Assassin PvE Guide
This guide was created by RavagerOfDreams of the Guild Wars Guru Forums. All credit goes to him for this guide. To see the original posting of this guide, click here.
My little assassin PvE guide
Table of Contents
3. Attributes Overview
4. Sin Skills
I. Critical Strikes
II. Dagger Mastery
III. Shadow Arts
IV. Deadly Arts
5. More Skills (Includes other professions)
6. Common Build
7. Heroes (General Setup)
8. General Info
II. Lead Skips
VI. Build Links
9. Moebius Discussion
1. Overview- The assassin is a very versatile melee class that takes advantage of the ability to deal large amounts of damage very quickly. In PVE this is most commonly abused with the use of MS/DB spamming (which I will get to later). However due to the assassins primary attribute, critical strikes, the sin is able to branch out into most every melee class in guildwars. Meaning assassins are effective with almost every weapon.
Daggers – You will almost always be using Zealous (+1/-1) Daggers of Fortitude when running a dagger sin in PvE. This is do to the sins high attack rate with daggers and the zealous mod + your critical strikes attribute will allow you to keep your energy high and spam attack skills with ease. Now there has been much debate on the usage of 15^50 vrs +5e inscriptions on daggers. Now in the end it really comes down to preference as both sides have there advantages and disadvantages. The 15^50 daggers allow for 1-2 more damage per hit however that damage is fairly negligible and can be covered in a dagger attack. +5e daggers allow you basically an extra Moebius Strike or Death Blossom usage at the cost of slightly less damage. Some people also like to bring 15^Enchanted daggers as you will be keeping critical agility up most of the time. All are good choices and, as I said earlier, it comes down to preference.
Farming Daggers- Sins usually farm with enchantment builds so daggers with a 20% enchant lengthen mod are extremely useful and are generally worth investing in. Also with a rise in Perma SF caster sin farming it’s also a good idea to consider buying a inspiration/domination staff with a enchanting mod on it.
Scythes- Sins also commonly run scythe builds in PvE. You will want to be carrying two scythes, both 15^50 with 20%Enchantment mods or +30 fortitude mods, one that has a sundering 20/20 mod and one that has a Zealous mod on it. The sundering will boost your damage to god like levels however using it can sometimes cause energy problems in which case you will want to switch back to your zealous scythe. However, as pyr said
Thats +4e on most hits, assuming you hit a single target. And you still have your energy regen.
You have huge energy gain with your critical strikes attribute so you generally want to stay on your sundering weapon zealous is only for emergencies (i.e energy denial, deaths).
Bows- Sin barragers are sometimes used as well and once again you will be using a 15^50/15^Enchanted +30 Zealous bow. This will allow you to spam barrage and the +3 energy you should get off the critical will allow you to actually gain energy off the attack if you hit multiple targets. As for type of bow there are really three types to consider: Longbow, Flatbow, and Hornbow. They all have there own unique advantages so it comes down, once again, to opinion. Flatbows have the longest distance you can get from a bow but have poor accuracy/arc. Longbows have a fairly long distance and goodish arc but can't reach as far as flatbows. Hornbows have a nice damage bonus however they have poor distance and reload times (this can be covered easily however while using critical agility).
Swords/Axes/Hammers/Spears- Not used as much in PvE due to the fact that the other weapons mentioned above are usually more effective however they are sometimes fun to pull out. And as always 15^50/enchanted +30 zealous are the mods you want to run.
Of course you want the armor to be max armor level (for a sin that is 70) and you will generally want to invest in three different types of masks: one that has +1 dagger mastery, one +1 critical strikes, one +1 Shadow arts, one +1 deadly arts (this one is for those who perfer to run deadly arts builds in PvE and is less common but if you want to give it a try its there). These will cover all builds you should ever run in PvE.
Insignias- Survivor is generally the way to go however some people like to mix radiant insignias in to gain extra energy to help pull off attack chains. However, since you won’t be spiking much, energy shouldn’t be much of a problem with your critical strikes attribute
Runes- All runes should be minor, unless, you’re using a farming build and it specifies otherwise. Deadly arts builds generally require at least a Major Rune of Deadly Arts to truly be affective. Perma SF builds require a Superior rune of shadow arts and some builds require major critical strikes or dagger mastery but for general PvE minor runes are good.
Critical Strikes- Arguably the best energy management in the game. This will allow you to spam more attack skills and deal big time damage on your target. Generally, while using a melee build, it shouldn’t be lower then 12 (13 is the best as you get +3 energy per critical).
Dagger Mastery- Allows for even more big damage. 14 is recommended for all dagger based builds.
