GW2. What is Rotation? PvP Roles. Know your role. Decision making and where to go in Conquest PvP. Guild Wars 2. 2022.
Rotation is important in Guild Wars 2 Conquest PvP because each map’s primary objective consists of three capture points which give you the points required to win, and a secondary objective which usually interacts with the primary objective. So there are potentially 3-5 objectives that players can contest at any point in a match and 5 players per team to contest them. Rotation is getting as much out of these objectives as possible at any given time. To not waste time, players must move quickly between the objectives and react to the enemy movements between the objectives.
This can complicate things quite a bit. For example, if you are running a necromancer that needs support to deal its damage, then you want to participate in large team fights where you can get that support. However, if there are three points you can’t always get supported wherever you go. You may end up alone sometimes because the enemy team forces you to split up by attempting to capture points split up around the map, and you may be assassinated by high burst classes or bruisers who don’t need support. As you can see, matchups and compositions are very important in deciding where you should go and the rotations of your team.
Classes and Roles
To understand rotations, you must first understand the basic roles that all classes can play. These are not absolute roles. Some classes can play multiple roles which makes them versatile, and others may specialize in a role that isn’t mentioned. All classes can play all roles because there are many buildcrafting choices, but often the most optimal builds for certain roles will depend on the current balance. For now these are the four roles that you should learn to understand PvP.
Damaging classes do tons of pressure to the enemy and get through their defenses whether it is through area denial, boon removal, or focused single target damage. Because they have so much damage, people will often try to focus them so that they can’t deal as much damage. They benefit from getting supported by their allies which allows them to continue dishing out damage even if they are focused.
Damage dealers can sometimes engage in 1v1s, but because they are not as mobile as a roamer or as survivable as a duelist, they are at a high risk of being outnumbered. If the fight somehow goes out of their favor, they usually will die as a result and can be punished very easily because of this. They prefer to be with allies because duelists can give them crowd control so they can land their damage, supports can give them the ability to sustain fights, and roamers can finish off their targets.
Examples of damage builds: Power Herald or Condition Necromancer
A more detailed guide on the specifics of the DPS role:
Supports heal and give boons to allies. They increase the survivability of their team exponentially, often enabling damage classes to play much more aggressively. However, supports can’t achieve much by themselves because they don’t often do enough damage to counter pressure. They may have lots of healing, but without the damage of their allies they can easily be focused.
In Guild Wars 2, support skills are mostly Area of Effect so there is much more value from someone supporting a larger fight than a smaller one. Because supports thrive in larger fights, it is only advised to capture nodes when your team is nearby. Getting caught defending a node by yourself as support is a bad situation unless you know your team will arrive soon. For this reason you should allow your duelists, roamers, or damage to capture nodes, that way you know you will never get stuck by yourself. It is indeed the lowest priority of a support to capture nodes.
Note: Mender’s amulet has been removed so support builds will take either Avatar or Sage amulet now.
Examples of support builds: Healing Firebrand or Aura Tempest
A more detailed guide on the specifics of the Support role:
Duelists specialize in 1v1 combat or small scale fights. A duelist will attempt to capture the nodes on the sides of the map because these are often where the smallest fights are. They try to split the enemy team up by capturing as many nodes as they can and forcing the enemy to contest them. They are hard to focus, and often prefer focus if it means protecting their team.
If the enemy team attempts to contest them on node, the duelists usually run survivable builds to hold the nodes as long as they can. Ideally they will fight the other team’s duelist in a 1v1. If it’s a favorable matchup they can gain control of the node, or if its an unfavorable matchup they can try to outsmart the other duelist by capturing other nodes. They can also attempt to stall multiple players from the enemy team in an outnumbered fight, hoping that their team will get a numbers advantage on the rest of the map. The more aggressive a duelist plays around nodes, the more attention they will get from the enemy team and risk their life.
Duelists either have really strong melee damage or Area of Effect damage because they expect to fight on a node. This means they are dangerous up close but have trouble getting kills on players who choose not to stand on the nodes with them or have high mobility. Duelists also lack the same presence to swing team fights as a support or a damage dealer because their builds are usually meant to sustain longer fights or are too selfish.
Examples of duelist builds: Condition Chronomancer or Axe/Shield Greatsword Warrior
A more detailed guide of the role of the duelist:
Roamers are not as strong as damage dealers for killing heavy support builds. They often deal most of their damage in bursts so they can swing a team fight instantly, but if they don’t see results soon they will trail off in effectiveness. Roamers also don’t have as much survivability as a duelist or support, so they can’t stay in fights very long. They often require coordination or focusing low targets to get their kills.
Roamers specialize in mobility and disruption, and require good timing to do their job. They cannot beat a damage/support combo, but they can force them to split up by creating uneven fights. For example, a roamer and a duelist are in a 2v2 vs. a support/damage, they have a low chance of winning so instead the roamer leaves to another fight. This gives the support/damage the option to:
- chase the roamer which they will have trouble catching because of mobility
- stay to 2v1 the duelist who is made to waste their time and survive outnumbered
- split and leave the damage to 1v1 the duelist which is often a bad matchup for the damage dealer
- split and leave the support to 1v1 the duelist which is almost always a bad idea unless the support is not needed elsewhere and they can hold the node
Roamers often cannot 1v1 duelists, but they can appear in more places than a duelist can. They do not play the objectives as well as the other roles, but they make it hard for the enemy team to play their roles optimally, giving their allies significant advantages.
