What Profession Should I Play

Not sure which Guild Wars 2 profession to try out? This page will cover how each profession plays, both at a casual and a competitive level.

Section revised on: September 04, 2022


Elementalist

Elementalists are masters of the elements. They're capable of strong damage per second or healing per second depending on playstyle. Elementalists have access to more weapon skills than any other class, which makes them difficult to pick up but rewarding to master.

The Tempest Tempest elite specialization turns elementalists into resilient group supports. The Weaver Weaver elite specialization focuses more on damage and dueling and requires players to quickly chain different elements together. Catalyst Catalyst shines the brightest when it comes to AoE damage and boon sharing.

  • In open world and casual PvE, elementalists are good at wiping out large groups of enemies thanks to their AoE skills. With a dagger or sword, they're highly mobile and capable of quickly engaging or escaping from enemies. However, their low health pool makes mistakes punishing.
  • In fractals and raids, All elementalist specialisations can be built as glass cannon damage dealers, particularly Weaver and Catalyst. Tempest favours wide-area ranged cleave, while Weaver focuses on single-target DPS and Catalyst is somewhere in between. Both Tempest and Catalyst provide boon support, whether they are dealing damage or as healers. The nature of attunements makes all elementalist builds highly adaptable, able to change gears to weave between utility, healing and damage as the situation requires - which can be very effective in less structured content such as dungeons or fractals.
  • In large scale WvW, Weavers and Catalysts are ranged glass cannons that excel at AoE damage and field control, and Tempests are healers with unique aura buffs.
  • In PvP and small scale WvW, Tempests are powerful supports with high sustain, while Weaver focuses on single target burst with duelling and roaming potential. Catalysts bring lots of AoE pressure, high susain and group utility to the table, making them viable damage dealers in both small skirmishes and teamfights.

Play an elementalist if:

  • You like massive AoE skills with flashy effects.
  • You like complex classes with many different skills and rotations.
  • You like playing glass cannons, or
  • You like constantly healing and sustaining yourself and your allies.

See Elementalist Builds


Engineer

Engineers are jacks of all trades. They have more utility skills than any other class, regardless of role, which lets them find the right tool for any situation. While anyone can perform reasonably well on Engineer, the deeper you dive into Engineer's bag of tricks, the more rewarding you'll find playing Engineer to be.

The Scrapper Scrapper elite specialization turns engineers into tanky supports with strong damage mitigation. In contrast, the Holosmith Holosmith elite specialization is capable of high damage output and significant cleave. Meanwhile Mechanist Mechanist is well known for its low effort, high reward builds ranging from glass cannon to support (depending on the gamemode).

  • In open world and casual PvE, engineers are strong all-rounders thanks to their high damage and varied utility skills.
  • In fractals and raids, Power Holosmiths are relatively bursty DPS that inflict heavy crowd control and vulnerability. Condition Mechanist provides sustained damage, supported by their own mech, and has many options for tailoring the complexity of the build to suit your needs. Both Scrappers and Mechanist can be played as boon supports while also offering damage or healing, alongside defensive buffs for their party. Thanks to kits, engineers are one of the most versatile classes in the game, which makes them excellent for soloing content as there are few situations they can't handle.
  • In large scale WvW, Scrappers are supports with strong healing and condition cleanse. They have the unique ability to stealth the group or reveal stealthed enemies.
  • In PvP and small scale WvW, Mechanists are increasingly seen as the bane of lower brackets with their 1 button high damage Rifle builds, but they don't fare well against more experienced players. Holosmiths are versatile melee skirmishers that deal high damage, Scrappers are somewhere in the middle of those two but also less popular than either of them.

Play an engineer if:

  • You like blowing things up.
  • You're looking for a class that's easy to pick up (Rifle specs) but hard to master (any other build, really).
  • You like classes with lots of utility and niche skills.
  • You like cutting enemies down with flashy glowing lasers.
  • You want a friendly robot to command, or
  • You like being an unkillable hammer-wielding sustain machine.

