GvG Profession Guides

Being a good ranger is a very difficult thing to learn – you will only become one by practicing a lot. You will notice when you are having a good game or not. If you play well, the game will go smoothly, you will dictate the flow of play, and you will direct your team to a win. On the other hand, if you play poorly, there will be chaos. Your team will have no control of movement or the flow of the game, and in the voice chat everyone will end up screaming because they have no idea what is happening.

This guide won't cover how to play in and against specific team builds. These scenarios are too situational and will change with meta, flux and playstyle. The key to improving after having read read this guide is to practice as much as possible. If you can’t GvG, random arenas and alliance battles are great places to practice. There you’ll learn all kind of different skills, the effects of them and how to control certain builds.


As a ranger you need to see what's happening on the battle field.

Exemplary ranger interface.

  • You need to widen the skill activation bar of your target. This is very important, because it will greatly help you with identifying skills quickly and deciding whether or not to use an interruption skill.
  • You need a larger compass, so that you will be able to see quickly and in better detail what is going on on the map.
  • Keep your screen open and free. As a ranger you watch the field a lot. Having a large party window or your inventory open will reduce visibility.
    • Don't overdo this with a 4k resolution. You can only watch parts of your screen at a time anyway, so displaying too much at a time won't help.

Now set your skill bindings. A ranger doesn’t need a lot of micro skills, so in essence you don’t have to change a lot from the default settings. Because target selection is crucial as a ranger, Tab is a very important key to switch to your next target, but switching back to your previous target is probably just as important. With mostly default settings Q (key next to tab) is useful for selection the previous target. This way, target selection can be done with the same finger. Target nearest item is also a very important key. One of the roles rangers have is pushing flags, which means that you will have to be able to pick up the opponent's flag as fast as possible when they drop it. V is a close key for this. Toggle in your general options to auto target NPCs and items when there is no chosen target. When you expect a flag to be dropped un-select your target and spam space so you pick up the flag faster than your opponent.


The ranger is designed to be a versatile profession, but not all variants are commonly viable in competitive play. You could categorise the ranger in 5 roles:

1.  The apply ranger: This is the most common ranger build, as well as one of the most versatile roles in the game. The apply ranger uses his poison to pressure the team, spread interrupts, camp a single target, push flags or follow splits. This all depends on the situation during the match.
2.  The turret: This bow ranger is meant to have good single target spike damage while being one of the strongest split defending options and well-suited for interrupting.
3.  The beast master: This ranger focuses solely on its pet to provide pressure or spikes.
4.  The spear ranger: This ranger provides good condition spread, often combined with the extra pressure from a pet.
5.  The spiritpooper: This ranger would mostly sit back and cast spirits to make your team builds as effective as possible and destroy the opponent’s. This is usually done in a mostly physical based team with an adjusted backline light on enchantments to make full use of spirits such as Infuriating Heat and Nature's Renewal.

In the current meta the first two roles are most common and will now be explained in detail, assuming these standard bars:

The energy cost of attack skills, rituals, touch skills and all Ranger skills is reduced by 56%.
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The energy cost of attack skills, rituals, touch skills and all Ranger skills is reduced by 56%.
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PvTemplate.png Apply ranger main equipment: PgpxcbvBQSV4rF0XM91CKLIWaB9I9etgGWnvWQ9E
Turret ranger main equipment: Pgpxcb5BQSV4rF0kM91C6YJWaBtF9etgGWnvWQ9E
Crippling recurve bow: PcZw8TnBIpC
Turret 40/40 curses: PgpgimZ9pJPzriU
Apply 40/40 prot: PkpwSNz6TzgMvKSB
Shield set: PkpQRPFoBzYikpW5L


You need to hit 14 expertise for break points on its energy reduction to be able to use your skills sufficiently frequently. In case of the apply ranger an 11-10-10 base distribution is picked to get most benefits out of the condition duration bonuses on the marksmanship and wilderness survival skills, reaching the break point with a major attribute rune. The apply ranger takes minor runes for the remaining attributes. As a turret ranger, you hit 14 expertise with a minor rune and headpiece, using the majopr rune for marksmanship to increase your damage output. A rune of restoration is only recommendable for the turret ranger as it also affects your own inflicted conditions.