Examples of roamer builds: Longbow Ranger or Dash D/P Daredevil
A more detailed guide on the role of the Roamer:
Once you get into a match, take a look at your team and the enemy team using the PvP Panel (default keybind “B”). Most teams will send one person to the closest node or home node at the start. No more than one person is needed to cap a node, so unless they get attacked you can go somewhere else. A duelist is better suited for this job because they can do it by themselves and if they get attacked by someone it usually wont be their whole team since it takes longer for their team to go to your node than to mid.
The other 4 players can split up between the middle node and the far node. If there are multiple duelists on your team it is a good idea to have one go home and one go far. If the enemy team decides to collapse on your far-pushing duelist, they may be in a lot of danger, so it is usually best to have your most confident duelist go there so they can carefully decide when to push or to regroup with the team.
Make your minimap as large as you can so you pay attention to the rotations.
Damage and support classes should attempt to win a team fight around the middle node and depending on the outcome of that situation can fall back towards home or push towards far. Roamers can decide to outnumber one of the duelists on the side nodes to influence the outcome of a 1v1 or to force the enemy off the node so their duelist can capture and hold it. They can also go to the team fights and supplement the damage of their damaging classes to try to get kills and hope that they can receive support.
Judge where you should go at the start based on your team’s composition. These are just general ideas of where to go, and in more coordinated play these become much more reactive, strategic, and targeted towards certain plays and counter plays. For the most part, the above mentioned splits will work in ranked queues. Just remember that often there are no right or wrong rotations, only trade offs of resources. You are in a race to 500 points, so not only do you need to get to 500 points, but also you need to prevent your enemy from reaching it. After the opening splits, the rotations become much more complicated and based on matchups.
When deciding where to go, much of the decision is based on who you will meet at that location. Make the mini map as large as you can and frequently look at it to know who is where. Just because your build is not optimal for a certain role does not mean you won’t sometimes assume that role. For example, thieves should almost never fully capture a node by themselves because they often do not run builds that can defend the node. However, a thief who suspects that no one will push a specific node in a while, can capture it for their ally who will defend the node. Likewise, a support should not invest in defending a node by themselves, but if there are signs of teammates arriving soon they may want to do so.
If no one on your team can play the role of a duelist, it can often be better to avoid 1v1s and split your team into groups of 2 or 3 instead of 4 and 1. There is no need to fight by the enemy’s rules. Force larger fights that make it awkward for the enemy to perform their role optimally. If your team wins fights that they have an advantage in, they can then snowball. Killing players removes them from the map while they are respawning, allowing you to outnumber the enemy and get more and more kills like a snowball rolling down a hill. Be careful, enemies respawn 15 seconds after they have fully died. Remember if you can’t win a fight there is no need to take it. Just because the enemy owns your node doesn’t mean you need to take it back immediately or fairly. Help your allies win their fights and they will help you win yours.
It is usually better to over commit to something and win it than to under commit to multiple things and lose all of them. If your team needs someone to do something but no one else will do it, you can try to fill that role. However, if things don’t go well, you would rather try something else. Getting practice at something can be useful, and often failing is necessary for improvement, but there are trade offs to every rotation you make.
Having said so, the best method is to evenly ration your resources and get the most value out of them by putting them in the right place at the right time. The specific outcomes of each matchup change with the balance and the skill level of each player. Much of it comes down to knowledge, experience, or simply playstyle, but a few general tips on matchups can be understood:
- Revenants generally get countered by condition builds or burst damage, but have great sustain and deal with blocks well, so they work well against Guardians
- Guardians have many ways to counter condition builds, but struggle to survive focus in larger fights because aegis is their main hard mitigation which doesn’t scale up well
- Warriors are very predictable because their attacks have obvious telegraphs, but can survive a lot of focus. Blinds and ranged damage work well against them
- Rangers have very low cooldowns and a pet so they can easily sustain small scale fights, but get focused easily and their pets become less useful in larger scale fights
- Thieves have high mobility to allow them to survive focus and have burst to focus targets, but struggle to kill heavy classes that can survive outnumbered situations well
- Engineers have tons of skills they can use and get a lot of value out of their ability to freely cast them. This makes them weak to crowd controls like stuns and dazes
- Elementalists have a low base health so they can die to burst damage, and movement inhibiting conditions (cripple, chill, immobilize) allow them to be bursted down more easily. Necromancers can do both of these
- Mesmers lose to Thieves, but can bully melee classes or slow classes with their mobility and sustained damage to a single target from illusions. In larger fights their clones die easily, making them deal less damage if they cant isolate a target
- Necromancers have lots of corrupts and damage to kill heavy classes, but are easily focused and stun locked to death when out of shroud
These are by no means absolute, and of course just because a class has an optimal build does not mean it can’t play a different role with a different build. The beauty of Guild Wars 2 Conquest PvP is the diversity that is created by the flexibility of roles that classes can play either by build or by rotation. Not always do you have the luxury to rotate into favorable matchups, so for more in-depth guides on handling each class, check out this matchups playlist:
Once you feel like you know where to go and how to play your role, read up on my guide of How to Carry Your Weight in PvP.
This guide was written by Vallun as exclusive content for GuildJen. For more guides, builds, and GW2 PvP topics by Vallun, visit his YouTube channel or ask questions when he is live streaming at twitch.tv/vallun