What Profession Should I Play
What is the Best Class for you in Guild Wars 2? This page will cover how each profession plays, both at a casual and a competitive level from PvE all the way to PvP.
Note: we're going to use "class" and "profession" interchangeably since both are actively used by the GW2 playerbase to describe the same thing.
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 elite specialization turns Elementalists into resilient group supports. The Weaver elite specialization focuses more on damage and dueling and requires players to quickly chain different elements together. 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, Elementalists have some of the best build diversity. Tempests are powerful supports with high sustain who can also dish out more damage in teamfights than any other support build, making them quite popular in PvP but rare in WvW roaming as Tempest wasn't made for 1v1. Weaver focuses mainly on dueling and winning smaller fights - they are also seen as more challenging to play due to their dual attunement juggling. Catalysts tend to be inherently more tanky than other specs regardless of the build they play while also bringing extra group utility to the table mainly through boon sharing and combo fields. They can fill any role except for support and have some of the best high damage Ele builds because their baseline sustain makes them more competitive. Elementalist's core (F2P, non-elite spec) builds are fairly decent as well and cover everything from dueling and ganking to support.
Play an Elementalist if:
- You like massive AoE skills with flashy effects.
- You like complex, versatile classes with many different skills and rotations.
- You like playing glass cannons, or
- You like constantly healing and sustaining yourself and your allies.
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 elite specialization can turn Engineers into tanky supports with strong damage mitigation. In contrast, the Holosmith elite specialization is capable of high damage output and significant cleave. Meanwhile 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, Engineers are mainly known for their burst builds. Holosmith is a high damage midrange spec with a very aggressive playstyle and an even higher skill ceiling. Much like Holosmiths, Scrappers mostly specialize in high burst damage builds but they can also fill support/bunker roles to some extent. Mechanist is becoming a synonym for "low tier" as they're somewhat easy to play but just as easily shut down above a certain level of play. Still, it remains popular among new players especially in ranked. Mechanist builds tend to have relatively high mobility and versatility - a jack of all trades, master of none.
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.
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 elite specialization turns Guardians into skirmishers with high burst damage. The Firebrand elite specialization grants a plethora of support skills, and can be built for damage or healing. 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 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 with a few dangerous burst combos, but not much damage between them. Dragonhunters are equally dangerous in both ranged and melee combat, using a Longbow to hunt their prey from a distance or traps and CC chains to annihilate opponents in melee. Willbenders have 2 things going for them, top tier melee damage and great mobility which allows them to stick to targets more efficiently. Willbenders also have very little downtime in their damage. Firebrands are supports with a huge and versatile toolkit.
- In small scale WvW, every Guardian spec has at least one viable build (except for Firebrand) but they all tend to follow the same formula: more than enough damage to end a fight in seconds, but not enough sustain to survive a longer fight. Once the cooldowns run out it's game over, you either burst the target down by then or you lose. Dragonhunters have better range than other specs and they have access to Revealed which is quite useful against the Stealth specs that dominate roaming. Willbenders have an edge here because of their top tier mobility (on an otherwise slow profession), allowing them to constantly stick to targets or disengage in seconds.
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.
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 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 elite specialization focuses on clones, dueling, and damage. Virtuoso is all about ranged burst damage (or high sustain in PvP modes) while being very easy to play.
- 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. They tend to have a lot of interrupt skills but very few hard-CCs like stuns or knockbacks. Chronomancer is a spec of extremes, their builds either do outstanding burst damage with next to no sustain or they're sacrificing the damage aspect for top tier sustain and group utility. Virtuoso is the easiest and most forgiving of the Mesmer specs, but it's struggling to find a place in the meta. They're mostly known for being high sustain duelists with medium damage.
- In small scale WvW, Celestial Mirage and Virtuoso get 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 has the highest burst potential of any Mesmer spec, but their burst builds are notoriously squishy and unforgiving to play - they're a rare sight.
Play a Mesmer if:
- You like using tricks and utility skills to outwit your opponents.
- You like completely circumventing game mechanics.
- You like being in control of the fight.
- You like being an indispensable support class, or
- You like ambushing enemies and dancing out of their attacks.
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 or succumb. This slow grinding playstyle combined with the Necromancer being a damage sponge makes them relatively simple to play.
The Reaper elite specialization turns Necromancers into menacing juggernauts with a lot of survivability and melee damage. The Scourge elite specialization reduces the Necromancer's personal survivability in exchange for ranged damage, debuffs, and support. 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, 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 boon 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 in most metas, they also work best with a support by their side due to their low survivability. Core Necromancers, Reapers and Harbingers dominate teamfights with their constant pressure and boon corruption. Reapers and Harbingers can be competitive on both condition (damage-over-time) and power (burst damage) builds. Scourge is the odd one out, it's mainly played as a support/hybrid teamfight spec with great rez potential and barrier sharing. While they deal less damage than other Necro elite specs, their boon corruption still makes them a threat to the enemy team.
- 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 rather weak vs CC and their only mobility skills tend to be 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 mobility's much better. While condition-based or Celestial Necromancers in general are somewhat tanky here, their healing options are rather limited, which means while they lose health slowly they still 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. Scourge doesn't see much 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 back to the source, or between enemies.
- You prefer simple classes with a slower pace.
