Why are these classes the META? What do they do? What does each class bring to the group?
FIREBRAND: provides heals, condition cleanse, boons and a strong revive utility.
Provide Stability, arguably the most important boon in the game, cleanse conditions and occasionally convert them to boons, provide strong heals for the group and share lots of vital boons such as Swiftness, Might and Vigor.
SPELLBREAKER: melee damage, crowd control and boonstrip.
Channel Winds of Disenchantment (bubble/dome/winds) on the enemy group.
HERALD: AoE spike damage, crowd control and boons support.
AoE Spike Damage using Hammer: Coalescence of Ruin, Phase Smash on bombs, CC inside Winds of Disenchantment using Drop the Hammer.
Legendary Dwarf Stance - Inspiring Reinforcement applies Stability to party, Rite of the Great Dwarf applies 50% damage reduction to party members.
Legendary Dragon Stance - "Boon bot" stance, able to apply Regeneration, Fury, Swiftness, Might, Protection and Superspeed to party members, offensively can apply conditions and damage.
SCRAPPER: healer, conditions cleanser and conversion, fast revives and Stealth.
Great healing support for the group, grants Superspeed with the trait Kinetic Stabilizers and revives quickly with the passive trait Function Gyro.
SCOURGE: boons stripping and corrupting, AoE cleave damage and pressure, barrier support.
Remove boons from the enemy via corrupts, converting them into conditions or removing them with strips. Big AoE damage with Shades Manifest Sand Shade. Shades F3 Sand Cascade and F5 Desert Shroud along Sand Flare give barrier to your allies, meaning extra health and might with the trait Abrasive Grit.
MIRAGE: Support, crowd control, spike damage on target, Stealth.
Provides Stealth for zergs using Veil, CC in spellbreaker's bubbles with pulls from Temporteal Curtain -> Into the Void and spike damage with greatsword.
WEAVER: AoE cleave damage, crowd control.
Cleave AoE Damage on opponent zerg with Meteor Shower and others, occasional CC.
TEMPEST: healer, conditions cleanser, boons applier, reviver and immobilizes.
Great active and passive healing for the group, the best set of AoE immobilizes in the game with Elemental Surge trait, and solid AoE conditions cleanses.
SYNERGY BETWEEN CLASSES
How do you setup a squad with these classes? How do you make them work together?
Example of how the squad composition should look like
Example of how the squad composition SHOULDN'T look like
There is a definite pattern in the setup of the squad:
1. There aren't more than 5 players within the same party. The reason is simple: the vast majority of every skill, boon, condition etc. in the game affects a maximum of 5 targets.
2. There aren't more than 2 classes of the same specialization in a sole party.
3. There is a main Stability source in all of the parties which is also the main healer.
4. There is a main boon support and cleave in all of the parties.
5. There is a main source of barrier support and corrupts.
6. There is a second healing support in the majority of parties.
7. There is a filler class that can be raw damage dealer or support damage dealer.
To clarify: A class can be considered support even if it doesn't bring heals. For instance herald brings support through its boon output, and mirage with its CC and Stealth.
The points above in detail:
1. One firebrand per party as main source of Stability. Provides additional support with heals and boons.
2. One herald as main boon support and cleave with their facets and hammer damage.
3. One scourge as main barrier support and corrupts.
4. One tempest/scrapper/second scourge as additional support or extra damage.
5. One filler weaver/spellbreaker/mirage as damage dealers and supports.
The main point is that all of the classes listed bring some form of support to the table while also filling other roles, something that other specializations can't do or don't do as well as these.
Boons available by direct application with this setup: Aegis, Fury, Might, Protection, Regeneration, Resistance, Retaliation,
Stability, Swiftness, Vigor.
Boons available through conditions conversion: Alacrity, Quickness.
Decision making and learning to adapt to multiple situations in a fight is CRITICAL for a commander while they are leading.