As your insignia you should pick scout's. In an 8v8 situation you are in general an unlikely target for spikes, so if your Apply Poison or Rapid Fire has been taken out, you're not put at an immediate risk. Spikes featuring elementalists will deal a lot less damage due to your inherent +30 armour against elemental damage, physical attacks can be worked around with your blocking stances. If you have trouble getting your preparation up you should call your monks for help anyway, so they can provide you with Aegis. Apply has the same recharge when interrupted as complicate, so you should not cast apply on recharge. You can wait a few seconds and see if the Mesmer is targeting you and waiting for apply or if he did use it on somebody else. You may fake out an interrupt. You could also run out of the mesmer's range/vision by repositioning yourself behind your team to get poison up or push further on their flag. In skirmish and split defense situations, when you need your bonus armour against split elementalists most, nothing will interrupt your preparation anyway.

Weapon sets

  • Main apply weapon set: The poisonous recurve bow improves your poison spread performance and allows for precise interruptions due to short arrow flight times.
  • Main turret weapon set: The vampiric recurve bow increases your damage per hit and has good flight times for easier interruption and cleaner spikes.
  • Crippling recurve bow: Used for Pin Down and Melandru's Shot to extend the crippling duration.
  • 40/40 sets: Used to cast Rend Enchantments and Mending Touch faster and more frequently.
  • Shield set: Used when getting spiked. As an apply ranger, keep spreading poison with it.
  • Vampiric flatbow: If you fight against NPCs, switch to this bow for the faster attack speed and better range. They won't move much, so the risk of missing the target is low.
Each build uses 5 weapon sets. Most of the time you won’t need the vampiric flatbow, so you can leave it in your inventory until it is required.


Interruption skills

Distracting Shot Distracting Shot

This is probably the strongest interrupt available to a ranger. It has a low energy cost, and with a 10 second recharge, it is more frequently usable than mesmer interrupts. However distracting shot does very little damage and compared to other ranger interrupts 10 seconds is a long recharge. It is probably the strongest interrupt, because it disables any skill for 20 additional seconds including skills with no recharge like Resurrection Signet. As it interrupts actions rather than just spells, it can be used against any skill type. Because of the added recharge distraction shot is best used to shut down key skills. These can vary situationally from resurrection to monk or damage skills.

Savage Shot Savage Shot

This skill is a very strong interrupt due to its recharge time of 5 seconds. Because of 14 expertise the energy cost is reduced from 10 to 4, so it can be used frequently. Just like distracting shot it works against any action. An interrupt of a spell skill deals additional damage which is especially important in skirmish situations. In general it can be used to interrupt skills when you want to save Distracting Shot or it is currently recharging. It can be combined with poison spreading by interrupting different targets – which is a good opportunity for prediction interrupts. By spreading poison it is also very good to use it as a prediction interrupt.

Magebane Shot Magebane Shot

A strong option for apply rangers, but it takes the important elite slot. It should only be used when interrupting the opposing team is expected to be your main role. Like Savage Shot it costs 10 energy (4 with expertise) and has a 5 second recharge, but instead of dealing extra damage when interrupting it gives spells an additional recharge of 10 seconds. Even though any action can be interrupted, the additional recharge time only applies to spell skills.

Concussion Shot Concussion Shot

This skill works entirely different the interrupt skills listed above. Concussion shot has an extraordinary energy cost of 25 (reduced to 11 by 14 expertise) and a low recharge of 5 seconds. It only works against spell skills, unlike the other skills which work against any action. Applying dazed means that the currently casted spell gets interrupted, the casting time of spells used while suffering from that condition is doubled and any attack will interrupt spells before taking into account any attack skill's effects. If you were to land a Distracting Shot on a dazed target, an interrupted spell will not receive the additional 20 seconds recharge time. Concussion shot works best against elementalist splits and in skirmishes against single monks, but because of its high energy cost and multiple condition removal skills it is lacking in 8v8 situations.
Using interruption impactfully
Having a good ping and a good computer will help greatly. This will offer more time to land your interrupts on reaction. However, having a good ping and a good computer is not what makes you a good ranger. Even with an average ping you will still be able to hit most skills and just take away few options. It will be impossible to hit 3/4s, but you can play around it. There are a few things to keep in mind for hitting interrupts:

Reaction time

Ranger interrupts aren't solely dependent on your reflexes. In general (for rangers aswell as Mesmers) it is a good idea to enlarge the skill activation bar and to enable your sound effects. The larger activation bar will help you identify skills quickly and decise whether or not to interrupt them. The sound effects may tell you which skills are being used around you.

