An overview of how uncoordinated and coordinated teams AB.
Depending on how your team is set up can already determine whether you will win or lose. Generally, a team is set up around 1 Frontliner (Frontliner - Warrior, Assassin, Dervish), 2 Midliners (Elementalist, Mesmer, Necromancer, Paragon, or Ranger), and 1 Backline (Ritualist or Monk). This guide will be based on a general AB team such as Build:Team - AB Balanced
The person who is the frontliner is usually the person who leads the team, pings key targets, or even just directs people what to do. Whenever you play as the frontliner never beat around the bush when you're playing, if you tell people to do something make sure it gets done. Depending on which profession, there are hundreds of builds to choose from. All of them which have some sort of high damage output/spike ("Coward!" has no spike) that can either kill whoever they attacking and/or throw off the team's monk.
You are the frontliner, you lead, you call. More on calling later on in the guide.
As stated in the beginning all these build have some sort of damage output. Using it correctly and creatively will lead to kills and capping. The faster the kills, the faster the wins, goes the same for capping, the more you cap the faster you win. Here is a tip: Be as aggressive as your heart desires. Just make sure it is safe when you want to be aggressive.
Like in ANY OTHER PvP ARENA, linebacking is very important. In case you do not know what "linebacking" is, it's using your melee character(s) to apply pressure to the other team's melee character(s). This often slows the enemy's damage output, and discourages the enemy from overextending or going into Frenzy. Doing this will relieve a lot of stress from your monk. In AB, the only times when you want to lineback are when your monk is taking excessive pressure or when you are retreating to another shrine/party. What I like about Warriors is how well they can lineback. Skills like Earth Shaker, Hammer Bash, Bull's Strike, and Shock keep the other team's melee on their ass and allow your monk to kite very easily.
One of the most important roles to any team.
Key factor in your bar is how you snare. Crippling Shot is a very good utility skill that can be used both offensively and defensively. Rangers with common sense know when to switch between being offensive and defensive. Offensive snaring is simple as just using Crippling Shot on whoever your warrior is attacking. Snaring that target stopped him from kiting, allowing your warrior to train on it even more or maybe even kill it. Defensive snaring is just as simple although it does take some watching to do. Generally, when fighting the enemy frontliner (lets say warrior) is attacking your monk. Your monk puts up guardian and continues on healing as you fight. The warrior gets smart and times KD right after guardian. Your monk is down for 3 seconds (assuming he has stonefist's insignias) The whole team starts training your monk, trying to get the kill, your monk gets up and starts running. What do you do to help relieve him of pressure ? Cripple the warrior, the majority of pressure will be gone. I will talk about snaring later on in the guide.
Shutdown and Pressure
Savage Shot, Distracting Shot, and Apply Poison are important. Savage and Distracting are strong utilities just like Crippling Shot, and like Crippling Shot they can be used offensively and defensively. Offensively would be interupting key skills, Word of Healing, Guardian, or maybe even the enemy team's snare, Defensively would be interupting spike skills like Dismember, or Rodgort's Invocation/ Meteor. As for Apply Poison anybody you talk too will say that this skill is good. Poison itself is a lot of pressure, -4 Health Degeneration. When you're fighting another team use it to spread poison across as whole team, put that pressure on that monk!
What Will I Do If I Don't Have a Ranger On My Team ?!?
Although a ranger is useful in AB, you do not need to bring one. But one thing that every team must bring is a moderate amount of snares. Snares are key in AB. If they can't move, they can't cap. If you bring a different midliner always make sure they have a snare. Some snares are like
Also, notice how the majority of these snares are Elementalist skills, do not be afraid to go /E and spec into the certain attribute to bring one of these!
The elementalist is usually referred to as "nuker", this is because of how much damage your build does to multiple targets. The elementalist's primary job is too help push for kills and to make capping shrines a breeze by blowing up the NPCs at the shrine. Depending on your elite skill the bar can change. The most common elites for an elementalist bar is Savannah Heat and Mind Blast. If you are running Savannah Heat then it is wise that you also bring Searing Heat and Glyph of Lesser Energy. Doing this allows up to two more sills you can bring. Some elementalists prefer running Dash while some prefer to bring party-wide ims(increased movement speed) like "Fall Back!". A lot of people bring Aura of Restoration for energy management, but it is also very wise to try to bring a snare like Freezing Gust. Once again, snares are key.
Depending on what faction you are on and what map you are on, nuking can either be really easy or just easy. On Ancestral Lands or Kaanai Canyon elementist become ideal because of the fortified NPC on the walls over looking the 3 entrances. Elementist are able to swiftly remove these NPC with little over all damage to the party.
Team vs Team
A somewhat harder aspect to play as an elementalist. Half of your damage is AoE, use these wisely. Meteor is a good a skill to bring. At 15 Fire magic it does 112 damage, not only that, but it also is a snare with a knockdown effect. Seeing it is a snare, that also means it is a utility. It can be used offensively and defensively, most of the time offensively. You should be casting it on whatever your warrior is attacking, not only pushing out a lot of damage but a KD to help your warrior finish the kill. What a lot of elementalists try to do is try to chain their meteor with a warriors KD, whether it is Shock or a hammer skill like Earth Shaker. Keeping a monk knocked down for ~5 seconds is really good, depending on the monk's skill he will die easily. Defensively, casting meteor on a stationary target that is training your monk (like an elementalist) or just knocking the warrior down to allow your monk a few seconds to kite will go a long way to help your team win the battle. I will talk about advanced tactics when you play against other teams.
