Holosmith - Protection Holo

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The community gave this build a rating, making it top-tier: Great.

Focused on: Direct damageSupport.

Designed for:


A tanky sPvP Holosmith build made to win duels and occasionally help out in team fights by bringing both damage and support to the table.

Skill Bar


Slot Changes


For the optional slot there are 2 viable choices:

  • - a very potent tool for mitigating any form of damage.
  • - bunch of Blast finishers, CC, and even Protection Protection synergy. Take
    on Inventions.



  • makes it easier to maintain boons (and even obtain ones the build doesn't have access to normally), but the maximum potential damage reduction is going to be lower.


Superior Sigil of Agility
Superior Sigil of Agility.pngSuperior Sigil of Agility
Gain 5 seconds of swiftness and 1 second of quickness when you swap to this weapon while in combat. (Cooldown: 9s)
Superior Sigil of Energy
Superior Sigil of Energy.pngSuperior Sigil of Energy
Gain 50% of your endurance when you swap to this weapon while in combat. (Cooldown: 9s)
Superior Rune of the Herald
Superior Rune of the Herald.pngSuperior Rune of the Herald
(1): +25 Toughness (2): +5% Boon Duration (3): +50 Toughness (4): +10% Boon Duration (5): +100 Toughness (6): When using a heal skill, apply protection to nearby allies (360 radius). (Cooldown: 10 seconds)
Demolisher's Amulet
Demolisher's Amulet.pngDemolisher's Amulet
+1050 Power +1050 Precision +560 Toughness +560 Ferocity

Equipment Changes


  • offers better overall boon duration than Herald and an instant source of cleansing, but gives up some tankiness and a valuable Protection Protection proc with all the associated trait synergy.


Elite specialization basics

  • Holosmith grants access to the Photon Forge (sometimes referred to as holo mode) and introduces a new resource: heat. Heat is generated passively while the forge is active, or by activating forge skills. Higher CD skills generally generate more heat.
  • Reaching maximum heat (100) should be avoided as Overheat Overheating damages you and locks you out of the forge until heat goes back to 0. The best tool for heat management is dodge rolling, which vents 15 heat per roll via
    and does some moderate AoE damage.
  • is used to activate the forge, after which your weapon skills will be replaced by 5 new ones. You can't exit the forge for at least 6 seconds, so be careful about reentering with high heat levels.
    • Both Engage Photon Forge and Disengage Photon Forge count as toolbelt skills and will work with related traits. Both skills can proc weapon swap sigils too.

Forge skills

This is where most of the damage comes from

  • Although the auto attack chain got significant nerfs in March 2018, it can still do considerable cleave damage especially with Quickness Quickness.
  • will be used to maintain permanent Swiftness Swiftness and Vigor Vigor (through
    ), keep using this skill out of combat as well but don't build too much heat (manage with dodges accordingly). Holo Leap also does considerable damage while in combat. Keep in mind that this is a Leap Finisher, so always try to combo it with either a Light Field for Light Aura Light Aura or a Water Field for healing.
  • will be the primary source of Stability Stability in the build and an important source of Might Might, granting up to 5 stacks per use. There's a second attack too which goes off after a short delay. This should be the VERY FIRST SKILL you use after entering holo mode.
    • Stability Stability won't be applied unless you hit at least one enemy.
  • can be useful for reaching targets trying to escape and serves as a nice followup skill to be used after a CC.
  • is an excellent AoE CC and also a Blast Finisher. You can also fake cast it by stowing your weapon right after activation in order to bait enemy dodges.


