Basic Guide to Playing Mesmer

This guide is intended as a guide for starter Mesmers.

(This guide was created by Cebe of the Guildwars Guru Forums. All credit for this guide goes to him To see the original posting of this click here.)

Article Contents

1. Mesmers
2. Attributes
3. Weapons
4. Runes
5. PvE Skills
6. Secondary Profession Choices
7. Mesmer Elites
8. Common Mesmer Builds
9. Farming with the Mesmer
10. The Art of Interruption
11. End Notes

1. Mesmers
Mesmers are described by Guildwiki as experts in indirect damage and subtle magic The Mesmer profession excels in the disruption and shutdown of foes, rendering them ineffective and useless. Good local knowledge is vital when playing Mesmer, in knowing what to expect and how foes react, and using their skills to good effect is where a Mesmer truly shines on the battlefield.

Mesmers are often considered to be weak in PvE. While it is the case that they are weaker than other classes, I feel that due to PvE skills, the gap is closing between the Mesmer class, and all the others. In PvP the Mesmer shines however. Due to Humans behaving is far easier for a Mesmer to cause pressure and irritation to their enemy, whereas Monsters will not react in the same way, and will not "panic" when faced with degen pressure, or shutdown hexes.

2. Attributes
Let's take a look at a Mesmer's attribute lines:

Fast Casting - This is the Mesmer's Primary Attribute. Fast Casting's passive ability allows you to cast spells and signets faster. Fast Casting has a very limited selection of skills itself, and due to this, it's not uncommon for Mesmers to keep a token amount of attribute points in Fast Casting when not utilising any of the skills. A couple of the better skills include [[Mantra of Recovery] which allows your skills to recharge faster, and [[Psychic Instability] which is a good interrupt with a knockdown ability. (recently moved to Fast Casting and skill functionality changed). [[Power Return] also makes for a good, fast recharging, interrupt, where enemy energy gain is not an issue.

Domination Magic - Domination Magic excels at caster shutdown and interruption, though does contain some anti-physical elements. Domination Magic is also where a lot of the Mesmer's direct-damage skills can be found. [[Energy Burn] and [[Energy Surge] are two such skills, though the cost of these skills being able to deal so much untyped damage is reflected in their recharges. Domination Magic incorporates Caster Shutdown devices such as [[Backfire], [[Mistrust], [[Shame] and [[Diversion]. Caster Shutdown skills will often force a caster to make a decision; Cast their spell and get hit by the effects of the hex they are under, or not cast, therefore becomming useless for a few seconds. For players with quick reflexes, Domination Magic contains many punishing interrupt skills, such as [[Power Block], [[Power Spike] and [[Cry of Frustration]. Domination interrupts with punish whoever is interrupted in numerous ways, such as causing damage, energy loss, or skill disabling.

Illusion Magic - This is often used as shutdown and disruption for enemy physical classes, or pressure from the health degeneration skills. Illusion Magic contains skills such as [[Wandering Eye], [[Clumsiness] and [[Ineptitude] which are widely used to disrupt and disable physicals, and once again, the player they are cast on must make a decision; attack and pay the price, or lay low and therefore become useless. Health degeneration can be used to great effect if you're into trying to making the enemy panic. [[Conjure Nightmare] or [[Conjure Phantasm] combined with [[Mantra of Persistence] can often make for a long-lasting period of health degeneration, and assuming the opposing team has little-to-no hex removal, all they can usually do is heal up the degeneration. While health degeneration is essentially armor ignoring, it should be noted that it is damage-over-time, and is capped at 10 pips of health degeneration, which limits how much damage you can really cause.

Inspiration Magic - This attribute is often used, alongside Fast Casting, to help power skills from Domination or Illusion. Inspiration Magic contains many skills which allow for energy gain such as [[Energy Drain], [[Power Drain] and [[Drain Enchantment]. Inspiration Magic also contains many devices for removing hexes from team members, and removing enchantments from enemies.