See Engineer Builds


Guardian

Guardians excel at defensive support. Regardless of their role, they have good off-healing and numerous utility skills that shield their party members from attacks. Guardians are easy to pick up and solid in every game mode, making them a good class for new players.

The Dragonhunter Dragonhunter elite specialization turns guardians into skirmishers with mobility and burst damage. The Firebrand Firebrand elite specialization grants a plethora of support skills, and can be built for damage or healing. Willbender Willbenders are glass cannons with absurd amounts of mobility.

  • In open world and casual PvE, guardians deal high damage and are great at supporting other players. However, their low health pool means they have to stay on their toes and be aware of their defensive options to survive.
  • In fractals and raids, Dragonhunters are a strong DPS option in short fights, with high burst damage and the ability to provide a small amount of group support. Firebrands are useful as sustained DPS or as high-utility healers and boon supports. Willbenders are most comfortable playing as aggressive, mobile DPS builds - they are the most selfish of the guardian specialisation, but the strong utility set of guardian means that even they can support the group. Guardian offers the best defensive utilities in the game, enabling its support builds to adapt to each encounter to keep their team safe.
  • In large scale WvW, Firebrands are supports that bring the critical Stability Stability boon. Core guardian and Dragonhunter are very powerful selfish ranged DPS.
  • In sPvP, Core Guardians continue to be top tier supports or decent (but squishy) damage dealers. Dragonhunters are solid for both teamfights and duels, capable of dealing high damage and CC from range but are rather squishy when caught without CDs. Willbender is like Dragonhunter but pure melee, and they rely on mobility for sustain instead of blocks and Stealth Stealth. Firebrand doesn't exist.
  • In small scale WvW, every Guardian spec has at least one viable build but they all tend to follow the same formula, high damage but not enough sustain to survive a longer fight. Once their cooldowns run out it's game over, you either burst the target down by then or you lose. Dragonhunters have something of an edge here, as they can get Stealth Stealth from which is arguably the strongest thing a roamer can have. It lets them reposition, wait for CDs, or simply leave a lost fight safely.

Play a guardian if:

  • You like protecting your allies.
  • You like having a lot of defensive options.
  • You like being the supportive core of your team, or
  • You like jumping on enemies and bursting them down in seconds.

See Guardian Builds


Mesmer

More than any other class, Mesmers break the rules. They can teleport and stealth their party, become invulnerable, and rewind their ability cooldowns. Skilled mesmers are wanted in every group regardless of game mode, as they open up entire new strategies with the utility that only a mesmer can provide.

The Chronomancer Chronomancer elite specialization enhances the supportive capabilities of mesmers, allowing them to buff themselves and their party members - that's not to say they can't do high damage with the right build. The Mirage Mirage elite specialization focuses on clones, dueling, and damage. Virtuoso Virtuoso is all about ranged burst damage.

  • In open world and casual PvE, Mesmers can be difficult to get the hang of, but excel in the hands of an experienced player thanks to their utility and survivability.
  • In fractals and raids, Chronomancers are supports that provide powerful party-wide buffs and irreplaceable utility. Mirage is able to provide high damage and buffs with rotations that rely on maintaining clones and dodging frequently to unlock powerful ambush attacks. Virtuoso has a simple but flashy playstyle that also provides great DPS. The core mesmer toolkit includes a great variety of powerful abilities and can do things like combine portals, stealth and teleports to quickly move their teammates safely between locations.
  • In large scale WvW, Chronomancers are utility and CC supports. Though only used in small numbers the skills they can bring are irreplaceable
  • In sPvP, Mirages are extremely annoying assassins/duelists with high mobility and an even higher skill cap. These days Chronomancer is seen as a niche one trick spec with extremely high damage but very little (if any) sustain, making it a very rare sight. Virtuoso is struggling to find its place and continues to be the worst EoD spec.
  • In small scale WvW, Celestial Mirage and Virtuoso gets to shine. They are rather easy and forgiving specs to play with lots of sustain and high damage. Mirage has a couple of bursty, low sustain builds too but they are not quite as effective as Celestial and take way more skill. Chronomancer's even less popular than in sPvP as their lack of sustain shows even harder here.

