skills at once.

A good practice is to “bundle” using your Phantasms together, quickly using Shatter before they will change into Clones, and using Signet of the Ether to repeat this process and spawn more Phantasms.


If you are ready to start playing this profession we recommend a starter build that was created to help with the traditional leveling experience of the core profession.

If you are looking for more builds for all game modes, make sure to check your build guides.

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