3. Weapons
This section evaluates some of the weapon modifiers which can be used on staves.

Staff Heads
Hale - Always good. +Health is always useful, since it will help you survive longer, plain and simple.
Insightful - Insightful grants the user +5 energy. While this weapon modifier would seem useful, it is surpassed by others, since more energy does not automatically mean good energy management. In the long run, it would be better to learn other energy management techniques, rather than increase your overall energy.
Defense - The +5 Armor from this modifier will not help you againse armor ignoring damage and health degeneration, however, it will reduce all physical and elemental damage you receive, and is comparable in usefulness to a Fortitude mod.
Adept - This weapon modifier became available on the release of Nightfall and will half the casting time of spells in a given attribute line. Can often be of value to a Mesmer, even with Fast Casting, as non-interrupt spells often have fairly lengthy cast times.

Staff Wrappings
Fortitude - Always good. +Health is always useful, since it will help you survive longer, plain and simple.
Enchanting - Mesmers use few enchantments so this mod is less useful for Mesmers. Inspiration Magic does incorporate some useful enchantments, but you need to assess whether the enchantment you're using actually needs lengthening more than you need extra health or armor. Mesmer enchantments are more widely used in Farming, where an enchanting weapon is usually recommended.
Defense - The +5 Armor from this modifier will not help you againse armor ignoring damage and health degeneration, however, it will reduce all physical and elemental damage you receive, and is comparable in usefulness to a Fortitude mod.
Mastery - Mastery mods give you a 20% chance to gain +1 attribute point in a given attribute line. Novel as these mods may be, their functionality is surpassed by Fortitude and Defense mods on the whole.

There is never a great deal of variation as far as wands are concerned. Most wands give you a conditional energy bonus, or Half Casting Time in the inscription slot, and a Halves Spell Recharge bonus as a wand "wrapping".

Like wands, foci can only be modified in two different ways, a focus core and an inscription. Popular focus cores are Fortitude, and Aptitude cores. Fortutide cores grant you up to +30HP, and Aptitude cores grant you up to a 20% chance to half the casting time of spells of a given attribute. Unlike wands, however, the inscription slots for foci are more varied. Half Spell Recharge is a popular inscription, and probably best for those starting out as Mesmer. For a full list of possible focus inscriptions, see Guildwiki.

There are a few weapon sets you should look into acquiring:

A "40/40" set. 40/40 sets require a wand and a focus, where both components have a Halves Casting Time of <Dom/Illu/Insp/FC> Magic Spells (20% Chance) mod (also known as HCT 20%), as well as a Halves Skill Recharge of <Dom/Illu/Insp/FC> Magic Spells (20% Chance) mod (also known as (HSR 20%). This combination of mods will give you the greatest possible chance to cast faster, and achieve a half recharge on certain spells, which is a very saught after ability in a weapon set. You can carry multiple 40/40 sets for each magic you use if you wish, and switch between them when casting spells.

An example of the above in Green Weapon form for Domination Magic would be using a Wingstorm with a Hanaku's Focus.

A High-Health Set. Mesmers are squishy characters, and sometimes the more health and protection you have the better, it can therefore be beneficial to use weapons which increase your health substantially. You can gain +60HP in two ways; either off a Staff, or from a Martial Weapon and a Shield set. Staves have the bonus of being able to provide a HCT (20%) and a HSR (20%) mod, whereas the Martial Weapon + Shield set has the bonus of providing you with additional armour. You don't need to meet the shield's requirement as you will gain the default +8 armour from it, along with any additional armour mods, such as "Armour +10 (vs Slashing Damage)".

An example of the above in Green Weapon form for Domination Magic would be using The Magekiller.

High Energy Set. I struggle to think of a reason when you'd want to use this set in PvE, though in PvP it can be used as an emergency set to switch to when in absolute need of more energy. This set, again, is a Wand + Focus set, but the Wand has a "Sieze the Day" inscription, and the Focus has a "Live for Today" inscription to give +30 energy, but at the cost of -2 energy degeneration. This set must be used with caution and only when needed.

An example of the above in Green Weapon form for Domination/Fast Casting Magic would be using a Yammirvu's Scepter with a Mohby's Artifact.

4. Runes
For one armor set as most beginners have, the following should generally be sufficient:
Headpiece: It is worth investing in a headpiece for Domination Magic and Illusion Magic and applying the respective minor/major runes to them.
Chest: Vigor rune
Hands: +1 Fast Casting rune.
Legs: +1 Inspiration Magic rune
Feet: Vitae rune.

