Category Archives: Build

Build: Ablative Gunslinger Engineer

The Engineer has always been my favorite class in GW2.  I first played one in the second Beta Weekend Event leading up to the release of the core game, and I had more fun with that class than I did any of the others.  It was also the very first class that I ever took into PvP (doing pretty well for myself back then, if I remember correctly).  Destiny being what it is, though, when the game went live, I somehow ended up playing a Mesmer as my main, and even though I made a Charr Engineer, he was relegated to the unenviable role of ‘alt’ for a while.

With the complete overhaul to the trait system, though, I decided to dust off old Rockgut Boltsmasher and take a look at what these deadly geniuses can now do under the new system.  I feel like I’ve discovered this amazing profession all over again.  It is just unbelievable how much unique capability ArenaNet has packed in there!  Picking Specializations and Traits makes me feel like a kid in a candy store!

I’m calling this build “Ablative Gunslinger Engineer” because it uses twin pistols and it feels like things are always falling off of you.  It sprouts a continual stream of healing kits and proximity mines, with a rock dog even showing up most of the time. In fact, the more you shoot, and the more your enemy hits back, the more stuff just goes flying off everywhere around you.  It’s positively ablative!

Ablative Inventor Engineer Build


The three main specializations lines are Firearms, Tools, and Inventions.  The last one may seem like an odd choice, but Bunker Down and Mecha Legs seemed irreplaceable to me, since the proximity mines and healing kits spawned by Bunker Down (which show up EVERYWHERE because of the high crit chance) have become close to the very heart of the build.


Sharpshooter – Critical hits have a chance to cause bleeding.

High Caliber – You have an increased critical hit chance against foes within the range threshold.

Hematic Focus – You have increased chance to critically strike against bleeding foes.

No Scope – Critical hits within the range threshold have a chance to grant fury.

Serrated Steel – Bleeding you cause lasts longer.

Incendiary Powder – Critical hits inflict burning. Burning you apply lasts 33% longer.


Optimized Activation – Using tool belt skills grants vigor.

Static Discharge – Discharge a bolt of lightning whenever you use a tool belt skill.

Mechanized Deployment – Recharge of your tool belt skills is reduced.

Streamlined Kits – Equipping a kit creates an attack or spell and grants you swiftness.

Excessive Energy – While at full endurance you deal additional damage.

Kinetic Battery – After evading a strike, your next tool belt skill is instantly recharged.


Cleansing Synergy – Using heal skills triggers a cleansing pulse around you.

Automated Medical Response – All heal skills recharge when struck while you are below the health threshold.

Heal Resonator – When you use a healing skill, you apply regeneration to nearby allies.

Mecha Legs – Movement speed is increased. Cripple, chill, and immobilize durations are reduced.

Energy Amplifier – Your healing power is increased while you have regeneration.

Bunker Down – Create a proximity mine and med kit at your location when you critically hit with an attack.



Two Pistols – Berserker with Superior Sigil of Accuracy (+7% Critical Chanceand Superior Sigil of Strength (60% Chance on Critical: Gain Might (10 Seconds))


All armor is Knight’s (+Power, +Precision, and +Toughness) and all six pieces have Superior Rune of the Ogre.  In total, these runes give +175 Power, +35 Ferocity, +4% Damage, and you have a 25% chance when struck to summon a Rock Dog.


All jewelry (and back item) is specced to give Power, Precision, and Condition Damage in PvE.  In PvP, I just pick the Rampager Amulet.  This cuts down on Toughness, making you more squishy, but amplifies Condition Damage, which is a big part of how you kill everything.

Utility Skills

6 – A.E.D. – Activate your A.E.D., enabling the system to heal you after a brief period of time. If you take lethal damage while the A.E.D. is active, it ends and heals you for a large amount and removes conditions.

7 – Flamethrower – Arm yourself with a flamethrower that replaces your weapon skills.

8 – Flame Turret – Deploy a turret that burns foes.

9 (PvE) – Elixir B – Drink Elixir B to gain fury, might, retaliation, and swiftness.

9 (PvP) – Elixir C – Drink Elixir C, converting all conditions into random boons.

0 (PvE) – Elite Mortar Kit – Equip the mortar kit.

0 (PvP) – Supply Crate – Request a massive supply drop, complete with turrets and bandages.


The Ablative Gunslinger Engineer focuses on critical hits and condition damage to bring down its foes.  As outlined above, the base critical hit chance stays somewhere between 50 and 60 percent, with certain factors driving this up quite a bit.  If your opponent is within a range of 240 and on fire, for example, the crit chance will be 20% higher.  And all of this has the potential to snowball quite a bit, especially since critical hits also cause burning due to Incendiary Power.

While there are a couple of good ways to spike down your opponent with this build, the real name of the game is versatility and survivability.  Speccing into Inventions means that there will be a lot of healing kits scattered all around your feet pretty much constantly.  The healing skill, A.E.D., is also the best in the game, as far as I’m concerned.  And just think, with Automated Medical Response the thing just goes off cooldown whenever you are struck below 25% health!  If you haven’t seen just how fun this can be, you need to!

