Scourge - Shadefire
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A PvP Scourge build centered around AoE boon corruption and condition damage. Offers higher pressure than Blood Sage at the cost of lower sustain/utility making it less popular in ranked, but much more common at automated tournaments where its reliance on support from the team isn't a problem and roles are more defined.
Usually paired with a Bunker Firebrand which serves as an enabler for Scourge in team fights while it shreds the enemy bunkers (and the team in general).
Utilities aren't set in stone for this build, there are plenty of viable options for the remaining slots:
- Sand Swell - vertical mobility, Punishment synergy.
- Trail of Anguish - stun break, Stability, Punishment synergy.
- Spectral Walk - great skill for juking or managing life force/conditions, also breaks stun.
- Spectral Armor - protects against direct damage, breaks stun, helps with resource management.
- Consume Conditions - a viable option if more cleansing is needed.
- for overall condition duration boost.
- offers higher condition burst damage, but lower duration.
- should you need better mobility, although your damage will be somewhat lower. Popular choice for solo players.
Elite specialization basics
- Death Shroud is replaced by shade skills, but shroud related traits still work. Life Force (LF) is no longer drained passively or upon taking damage, but instead serves as a resource used by F2-5 skills (F1, which places the shade, is free).
- 24px Manifest Sand Shade adds a bit of range to the build and acts as somewhat spammable source of damage.
- Even with no active shades you can make full use of your kit, as F2-5 skills also go off around the caster. The effects however do not stack - if the target is in range of both the caster and the shade, he won't get hit twice by the same skill.
- Dhuumfire will proc on every single shade skill, including Manifest Sand Shade.
- Plague Sending and (if taken) Weakening Shroud are activated by 24px Desert Shroud.
- Path of Corruption is activated by 24px Nefarious Favor.
- Every shade skill inflicts Burning (5s ICD), Cripple, and Torment.
- Playstyle: your job is to keep the enemy team pressured through the constant application of conditions and boon corruption. Avoid 1v1s, stay with your team (especially the Firebrand).
- Do not spam your staff marks on the ground while out of combat, as a single dodge can undo them all. Placing Mark of Blood on chokes to detect enemies crossing in stealth is fine however, as it's a rather short CD and weak one.
- 24px Manifest Sand Shade converts a condition into a boon upon being placed.
- Necromancer mobility/sustain is rather bad, so try to make use of the terrain with proper positioning. Make it hard for enemies to reach you especially ranged ones - pillars are your second best friend, right after a bunker Firebrand.
- The build has 2 mass cleanses - Consume Conditions and Putrid Mark.
- If taken consider using Trail of Anguish before your heal for the Stability while under heavy pressure.
- Ghastly Breach is a rather powerful skill, but also easily avoidable. Don't just drop it randomly at the start of the fight, wait for the right moment - look for a situation where you can make your opponent overcommit. Place it on enemies trying to revive their downed teammate, or under yourself on low HP to either scare them off or take the bait.
- Corrupt Boon is not only a great spike skill, but also a defensive one - thanks to the low cast time CB can be used to counterpressure targets. Someone's chasing you with Stability and Might stacks? Turn their boons against them, right into Fear and Weakness! It's also unblockable.
- Even just a two skill chain of Corrupt Boon ⇒ Feast of Corruption is already a decent burst combo, inflicting up to 6 different conditions and stripping at least 5 boons (potentially more with sigils).
Life force management
- As your shade skills cost LF, being efficient at managing this resource will be crucial for both your damage and sustain. We're going to list all the sources and provide a few tips for getting the most out of them.
- All staff skills generate life force:
- Necrotic Grasp is a rather weak skill and there's no way you'll be able to use it much under any pressure. It does however generate 5% LF per target hit, and you should use it for the occasional ranged poking. Alternatively, right after you won a fight (and no enemies are nearby who could rez their downed allies) you can use the downed bodies as batteries and just spam staff autos at them for a substantial amount of free life force.
- Marks are unblockable and generate 3% LF each. Mark of Blood and Chilblains can be used freely for just pressure and LF building, while Putrid Mark and Reaper's Mark are more powerful and should be kept for the proper occasion (Putrid for mass cleansing and Reaper's for interrupting).
- On scepter/torch you have 2 such skills:
- Feast of Corruption should be used with at least ~4 conditions on the target, both your burst damage and LF stacking benefits from the higher number of conditions on the target. Make sure that this skill lands by CCing the target with either 24px Oppressive Collapse or 24px Garish Pillar.
- 24px Harrowing Wave is rather straightforward, just try to hit as many targets as possible including Ranger pets and Mesmer illusions.
- Finally, boon removal (not just corruption, but any kind of removal including some of your sigil effects) grants 5% per boon on a 5s CD via 24px Nourishing Ashes. You can corrupt boons with 24px Manifest Sand Shade or any of your Punishment skills (heal, elite, etc) among other things.