Shadow Arts- All the sins self heals lie in this category however since we get to bring monks we don’t use this attribute a whole lot except for when farming. However it is nice to take advantage of some of its healing skills such as Feigned Neutrality or Way of Perfection
Deadly Arts- Not used much in PvE as it mostly deals with spiking however Assassins Promise allows for a spammable spike which works in low level pve.
I. Dagger Mastery- Meet your best friends Moebius Strike and Death Blossom . These are the general two skills on most every dagger based sin bar. You will generally want to add a quick recharging lead and offhand to complement the chain. Lead can really be anything Sneak Attack is fun however it takes up a PvE skill slot as you can only have three. For offhands the two main ones to consider are Wild Strike and Golden Fang Strike . Wild Strike is unblock able and provides a large damage buff while also removing pesky stances however GFS brings in deep wound which is an amazing condition no matter how you look at it.
For those of you who have no access to moebius strike(and who want to run a dagger build) i would suggest brining a short recharging chain something that goes like this: Golden Fox Strike -> Wild Strike -> Death Blossom then add Critical Agility and Critical Eye to your bar to increase energy and increase attack speed/armor levels.
II. Critical Strikes- The Big 6 are Way of the Master, Critical Eye, Critical Strike, Assassins Remedy, Critical Defenses and Twisting Fangs. Way of the Master + Critical Eye pretty much guarantees a critical hit and is an extremely smart choice when using a non dagger weapon. Critical Strike is extremely popular choice as it’s like your energy button. At 13 critical Strikes it gives you 12 energy(as you gain 3 from the effect and 3 from your critical strikes attribute twice) and keeps up critical defenses/agility. Twisting Fangs is sometimes thrown in as it can bring a foe down to half health very quickly allowing for faster skill recharge when combined with moebius. Critical Defenses/Assassin’s remedy are great utility enchantments and should be taken according to the area your playing in.
III. Shadow Arts- Shadow Form used as a A/Me you can maintain SF permanently. You will want to bring Arcane Echo and Deadly Paradox along then activate the skills in this order: Deadly Paradox -> Arcane Echo -> SF -> Deadly Paradox -> echoed SF -> rinse and repeat. This following link will take you to a sin UW farm using perma form for those of you who are visual learners . Due to a recent up date it is now possible to run the perma shadow form build with a A/E using [build=A/E Permaformer;OwZQMSfekODAAAAAAAAA]. Nerfs have basically taken SF out as a viable farming option however it can still be used as a running build.
IV. Deadly Arts- Assassins Promise can be fun in low level pve as you can spike down most targets then just move onto the next one. This can be combined with any assassin spike build that doesn’t require an elite dagger attack. A common one would be Assassins Promise -> Deaths Charge -> Tiger Stance -> Black Mantis Thrust -> Jungle Strike -> Trampling Ox -> Falling Lotus Strike -> Twisting Fangs however any combo may be used as long as it kills fast and efficiently. It is also also possible to drop your IAS for a utility such as Disrupting Dagger or Siphon Speed as AP will keep there high recharges down.
You should be using Lightning Reflexes and Dark Prison (IAS with blocking, and cover hex).
Another example would be this build [build=Assassin's Promise Sin;OwBj0te7ISLQ2kEgGfXhKM8PvZA] this one uses the PvE skill You Move Like A Dwarf to gain a knockdown so as you can see you can be creative with these builds
Along with dagger chains AP also allows the usage of some of the other deadly arts spells. Standard deadly arts chain is Dancing Daggers, Entangling Asp, Signet of Toxic Shock, Deadly Paradox, Augury of Death. Now this chain on its own can deal some reasonable amounts of damage however you can also bring some PvE skills into the mix. "Finish Him!" works great with a decent norn rank due to a high amount of damage + deep wound and cracked armor (replaces augury). Ebon Vanguard Assassin Support is also a nice choice as AP also deals with its high recharge and the fact that your foe will already be poisoned allows your assassin to land a kd with his Iron Palm. Any amount of skills can be used but its highly recommended to bring a source of deep wound and another damage skill besides dancing daggers/SoTS. An example deadly arts AP build would be [build=Deadly Arts Sin;OwBi4xjMZmp1Ax8mFTuAtCKAA]]*build courtesy of UnrealHavoc
While using a pure deadly arts build it is recommended to bring a +1 deadly arts mask with a major rune of deadly arts (+2) attached as this will give you a nice boost in damage and since your going to be at half range you can afford the health loss.
