Building a Team Composition – Part I
Guild Wars 2 sPvP has a rather high barrier of entry with so many customization options. Learning all the different build possibilities is no easy feat, and figuring out which five to represent in a game can be even more confusing. This article contains some simple concepts to follow when building a strong team composition. They are applicable whether you are queuing as a premade, practicing with a team, or simply figuring out which profession to play in a solo queue game.
Please note that some of the ‘roles’ I describe can be fulfilled by multiple builds, and some builds can fulfill multiple roles.
Start From the Defense
Make sure your team contains build/profession combinations (henceforth referred to as ