[Guide] PvP – A guide – from how to get started to how to rotate

With the small resurgence in PvP in the game at the moment I thought I would repost this guide I created about a year ago with a few small revisions.

Notes :
This guide starts of with VERY basic introduction of getting started in PvP, I would still like to encourage you to read it as some things might not be familiar to you, if they are skip to the more advance portion.
The goal of this guide is to introduce you to the basics of PvP as well as core concepts that all players should know, whether bronze or legend.
This guide will be divided into several sections covering the different subjects, feel free to skip subjects you feel are already familiar to you!
I will also not be covering duelling or 1v1 importance but more a general overview of how PvP functions.

What is PvP, sPvP or structured PvP

PvP in Guild Wars 2 refers to a player versus player game mode in a 5v5 primarily conquest game mode.

While there is a stronghold game mode which requires you to kill the enemy lord after sieging(quick siege), I will mostly be covering the most popular conquest game mode.

What is conquest?

The goal of the game mode is to reach 500 points before the enemy team does, the primary contributor to the points you gain are from holding capture point or “caps”. They constantly “tick” point as you have them in your team’s control, which is attached to either red or blue colouring. This is achieved by simply standing on them while there are no enemies present.
Additionally kills and secondary map specific objectives can also contribute to this score but to a much lesser degree.

Getting started
First of all you need to get into the PvP lobby called the Heart of the Mists.
The PvP menu can be found in the uppermost left corner of your display by clicking on the crossed swords. If the icon is not present due to leveling restrictions you can keybind a key to it in your options menu to access it without needing to reach the relevant level.
At the top left of this menu you can click on to “Go to Heart of the Mists” icon.
You are now loading into the PvP lobby, once into the map your gear quality, level and PvE related choices/progression is irrelevant, you have access to (almost) everything the rest of the PvP community has.
Levels are replaced by PvP ranks, which are just an arbitrary progression system which only has relevance as a reward and gating to ranked PvP.
Note : you do need to be wearing leggings, chest and boots of any quality or level to benefit from full armor stats as well as have a weapon of any quality or level equipped to be able to use it. None of the armor should be broken either.

First the super basics
Setting up your build

At the top of your monitor a new icon will now have appeared, the helmet, this is the PvP build tab where you can setup your build in its entirety.
The first tab allows you to pick your stats, weapons, sigils and runes.

Amulets provide your stat distribution, by selecting the amulet a range of stat choices become available to choose from.
For example, clerics amulet will give you a stat spread of Healing power mainstat(highest amount), power and toughness secondary(lower but equal number).

Selecting a rune will automatically provide you with all 6 bonuses that a complete set would give you in PvE. You can not split runes.

Sigils are an added effect that are added to the weaponset you have equipped and “out” at any given time. If you weaponswap out of the weapon the sigil becomes inactive and another set becomes active.

Weapons can also be chosen here. If you do not have the relevant weapon in your inventory you can purchase a white quality weapon from a nearby vendor to give you access to the weaponskills.

The second tab is where you can setup your traits or more recently known as specialisations. By clicking on the relevant traitline dropdowns(more like sideways) you can select the 5 different specialisations. Only the bottom-most specialisation will allow you to select the elite specialisation (a 6th specialisation exclusive to Heart of Thorns expansion owners).

I often suggest that new players use known good builds from www.metabattle.com while getting to know the pace of PvP.
Once you have gotten the hang of it and understand what is necessary in PvP to be effective you can and should consider changing your build to your liking.
Please read about the build though, try to do as much research on the build before jumping in.

Some general build tips.
Multiple condition cleanses are a must.
Breakstuns are a must.
Mobility is important to rotate quicker and be able to escape.

I will be listing and explaining the common terminology used by PvPers to communicate in game.
Some of these I will be discussing in more detail later in this guide.

Cap – Capture points. These are marked by circular markers on the map.
Target – hold control + click to mark an appropriate target.
Focus (often followed by a class name like necro) – Press T to select the target and attack that target in an attempt to down them.
Far – Furthest capture point from your spawn and often the hardest to hold.
Close or home – Closest capture point from your spawn and often the easiest to hold.
Mid – middle capture point where most teamfights will occur.
Decap (often followed by a specific cap such as “far”) – neutralize a cap without capturing it. This is a much faster way to deny the enemy ticking points without needing to defend it.
Rez – pickup your friendly teammate before they die completely.
Stomp – finish a downstate opponent by pressing F near them.
Cleave – use skills to damage opponents often in downstate, AOE skills are best, this is commonly used when stomping is not possible.
Rotate – move around the map to cover as much territory as possible.
Inc (followed by far/mid/close and preceded by the number of enemies) – Communication used to share the enemy movements throughout the map.
Comp – refers to team role and class composition.