Bow based interruption specifics

Especially important for the ranger are attack speed and arrow flight time, as both determine how long it will take between your input and the interruption effect. A faster attack speed and a shorter distance to the target both decrease the time until your interrupt effect happens.
To change your attack speed you can change your bow type. In most circumstances it is best to use a recurve bow as it has the shortest arrow flight time, making it both hard to dodge your attacks in general and decreasing the time until your interrupting arrow hits. Secondly it's possible to use stances and preparations to improve your attack speed. The turret ranger uses Rapid Fire for this purpose, whereas most poison rangers resort to Lightning Reflexes (PvP) unless taking another utility skill instead.
The most important consideration for hitting your interrupts is having good positioning. Because of arrow flight time, the closer you are to your target, the easier it will be to hit your interrupts.
Note that interruption skills cause a delay of 0.75 seconds, so you can't attack or use another interruption right after you used one. A caster may use a one second activation time skill right next to you after you used an interruption on him and you can't do anything about it.
Lastly, make sure that your line of sight is not obstructed. You can't interrupt targets covering behind an object without pushing up to them.

Shield Guardian

Most current teams have two to three Shield Guardians in their backline. It has priority to take these out for your team to be effective.
  • Warriors switching targets to knock someone down may get blocked on their Devastating Hammer or Hammer Bash, ruining their chain.
  • Spikes after switching a target won't have a deep wound if the deep wound source is the first attack skill used and blocked.
  • You can't switch targets for interrupting, unless using Magebane Shot. It will nonetheless trigger the party healing.
  • Whenever an attack hits a target enchanted with shield guardian, your opponents in earshot are healed for 28 to 38 health points. This party healing reverts a lot of your pressure's impact. In case of your poison spreading, 3.5 to 4.75 seconds of poison per block.
When your team is not splitting it has priority to interrupt shield guardian. It is often used in chains. This means that you should be alert if you see a shield guardian going up, that you know another one is going up aswell. You can either interrupt the next one (if you missed the first), or use Apply Poison, since apply and shield guardian got roughly same recharge. This has two benefits: Your arrows won't get blocked and the opponent not party healed, but also you'll have an easy timer when the next SG's usually are being cast again.

Interrupting on reflex

Ranger interrupts are in general slower than mesmer interrupts. However, it is still possible to hit 3/4s. The key is that interruption on reflex is partially based on prediction and not entirely on reaction, especially for 3/4 skills. Whenever you know your opponent will have to cast something very soon, prepare for it so you can use your interruption as soon as the skill activation bar shows up. The difference to pure prediction is that you still try to wait until you see your target casting a skill. Interrupting on reflex takes more time to watch a single target than the other options.

Interrupting on prediction

This is the most unreliable way of interrupting, however sometimes it is necessary to use it. Interrupting on prediction is very useful when your ping isn’t good enough to reliably hit interrupts or when you are sure your target will cast a spell and interrupting it will cause a lot of pressure or even a kill. Hitting interrupts on prediction is easier when your frontline consistently does damage at the same time when they are calling spikes. It will also help if you are better at mind games with interrupts and faking skills than your target. If your opponent doesn’t notice that you want to interrupt him he won’t try to avoid the interrupt. During skirmishes you will learn by experience when your opponent will most likely cast skills. They will often cast a skill once they are in your aggro bubble, when their skills are recharged, when your target is getting low on health or when it switched from its shield to casting set. Wasting interrupts will give your opponents a window to cast skills, because your interrupts have an after cast, your skills will be on recharge and you wasted energy.

Interrupting on animation

This is probably one of the hardest methods of interrupting if you are new to it, but it is highly effective. You can only get used to it and get better by practicing this a lot. There are many important skills which take longer than one second to cast. These skills have different skill animations and most of the time also a signal or a sound when it is being cast. To observe these skills you will need a good field awareness. You will need to zoom-out your camera and have an overview of most casters. To make it easier to interrupt on animation it is important to position yourself well. Most of the time there will be two or three characters with long cast time. It is important to be able to see them and preferably be close to your target so you can swap with C+tab to your target.

Shutting down

Sometimes it is necessary to shut down a specific character. This can be done through two ways: Interrupting key skills and/or denying energy. When you are about to shut down a specific character you first have to know why you are doing so. Does it have to happen immediately (interrupt key skills) or will you need to shut someone down over a longer time period? These situations are little skirmishes which can be done within an 8v8 battle.
A GvG match evolves over time and sometimes your team is taking more pressure and will have to play defensive and sometimes you will have to play offensive. This takes different approaches on which skills you should interrupt and the importance (if you should focus more on spreading poison or camp a specific target).
The advantage of draining a target's energy is that it is hard on most casters to regain it if they have to keep playing 8v8. Draining energy is effective for the long term, but it also needs a long term focus from the ranger to interrupt his energy skills. Energy denial does not require the usage of the seldomly used Debilitating Shot. Interrupting energy management skills will cause an effective energy leak aswell. A necromancer with a disabled Angorodon's Gaze won't be able to spread hexes, an elementalist without attunement will run dry quite soon or reduce his skill usage, which both serves your purpose. Even if you can't take out an attunement, interrupting elementalists is going to hurt their energy management, as they won't get back energy from the attunement for successfully casting the spell.
Interrupting key skills is more a short term option. Interrupting Diversion or powerful damage skills will immediately put some pressure off your team and may prevent kills. To interrupt important skills you will need to know their recharge time so you can anticipate when it is going to be used the next time, allowing you to interrupt it on prediction or reflex. A skill like Shield Guardian is probably going to be used on recharge, so if you want to play offensively, keep an eye on each monk every 20 seconds to take out their shield guardians.
Some builds are more susceptible to one strategy over the other due to different energy management systems and skill dependencies. Decreasing the energy supply of a mesmer by taking out Drain Enchantment may prove ineffective if he has Power Drain to compensate for it quickly.

Spreading Poison

Applying wide-spread pressure with Apply Poison is one of the main reasons why rangers are being played. Combined with frequent interrupts, it is what differentiates the ranger from other professions in 8v8 situations.
Poison is effective when you can spread it on multiple people. To do this you’ll need to have good target selection. Switching targets by using tab is easier and faster for this purpose than selecting them by clicking, because you are near certain that you will attack someone who hasn’t been poisoned yet. Using target closest foe allows to target an appropriate target if you happen to tab to a target which is out of your range.
Positioning is very important to interrupt skills, but it is just as important for poison spreading. Stand at the centre of the battle field so your arrows can hit all targets without having a long flight time or requiring you to move towards someone. You want to have a low chance that your arrows are dodged and you don’t want your targets to be obstructed. In most cases this means that you will position yourself between their midline and the backline.
Use Lightning Reflexes (PvP) to attack 50% faster and spread much more effectively. Using your interruptions can be useful, but their aftercast delay may decrease your spreading effectivity. A poisonous spear has a shorter range, but decisively faster attack speed. This is most useful when the casters are standing close to each other anyway. The main downside is that you lose out on the ability to use your interruptions quickly.
Because lightning recharges has a 45 seconds recharge time you have to decide carefully when to use it. Will it maximize the pressure to use it for poison spreading, delay it a short while for more precise interruption or use it entirely differently for the ability to push deep with the blocking chance as a backup? It's ideally used once the your counters Restore Condition and Shield Guardian are on recharge.
If you are doing a lot of poison pressure you will most likely be camped with Complicate. It is important to be able to play around this. Apply has the same recharge when interrupted as complicate, so you should not cast apply on recharge. You can wait a few seconds and see if the Mesmer is targeting you and waiting for apply or if he did use it on somebody else. You may fake out an interrupt. You could also run out of the mesmer's range/vision. If your apply got interrupted you should change your focus to interrupting.


As a ranger you will engage in skirmishes, either against splits or by pushing flags. It is important to stay ahead of your target and anticipate its moves. Your goal is to dictate your game plan on the opposing team, disturbing theirs.
To win skirmishes you will need as much information as possible. You will need to know the map and its mechanics. You will have to know on which places you want to skirmish your opponent and which places you prefer to avoid a battle. In general you want these skirmishes to happen in an open area, unless you are pushing their flag and trying to bodyblock. One example for using the terrain is when you are pushing the flag on Frozen Isle. There are two areas where the flag runner will have to run over ice. The flag runner will get snared if he stops moving on the ice to cast a spell or dodge Melandru's Shot's crippling. This gives you an opportunity to get good positioning and snare the flagrunner. Places you would like to avoid a skirmish are places with effects like the spores on Weeping Isle, places with many objects and bridges. You want to avoid bridges because most bridges are bugged and in specific situations your arrows will be obstruced.
Besides knowing the map, you will also have to know everything about your opponent. You will have to know his skills, his death penalty and his experience on that character. You will also have to know what his goal is. Is it late in the game and does their split have to kill NPCs, or does he just want to stall the game to keep his main team alive?

Defending splits

When you are defending against a split you will always be at an advantage over fighting in an open area. You will have NPCs to aid you in your battle. Although during the split you would prefer to kill your target, it is more important to keep your NPCs alive. This is because your NPCs will not resurrect, while the splitter will resurrect and he might get morale boosts, which nullifies your kill's impact. However, giving death penalty to a splitter is a huge advantage for future skirmishes, because your target will be easier to kill.