Inspiration Magic and Fast Casting, as explained previously, tend to be used to support Domination and Illusion Magic, and in that respect, it is useful to keep minor runes for those attributes on your armor. if you decide to invest in more than one armor set, it is a great plan to further customise your rune setup so as you make as much use out of your armor as you can.

5. PvE Skills
There are two Mesmer -specific PvE skills:

- [[Cry of Pain]
Available From: Shiloh (Sunspear Great Hall)
This is an interrupt skill, which when used on a foe who is under the effects of a Mesmer Hex, deals armor ignoring damage to foes in the area.

(Luxon Logo) - [[Ether Nightmare (Luxon)]

(Kurzick Logo) - [[Ether Nightmare (Kurzick)]
Available From: Luxon Scavenger (Cavalon or Guild Hall), Kurzick Bureaucrat (House Zu Heltzer or Guild Hall)
Ether Nightmare causes the target for to lose a token amount of energy, and then causes health degeneration to foes in the area, equal to the amount of energy lost. This skill is often used in conjunction with Cry of Pain, as it meets the criteria of being a Mesmer Hex.

6. Secondary Profession Choices
Next, let's take a look at Secondary Profession choices for the Mesmer.

Ritualist - The Ritualist profession allows the Mesmer to make use of [[Vengeful was Khanhei] as a device allowing the Mesmer to farm, bu using [[Arcane Echo] in the ever popular Vengeful Echo Farming Build. The Ritualist's Restoration Magic line also contains many useful skills, as a secondary, for many caster builds, offering skills such as [[Weapon of Warding] (handy at 8 Restoration Magic), heals, and Hard Res skills.

Assassin - Mesmer/Assassin is sometimes used purely for the survival skills it offers in the Shadow Arts line. Deadly Arts can often be made use of for some of it's hexes, to complement Mesmer hexes, an example is [[Assassin's Promise] for an nifty skill recharge on a successful kill with energy gain to boot, other hexes can be used to bring an interesting twist to the Mesmer shutdown.

Elementalist - Fast Casting is often used in conjunction with Elementalist Skills to churn out high-damage spells in quick succession to deal spikes of damage. [[Elemental Attunement], despite being in Energy Storage is often used by Mesmers who play these builds, since it lasts reasonably long with 0-Energy Storage as it is. Elementalist secondary is also useful for [[Glyph of Swiftness] which can be used to improve the recharge of some spells.

Monk - Often used by Mesmers for the Hard Res skills, such as Resurrection Chant, which when combined with Fast Casting, can be used to resurrect allies quickly.

Necromancer - Mesmer/Necromancer builds are fairly common. Due to the similarities in the classes (that is; both have the ability to shutdown / disable the enemy through hexes), Mesmer can make good use of some of the Necromancer skills.

Warrior - Warriors have little to offer Mesmers.

Ranger - Rangers have little to offer Mesmers. While they are both adept at interrupting, Mesmers and Rangers achieve it in completely different ways.

If you own Nightfall, you will of course have access to Dervish and Paragon:

Paragon - Paragons have very little to offer Mesmers.

Dervish - Dervishes are of little use to Mesmers, with the exception of the combination of a Scythe, with [[Illusionary Weaponry]. Scythes are often used for farming due to their ability to hit multiple foes, though Dervish skills are not vastly useful.

7. Mesmer Elites
This section will quickly, and generally, appraise some of the Mesmer elite skills.

[Energy Surge] - This is raw, untyped Area of Effect (AoE) damage. This skill is sometimes echoed with [[Arcane Echo] to allow the Mesmer to create an AoE damage spike, whilst also causing medium-scale energy loss to one enemy player.

[Hex Eater Vortex] - This is a stunning elite Hex removal spell. Like [[Shatter Hex], it removes a hex and deals damage to nearby foes, though it also removes an enchantment from those it hits. It is useful in places such as the Charr Homelands where enemies use Conjure Flame to enhance their attacks. On stripping a hex from an ally, nearby enemy Charr will lose their elemental attack buff.

[Power Block] - This elite interrupt, though costly, can be used to completely, or partially, shut down foes. It will disable any skill of the same attribute as the one which was interrupted. Very useful against other Casters.

[Psychic Distraction] - While it disables all your other skills, this 2-second recharge skill cannot be stopped by anti-interruption skills in use by the enemy due to it's skill disabling feature. Even if the "interrupt" is stopped, the enemy's skill will be forced to recharge, causing the skill to fail regardless.