- You like both dealing damage and supporting your team, or
- You like weakening your enemies and ripping their buffs away.
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 elite specialization focuses on group support, offering healing and powerful party-wide buffs. Meanwhile, the Soulbeast elite specialization allows Rangers to merge with their pets to become tough damage dealers. 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 top-tier healers thanks to their utility wide boon coverage, and versatile condi DPS that benefits from access to Druid's glyphs and celestial avatar. Soulbeasts are also strong DPS with a simple learning curve. Untamed is a fast-paced power bruiser that can also be run as a niche boon support. 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, Druid is a strong support with access to a variety of different utility. Soulbeast and Untamed are fairly niche but can provide a unique CC DPS role in coordinated groups.
- In PvP and small scale WvW, Rangers of every specialization make for strong duelists. Core Ranger, Soulbeast and Untamed all have decent burst damage options as well while Druid focuses more on longer fights with good sustain and plenty of stealth + CC. Rangers are usually a "middle of the pack" kind of class - they are rarely competitive enough for high-end tournaments, but tend 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 being self-sufficient, never having to rely on others.
- You enjoy knocking mobs out of AoEs with for absolutely no reason, thus ruining other people's DPS output and getting flamed by the entire map for being such a stereotype.
- You like summoning spirits and buffing allies, or
- You like controlling the battlefield with traps and barrages of arrows.
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 elite specialization focuses on defensive buffs and group support in PvE and burst damage in PvP. The Renegade elite specialization has a mixture of defense and offense, providing AoE damage, lifesteal, and crowd control. Vindicator allows for high customization and could bring both devastating AoE attacks and support to the table (depending on how you build them).
- 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, Herald can apply a range of boons over a huge area as well as boosting the effectiveness of other boon supports in their group. Renegade focusses on sustained damage as a pure DPS or boon support. Both can also be built as healers, with Herald being particularly potent. Vindicator offers a unique playstyle centred around impactful dodge-attacks that provide damage or support in an area. 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. Vindicator can also be played as a healer and has high highest healing output among all possible options.
- In sPvP, 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 survival, as most of their tools help with avoiding damage not recovering from it (except for ). Renegades are more forgiving in terms of survivability while their burst damage is a bit lower yet still dangerous - they primarily fill a duelist role. Vindicators are known for their medium damage combined with high sustain and group utility while being relatively easy to pilot. They can still build for burst damage, but what sets them apart from Herald is how the damage is delivered - while Herald focuses on rapid attacks and skills that deliver multiple smaller hits, Vindi tends to frontload its damage into a couple of bigger strikes on slower skills. 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 profession, Core Rev isn't even available for F2P players.
- In small scale WvW, Power Herald still has amazing damage but can be even more challenging to play than it is in sPvP. It's an unforgiving but highly rewarding build to master. Condi/Celestial Herald is much easier but has seen better days. Celestial Renegade is an absolute menace with no real weak spots - high sustain, high damage, good mobility, several CCs, decent range. Vindicator is somewhere in the middle - higher sustain than Herald but less than Renegade, higher damage than Renegade but less than Herald. They focus on melee combat with slow but hard hitting abilities and have good healing options which allows them to recover from mistakes more easily.
Play a Revenant if:
- You like flashy reality-tearing skill effects.
- You like classes with complexity.
- You enjoy fast-paced combat, or
- You like summoning spectral weapons and calling in artillery strikes.
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 elite specialization focuses on mobility and evading attacks. In contrast, the Deadeye elite specialization sacrifices mobility for stealth and single-target burst. Specter is perhaps the most forgiving iteration of Thief because they gain access to a Necromancer-like second health bar, and they offer players a mix of 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 and abusing stealth. They are what you'd expect: high burst damage, high mobility, very slippery but not very good at facetanking damage. Specter is a bit more tanky, the spec gets to enjoy the benefits of a second health bar and does well in both melee and medium range. In WvW all Thief specs can hold their ground in 1v1s, but in sPvP their role is mainly to be playmakers and exploit openings to finish off targets or dart across the map in seconds to neutralize (decap) unguarded capture points.
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 having endless mobility.
- You like being able to avoid damage with well-timed evades, or
- You like dealing massive damage and killing things out of nowhere.
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 elite specialization often sacrifices personal defense for higher damage. The Spellbreaker elite specialization is more methodical, and rewards well-timed counters and interrupts by preventing damage and turning it against attackers. 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, Warriors predominantly fill the power DPS role, with all specs being very capable.
Additionally, Berserker offers a condi DPS option that excels in longer fights, and Bladesworn can be run as a DPS- or heal-boon support.
- In large scale WvW, Berserkers are very powerful selfish DPS. 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 first and foremost. Bladesworn is a jack of all trades spec capable of performing almost any role due to its versatility - while still primarily 1v1ers, some Bladesworn builds do just as well in teamfights too on top of bringing some group support to the table. They're seen as easier to master and more forgiving to play than other specs. Core Warriors and Spellbreakers have very similar duelist builds and playstyles, usually some variant of a Power Greatsword build. They hit hard and are generally very mobile in addition to being rather tanky. Berserker is known for its high damage but does have some downtime between burst windows. Their condition builds are quite hard to kill while still being a massive threat to the enemy team while their power builds range from high damage/medium sustain to extremely high damage with next to no sustain.
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.
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