Soulbeast - Boon Beast
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This Soulbeast build for sPvP focuses on boon stacking, mobility, plus sustained damage and is currently considered to be one of the best duelists in the game. While it's primarily made for 1v1s, the build has several tools for buffing allies as well.
For the optional slot there are 2 viable choices:
- Lightning Reflexes - purely a defensive option, breaks stun, adds Vigor to the build, evades attacks and even cleanses conditions beyond just the Wilderness Knowledge trait synergy. Note that the evade frame's cancelled by weapon swapping in which case the trait won't go off.
- Quickening Zephyr - a more offensive choice which helps you burst better with auto attacks among other things, but also has a defensive side to it (breaks stun, cleanses conditions via WK, and the Superspeed is great for disengaging).
- If you're willing to sacrifice some of the damage / CC for more sustain, then replace off hand Axe with a Dagger to gain Stalker's Strike which provides evasion.
- - frequently available Resistance.
- - big boost to general boon duration.
- - an excellent defensive rune especially against condition pressure.
Elite specialization basics
- Soulbeast allows Rangers to meld with their pet, becoming one. This is done through 24px Beastmode which has a 10s CD.
- Try to strike a balance between staying in and out of 24px Beastmode. While melding with your pet has certain benefits such as higher stats, keep in mind that you have 2 pets - each with situational skills that could save your life. The 10 second CD of Beastmode starts after you've quit the form which means you will have no access to the Beastmode of the other pet for that time period.
- Skills that affect your pet such as the unblockable attacks from Call of the Wild have to be used after merging if you wish to benefit from them, already active skill effects will be lost just like when swapping pets.
- In Beastmode you can stack Might for yourself through Ricochet.
- 24px Fresh Reinforcement gives you all your pet's boons upon melding.
- You can meld with dead pets and then exit the form to instantly revive them.
- Playstyle: Spend most of your time in duels and smaller skirmishes. Keep spamming axe auto attacks for sustained damage as much as possible whilst primarily focusing on survival, and use Winter's Bite on CD for both burst damage and to maintain Weakness.
- Stack Swiftness for your team before the game starts! Use the following sequence:
- Use Forage before leaving spawn.
- Items created by Siamoth's Forage can be picked up by ANYONE including players of the opposing team, so try to pick them up as soon as possible.
- 24px Swoop and Hornet Sting are your two main mobility skills. Make sure you do not have anyone targeted while using them. Make sure you do not have an enemy targeted when using these skills for general mobility or disengaging.
- Hornet Sting makes you leap backwards, while its chain skill will take you forward. To make better use of these, when you need to go in just one direction turn around before using Hornet Sting, then turn back before using Monarch's Leap. Setting up a keybind for "about face" (Options ⇒ Control Options ⇒ Movement) makes turning around much smoother.
- Refined Toxins passively maintains a high uptime of healing reduction in duels via Poison, which is very important when fighting other bunker specs.
- Dodging applies Protection, which also heals thanks to the trait 24px Rugged Growth. 24px Second Skin further reduces the condition damage you take by 33% while affected by this boon.
- Survival skills each cure 2 conditions and grant Fury. Troll Unguent can cleanse 4, because it triggers another Survival skill from Soften the Fall, adding a whole new layer to your heal. The Muddy Terrain it procs is fairly powerful when used right - try to cover as much of the capture point with it as possible, or use it to root people into a burst skill like Whirling Defense.
- Each pet provides a different kind of immunity. Juvenile Siamoth has 24px Unflinching Fortitude against direct damage, while Juvenile Owl offers Resistance against conditions via 24px Spiritual Reprieve. The latter also heals for a huge amount and it's AoE, so try to share it with your team whenever possible!
Weapon sets and damage
- Most of the damage will come from spamming auto attacks.
- Every axe skill hits hard.
- Ricochet is an excellent filler which stacks Might (double in 24px Beastmode) and bounces off to other targets. This skill allows you to keep some distance from the target while constantly pressuring them. The bouncing axes can also clean up mesmer clones nicely.
- Splitblade is best used in melee range to make all attacks land on the target. The axes also pierce, hitting enemies behind your target as well.
- Winter's Bite is a powerful ranged attack which should be used on CD and in 24px Beastmode for more damage and to deliver all of the conditions in 1 hit instead of having to rely on the pet. In addition to doing great damage, the Weakness on it keeps Power based specs in check.
- Path of Scars is rather hard to land at times. Its most reliable use is to chain-CC targets after 24px Brutal Charge.
- Whirling Defense is the best AoE / burst skill of the build, but needs some setup (CC).
- Sword/Warhorn is the defensive/utility weapon set. It provides access to 2 skills with evasion, plenty of boons, unblockable attacks in beastmode through Call of the Wild, and an auto attack with proper AoE cleave which you can use on downed targets or if an enemy uses projectile denial skills. Furthermore, Vulnerability stacking from Hunter's Call can be used to set up burst.
- Juvenile Siamoth is the more offensive pet in the build. 24px Brutal Charge makes it easier to land your damage and 24px Maul is one of the best burst skills you have. A nice burst combo involves chaining these two into Winter's Bite, or Path of Scars + Whirling Defense.
- 24px Leader of the Pack allows you to share your stances with allies, including your pet. Try to do this whenever possible.
- If taken Griffon Stance should be used under heavy pressure. The skill starts off with 1 second of evasion to dodge incoming burst, followed by enhanced endurance regeneration for a while.
- If taken Moa Stance is a high uptime stance which increases boon duration by 66%. Aim to sync it with your most important sources of boons such as 24px Spiritual Reprieve, Dolyak Stance, and Consume Plasma (from Siamoth's Forage), just to mention a few.
- Dolyak Stance (DS) is very straightforward, use it under heavy condition pressure or if you don't want to risk getting interrupted. When facing condition based specs consider activating DS before resorting to Troll Unguent as Dolyak Stance could remove up to 3 snaring conditions whilst making you immune to those specific ones for its duration, which means there's a higher chance for your heal to remove 4 damaging conditions (and of course having Stability up while channeling your heal is a nice bonus).
- One Wolf Pack is where your burst comes from. Always try to combo it with Hunter's Call (as it strikes 16 times whilst stacking Vulnerability) and spam your auto attacks/skills as you need to land hits as often as possible.