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[Guide] How to play the current WvW meta for beginners

Hi all. 2017meta here with a quick heads up for any of you out there looking to play during tonight’s NA server reset. Hopefully this post will help you avoid being a bag! Please upvote for visibility for the newer players- I obviously don’t care about the karma.


Typical group sizes: .

  • Roamer or scout – 1-3 players
  • Small group roaming & havoc teams – 5-10 players
  • Medium, average sized guild – 15-25 players
  • Large “blob” guild – 25 or more
  • Zerg – relative term, but usually more than 30-40 depending on the tier.

Use these general terms for call-outs and so you know what you’re up against. Type “/m” to relay information via map chat. On reset nights like tonight, these numbers will fluctuate and you’ll often see some of the smaller categories like roamers and havoc teams squeezed out entirely. Because it’s reset night, let’s focus on medium/large scale stuff for now!


The current meta group composition on NA looks something similar to this:


You don’t have to follow this to a T, and I’m sure many guilds have their own private builds or preferred compositions, THAT’S OKAY DON’T HURT ME. I’m just providing a template for beginners. Now you’re probably wondering why those classes and slots are where they are, that brings us to the next section!


So between each side there’s a more intricate fight going on between skills and cooldowns. We’ll start with the VANILLA stuff before crossing into KINKIER territory.


  • CROWD CONTROL – Usually means Guardian or Mesmer stability against hard CC skills like static field, the various guardian wards, etc. Stability is usually rotated within parties to coincide with offensive pushes. There’s also soft CC like chill, slow, and cripple that have their own defensive counters like superspeed via Ele Gale Song and Mesmer Temporal Enchanter.
  • DIRECT DAMAGE – The traditional stuff many returning WvW vets are familiar with. In 2017 we’re looking at skills like Rite of the Great Dwarf, Frost Aura, and protection in order to reduce direct damage. Also a fantastic time to mention nourishment. Plate of Mussels Gnashblade provides a not-insignificant -10% incoming direct damage modifier, great for surviving in zergs.
  • HEALING – Pretty self-explanatory. As you’re team takes in damage, it’s up to the healers keep everyone topped off. For Eles that means cycling into water to get Soothing Mist and weapon skill heals off. You don’t have to overload water each time you hop into the attunement! Tablet revs and Druids are preferred more for spike heals while Mantra Mesmers and Guardians contribute to passive healing throughout a fight.


  • CONDITIONS – The big WTF in recent times. Contrary to popular belief you can’t just sit back and let condis tick for their full duration. Two types of counters. First one is passive management through Resistance, traited Rite of the Great Dwarf, and minus condi duration mods. This is the main responsibility of your Mallyx Heralds, pumping out Pain Absorption and dwarf so your group can push through. Support Mesmers, if you have them, contribute a significant amount of resistance as well. If this first barrier of defense fails, then you have active clears. Active clears are skills that manually remove conditions like Guardian F2 and purging flames, ele shouts and traited regen, Mesmer heals and null field, Pain Absorption, and necro transfers. These are secondary cooldowns that you should be using if your first layer of resistance and dwarf gets popped. This is the reason why there are also COVER CONDITIONS (that do no damage but occupy a slot) so your active clears aren’t as effective.
  • BOONS – Resistance is a pretty big deal if you haven’t noticed. What better way to deal with resistance than to corrupt or strip the boon? Necros shine hear with their shouts and Nightfall. Mesmers use your null field and don’t stop autoing! Heralds use Banish Enchantment if your team is good on resistance! These skills are also useful for countering stability and other boons, some more useful than others. Here too, it’s useful to have COVER BOONS constantly being pumped out so that your more useful barriers like stability and resistance don’t get removed. Your Chronos and Tempests (aurashare) are MVPs for this.
  • OPTICS – The enemy’s vision is NOT based off movement. We’re mainly talking about Mesmer Veils here, but smoke fields & blasts also have their place in organized teams. Vision, or specifically the lack of any, hard-counters targeted skills like Banish Enchantment and can confuse enemy’s AoE placement. Stealth at the right time-not too early and not too late-for the best results. Optics can also be leveraged by the commander’s (and by extension the zerg’s) movement. Is he going to fake push? What sort of visual cues are the enemy players giving off? Did they blow their defensive CDs too early? What’s on their boon/buff bar? Etc.

Together, all of these channels are represented by the classes I listed above, fighting their own little battle within each zerg fight. Some concepts cross over into others, e.g., boonstrips getting rid of resistance, condition management dealing with soft CC. If your defensives start getting overwhelmed or penetrated, that’s where invulns and personal escape skills come into play. It’s only through the combined TEAMWORK of your party and larger squad that you’ll be assured victory at the end of the day and don’t die in two seconds from an epi. Or if you outnumber the others 2:1 kek. I’ll save more advanced concepts like proactive/reactive play, burst vs sustain comps, siege warfare, supply management, and scouting/havoc play for another time.