BE FAST AND BE REACTIVE
Even the simplest calls (explained later on) like "veil" can be really effective with good decision making. Example: you as the commander calling for a veil to your left opens multiple possibilities. Take the veil and go right instead, enemies will put AoEs in front of it thinking of hitting you, but they don't. An option is to pull back resetting the start of the fight. Another option is to go straight through and push on the side of the enemy group or their frontline or even their range players clouding in multiple locations.
The position of a fight is another crucial part that can flip the outcome in an instant. You can take an uphill and have range pressure going on the enemy, they have a few options like pulling off and making you move to another spot, pushing uphill while being unable to properly cast on you, creating a choke point for you to spike as soon as they reach the top and many other possibilities.
As a commander you must learn to read the fight through its movement and adapt.
In the case of a bad movement from the enemy, you can punish it instantly with an adequate reaction time. In the case of the uphill push, if they commit to that while they're low on cooldowns and you're not, they will most likely lose. On the other hand, if you are on low cooldowns and they push uphill to you, you most likely will lose.
Understand where and when to shot call skills, timing is important. Bad calls of bubbles, wells, meteors, shades or others can result in a loss of a fight because you ran out of cooldowns.
Learn to know your squad, communicate with them, know what they're capable of, check your composition, adapt with different playstyles, react fast, play fast, kill even faster.
There are different ways to lead or organize a fight. Here are the 3 main (or most played) ways: MELEE BALL: All squad members stack tightly and stay within 600 range or less of each other training down the enemy.
Pros: Excellent sustain for all party members, stay close, easy to resurrect if one of your members goes down. Can counter a cloud formation with proper pulls and movement.
Cons: Allows enemies to easily bomb your group, allowing them to apply a lot of pressure. Can be countered by a cloud formation if the sustain and movement is weak.
PIRATESHIP: Very few frontliners in squad, mostly backliners and range classes that can cast from 900-1200 range.
Pros: Provides a lot of damage, can keep distance, makes it easier for casters to run higher damage builds.
Cons: Easy to be pushed, not enough frontliners to protect backliners, wipes quickly with lack of support.
Pirateshipping can be the most boring of the playstyles, but it can be necessary when two groups that are fighting are very competent at the game and know that a push would be a guaranteed death.
CLOUD FORMATION: The cloud, if organized properly, is the most annoying and frustrating blob to fight.
The way it's achieved is by spreading the casters on all sides around the enemy blob, making it hard for them to localize damage on a single spot, even if your melee train is tight and they can self sustain and bait the damage off everyone else.
When fighting a cloud you will receive random bombs from all sides, but often not a hard enough engage to down all players at once.
The cloud will start to generate downstates of the people most on the sides, especially those tailing behind because they are the most vulnerable.
To counter the cloud the sustain of your squad has to be quite good (unless the enemy damage is really weak), just like they are generating downstates from your sides, you have to do the same.
To generate downstates you will need to start pulling people in groups with firebrands Tome of Justice skill Chapter 3: Heated Rebuke and mirages focus skill Temporteal Curtain -> Into the Void, those will group up a bunch of enemies that you are free to spike as scourge, weaver or herald.
Usually this is not a very good approach to the fights but everything is based on the current situation of the squad composition, the general skill level, the servers you are fighting and where you are fighting. This option would be a last resort if the blob is really struggling with coordination.
THE MELEE TRAIN
Classes: Firebrands, Spellbreakers, Scrappers, Tempests, Heralds.
Melee/Frontliners provide the support for the zerg. Firebrands, scrappers and tempests keep their party members safe, heal, provide boons, cleanse and convert conditions, tank the damage for the casters. Heralds provide additional boon uptime, spellbreakers can handle the damage with their stances.
Watch your party health, watch their conditions, check their boons. As a healer keeping your eyes open for these things are fundamental.
Disable the grid view to make it easier to check on your party status. Enable thick health bars for your party and eventually squad.
Classes: Weavers, Scourges, Heralds, Mirages.
Position: Sidelines, mid-range and long-range.