[Visions of Regret] - This powerful skill can be used to great effect against foes who spam skills mindlessly, such as Touch Rangers and Assassins.

[Simple Thievery] - This skill is useful for interrupting Monster skills, as Simple Thievery cannot "copy" a Monster skill and will simply recharge instantly instead.

[Enchanter's Conundrum] - Handy for dealing with enchantment-heavy enemies. It's often auspicious to remove any enchantments on the foe first, so as to cause damage from the hex itself. When the enemy is under the effects of the hex, enchantments they cast will be cast slower, allowing for easier interruption.

[Energy Drain] - An elite version of [[Energy Tap], Energy Drain has a much shorter cast time. This elite can be useful as an energy management device.

[Mantra of Recovery] - While this stance is in effect your spells will recharge 33% faster. This skill is handy for having more useful non-elite skills (often those with long recharges) recharge faster, such as [[Power Drain] and [[Arcane Conundrum]

[Psychic Instability] - A recent change to this elite now means it causes Knockdown on spell-interruption, though it will interrupt any skill.

[Arcane Languor] - Sometimes combined with an [[Equinox] Ranger, this elite can, when properly used, cause nasty exhaustion to unexpecting casters, especially those who thoughtlessly spam skills such as unexperienced Monks and the like.

[Stolen Speed] - This is a cheap, fast recharging hex to aid your performance against a foe.

[Expel Hexes] - For hex-heavy areas, this elite can come in very useful indeed. Dual-hex removal with a short recharge makes this elite good on Primary and Secondary Mesmers alike.

[Signet of Midnight] - This elite is often used in Farming builds. The fact that it effects you, as a Primary Mesmer, is of little consequence, as you do not need to see in order to cast spells. The blind will cover itself at the current recharge of 10 seconds, and can be used with [[Epidemic] to spread the blind. The only downside is this signet requires you to get close enough to touch your foe.

[Echo] - A versatile elite used by Primary and Secondary Mesmers alike. Due to this skill having the ability to copy non-spell skills means it has great flexibility.

[Migraine] - A hex which causes minimal degen, though drastically increases the cast time of the enemy's spells. Can be very lethal to the enemy if you are stacked with interrupts.

[Signet of Illusions] - Great fun can be had by using this skill in conjunction with skill stealing / copying skills such as [[Arcane Larceny], [[Revealed Enchantment],[Inspired Hex], [[Arcane Mimicry] etc.., to be able to mimic your enemy, and use their buffs and skills against them.

[Ineptitude] - A long-time favourite skill for anti-melee Mesmers. This skill not only causes a large amount of untyped damage, but also blindness.

[Extend Conditions] - Basically an elite version of [[Epidemic], this skill now spreads conditions and lengthens them. Nice when used with valuable conditions such as Daze.

[Tease] - An interrupt with an additional AoE energy stealing ability.

8. Common/Tested Mesmer Builds
I've included these elite-less builds for those people starting Mesmers on each of the three continents. The skills should be available immediately, or very early on, in the game.

Tyria Starter Build




[Empathy][Backfire][Energy Burn][Shatter Hex][Power Leak][Ether Feast][No Skill][Resurrection Signet]

All skills should be available in Post-Searing Ascalon, either from skill trainer or quest rewards. Power Leak should be replaced with a more useful interrupt, when you can, on leaving Ascalon. [[Power Drain] and [[Cry of Frustration] are both good choices. Power Leak's energy draining effect is not useful in PvE, and has been included simply because it is the only interrupt available that early on in the game, and interruption should be practiced by Mesmers from birth.

Cantha Starter Build




[Empathy][Backfire][Energy Burn][Shatter Hex][Leech Signet][Ether Feast][No Skill][Resurrection Signet]

All skills should be available from Shing Jea Island before the journey down Saoshang Trail

Elona Starter Build




[Empathy][Shatter Hex][Energy Burn][Mistrust][Power Drain][Drain Enchantment][No Skill][Resurrection Signet]

All skills should be available from Profession Trainers in Churrir Fields, and the skill trainer in Kamadan

The above are simple example Domination Magic builds. If you wish to try Illusion, simply switch the Domination skills to sensible Illusion skills, and switch over your Domination attribute points. For the above builds, keep most points in Domination, and spread a few between Inspiration and Fast Casting.

