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Spellbreaker - Defense GS/Dagger Duelist

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

Focused on: Strike damageBoon removal and Mobility

Designed for: PvP Conquest

Expansions required: Heart of Thorns builds

This build was last updated on June 01, 2024 and is up to date for the June 25, 2024 patch.


A duelist Power Spellbreaker PvP build with a healthy mix of defense and offense.

Skill Bar


Slot Changes


  • Endure Pain over Balanced Stance - both of these skills can be used to mitigate strike damage and break stuns. Balanced Stance is a bit weaker as a damage mitigation tool but helps way more against CC.


  • Off-hand Sword over Shield - shorter duration but more frequently available block, more damage, less CC.

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Equipment Variants


  • Relic of Antitoxin - helps a bit in condition matchups, has good synergy with Brawler's Recovery.
  • Relic of the Daredevil - improves your consistency by making sure that your main attack skills crit and makes Sigil of Intelligence a bit redundant, potentially allowing you to drop it for Sigil of Cleansing. On the other hand it offers lower burst potential than Isgarren.


Elite specialization basics

  • Full Counter (FC) recharges your Burst skills Arcing Slice and Breaching Strike. Always try to use it when you can refresh their duration, except if you're under heavy pressure in which case you can use FC purely for defensive means.
  • Always try to make sure Full Counter goes off: briefly move into hostile AoE spells, tank Mesmer clones or Ranger pets, etc.
  • FC is both one of the best defensive and offensive skill in the build as it blocks, evades, grants Stability Stability, and performs an unblockable AoE CC attack when triggered.
  • Both burst skills and Full Counter cost adrenaline. If you only need a little more until you can use them then Versatile Rage can get you there.


  • Settings: disable auto targeting, otherwise it'd be impossible to use skills like Rush for disengaging. For more tips check out our settings guide.
  • Playstyle: this build is all about weaving hard hitting skills into chains of block and evade frames while tethering yourself to the target with Magebane Tether as often as possible. The combos aren't set in stone, rather you'll need to adapt based on what CDs are available. Minimize melee contact whenever you can't outdamage your opponent, dodge/block/evade as many things as possible, and spike targets when an opening shows.
    • Example: Bladetrail from outside melee range dodge to your target Arcing Slice Whirlwind Attack
    • Any burst skill can proc Magebane Tether, including Full Counter.
    • Whirlwind Attack, Arcing Slice, Aura Slicer and Breaching Strike are your main damaging skills, everything else is basically a filler or something that's used to set up burst / survive enemy burst.
  • Fast Hands reduces the CD of weapon swapping to 5 seconds, which keeps gameplay rather fast paced with minimal downtime. As a result you won't be auto attacking much unless you're cleaving a downed enemy.
  • Despite its range, Bull's Charge is best used in melee to make it harder to react to.
  • CCing a target removes a boon and deals damage/grants adrenaline via Loss Aversion.
  • All movement skills remove the Immobilized condition - list of movement skills in the build:
    • Greatsword: Whirlwind Attack and Rush. These two skills also provide excellent mobility both in and out of combat.
    • Dagger/Shield: Aura Slicer, Shield Bash, and the burst skill Breaching Strike. The Dagger skills are also excellent gap closers.
    • Rampage: Kick (Rampage), Dash, and Seismic Leap.
    • Utility: Bull's Charge
  • No Escape briefly roots enemies in place after you CC them. This turns skills like Full Counter and Disrupting Stab into great setup tools for your hard hitting abilities such as Arcing Slice or Breaching Strike.

Conditon cleansing & general survival

  • Brawler's Recovery and Warrior's Sprint will be used to manage condition levels before resorting to mass cleanses.
  • Mending cleanses 5 conditions and should be used pretty much on CD, assuming you're missing a large chunk of health or need to deal with conditions.
  • Burst skills cleanse conditions whenever they strike thanks to Cleansing Ire.
    • Getting Blind Blinded could make your Burst skill miss and thus the condition cleansing won't happen which is rather awkward. Dodge rolling however grants Resistance Resistance via Resilient Roll which renders Blind Blind ineffective, increasing the chance of a successful Cleansing Ire proc.
  • Adrenal Health provides a steady stream of healing as long as you're landing those Burst skills (F1-F2).
  • "Shake It Off!" (SIO) is both a stun break and a source of condition removal for you and your team.
  • Kite, a LOT. You want to run out of harm's way using mobility skills as much as possible before resorting to major defensive CDs.
  • Bull's Charge is great if you want to run away from pressure as it can build quite the gap while providing an evade frame.


  • Rampage is what you use when you quickly want to burst/CC a target, or desperately need mobility to either chase down someone or run away from a fight. Bonus points if you manage to attach Magebane Tether just before using your elite.
  • CC skills barely do any damage anymore, most of the damage in this form comes from autoattacks and Dash.
  • Throw Boulder is a popular opener, allowing you to CC targets from range and then either follow up with Dash for burst damage or Seismic Leap to keep the CC chain rolling.

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This build has a rating of 5 stars based on 4 votes.
Log in or register to rate this build.
4 stars
Yerloq gave this build 4 stars • March 2024
Still decent but outshined now by Staff. Less survivable and less group support which makes it very weak in teamfights, but still can duel well on side nodes.
4 stars
Myror gave this build 4 stars • April 2023
A decent Sidenode build. This get outshined by Condi-Berserk right now. But is the better option to hold the Point in 1vX Situations. With its high CC uptime IT IS also a mediocre midfights build
5 stars
Goon gave this build 5 stars • February 2023
Fantastic duelist with good damage,sustain and cc. You can choose between condi cleanse or stability in defense allowing you to adapt to mutliple different matchups. The most recent nerfs have brought it down to a degree that is less overpowered but it is still the best dedicated duelist in the current meta.
5 stars
Hanz gave this build 5 stars • January 2023
The old Strength build but this time with the OP Defense spec. Not much to say about it, lots of damage, unblockable CCs, good mobility, great sustain - the usual. I think Hammer might be better overall but this one does better against Fresh Air builds that are very popular right now, because it can pick up Resilient Roll without sacrificing anything and that makes it harder to blind, while GS skills are easier to land than Hammer not to mention the weapon's harder to kite.


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