One of the most fun builds I came up with during BWE3 was a Rifle Engineer that focused on high direct damage and great control using the Grenade Kit as a utility skill. Check the following video for some clips of it in action along with detailed analysis on several situations I found myself in while playing with it.
Edit (8/21/2012): And check out a Tournament Game where I play it:
Click past the jump for more details on the build.
Runes of Svanir – (165 Toughness/+20% offensive Chill Duration/-50% defensive Chill Duration/5 second self-stun+invulnerability when hit below 20% HP)
This Rune set is amazingly potent in this build. Together with the +30% condition duration from traits, my chills from the Freeze Grenade have a +50% modifier. Considering that Grenadier gives me an extra freeze grenade, I end up with 3 4.5 second chills for a total of 13.5 seconds of chill on a 15 second cooldown. That’s just wickedly powerful considering how potent Chill is. The toughness is great too since it’s my only source of it, and if you have Elixir R up when the stun/invuln goes up, you can remove the stun while keeping that invuln. That makes it like an auto-Endure Pain which is super useful.
I played a bit with some other rune sets like the generic Divinity set for more crit damage and the Runes of the Adventure (which is a lot of fun when it works but seems to bug out a lot and not actually trigger) and found most of them to have very little noticeable effect. The Runes of Svanir are almost a gamechanger though in how it makes this otherwise glassy build into a beast.
Sigil of Superior Air – Sigils are pretty boring for Engineers since they don’t affect kits (yet; there was a post by an ArenaNet developer that mentioned they would in the future) and you can’t use any of the swap ones since there’s only one “weapon set”. Superior Air is a nice choice anyway though for just extra damage and the potential for yet another crit (that can trigger another bleed or burning effect). The damage seems lower this last BWE3 compared to prior beta weekends.
The Rifle is a pretty obvious choice for this build, since I invested so heavily in the Power and Precision trait lines. There’s a lot of really nice traits there that synergize great with the Rifle’s abilities. Lowering the cooldowns is a pretty straight-forward choice considering how useful the Rifle’s abilities are from both a damage and utility point of view. I really like the Blind on crit trait, even at a 50% chance. This thing will regularly cut down the damage your target is applying and if you’re properly kiting around using the Net shot and Freeze Grenades you can oftentimes keep the enemy out of melee range long enough for the internal cooldown to pass. When it triggers on key abilities like Bull’s Charge it feels amazing ;). Granted, that’s sort of up to the skill of your opponent but since it’s sort of hard to keep an eye on the action and your conditions as well as the fact that many melee weapon sets won’t have a ranged ability to burn the blind on, it’s still dead useful.
Capabilities of the Build
The primary purpose I had for this build as I came up with it was to put out strong, sustained ranged DPS. With the Engineer buffs ArenaNet put in for BWE3, a Rifle Engineer is finally able to bring that to the table. Hip-Shots (the Rifle’s auto-attack) were regularly critting for ~1k in this build. That doesn’t sound that impressive until you take all the traits into account. I have a 30% chance to bleed for 3 seconds which can add 165 damage per crit. Incendiary Powder almost feels overpowered, giving each crit a 33% chance to BURN for 2 seconds. My burns tick for 390 damage/second so that’s another 780 damage. That means just my auto-shot can (on a decently armored target):
51% chance – No crit – ~650 damage
49% chance – Crit – ~1000 damage straight up + (30% chance for 165 damage) + (33% chance for 780 damage) = Average 1306 damage on crits
Giving me an average shot of 1k damage. Not too shabby for a 1000 range auto-attack that pierces.
Blunderbuss and Jump Shot do a lot of burst damage which you can use to take down an opponent, but both have weird animation delays which mean you have to time them well to actually land the damage effectively.
The Grenades are where I start to really bring the pain. The toolkit grenade throw is 7 grenades that can each crit for ~450 (and each can trigger that bleed or burn). That means the average use of the toolkit ability will do ~3600 damage taking the crit chance and conditions that can be applied. The other grenade abilities do almost as much direct damage per grenade (albeit 3 grenades instead of 7) and they do a decent amount of damage through conditions. That 13.5 second chill on a 15 second cooldown is not to be underestimated, and if you can land three poison fields under an enemy without condition removal you can just laugh as they won’t have a good heal for a long time.
In terms of team support, you have the Rifle’s awesome control abilities in Overcharged Shot (very finnicky to use though; I had it just whiff tons of times even though I felt like I used it the same as other times) and Net Shot.
Elixir throwing is a bit hit-or-miss. Toss Elixir H will always give you a boon that’s useful in somehow mitigating incoming damage in combat, but the way it works is REALLY varied. 5 seconds of Protection is obviously the best result; 10 seconds of Vigor is nice if you get it while you’re around 50% endurance but if you’re already full or you’re completely empty it’s not going to help very much in mitigating damage that’s coming in the next couple seconds. Regeneration is the worst for this build since it’s only 1300 health as I have 0 Compassion (hah) and it’s over 10 seconds. Granted in a healing build that’d be almost 3000 health over 10 seconds, but even that’s probably not as good as the Protection or Vigor. Toss Elixir C is pretty good; the low cooldown means you can use it as a single condition removal and save the drink for when you really need it. Tossing Elixir R is obviously amazing. It revives so fast, and if you’re expecting it it isn’t too difficult to use it to revive yourself, and how many builds can pull that off?
My favorite tactics I pulled off over the weekend:
– Very easy to pull off a self-res when you have the Svanir Rune proc, drink Elixir R to break the stun, do something (stomp, throw Elixir H, whatever), and then throw Elixir R at your own feet as the enemy vigorously tries to pound you through the invulnerability. Just don’t use it too early.
– I had fun sitting at the clock tower and raining death down with the grenades on passing enemies underneath. 1500 range is totally absurd (longer than the Mortar elite!) I’m not sure if they’ll change Grenadier, but I really hope not.
Let me know what your thoughts are on this build!