AoE Mesmer

[Ether Nightmare (Luxon)][Cry of Pain][Energy Surge][Cry of Frustration][Power Drain][No Skill][No Skill][Resurrection Chant]

Domination Magic: 12 + 1 + 1
Inspiration Magic: 10 + 1
Fast Casting: 8 + 1

This build packs in plenty of AoE damage (for a Mesmer ), and is reasonably damaging to packed groups of Monsters. Recently this build performed well in the Fissure of Woe, with Empathy and Shatter Hex in the optional slots. Further uses for the optional slots could include support skills from Monk or Ritualist lines, or Enchantment removal, really, whatever will be of more use.

Alliance Battle Power Blocker

[Empathy][Cry of Frustration][Power Block][Power Drain][Diversion][Drain Enchantment][No Skill][Weapon of Warding]

Domination Magic: 12 + 1 + 1
Inspiration Magic: 8 + 1
Restoration Magic: 8
Fast Casting: 7 + 1

This build takes advantage of all the silly Casters there are in AB who, fully knowing you're armed with Power Block from their last encounter with you, conveniently forget this fact and make themselves very easy shutdown targets. The only thing to watch is that you Power Block a skill, of which they are using more than one skill from the same attribute line. For instance, it's not useful to go up against a Fire Elementalist, and Power Block Elemental Attunement, because all their Fire Magic skills will still be available to them. Use Weapon of Warding as a defensive measure to give you long enough to kite to safety from Physicals and the like. The optional slot could be a useful skill from Domination or Inspiration, such as Hex Removal, or more support from Restoration, such as [[Blind Was Mingson]. Diversion can be a handy skill against Casters and Physicals alike. It can be used to disable the Monk's favourite healing skill, or the first attack skill in an Assassin's attack chain.

SoI Mesmer

[Signet of Illusions][Arcane Larceny][Arcane Thievery][Inspired Enchantment][Inspired Hex][Empathy][Power Drain][Weapon of Warding]

Illusion Magic: 12 + 1 + 1
Domination Magic: 8 + 1
Inspiration Magic: 8 + 1
Fast Casting: 7 + 1

This build is particularly fun in Alliance Battles. The idea is to try to keep Signet of Illusions active at all times, which means all your spells will be cast at an attribute level of 14. Use Arcane Thievery and Larceny to steal skills from other players, however, if used on the same player there is a danger that you will steal the same skill twice. These skills are good against monks as it can be used to disable their skills, though it is pot-luck if you manage to take out their more harmful skills. Use Inspired Hex & Enchantment to help gain energy off hex and enchantment removal (can replace with Revealed Hex / Enchantment - the Factions equivalent). using SoI on Weapon of Warding gives you a 10-second Weapon of Warding, with +4 health regeneration, however, you must have SoI active for this, as there are no points in Restoration otherwise. Use SoI before Empathy and Power Drain to get the maximum use out of them.

Illusion Support Mesmer

[Wandering Eye][Fevered Dreams][Cry of Pain][Arcane Conundrum][Phantom Pain][Drain Delusions][Hex Eater Signet][No Skill]

Illusion Magic: 12 + 1 + 1
Inspiration Magic: 11 + 1
Fast Casting: 8 + 1

This build works very well with a team which uses conditions. Be sure to ping who you cast Fevered Dreams on so that other people know who to apply conditions to. The optional skill could be a resurrection skill, or [Power Drain] or [Power Return]. [[Wandering Eye] could be replaced with another Anti-Physical skill such as [Clumsiness] or [Signet of Clumsiness] from the Illusion line. Drain Delusions can be used to Strip Phantom Pain in order to spread Deep Wound easily, and in a controlled way, and also as a form of energy management.

9. Farming with the Mesmer
One easy method of farming with a Mesmer is with a Vengeful Echo build. This build can easily be used by 'Me/Rt's, the same way as it can be used by 'Rt/Me's. A Mesmer version of the build is as follows:


2. Arcane Echo

3.Vengeful was Khanhei

4.Vengeful WeaponPhysical Resistance

5. Ancestor's Visage

6. Soothing Memories

7. Sympathetic Visage

Restoration Magic: 12
Illusion Magic: 10 + 1 + 3
Inspiration Magic: 8 + 1
Fast Casting: 2 + 1

Before engaging aggro, use Physical Resistance, Channeling, and then Arcane Echo. Enter the aggro zone of the foes and use Vengeful was Khanhei. You will see Arcane Echo has been replaced with a copy of your elite also. Use Ancestor's Visage and Sympathetic Visage to drain energy of nearby foes, and use Vengeful Weapon of recharge. Recast the Echoed Vengevul was Khanhei when the first copy runs out. Use Soothing Memories to heal yourself when you need to.

