Contrary to what some might think, the graveyard zerg is not a tactic. The repeated runs from a waypoint after dying to continue chipping away at a boss is really about players cheesing the encounter.
Despite the repair costs associated with it, the graveyard zerg is such a no-brainer that players never get around to looking at real dungeon tactics like coordination and teamwork. Sure, it works – eventually – but taking down difficult challenges as part of a coordinated team is so much more satisfying, no?
So how can other players serve our nefarious necromantic purposes better? For starters, start thinking like a puppet master and take off your DPS blinkers! Why get our hands dirty when we can have others help get the job done with a little “support”? We’ve looked at our control abilities previously; this week, we’ll run through what we can do in support of our
minions teammates in my little GW2 dungeon guide for necromancers, so that no one in your 5-man squad has to resort to cheese.
What is support?
You may be saying, “but we’re necromancers, not Mother Theresa. We don’t heal!” You may be a little late to the GW2 party, but take a good look at your sixth skill slot.
Besides healing, support is also about maintaining boons, removing conditions, creating skill combos and other stuff that seem to have very little to do with killing, but a whole lot about winning.
Quoting the wiki:
Don’t belittle the SUPPORT role by calling it heal. Healing is the least dynamic kind of support there is. It is reactive instead of proactive. Healing is for when you are already losing. In Guild Wars 2 we prefer that you support your allies before they take a beating.
The choice for keeping your teammates alive is clear here: Well of Blood. I would only swap this out for Consume Conditions in encounters where removing conditions in a timely manner is important for survival. More on how to keep your necromancer alive here.
Boons and conditions
As arguably masters of conditions, necromancers have little in the way of boons to grant allies, other than Spectral Wall, a utility that lowers incoming damage by a third, and then Mark of Blood and Reaper’s Touch, staff and focus skills, respectively, that give regeneration.
We do have our ways with conditions that are already on allies though:
1. Turn conditions into boons with Well of Power. Condition removal and buffs all in one, lovely!
2. Move them from allies to enemies with Putrid Mark, a staff skill.
3. Automatically move them from allies to yourself! Plague Signet is probably our noblest utility skill. The power to also dump all those nasty conditions on an unlucky target is just an added bonus!
4. Remove them with Grim Specter, a lich form skill that also strips boons from enemies.
Combos are created when field and finisher skills interact to produce an additional effect. As necromancers, we are major purveyors of the dark field, which grants blindness, probably the most important damage mitigating condition, and life-steal, for that extra bit of healing. We create dark fields with practically all our wells: Well of Power, Well of Darkness, Well of Corruption and Well of Suffering.
And before you say that necromancers are all so predictably dark and venomous, we can actually set up a light field with Well of Blood for condition removal and retaliation effects, and an ethereal field with Spectral Wall for Chaos Armor or confusion.
If I were to pick a weapon for the most support options, the staff would come out tops. The bulk of our support skills are really found in the utility slots, so playing a support necro is really a playstyle choice, rather than an incidental outcome of, say, your conditionmancer build.
Which flavor are you?
This wraps up our two-part feature on control and support skills for necromancers. Hopefully this expands your game beyond the damage dealing abilities that you should already be well-acquainted with after 80 levels of PvE play.
My current build, with axe/dagger and staff, is focused on damage and support through wells for solo and dungeon play. What is your favored role: damage, control or support?