Start playing

You have 3 options available to join a game.
Hotjoin – not suggested but you can simply go into the third PvP tab to join a game already in progress and jump in immediately to get a feel for combat in the game.

Unranked – next to the “Exit Heart of the Mists” button in the PvP menu you will find a button that will let you join a matchmaking queue for unranked matches. This is the best place to start playing.

Ranked – unlocks at PvP rank 20, same as unranked but is a more competitive environment.

Joining either one of the queues will be a few minutes wait before a match is found, you accept and select a map to your liking.
Keep in mind as a new player your MMR will be entirely average and you will be matched with players of average skill level, meaning you might have a hard time getting into PvP. Do not let this discourage you, your MMR will adjust and you will be placed in a more relevant bracket after a few games.

That concludes the absolute basics of PvP and how to access it. On to the actual PvP gameplay itself


This is a semi-summary of the meta game and roles that classes/players fulfil in the course of a match.

I will be using terminology that is familiar to me, often this is not relevant to everyone.


Previously performed by guardian, chronomancers, druids and currently done mostly by tempests, this role insures that your team remains healthy during a teamfight by removing conditions, providing boons like protection and rezzing the downed.
Bunkers and supports are however not the same thing and have distinctly different methods of performing the above.
Bunkers are like tanks and absorb a lot of damage for their team.
Supports focus more on the healing and condi cleanse portion.
They can perform both to varying degrees in many cases as well.

Roamers or +1s.

Highly mobile classes like mesmers or thieves that excel at traversing the map creating outnumbered fights.
They also function as decappers that constantly pressures far when it is unprotected.

Duellists/sidenode holders.

Classes/builds that excel at 1v1 fighting.
They often contest sidenodes by either holding or fighting for a cap.
Scrapper for example excels at holding, even if it can not kill the attacking player it can easily buy time for a roamer to +1 the duel, easily preserving the cap for your team.
Warriors make a good duellist as well but a more offensive version, they can contest far and survive in a 2v1 for extended periods. They can also burst a sidenolder down in some cases to quickly gain far from the enemy.

Cap pressure/teamfighter.

Usually a class with good area of affect to constantly pressure a cap in a teamfight.
Necros for example make excellent teamfighters but are weak duelists, they rely on positioning and support to function at their best.

A lot of these roles overlap in builds, for example the old meta celestial dagger/dagger ele could perform ALL of these roles well. Scrappers also make good teamfighters and so on.
It is extremely important that you understand the role your class and build is good at and play into those strengths.

Opening split or “split”

This refers to the spread of players you plan to send to the different (caps) at the start of the match.

At the start of a match your team will be waiting for the game to start, during this time you should be talking to your team about your opening strategy or split, you should also be swapping to different classes to fill out the team comp with what you need.

Here are some common splits, their pros and cons and how they impact the start of the game.

0-4-1 or 4-1. Four mid and one close.
The most common split found in soloQ and arguably “safest” option in soloQ. This creates a large teamfight in the middle putting both teams at 1 cap each assuming close succeeds in capping.

1-3-1. 1 far, 1 close and 3 mid.
A more advanced split. Normally the class going far will either be strong duellist, a roamer with high mobility or both. In the past this was done by thieves, more recently mesmers and most recently warriors due to their powerful duelling potential. This split requires the comp to be very balanced with a capable support/bunker able to keep the 3 in mid alive, even in a 4vs3 for a short period of time while far and close wins its duels, caps and comes mid to assist. Also an important factor in this splits success is that the player going far needs to either win their duel very quickly or be able to disengage without dying.

0-3-2. 3 mid, 2 close.
Normally performed if a mesmer is in the group. The mesmer will drop a portal at close, quickly moving to mid while close is capped and provide fast access for the close capper to join the mid fight in the hopes of winning the mid fight before their close gets a chance to join the fight.
If the enemy split 1-3-1 then this allows an easy close secure in a 2v1, leaving the game on the same footing as if they split 0-4-1 but with one enemy heavily pressured and forced to retreat or even dead.

Other splits.
There are plenty of other splits that people try but often these are too risky and leaves your team in a disadvantaged position. Such as 3-0-2 or 4-0-1 which wedges your team in 2, giving the enemy a free mid. This can be disorientating or force an uncomfortable position for the enemy but often doesn’t pay off for your team in the long run.


I like to call this the “how not to die” strategy.

After the opening this concept becomes relevant and will very much decide the game, more so than the outcome of the opening fights.