You definitely don’t want to forget the tool belt here!  You have MASSIVE additional burning by slotting in Flame Turret and Flamethrower, so when you lock onto your target, remember those two tool belt skills.  Also remember that everything from the tool belt will fire a bolt of chain lightning when activated, and if you want to double up on one of those tool belt abilities, just dodge an attack and you can use your favorite one twice!  Don’t forget that the A.E.D. even helps out with a great close range stun on F1.

The best chain of attacks I’ve been able to throw together so far with this seems to be to activate Elixir B (if in PvE) and then lead with the napalm on the tool belt from Flame Turret, and then pack in pistol 2 (wait for it!), 3, 4, and then the flame jet on the tool belt from Flamethrower.  Then switch over to the Flamethrower kit (which surrounds you with a Fire Shield due to Streamlined Kits) and detonate the number 2 skill right on your opponent’s face, followed by skill 4 at his feet, and then a long blast with the flamethrower.  In testing, nothing has actually survived this attack chain, so I haven’t had much reason to push it farther.

One note of caution would be that the Flame Turret seems more useful to me as a tool belt skill than a turret, especially if you are skilled at getting the double activation with Kinetic Battery.  Once you place the turret, though, the tool belt ability changes to allow you to detonate it.  That’s not nearly as helpful as adding a few more stacks of burning, so only drop the turret if you weren’t able to activate the Kinetic Battery.

I don’t yet have as much experience with this build in PvP as I do my Fire Tank Guardian, so there may be some things that I have to change around as my plans make additional contact with the enemy and inevitably fail.  If I discover anything further, I’ll post my updates here.  And if anyone has any thoughts on how to improve the build while staying true to the overall theme, then by all means please post them in the comments!

Good luck out there!


Build: Fire Tank Guardian

Way before the June 23rd patch dropped and Condition Damage became a big deal, I loved the idea of a Guardian being all about fire damage and defense.  It didn’t hurt that ‘Dire’ exotic armor was much cheaper than ‘Berserker’ varieties, but even before I looked at the Trading Post prices, I wanted my little Guardian to be specced out for Condition Damage, Toughness, and Vitality.  The gist of my original build was to make my little guy as indestructible as I could, all the while boosting his burning damage and the frequency that it was applied.

Prior to the patch, little Fizlip was unexpectedly efficient in sPvP, more often than not taking honors for top player of the round, and very rarely ever getting downed or killed.  Most of that had to do with a couple of crafty combos, executed lightning-fast with the help of a Razer Naga gaming mouse, but it seemed like the idea of a burning tank Guardian was at least a little viable.

After the patch, practically every single bit of this build is better.  I didn’t have to tweak very much to get Fizlip (my Asura Guardian) into fighting shape, but the traits that I did change just seemed to solidify the build even more.  I was also surprised to find that I somehow had about 20% more health than I did previously, a fact that was sure to increase my survivability.  And the results have been spectacular!  In some sPvP matches, Fizlip has so owned the game that the other team just runs away at the sight of him.

So without further adieu, here is the build for the Fire Tank Guardian.

Fire Tank Build


The three main specializations lines are Radiance, Virtues, and Zeal.  And although the choices are now graphical in the interface, and easy to see in a screenshot like this, I’ll still copy all of the trait effects below so that you can see just how nasty this build is.


Justice Is Blind – When activating Virtue of Justice, nearby foes are blinded.

Inner Fire – Gain fury when you strike a foe that has burning stacks over threshold.

Renewed Justice – Virtue of Justice is renewed when you kill a foe.

Radiant Fire – Gain zealot’s flame when you critically hit an enemy. Burning duration is increased. Torch abilities recharge faster.

Radiant Power – Deal more damage to foes inflicted with conditions.

Amplified Wrath – Burning damage is increased. Burn enemies whose attacks you successfully block.


Inspired Virtue – Virtues now also apply the following boons to allies when activated: Justice: might, Resolve: regeneration, Courage: protection

Retaliatory Subconscious – Gain retaliation and aegis when stunned, dazed, knocked back, pulled, knocked down, sunk, floated, launched, taunted or inflicted with fear.

Virtue of Retribution – Gain retaliation when you activate a virtue. Retaliation you apply lasts longer.

Supreme Justice – Virtue of Justice causes burning more frequently. When activating Virtue of Justice, the burn duration is increased.

Power of the Virtuous – Deal extra damage for each boon you have. Virtues recharge faster.

Permeating Wrath – Virtue of Justice’s passive effect no longer burns your target, but also burns the area around your target each time it activates.


Zealot’s Speed – Create a Symbol of Wrath when you are struck while below the health threshold.

Fiery Wrath – Increases damage against burning foes.

Symbolic Exposure – Symbols apply vulnerability to foes.

Zealous Blade – Attacks with your greatsword deal extra damage and heal you. Greatsword abilities have reduced recharge.

Symbolic Power – Symbols have increased damage and a chance to burn enemies.

Shattered Aegis – When an aegis you applied blocks an attack, it damages nearby foes.