5. More Dagger Skills:
Exhausting Assault Lets you get right into moebius spamming + a intterupt use with critical eye and death blossom
Golden Phoenix Strike Lead skip that requires a enchantment another handy moebius skill as you can skip right into spamming. However it has a long recharge so if you don't get the moebius off on a low target your going to be out of the fight for a bit
Vampiric Assault - Only dagger attack in deadly arts good health steal effect with high deadly arts can be nice if combined with moebius
Mantis Touch - Good snare allows you to go to offhand without investing points in dagger mastery
Iron Palm - Nice KD spell be careful of its long recharge however
Scythe Skills: Big ones are
Eremites Attack + Mystic Sweep due to there big bonus’s, short recharge, and short activation times
Wearying Strike is also used in conjunction with [skill]Assassins Remedy[/skill] to get rid of the weakness.
Wounding Strike Spammable deep wound whats not to love?
Barrage easy to spam with high critical strikes and the critical strikes bonus makes for big damage
Savage Shot High Damage Interupt is always good
Distracting Shot 20 second disable is good even though you don’t do any damage.
[conjure frost] [conjure flame] [conjure lightning] All great damage boosters. Combine well with any chain and work as a trigger for [golden phoenix strike]
[skill]Mystic Regeneration[/skill] good with enchantment heavy builds.
Live Vicariously + Vigorous Spirit good for farming mobs
"Finish Him!" good finishing move
Brawling Headbutt KD is fun
Club of a Thousand Bears - Goes great with moebius as moebius cuts down its long recharge.
Critical Agility Gives you tank armor and +33% IAS no build should leave it behind
"Save Yourselves!" +100al…it’s kinda like your push here to not wipe button (R2 Kurzick at minimum is required to be effective)
Ursan Blessing When using UB on a sin bring high critical strikes and skills such as critical eye to help keep your ursan up longer. While bringing skills that increase critical rate i also suggest brining [skill]Way of Perfection[/skill] for a nice self heal.
6. Common Builds:
All skills shown in the templates are required
[build=Moebius Sin; OwBi0xjMBAAAs/0wcwAAAAUDCA]
You going to want to add in a lead and off hand as well as some utility skills such as "Save Yourselves!". Now it is a option to switch out critical strike for Critical Eye however you must have one or the other. So good leads include: Unsuspecting Strike, Golden Fox Strike or Sneak Attack. Good off hands include Wild Strike and Golden Fang Strike
[build=Fevered Dreams Sin; OwVkEId8HOqzNQODAH+kZEWaeCC]
[build=Critical Scythesin; OwpiMypMBgBAwcBAsIWDCAo/AA]
Your going to add another enchantment or two along with a scythe attack (or two depending on how many enchantments you take). The enchantments can either be from the critical strikes category or you can drop some points and invest in a dervish skills such as Mystic Regeneration. Optional scythe attacks include: Chilling Victory, Eremites Attack and Crippling Sweep. Other attack may be used those are just some big ones. Aura of Holy Might can also be used for a large damage boost.
[build=Relentless Spiker; OwBk0xe2nMuzCE3BAAAAAAAAAAA]
Just Add in a good solid spike that can take a target from full health to zero fast. You don't even need death's charge for this build just as long as it's got AP your fine . See deadly arts section for more ideas.
[build=Shattering Assassin; OwBj0xezITlZ+PiZAAAAAA1gAAA]
Add a utility skill or two however it is highly recommended to bring some form of deepwound. Also critical eye is excellent for helping out with this builds energy demand. Assassins Remedy and "Finish Him!", Impale are highly recommended.
[build=Crit Barrager; OwJikxjMVDq/sY8YoaAAAAgxB]
can add support skills such as Way Of Perfection, or Assassins Remedy and any number of PvE skills that you would like to take. Highly recommend bringing Way of the Master
for more options see section 4 III
[build=WotA Sin; A;OwBj0tf44SlZ+PHMDQ1gEQxZuMA]
same idea as the MS/DB spammer. The Variable skills are shadows Refuge, Way of Perfection, and Critical Defenses all of which can be swapped out for another skill. You could add [twisting Fangs] as a source of deepwound or ["Save Yourselves!"] for a party buff.
These are just the basic outlines for some of the most prominent sin builds and they can be tweaked as desired.
7. Heroes- I generally try to work these skills into my heroes builds
Splinter Weapon: BIG AoE damage goes great with scythes and death blossom
Ancestors Rage: More AoE
Rip Enchantment: Gets rid of pesky enchants which as most sin builds have a lack of enchantment removal
Mark of Pain: Great melee support skill greatly increases damage
Barbs: another great melee support skill also greatly increases damage
As for the heroes themselves the standard Sabway build works great most of the time however there are several other builds that you might consider brining. these include
It is possible to bring Weapon of Fury on a rit when using SY!
all these builds are designed to help you deal more damage which is generally what you want to focus your heroes on. Since the Ele/Monk/Warrior henchies have halfway decent builds its a good idea to set up your heroes as support chars or mm's as this is something that the henchies cannot do no matter what.