Play a mesmer if:

  • You like using tricks and utility skills to outwit your opponents.
  • You like completely circumventing game mechanics.
  • You like being an indispensable support class, or
  • You like ambushing enemies and dancing out of their attacks.

See Mesmer Builds


Necromancer

Necromancers weaken their enemies and grind them down. They aren't the fastest or the cleanest, but they apply constant pressure to their enemies, forcing them to retreat and succumb. This slow grinding playstyle, combined with the necromancer's ability to cheat death, makes them relatively simple to play.

The Reaper Reaper elite specialization turns Necromancers into menacing juggernauts with a lot of survivability and melee damage. The Scourge Scourge elite specialization reduces the Necromancer's survivability in exchange for ranged damage, debuffs, and support. Harbinger Harbinger can buff allies through boons better than any other Necromancer spec without sacrificing their damage, but they do trade their second health bar for it as Harbinger Shroud doesn't absorb damage.

  • In open world and casual PvE, necromancers are one of the best classes for soloing thanks to their minions and self-sufficiency. They deal high damage while stubbornly refusing to die.
  • In fractals and raids, Reapers and Scourges deal low DPS but Reaper has excellent self-buffing and Scourge provides group-wide defences, making them good in inexperienced groups. Harbinger can fill a glass cannon DPS role, or can instead focus on buffing its team with elixirs. In raids they are all useful for the skill which is excellent for clearing adds. Scourges can alternatively be played as supports that mitigate damage and revive teammates. While niche, condition-damage necromancers have multiple ways to throw conditions back at targets which can offer some fun options for condition-heavy encounters
  • In large scale WvW, Scourges are fragile but incredibly dangerous ranged damage dealers. Core Necromancers and Reapers are a durable damage dealers that can change between melee and ranged with a focus on boon removal for Core and melee for Reapers. All Necromancer builds often coordinate skills with the commander's calls to spike the enemy group.
  • In sPvP, Necromancer's core toolkit of strong condition spam and boon removal makes them a staple of almost every good team comp, they also work best with a support by their side. Core Necromancers and Harbingers dominate teamfights with their constant condition pressure and boon corruption. Reapers are extremely potent direct damage dealers but get shut down even easier than other Necro specs without a support. Scourge used to be a dominant support/hybrid spec and the king of reviving allies, but that was dozens of nerfs ago. Nowadays they don't see much play.
  • In small scale WvW, Necromancers play very similar builds to sPvP except they build for higher sustain to make up for the lack of a pocket healer. Their damage is scary and sustain is decent, but they are very weak to CC and their only mobility skills are long CD utilities which means without good CD management and creative use of terrain they are sitting ducks. Harbinger is something of an exception, their sustain is lower but mobility's better. While condition-based or Celestial Necromancers in general are somewhat tanky here, their healing options are rather limited, which means they lose health slowly but have a hard time getting it back. Reaper has great burst but the lowest sustain of all Necro specs, making them especially hard to play.

Play a Necromancer if:

  • You like being an unstoppable wave of death.
  • You like controlling the field and forcing your enemies to flee.
  • You enjoy transferring conditions around the battlefield.
  • You like both dealing damage and supporting your team, or
  • You like weakening your enemies and ripping their buffs away.

See Necromancer Builds


Ranger

Rangers are versatile skirmishers that team up with their pets to take on anything. They're the only profession that can seek out and charm creatures across the world. As their class mechanics are simple and they can fall back on their pet when they're having trouble, rangers are one of the easiest classes to learn.

The Druid Druid elite specialization focuses on group support, offering healing and powerful party-wide buffs. Meanwhile, the Soulbeast Soulbeast elite specialization allows rangers to merge with their pets to become tough damage dealers. Untamed Untamed are masters of their pets, gaining new options for micromanaging their every move, which also makes them harder to play than other Ranger specs.