Keep constant pressure on the enemy zerg with light AoE damage on short cooldowns, providing overall control of the fight, saving heavy AoE damage for cleave bombing.
Position yourself the best way to be effective based on the current situation of the fight, be reactive and be smart.
Scourges will use their Staff low-cooldown marks to provide small pressure to keep the enemy zerg from pushing fully, weavers will provide with Ice Spike, Lava Font and heralds Coalescence of Ruin.
All big cooldowns are held for Winds of Disenchantment. With successful bubbles being casted on top of the enemy, scourges will bomb with Shades and their Well of Corruption and Well of Suffering corrupting additional boons. Placing them in front of their melee train in the direction towards they are moving will increase the chances of dealing the maximum corrupts and damage.
Weavers can CC with Frozen Ground, Static Field and Unstead Ground while also casting Meteor Shower and Lava Font as additional cleave.
Additional CC is casted by heralds with Drop the Hammer and chain cleave with Coalescence of Ruin and Phase Smash.
Holding them within Winds of Disenchantment allows more boons to be stripped, preventing them from gaining additional ones applying more damage.
What is the commander saying when speaking on TeamSpeak or Discord? Why should you pay attention to it?
Listening to the commander's calls is quite important, especially for newer players to WvW. These calls will give you directions and will show you that it's not just a spam of skills. Make sure to join Teamspeak/Discord whenever possible.
Here are some words you might hear while a commander is leading a fight: SKILLSBUBBLE/DOME/WINDS: Spellbreakers' elite skill Winds of Disenchantment which removes boons from the enemy and prevents new ones from being applied.
DWARF: Rite of the Great Dwarf is the elite skill of heralds that reduces the received damage of the allied party members affected by its effect.
EMPOWER: Empower is the staff skill for firebrands used to stack might before the fight, a way to regroup with the tail of the group and heal your party members.
HAMMER 3/5: Commander is asking their revenants to coordinate their hammer skills Phase Smash and Drop the Hammer to CC with knockdown and spike the enemy in an area.
ILLUSION: Illusion of Life is a mesmer skill that can revive a player for a short period of time from range.
LINE: CC skills like Line of Warding or Unstead Ground.
METEOR: Meteor Shower weavers calling their biggest cleave skill to coordinate with the group.
MI: Merciful Intervention is a guardian skill that teleports you to a downed target to revive it for 20% of its health.
PORTAL: Portal from mesmer to teleport players in a structure or elsewhere. Situational Sand Swell from scourges to port uphill.
PULL: Pulling is an important method to split some members of the enemy squad from their group in order to focus on them and get the kill. Fundamental pull skills are mesmer's Temporteal Curtain -> Into the Void and firebrands Tome of Justice skill Chapter 3: Heated Rebuke.
REFLECT: Protecting the squad from the enemy's projectiles with skills such as firebrands' Tome of Courage skill Chapter 3: Valiant BulwarkSHADE: For scourges to cast Manifest Sand Shade and utilize their low cooldown ones or high ones depending on the commander's decision.
STATIC: Static Field weavers dealing CC to the enemy with an unlimited target cap skill.
VEIL: Veil is a mesmer utility skill used to apply Stealth to the squad. This allows the squad to move without being seen and allows for a semi surprised attack on the enemy group.
WELLS: For scourges to cast Well of Corruption and Well of Suffering.
BOONS, CONDITIONS & EFFECTSBOONS: Aegis, Alacrity, Fury, Might, Protection, Quickness, Regeneration, Resistance, Retaliation, Stability,
CONDITIONS: Bleeding, Blinded, Burning, Chilled, Confusion, Crippled, Fear, Immobilize, Poisoned, Slow, Taunt,
Torment, Vulnerability, Weakness.
CHILL: Weavers or tempests dealing soft CC with skills such as Frozen Ground.
CLEANSE: For your healers and supports to cleanse conditions from the commander or their party or squad.
RESISTANCE: Resistance is a boon that negates any incoming condition damage.