The monk's job is simple, keep the team up when capturing shrines and fighting. Another part of your job is to keep your team clean from hexes and conditions (Blind or Weakness), and to make it easier for your team to push for kills. It is better to prevent damage then to heal it.
Preventing Over Healing
With a Zealous Benediction bar that is much more easy. Another easy way to prevent damage is through your stance. Using Balanced Stance gives you around 12 seconds to kite from hammer warriors. But don't use it on recharge, save it for when you would really need it.
Watching For Shutdown
Watching for shutdown and to make sure you will not get shutdown separates the good monks from the bad monks. ALWAYS be aware of what the enemy team is running, if they have a ranger, odds are he has Savage Shot and Distracting Shot. It's the same for mesmers, watch out for Diversion.
How To Lead An Uncoordinated Team
One of the hardest things to do in AB is to lead an uncoordinated team. Depending on the players it can big a HUGE burden or a breeze. Luckily you have two strong weapons in your disposal to lead, your keyboard and your compass.
Besides the fact that this is probably one of the most vital things in Guild Wars, you can use it much more for just looking at. You can draw! If your teammates are smart enough, they will notice that they will see a white line directing them to go that next shrine! Drawing IS important when it comes to AB, whether it is to go to whatever shrine next or which group to fight.
How To Lead A Coordinated Team
It is generally mocked at when people will run a coordinated team in AB. Usually because coordinated teams us VoIP programs like Ventrilo or TeamSpeak. If you are serious about AB, whether it is just to win, for the rewards, or just fun use one of those programs. Coordinated teams are usually easier to lead than uncoordinated teams.
This does not need to be explained. If you know what you are doing you can tell them directly and not indirectly.
Even if you are in Vent(short for Ventrilo) always know you have this tool. Be lazy and just tell them to go that way in vent while leading with the compass.
Ctrl + Space "Pinging"
This is important in coordinated teams. Seeing that you can talk to your teammates directly you can tell them why you pinged this target. You can tell them to put all damage there for pressure or you can do a "321" call and do a mini-spike to throw off the monk. Pinging targets can destroy any team you play against if you play correctly.
- For normal occasions it is always wise to go into a clockwise path to cap. (This is to reduce the possibility of having too many players on one shrine) shrines capping stops at 4 pips (>>>>) anthing over this is a waste.
- ALWAYS stay with your team. In the beginning always have one team go through one path. Never have two groups go through the same door/portal.
- Counter-clockwise - Going this way is useful to either break off from a mob, or stop the enemy team capping behind you. (Do this only if the other team has less flags than you and you wish to force the game into the end-timer.)
- Trade off. - Can only be done if three things are present. Two close shrines, an alternate path to the other shrine, and if you are capping the shrine the enemy team is going to cap. What happens is if you have the Shrine ahead of the enemy(lets say they are the kurzicks). You, the luxons want that shrine they just capped, how do you cap it ? Run down a different path to that shrine and cap it while the kurzicks cap your shrine. Once you and them have capped, just cap that shrine then continue to cap behind them.
- Splitting - When(occasionally) a midliner will split off from the general team to shut out solo cappers.
- Capping Ahead - A really vital strategy during "flag racing". Usually (depending on build) one teammate will push forward killing the next alter NPCs while the main team caps the first shrine.
- "Bridge Patrol" - One of the most absolutely fun strategies in Guild Wars. Commonly used by teams that know what they are doing.* screenshot later* When using this strategy, make sure other teams know to hold other positons, or continue to cap other flags. This will lessen the chance of a team coming to the bridge for no reason and wasteing time. Use the bridge to your advantage, example; Choke Points, use these to make other teams cluster so AoE uses it max potential. Also rememebr you have shrines on your side. Use the offesive/defensive ablities of the shrines to your advantage. The main idea of bridge patrol is holding/denying the enemy access of capping the brdige.
- Circle-Capping - Circle-Capping is when a team is going around an AB map capping in a circular motion (Clockwise/Count Clock). This can be a bad and a good thing. If you are ahead in points and the oppsing team does not put up much resistance, than this strategy may finish off the game. IF you are behind in points and you are not faster than the opposing capping team, you may be stuck in an endless struggle to make up points. At this moment you may want to reverse your direction and try to take out the faster capping team. If you do not change your style of play you may not catch up in points resulting in a loss.
- Res Running - Exploit res shrine! In general, it is when the player (more helpful for monks than other party members) is able to run away while casting a spell. Spam whatever key your ims is on and either cast a prot spell of some form while you kite.
- Mobbing - Normaly this is a tactic that is frowned upon in Alliance Battles. Mobbing does have its place in strategy and should be used sparingly. Mobbing is when extra players join an exsisting team and becomeing a larger force. This could have been from a player losing thier way or being killed and trying to make it back to thier team. Mobbing grants you more numbers and a great advantage over 4 man teams, but it lowers the ablitiy to cap shrines and ultimatly is a waste of time becuase shrines cap out at 4 pips (>>>>). A time and place where mobbing can be beinifical is a time where 2 teams are in a stale mate and are stuck fighting eachother. Joing that team and defeating the other team will secure that flag. Maps with a bridge may need need a "mob" to push through and take back the shrines. Also Make sure to move on after capping or you will lose the mobility of 3 teams. See Guide:AB Mobbing.
- Entrance Guarding - This is used when all shrine points have been secured. To prevent enemies from popping out of base, the teleport pods are guarded either by massive PB aoe skills like frozen burst or static spirits. The main entrance can be guarded by a Mob consisting of at least 6 players and often with the aid of spirits like wanderlust. This prevents mobbing from the main entrance. However, should such a possibility exist, it will normally lead to a win. This tactic is best performed in Etnaran Keys and Grenz Frontier.