8. General Info
I. IAS's- Sin's have been blessed with one of the best sunspear skills in the game Critical Agility. This skill,with a few acceptions, should find its way onto your bar every time as its benefits are to great to ignore. However for those of you who are full on PvE skills and don't want to change them there are a few alternatives although they are less effective. Flail is a strong IAS that sins can use however it cuts down mobility which is hampering in PvE. Flurry is another good one as the -25% damage doesn't effect attack skills so your chain will not be hurt however it is a bit of a energy hog and it's short lasting. If running low on energy while using flurry just use it then auto attack to gain energy from your hit per gain energy from critical strikes. Those two are really the only other spammable IAS's that work in PvE. Frenzy is generally not a good choice as monsters don't really care who they hit and you will often be targeted if your the first person to aggro the mob.
II. Lead Skips - The generic design for a assassin chain is lead - offhand - dual however some skills in the game allow us to bypass the generic mold and get right to the duals . the following are the lead skips in Guild Wars Palm Strike, Falling Lotus Strike, Falling Spider, Golden Phoenix Strike, Moebius Strike, Black Spider Strike. Now all these lead skips have conditions that must be met and it is important that you read there descriptions carefully so you don't accidentally bring a attack you can't use. A interesting tip brought up by Super Igor is that, while using a IAS, it is possible to land a KD then use both Falling Lotus Strike and Falling Spider in the same KD. Making a deadly combo that provides both energy and a condition that can help deal more damage when combined with deadly arts skills such as Signet of Deadly Corruption or Signet of Toxic Shock. Palm Strike isn't actually a dagger attack its a touch skill allowing you to deal 80al ignoring damage and skip your lead attack. Lead skips can be especially useful when combined with Moebius Strike as they allow you to get to your MS/DB chain quicker then with the normal lead - offhand- dual sequence.
III. Mentality- Thanks to a AL buff from critical agility you are now pretty much a tank. With that being said you shouldn't act like one. Have your henchies or (if you have a mm) minions run in before you do to absorb the first wave of damage. You will want to run in and try to kill as much as you can as fast as you can starting with the targets that will make it harder for you to kill stuff. DON’T OVER AGGRO! Take it one mob at a time and if there is a huge mob just wait a little it’s likely that theres just a patrol sitting in with a regular group and eventually the patrol will move out. If you have trouble with aggroing bring along a longbow to pull mobs towards you.
IV. Tactics- Your going to want to take out the biggest threat to your damage first. This could be anything from a monk to a necro as long as it threatens your DPS kill it fast. If your target becomes protted simply switch targets as the Monster AI is retarded so abuse that a little. If under pressure and not getting healed it is likely because a) your overextended or b)your healers are out of energy. If case A is true run back to your midline and let the healers get you back up and try to be more conscious of where your going next time. If case B is true your in trouble. You will generally want to then switch targets to the greatest threats to your teams well being. This will cause a reduction in pressure and your healers can get the regen.
V. HM- in HM your generally going to want to take more defense for yourself i highly recommend Critical Defenses as it takes a huge amount of pressure of yourself and your healers. Also, while playing in hm, the barrager build sometimes has problems as if you bring a nuker or AoE char the monsters will scatter and it will be hard to hit more then one target. Also the assassin's promise spiker builds often experience problems in HM do to heightened health/level. The best builds, depending on the area imo would be, a critical scythesin, a moebius SY! spammer, or the Shattering Sin (this one does well in areas that are enchant heavy).
HM is just like NM it just requires a little more strategy. Also the mobs are afraid of AoE and will scatter. They deal more damage and such. I recommend looking up the area on wiki and seeing what type of skills you'll be facing then design your heroes accordingly. i.e high condition areas bring Restore Condition high melee areas bring Defensive Anthem. Also use that knowledge to design your own build. If theres lots of Damage in the area be sure to bring "Save Yourselves!" and if theres lots of enchants bring Shattering Assault.
9. Moebius Discussion
Since the main PvE sin build is the moebius/death blossom spammer i've decided to take a few quotes from the discussion i have linked above
golden fox strike
Res = for PUGs, PUGs = for failzzz
don't like GPS except when farming, 8sec recharge ftl
wild strike does good damage, and can remove the most common from of blocking in PvE.