STAB/STABILITY: Stability is a boon that prevents you from getting hard CC. Every hard CC you get hit from will remove one stack of
Stability. Soft CC doesn't affect the amount of stacks you have.
STEALTH: Stealth is an effect granted by skills like Veil or Sneak Gyro which makes you invisible to the enemy for a small duration. Mounting will break the effect and walking through it while mounted will not grant any.
SUPERSPEED: Superspeed is an effect granted by skills like Chaotic Release which makes you go faster than standard Swiftness buff and enables faster engages/disengages.
COMBOS AND COORDINATIONBLAST: Blast Finisher skills on friendly AoE fields (waters, smoke, fire etc. fields) such as Holy Strike.
BOMB: Big AoE spike Damage on the commanders call. Some commanders differentiate between the "Spike" and "Bomb" calls.
CC: CC differentiates in "hard" and "soft". Most of the times the commander calls for hard CC skills. Hard CC disables the skill usage: Daze, Float, Knockback, Knockdown, Launch, Pull, Sink, Stun, Fear, Taunt. Soft CC doesn't disable skill usage but makes the enemy attacks weaker or movement slower: Blinded, Chilled, Crippled, Immobilize, Slow, Weakness.
HEAL/HEALING: Call to heal the commander in case he ran out of cooldowns and is under pressure or general squad healing.
MARKER (ON PERSON): Commander places a squad marker on an enemy wanting the squad to kill it or watch its movement.
PRESSURE: Keeping the damage on the enemy without letting them get out of combat by range and forcing them to utilize important cooldowns.
SPIKE: Some commanders differentiate the "Spike" and "Bomb" calls. Other than "Bomb", "Spike" is usually asking for smaller damage from skills with short cooldowns to generate the first few downstates.
WATER: Firebrands or tempests placing water fields to blast for additional heals using skills such as Geyser, Healing Rain or Chapter 4: Shining River.
SQUAD OR TARGET MOVEMENTCLEAVE: Dealing as much constant damage as possible in order to kill as many enemy players in downstate as possible and end the fight.
DOWN: An enemy player that has gone into downstate or a call to resurrect someone of your group who is in downstate.
ENGAGE/DISENGAGE: Commander is telling you to go into close melee range with the enemy (engage) or to pull out of a fight and regroup (disengage).
INC: Enemy players incoming near you or a structure on the map.
MARKER (ON GROUND): Commander places a squad marker where he wants the group to place the damage or other skills, move towards or pay attention to.
PUSH: When the Melee train is pushing and everyone needs to stay in range of each other for heals to get through enemy bomb or catch the enemy as they retreat.
RESS/REVIVE: Asking to revive the commander or a player, usually in difficult situations.
FIGHTS WITHIN STRUCTURES
TACTICS AND IMPROVEMENTS
Some of the tactics and improvements within structures can affect a fight quite heavly, so it's best to have the knowledge about them.
EMERGENCY WAYPOINT: Keeps and towers tactic, lasts 30 seconds. First time you teleport you will be fully vulnerable. In case of spawn camping from the enemy you will become invulnerable after death when taking it a second time.
CLOAKING WATERS: Stonemist Castle's permanent improvement, walking through it grants 15 seconds of Stealth.
Mounting breaks Stealth and walking in it while mounted won't grant any effect. The same is applies to any other Stealth effect by classes.
CHILLING FOG: Any structure tactic, lasts 30 seconds. Pulses chill condition to every enemy in the structure. If you are affected by it, you can convert chill into alacrity and turn it into your advantage.
WATCHTOWER: Towers' permanent improvement, will keep you revealed and you won't be able to Stealth for a long amount of time. The reveal ticks quite often.
AIRSHIP DEFENSE: Stonemist Castle's improvement, lasts 3 minutes. Shoots AoEs that knock enemy around. Affects the entire area of Stonemist, lord room included.
Claiming a structure with an upgraded guild hall grants permanent bonus attributes to the allied players within the area.
PRESENCE OF THE KEEP: Doubles the amount of attributes granted by a guild claim. Available for keeps.