Split defense is going to be explained with an elementalist split, as it's both most common and the build you have most tools against. In this example there are two split elementalists:

Your maximum Energy is raised by 33.
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Your maximum Energy is raised by 27.
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When your opponents are splitting with two, you will also have to defend with two, usually alongside your third backline character. When defending against two elementalists you want to lengthen the fight, so you will be able to pressure your targets. Before you will be able to pressure your targets they will need to be get low on energy, so they won’t be able to spam their healing skills. To create pressure you will have to combine a few core objectives of the ranger. You will have to keep poison and bleeding on both elementalists. You will also have to interrupt the skills which do most damage. Try to hit the skills which are most troublesome for your healer with Distracting Shot and remove cracked armour from yourself with Mending Touch. By camping one elementalist his energy will drop faster, but there’s a higher risk there will go too much damage through for your healer to handle. Most of the time after around 15-30 seconds the eles will get on lower energy and will get pressure. At this point it is important to change your focus: Instead of interrupting skills that do most pressure, you will have to cripple a target and focus on the elementalist which has Healing Breeze. Taking this healing out may allow you to force a kill as you deal more pressure than Patient Spirit counters and your target can't easily escape.
Well-coordinated splits and will hide behind walls and use their skills more effectively. You will have to push up to create a line of sight and this means that your healer will have to push with you, thus forcing him into a dangerous position. In the end this is worth it, because now you will be able to support him with interruptions instead of just standing there and watch.

Splitting offensively

Splitting on ranger is rare. Back in the days it used to be a lot more popular, but because most builds are decent now at defending a ranger it has become riskier to split as a ranger. It can lead to big plays carrying your team to victory, but it could also ruin the game for your team and give any advantage away you had on mainteam.
The best time to be splitting is when the other team doesn’t notice that you’re going to split. This will give you time to kill NPCs or get good positioning. Tactically it is best to split when you won’t be able to accomplish anything on mainteam (as a team). It could be that your ping is too bad to reliably interrupt skills, or you can't apply pressure due to a counter like "It's Just a Flesh Wound.". In these situations you should go to split, because luring people away from the mainteam is more effective than staying there.
You could also go to split to cause chaos. Most of the time when the opposing team is winning and making kills they don’t know how to react properly to a splitting ranger, because they want to keep damage on mainteam to keep the pressure on, but don’t want to lose their third backline so they can lure the knights.
When you are splitting into their base you will be in a disadvantage over fighting in an open area, because you will get a lot more damage from NPCs attacking you and it will be harder to escape. This could be a problem when you take too much pressure from the NPCs, because you don’t have strong healing skills, unless replacing Resurrection Signet with Troll Unguent.
The most important part of a split is to stay alive. If you die you won’t be able to help your team for a while and you will get death penalty, which makes you prone to dying more often. To not die you will need to know if you can split, tactical insight, and good map awareness. You will have to know what the other team will send back and you will have to wait for opportunities to split when they can’t react to your split, because they are doing other things. Just remember that you are splitting to help your team (get pressure off, gain flag advantage or take out NPCs for the late game).
The ranger doesn’t have a lot of upfront damage and does not have self-heals on most occasions. However the ranger can still be a good splitter: The ranger is quick, has interrupts, snare, pressure and a condition or hex remove. These are all great assets for skirmishes. When you are splitting you will have to try to keep your health as high as possible while still killing NPCs if possible. If you know you can beat the defender in a 1v1 just go for the big plays, but keep in mind not to die because you aggroed NPCs and are taking additional damage.


Communication is key. If you want to optimize your performance you will need to know what your team is doing and your team needs to know what you are doing. As a ranger you usually have a good overview of what is happening on the map and have knowledge of movement and pressure of the opposing team. This is very important to communicate with your own team.
It is important to call interrupts on key skills. Distracting shots on important skills should be called, like when you have disabled Restore Condition or Healing Burst. It is also important that you should call the interrupts on skills your team is asking to interrupt. Do not forget to call what is preventing you from doing your job. If their midline is casting Blurred Vision, blind or Faintheartedness on you all the time, ask for a removal.
Because you have such a good overview over the map as a ranger you will be moving around a lot. You will be pushing the backline, pushing flags, splitting or defending splits. You should call when you are doing these things so your team knows what is going on. You should call as well what is following you or what you are following and where to. In same cases you could also ask your frontline to support your push when you know it will force a kill or gains you positional advantage. An example could be that when you hit Guardian on the third monk with Distracting Shot while pushing and it is getting low on energy.

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