Scepter – Dire with Superior Sigil of Corruption (Gain a charge of +10 condition damage each time you kill a foe, five if you kill an enemy player. (Max 25 stacks; ends on down.))

Focus – Dire with Superior Sigil of Smoldering (Increase Inflicted Burning Duration: 20%)

Greatsword – Dire with Superior Sigil of Fire (50% Chance on Critical: Trigger a Flame Blast for area of effect damage (240 radius). (Cooldown: 5 Seconds)) and Superior Sigil of Intelligence (Your next three attack after swapping to this weapon while in combat have a 100% critical chance. (Cooldown: 9 Seconds))


All armor is Dire (+Condition Damage, +Toughness, and +Vitality) and all six pieces have Superior Rune of Balthazar.  In total, these runes give +175 Condition Damage, +45% Burning Duration, and grant two special abilities: gain quickness for 5 seconds when struck below 20% health, and apply burning to foes when using healing skills.


All jewelry (and back item) is specced to give Condition Damage, Toughness, and Vitality.

Utility Skills

6 – Signet of Resolve – Passive: Cures a condition from yourself every few seconds. Active: Heal yourself.

7 – “Retreat” – Grant aegis and swiftness to up to five nearby allies.

8 (PvE) – “Stand Your Ground” – Grant stability to yourself and allies.

8 (PvP) – Contemplation of Purity – Convert the conditions you are suffering from into boons.

9 – Judge’s Intervention – Teleport to your target and burn nearby foes.

0 (PvE) – Signet of Courage – Passive: Periodically heal allies in the area around you while in combat. Active: Fully heal nearby allies.

0 (PvP) – Renewed Focus – Focus, making yourself invulnerable and recharging your virtues.


The Fire Tank Guardian is a very versatile build, and many of the skill choices are situational for dealing with various challenges either in PvE or PvP.  Contemplation of Purity and Judge’s Intervention are both Stun Breaks, so you have two different ways to get out of a tight situation, but priority should be given to Contemplation of Purity, as Judge’s Intervention is required for the ‘Big Combo’.

Remember your Virtues!  Guardians have a lot of interesting things that they can do with these three little abilities, but specced as above, they become even more powerful.  Especially good to remember is that Virtue of Justice also now blinds nearby foes, giving an additional way to accomplish this besides Greatsword 3 and Focus 4.  Also, remember that any time an Aegis blocks an attack, nearby foes are damaged.  Keep this in mind as you are in the thick of a fight.  Virtue of Courage applies an Aegis, so throw one one while you’re taking a beating to layer on Protection, block an attack, and blast people in the area.

The default load-out for the Fire Tank Guardian should be Scepter/Focus.  Always seek to get back into this mode after a fight.  When approaching an enemy to engage, be sure to fire several shots from the scepter at range to tear down any situational defenses your opponent may have (like their own Aegis).  At this point, you can also try to root them with Scepter 3, and then throw down a Smite on their location with Scepter 2.  This will delay melee engagement by a couple of more seconds, giving you that extra time to work down their defenses.  Then, just before entering into the next part, you can choose to use Focus 4 to add Blind, but this is a judgment call, as there is a slight casting time to it that may throw off the combo if things are moving too fast.

When you are ready to blast in for the kill (what I call the ‘Big Combo’), you should use Focus 5 to put an exploding shield on yourself, and then follow that with a very quick sequence of abilities.  Switch to Greatsword (this activates the Superior Sigil of Intelligence) and activate Judge’s Intervention to warp to your target (causing three stacks of Burning to the area).  Then throw down a Symbol of Wrath with Greatsword 4 and immediately activate Greatsword 2 (your Superior Sigil of Fire should cause another Flame Blast due to the 3 guaranteed crits).  This is a Combo Finisher: Whirl on top of a Light Field, so you’ll get some Cleansing Bolts, and then just as the spin is finishing (but before the Light Field goes away), activate Greatsword 3 to Leap and Blind foes (activating a Light Aura from the Combo).

As all of this is happening, you can activate your Virtue of Justice and Virtue of Courage to add more Burning, more Blind, and more area damage as your opponent shatters the Aegis from your Virtue of Courage.  You can even use “Retreat” to add one more Aegis if the first goes down quickly.  If the opponent isn’t dead after this explosion of fire and justice goes off, then you may need to call them back to the fight with Greatsword 5 (remember to push a second time to yank them back).

If your opponent is really skilled and the above does not burn them to ash, then you may need to cleanse any conditions you may have picked up (with Contemplation of Purity), heal (which applies Burning, remember?) and distance yourself a little.  Try to get back to scepter when you can to expand your options.  Since this build doesn’t have a lot (read: any) of additional Power, then there’s not a whole lot of point to standing close and beating on people with your Greatsword if you didn’t drop them with the Big Combo.  In fact, you’re probably going to want to “Retreat” and regroup for another pass.

Hopefully this guide will provide you a good starting place for how to spin up your own Fire Tank Guardian.  If you think you have even better ideas for the build (without changing the basic idea), then I would love to hear them in the comments.

Good luck out there!