  • In open world and casual PvE, rangers are among the easiest classes for soloing because of their good sustain and their pet mechanics. Rangers have more control over their pets than other minion classes, making the pet uniquely capable of drawing aggro and allowing the ranger to deal damage safely from a distance.
  • In fractals and raids, Druids are irreplaceable healers thanks to their utility and 10-player offensive buffs. Soulbeasts are also strong DPS with a simple learning curve. Untamed is probably the fastest-paced class in the game, capable of spamming CC and damage as long as your fingers are fast enough. Each of the wide range of pets offers a particular set of abilities that enable the ranger to fine-tune what they bring to each encounter.
  • In large scale WvW, rangers are rarely played, but Soulbeast can provide a unique "immobilizer" role in coordinated groups.
  • In PvP and small scale WvW, Rangers of every specialization make strong duelists. Core Ranger, Soulbeast and Untamed all have strong burst damage while Druid focuses more on longer fights with decent sustain and plenty of stealth (but it's also the weakest of the 4). Rangers are usually a "middle of the pack" kind of class - they are rarely competitive enough for high end tournaments, but have a strong and constant presence in ranked PvP and WvW roaming. Great class for loners who prefer to play solo and do well.

Play a ranger if:

  • You like pets.
  • You really like pets (Untamed).
  • You don't like pets (Soulbeast).
  • You like hunting dangerous enemies and winning through smart healing and positioning.
  • You like summoning spirits and buffing allies, or
  • You like crippling enemies with traps and barrages of arrows.

See Ranger Builds


Revenant

Revenants project force across the battlefield. With their personal auras and tactical area-of-effect skills, they build up themselves and their allies while raining destruction on their foes. Revenants can be difficult to play due to their energy management system, but they are rewarding for players who learn and master their intricacies.

The Herald Herald elite specialization focuses on defensive buffs and group support. The Renegade Renegade elite specialization has a mixture of defense and offense, providing AoE damage, lifesteal, and crowd control. Vindicator Vindicators bring both devastating AoE attacks and support to the table (depending on how you build them) but they only have 1 dodge.

  • In open world and casual PvE, revenants are slow and steady brawlers. They can generate their own boons and healing, making them strong when soloing.
  • In fractals and raids, Heralds and Renegades are sustained DPS that boost the damage of their allies. Renegades can also be built as healers with very strong, but short-range, offensive buffs and healing. Vindicator offers a unique playstyle centred around single, impactful dodge-attacks that provide damage or support in an area, and can be played as potent, if niche, healers. Revenants have access to some incredibly powerful abilities such as the strongest CC in the game, or the ability to provide permanent stability.
  • In large scale WvW, Heralds and Vindicators are ranged damage dealers with a focus on spike damage. Heralds also provide incredible boon support to their team while Vindicators offer a more selfish, personal DPS focused playstyle.
  • In PvP and small scale WvW, the Revenant class has a long history of being rather OP damage dealers when played right. Power Heralds are high on damage/mobility but there's very little room for mistakes when it comes to sustain, as most of their tools help with avoiding damage not recovering from it (except for ). Renegades are more forgiving in terms of sustain while their burst damage is a bit lower but still dangerous. Vindicators are known for their medium damage combined with good sustain and group utility. Core Revenants don't really see play - while they aren't bad, they don't have their own niche and since Revenant is a Heart of Thorns class, Core Rev isn't even available for F2P players.

Play a revenant if:

  • You like flashy reality-tearing skill effects.
  • You like classes that are quirky but strong when played well.
  • You like summoning spectral weapons and calling in artillery strikes, or
  • You really, really, really like hitting people with hammers.

See Revenant Builds


Thief

Thieves are sneaky, slippery assassins. While their damage-dealing options are straightforward, they have the most mobility, evasive skills, and access to stealth of all the professions. This makes thieves easy to pick up but difficult to play to their full potential.