  • The Protection Protection boon is the very backbone of this build. Not only does it remove 1 condition per application, but its effectiveness is further enchanced by
    (and by extension
    ). Sources of protection include:
    • Both shield skills
    • Trait
    • 's 6th proc
    • Converting Vulnerability Vulnerability, in which case a 2nd condition's also going to be converted because of the fresh protection application
  • cleanses a total of 5 conditions (2 baseline, 2 extra from Inventions traits and 1 from the rune). If you're under heavy condition pressure consider picking up the turret (F by default) instead of detonating it to shave off 5 seconds from its CD for more frequent cleansing. Alternatively, detonating the turret in a Light field sacrifices some AoE healing but cleanses one additional condition, bringing the total amount of cleanses to 6.
  • will be your best cleanse and party utility tool, removing up to 12 conditions over its duration whilst also applying its own boons every second. As a Light combo field any Blast finisher executed in it will AoE cleanse 1 condition, while Leap finishers grant Light Aura Light Aura. Always try to use it above 50 Heat to prolong its duration.
  • is one of the most versatile skills in the build:
    • Right after deployment it does an AoE CC, triggers a Blast finisher, applies Protection Protection, and activates a projectile-reflection bubble.
    • is a 2nd Blast finishers. Note: try not to detonate/pick up this turret while the bubble is still up, as a 2nd AoE CC will go off right before the shield drops.
    • (toolbelt) is a stun break with Stability Stability and yet another Blast finisher.
  • Sword is rather mediocre. The Auto attack chain is weaker than Photon Forge's, skill 2 is only ever worth using as a filler above 50% heat + point blank range.
    is what matters, which is an incredibly loaded skill - gap closer, leap finisher, Quickness Quickness uptime (always try to use this skill above 50 heat), and the damage isn't bad either.
  • is an amazing defensive skill. Not only does it grant Protection Protection and block attacks, but also stuns anyone who attacks you which can even CC enemies out of evade frames such as
  • While the build is mainly about sustained damage, there are a couple of burst combos you can do. An example:

Mortar Kit

Elite skill

  • This one is fairly straightforward. This kit contains 5 long range attacks, 4 of which are combo fields (and of that 4, 3 are defensive by nature). Despite its range most of the time you'll be spamming these directly at your feet for sustain (and some damage as the impact damage does okay damage) whenever you can spare some time for it.
  • Since you'll be overlapping a bunch of combo fields, here's what you'll do: pick the field you actually want to utilize, and use that one first. Want Frost Aura Frost Aura? Start with
    . Raw healing?
    it is. Pile all the other fields on top of it - in situations like this the oldest field is going to be at the top of the priority list.
  • Note: the kit shares a cooldown with Photon Forge!

Understanding combo fields & finishers

Important fields

Important finishers

Notable interactions

  • We're not going to list everything, just the few most common ones.
  • Leap/Blast + Water field = healing
  • Leap/Blast + Ice field =
    • This aura provides a direct damage reduction which stacks with other forms of mitigation such as Protection Protection
  • Leap + Light field = Light Aura Light Aura
  • Blast + Light field = AoE condition removal
Build rating - 5 stars
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3 Ratings
5 stars
Hanz gave this build 5 stars 5 days ago

The #2 holo build atm, great sustain/utility and decent damage. Looks like the shield buffs may be enough to bring this archetype back.

5 stars
Filthi gave this build 5 stars March 2018

as of my own understanding of gw2 mechanics/meta right now, i cant see why maurader isnt present as the main or secondary choice for amulet using this build. My Decision for marauder factors on the low health pool vs meta condi scourge. Having the extra hp for fighting condi is a big help. more hp = more time to kill them before healing yourself for a bigger burst. the time givin in fighting condi builds is helpful.

toughness counters power ---> but does not mitigate condi damage

vit counters condi --->but higher hp pool requires more heal

once the condi gets toned down i could perhaps see demolisher ammy as more viable

5 stars
CGSN gave this build 5 stars February 2018

This score reflects how powerful Hard Light Arena with the inventions/alchemy condition converting is. We talked a bit about how great the toolbelt for Medic Gyro was with inventions/alchemy as a 5X protection pulse while Hard Light Arena with its 12 pulses initially escaped our theorycrafting.

Thumper turret is pretty clever with the smoke bomb offering a double smoke blast escape from CC.

The third utility slot is real difficult to find something that feels great. I haven't tried Photon Wall in this build yet but it was nice to play with in the SD build, so I'll try that out for a bit.

Regardless of the small details though, Hard Light Arena is one of the strongest condition-hate skills in the game now with inventions/alchemy and will hard carry teamfights on its own.

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