I bring critical strike instead of critical eye, because I like the guarantied energy gain better than the cross-your-fingers one from crit eye.
I use mystic regen because I like to tank mobs and I usually bring all casters other than myself. The nerf didn't do anything to it other than make it take slightly more attention. Probably should try SY though, I really like it on my warrior.
Club of a Thousand Bears
Now this is PRECISELY the kind of suggestion I was hoping to receive. Its interaction with Moebius (and Critical Strike) is beautiful, giving Sins a perma-knocklock rivalling that of the feared Dragon Slash (God Mode) W/P build.
Noting this one down as a must-have.
On Golden Fox Strike - Wild Strike
This really falls into the 'optional' slots, worthy in block-heavy areas. A significant benefit, also, is that you don't actually NEED to be enchanted to make it work, which is nice in areas with enchant-stripping foes.
On BlackSephir's worthy suggestion of Sneak Attack: juicy, but we're only allowed 3 PvE skills
When I have to choose between perma-KD or Blind, it's quite easy IMHO.
On Critical Strike VS Critical Eye, I tend to agree with FlamingMetroid. Its criminal on-demand energy gain can't be beaten.
@ Cathode: I don't know if Nightstalker's even stacks with the AL bonus granted by CritAgility - but even so Survivor's are better taking AI target selection into account. I do like your Hero team suggestions.
Critical Strikes: 12+1
Dagger Mastery: 12+1+1
Golden Phoenix Strike, Critical Strike, Moebius Strike, Death Blossom
"Save Yourselves!", Critical Agility, Club of a Thousand Bears
1 slot left to discuss! My first guess would be Critical Defenses, it's hard to beat a permanent 75% block and it makes healing you that much easier for your Monks.
More thoughts on Hero selection too plz! Thinking
Weapon of Fury
or maybe Hayda and Morgahn both running Anthem of Fury <3 <3 <3
Popular choices I've seen with Moebius Strike and Death Blossom that makes stuff explode in high level PvE areas generally has Golden Fang Strike in the build. The base template is normally something like this, and is pretty much the optimal build for serious damage that supplies AoE also with an Assassin in PvE:
[Golden Fang Strike]
Popular optionals are (but not restricted to):
"Save Yourselves!" (Reccomended)
"I Am The Strongest!"
"You Move Like a Dwarf!" (For snaring and interrupts).
Critical Defenses (Reccomended)
Brawling Headbutt (For spamming knockdowns)
Different lead, offhands, and dual attacks such as:
Golden Fox Strike and Wild Strike can be used to provide stance removal against stance blocking
Golden Phoenix Strike could also be used to open up a second optional slot, at the cost of losing Deep Wound from Golden Fang Strike (Reccomended to have cover enchantments to ensure you can land it).
Critical Strike is a common replacement for Critical Eye as alot of people like the energy on demand, I however find it unnessacary with Critical Eye as you keep the critical hit rate up giving higher DPS overall and it takes seconds to regain energy by auto attacking should you need to.
Twisting Fangs (Taken alongside Golden Fox Strike and Wild Strike normally as a source of Deep Wound)
Here's are some examples of builds using different leads and offhands alongside Moebius Strike and Death Blossom:
[build prof=A/any name="Death Blossom" dag=12+1+1 cri=12+1][Critical Agility][Critical Eye][Golden Fox Strike][Wild Strike][Death Blossom][Moebius Strike][Twisting Fangs][Resurrection Signet][/build]
[build prof=A/any name="Death Blossom" dag=12+1+1 cri=12+1][Critical Agility][Critical Defenses][Critical Eye][Golden Phoenix Strike][Death Blossom][Moebius Strike][Twisting Fangs][Resurrection Signet][/build]
The Moebius Strike and Death Blossom combo is also a popular choice in Assassin farming methods. Here is the solo farming variant commonly run today since the Mystic Regeneration nerf that is capable of farming areas on Hard Mode:
[build prof=A/Mo name="Death Blossom" dag=11+1 cri=10+1+2 healin=10][Golden Phoenix Strike][Critical Strike][Moebius Strike][Death Blossom][Critical Defenses][Critical Agility][Vigorous Spirit][Live Vicariously][/build]
I've only touched the tip of the iceberg, seriously. Moebius Strike and Death Blossom is a strong and versatile combo with much room for running different variants that can be quite effective in the majority of areas. There isn't an Assassin build in PvE that matches it for sheer DPS and AoE together with such a short recharge on the skills (that are normally recharged by Moebius Strike anyway). It IS unsuitable in some areas, but those areas ARE few and far between and that DOES make taking Moebius Strike and Death Blossom the "Definitive Assassin build for PvE"