The Daredevil Daredevil elite specialization focuses on mobility and evading attacks. In contrast, the Deadeye Deadeye elite specialization sacrifices mobility for stealth and single-target burst. Specter Specter is perhaps the most forgiving iteration of Thief because they gain access to a Necromancer-like second health bar, and they offer players both good damage and group support.

  • In open world and casual PvE, thieves deal good damage and have the ability to sneak past enemies with their superior mobility and stealth. However, their low health pool makes quick reactions important against more difficult enemies.
  • In fractals and raids, Daredevil deals solid DPS with a simple rotation and in raids gains access to potent stolen skills, while Deadeye and Specter deal very high single-target damage, though Deadeye sacrifices mobility in order to do so. Specter can also provide good boon support and provides some passive group defence as well as being one of the only player-targeting supports in the game. All builds can reliably skip sections in fractals with teleports and stealth, which makes for useful out-of-combat utility.
  • In large scale WvW, Daredevils are slippery damage dealers that constantly evade attacks and bring incredible spike damage. They are rarely played at large numbers, but a strong choice from groups smaller than 30.
  • In PvP and small scale WvW, Thieves of all specializations make excellent roaming and ganking assassins. Daredevils specialize in melee combat with 3 dodge bars while Deadeyes are all about sniping key targets from range. They are what you'd expect: high burst damage, high mobility, very slippery but not very good at facetanking damage. That is unless you play Specter, which gets to enjoy the benefits of a second health bar and does well in both melee and range.

Play a thief if:

  • You like using stealth to run circles around your enemies.
  • You like outplaying enemies in PvP with a high skill cap class.
  • You like being able to avoid damage with well-timed evades, or
  • You like dealing massive damage and killing things out of nowhere.

See Thief Builds


Warrior

Warriors are sturdy melee fighters that their party members can rally around. While relatively simple to play, they have access to good damage and crowd control skills, and are useful in all game modes because of their unique offensive capabilities.

The Berserker Berserker elite specialization sacrifices personal defense to put out high sustained damage. The Spellbreaker Spellbreaker elite specialization is more methodical, and rewards well-timed counters and interrupts by preventing damage and turning it against attackers. Bladesworn Bladesworn has it all - high damage, sustain, mobility, and even support for the team.

  • In open world and casual PvE, warriors are both strong and easy to play thanks to their innate damage and durability.
  • In fractals and raids, banners allow warrior to fulfil a boon support roles without needing to be near the group at all times, making it very effective at handling other mechanics within an encounter. All specialisations can all fulfil this role depending on the fight, though Berserker or Bladesworn are preferable. Even as a pure DPS, Bladesworn is able to provide incidental boon support without sacrificing damage. Berserker is a straight-up brawler that can quickly cleave down nearby adds while being able to consistently CC targets without pause. Spellbreaker is a more defensive option that doesn't see much play, but can work as an aggressive tank that rips boons off its target.
  • In large scale WvW, Spellbreakers are durable supports with strong CC and boon removal. At smaller zerg sizes (<30), DPS Spellbreakers are both durable and incredibly high potential damage. Both builds bring the unique skill, which single-handedly defines fights by forcing engagements and retreats.
  • In PvP and small scale WvW, Warriors are duelists who are having a rather hard time right now. In sPvP, Bladesworn is a jack of all trades spec capable of performing well in almost any role due to their high damage/mobility/sustain/support, but in WvW roaming they don't scale well enough with the stats and are more in the middle of the pack. Core Warriors and Spellbreakers have very similar duelist builds and playstyles but also the same weaknesses. They are currently struggling in the meta. Berserker has some scary burst damage if it goes unchecked - but most people know this and pressure them out of existence before they could do anything, making them nearly extinct.

Play a warrior if:

  • You want to be a tough, mobile, brutal frontline fighter.
  • You like simple but rewarding classes with great gameplay flow.
  • You like setting yourself on fire and headbutting enemies.
  • You like calmly preparing for a single lethal strike, or
  • You like countering attacks and expertly interrupting your foes.

See Warrior Builds

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