When it comes to utility skills, the Mesmer has a lot of options: portals for zipping around, glamour fields with a wide variety of effects, Illusions that can protect or remove conditions. The list really could go on but today we’re going to talk about Mantras. These skills are unique to the Mesmer and require a great deal of forethought and planning.
When it comes to the Mantra skills, there are five different ones, each with their own unique effects. Unlike other professions that focus on just doing damage (for the most part), Mantras do a lot more and provide the Mesmer with ways of controlling the battle. Sometimes, the fight isn’t just about who can hit the hardest, it’s about being smart, and knowing the right time to use the right skill.
Before we jump into what each of the Mantra skills do specifically, we need to talk about the technique behind the Mantras. When you equip a Mantra onto your skill bar, it’s going to sit there and look pretty, as all Mesmer skills should, and it will continue to sit there until you actively engage it. These skills don’t provide any passive traits, and they don’t add to your condition damage or boost the length of your boons. They just sit there like your Aunt Tilly until you press the button. Once you have pressed that shiny button, you will begin to cast the particular Mantra, but that’s not where the magic happens. Before you can make use of the effect of the skill, you have to charge it – and that’s what that first press will do. You can see what each of the skills says in this video here:
Once the Mantra has been charged, then it’s ready to be used. It’s this unique charge mechanic that we have to consider. Currently it takes three seconds to charge up the skill before it can be used, which is actually a really long time. During those three seconds, there is a lot of other things that you could be doing (like more damage), so in most cases if you don’t have the skill prepped beforehand, just pretend it doesn’t exist. With the skill charged, however, it can be used at any time instantly, and when they say instant, they mean instant. If you are in the middle of casting a long spell like Confusing Images, which hits five times, you can actually use a Mantra in the middle of that animation without interrupting what you were already doing. Fancy!
When it comes to causing pain, the first choice is pretty clear: Mantra of Pain. Once this Mantra has been charged, the new skill will be called Power Spike. This skill does exactly what you think – it causes damage to the enemy. During the last Beta Weekend, I ran around with this skill on my bar a lot and it seemed to do a fair amount of damage. It works really well as a quick spike to start or end a fight with.
There are a good amount of skills in the game that causes knock downs, launches, stuns and a variety of other “loss of control” effects. If you know, or think, you’ll be running into one of those, putting Mantra of Concentration on your bar would be a good idea. When chanted, this gives you Power Break, which provides Stability when used. This is one to really consider because, like all Mantras, it is instant cast and it will break stun effects. If you have this ready to go and a Necro tries to fear you, pop Power Break and get back into the fight!
The other defensive Mantra is Mantra of Resolve, which allows you to remove all of the conditions that have been applied to you in one fell swoop with Power Clenase. There are some areas of the game that cause a lot of conditions, and if you’ve played in WvW or sPvP, you’ve probably seen your fair share. If you use this Mantra though, you can dismiss all of those conditions and it will be very hard for the enemy to get them all up and running again.
There is one heal in the bunch: Mantra of Recovery, though I would be very hesitant to use this one. Because of the way that Mantra’s work, if you don’t have this pre-cast, you will more than likely be dead. However, if you are diligent about keeping the Mantra ready, then this is a wonderful ability as when you need the heal, you get it right away.
There are times when you don’t want to sit back and be passive; times when you want to take control and make sure that your enemy knows just who exactly is in charge around here. In those times of dominance, you’ll want to use Mantra of Distraction. This skill gives you Power Lock which, when consumed, Dazes the target. Seeing that massive strike incoming and using this takes away a lot of potential damage and also makes the enemy your play thing as they can’t use any skills until the daze wears off.
If you are thinking about making a build that features Mantras rather heavily, there are some traits that you will want to look for. In the Domination line, we have Harmonious Mantras, which will probably be a must take for these specs. The trait allows the Mantras to be activated twice before needing to be recast. Two heals, two damage spikes, two dazes! Very much worth the 30 point investment if this is how you want to build your character.
There are three traits in Dueling that offer varies effects. Empowering Mantras increases your damage for each mantra that’s been readied. You do have your Mantra ready, right? Mantra Mastery reduces the cooldown by 20% and Protected Mantras increases your armor while casting Mantras. Finally, in the Inspiration line, there is Restorative Mantras which will give a small heal every time a Mantra is cast.
Overall, Mantras offer some very interesting utility, and given their available traits, they can be very powerful in the right hands. There is so much variety to the utility skills, and Mantras serve as a very viable option in all areas of the game. What has your experience been? Leave a comment below or hit up the forums and share your thoughts!