This can be used to efficiently kill many melee-only groups, such as the Jade Brotherhood Knights in the Wajjun Bazaar, just outside the Marketplace, as well as the Am Fah Assassin Groups which spawn during the quest Street Justice. In order to kill the Jade Brotherhood Mages it can be wise to replace Physical Resistance with [Mantra of Flame], as Normal Mode Knights can be killed without the need for Physical Resistance. Steer Clear of groups with Mesmers or Ritualists. The Mesmers will interrupt you, and the Ritualists often outheal you.

Further Guides have been constructed on Mesmer farming methods and are listed below:

Dopefish's Solo Mesmer
Full Tyria Solo Tour
Even More Mesmer Farming Guides!

10. The Art of Interruption
Interrupting foes requires a little skill, and good reflexes. Interrupting the right skills requires more skill, good local knowledge, good knowledge of the game, and good reflexes. If you're primary role as a Mesmer is to cause disruption by interruption, one of your best friends will be the "Tab" key on your keyboard. Using "Tab" to cycle through foes is often quicker than trying to click on them manually with the mouse.

Using Tab to flick backward and forward between foes can be used as a way of monitoring what skills are being cast if you are unfamiliar with the area. You can then make snap judgements based on what skills you see being used as to what to interrupt. Interrupting the right skills can lead to the party having a mich easier ride through a mission, or explorable area.

When you've been playing PvE long enough, you should eventually have good, local knowledge of many areas of the game, the skills foes use, and more importantly, how the foes use those skills. Monsters are very predictable in that respect, which makes them easy foes to deal with. Having this knowledge will mean you will have a clearer idea of which interrupts will best suit the area you're playing in, and how best to use those interrupts.

Let's look at an example: Kournans. Kournan Scribes are well known for causing a large amount of damage a few seconds into a fight, thanks to their AoE knockdown skill [Meteor]. Unfortunately for Mr. Scribe, Meteor has a 3 second cast time, and as such, is Mesmer fodder. On aggroing a group of Kournans, it's usual to make the Scribes your first priority, even if the rest of your team considers the Kournan Priest more urgent. While your team hits the Priest hard, you can take it upon yourself to flick between the Scribes, and interrupt their Meteors, and Fireballs if possible. This will not only disrupt them, but don't forget, it also prevents the team from taking the damage the Scribes would have caused, and relieves pressure from your Monks.

In a PvP environment, local knowledge goes out of the window for the most part, as people seldom play the same kind of build (at least this is true of low-level PvP: Random / Team Arenas, Alliance Battles). Get to know the Casting Symbols for skills, as this will give you a better idea, without actually selecting a foe, what type of magic they're using. Next listen out for skill casting sounds - Some skills have distinct casting sounds which can help alert you as to what types of enemies are in the area. Finally, check which direction foes on the battlefield are facing. People face whoever they are attacking or casting a spell on, so you can tell by watching the battlefield if anyone is likely to be casting something on you, or your Monk, you can select them, and put a stop to it.

Good luck and have fun annoying the hell out of other people with interrupts.

11. End Notes

If anyone wants me to add a build on here, or thinks anything should be changed, please post here. This guide will probably be a bit organic for the next few weeks until I'm happy with it all. Hopefully I covered all the basics of Mesmers but if I've got something wrong, or left something out, or made countless typos, please let me know. I'm trying not to be too technical, since this is more aimed at beginners, though Mesmers have been around for a very long time, and it's often very difficult to extract only the important bits of information to convey.

If you want to leave a build for me to put insert please do so, but please leave notes on Attribute Spread, and usage.

If people could check over the PvP paragraph under section 10 I'd be grateful. I don't PvP a vast amount myself so any more input or correction on that section, if required, would be helpful, thanks.

Discussion on other sub-topics may be added at a later date.

Hope anyone who needed to found this useful.