The idea of rotation is simple, coverage of the map for maximum cap holding potential and can be broken up into two separate aspects.

Avoiding your death. Whenever you die you spend about 25 seconds being unable to influence the game. To avoid this you can apply rotation by disengaging or running once your health becomes low or your defensive cooldowns are not ready for use. When you disengage you often force an enemy to chase you, relieving some pressure from the cap. Alternatively when you run, preferably to another cap, your cooldowns/energy and health has a chance to recover allowing you to influence the match for the maximum amount of time.

The other aspect of rotation is that you constantly are on the move between caps, influencing every fight and cap enough to keep them in your teams control. This combines the idea of cooldown/health/energy recovery and outnumbered fighting all over the map.

Not all roles will be constantly rotating, a bunker will often hold a cap vs 2 or 3 enemies while buying time for team mates to assist. Supports on the other hand should always be where the majority of the teamfights are to keep their team alive.


This concept and how to apply is different depending on the role and class you are playing and is the idea of keeping yourself alive and able to influence a fight.
The most important thing to remember is to always keep an escape route open for yourself as well as be aware of your surroundings and enemies.

For example a necromancer should almost never be in the middle of a teamfight unless they have a large amount of life force. Ive too often seen necros rushing into the middle of the fight just to be cleaved down extremely quickly. Necros should be at the edges of teamfights most of the time constantly pressuring with condis and AOEs.
You will need to learn and understand a class extensively to know where and what you can and should do in a teamfight. This knowledge only comes with time and research.

Secondary map objectives

I don’t want to get to deeply into this subject as there are plenty of guides on them already however it should be mentioned.

Every PvP map has a different secondary objective that has an effect on the game and score in different ways.
For example on Forest of Nilfhelm there are 2 neutral “beasts” or NPCs that award 25 points and give the killing team a small stat buff for a while.
It is rarely worth investing time in the NPCs and they can easily be stolen by an enemy burst.

Find out more about these map mechanics by checking the wiki or www.qqmore.net or simply googling a guide on them.
Alternatively if there is enough interest in a written guide and I don’t mind adding it to this post.


Finishing your opponent is a fast way to get them completely dead and out of the game for ~25 seconds, however during the lengthy animation you have are vulnerable to being interrupted with CC or unable to avoid damage. Safestomping is what we call the methods used to increase the likelyhood of a stomp successully completing.
Stability, blinds, aegis, invulneribility are all great skills to use for safestomping.

A few examples :
Thief can use pistol 5 to drop a blind field on a downstate enemy to prevent their interrupt attack from hitting them. This obviously does not work vs mesmers, thieves or ele downstate skills.
Mesmers can pop F4 distortion to become invulnerable mid-stomp.
There are a hell of a lot of methods to secure stomps and is specific to classes/builds, learn them.
Countering safestomps is also possible in many ways. Besides the skills that classes posses in downstate, friendly downstate teleports like the Ranger shout “Search and Rescue” which teleports a downstate friendly and while the pet and player rezzes them can counter most safestomps.
Another example is boonstrip to remove stability from the stomping individual.
Just like many safestomp methods there are a few counter-safestomps as well that you will need to learn as well.
In some cases you can not stomp at all and it is better to cleave the downstate players with high damage skill.

General advice
1. Use the ~2 mins at the start of the game to round out your team comp by swapping to another class as needed and discuss your split and strategy. You very much want a support/bunker and roamer at the very least. Double stacking on a support or squishy roamer like thief is normally not a good idea.
2. Use the terminology to communicate as much as possible without negatively effecting your effectiveness in combat.
3. Call out objectives like rush lord when applicable.
4. Don’t get locked into an extended fight with no friendlies able to assist, especially when you arn’t able to influence an objective or cap.
5. Choose your targets carefully. Don’t overextend.
6. Choose your fights carefully. Know your class/build counters and know which fights are worth investing in.
7. Assume the outcome of a fight is determined by the amount of players involved from each team. DO NOT intentionally engage in a 2v1(heaven forbid any outnumbered fight) unless you can definitely hold out till a friendly arrives.
8. Just because the game mode is about capture points doesn’t mean you need to ALWAYS fight on cap. If standing on cap is going to get you killed by stacked DH/ranger traps, get off and wait.
9. Map awareness is going to help you a lot to rotate and not overextend. Rushing far just after your team won mid is a bad idea because the enemy team is sure to respawn and get to that cap really fast.
10. Dont be afraid to run, its a lot easier to rez you when you are not in the middle of a teamfight. Hell you should be running before you down anyway.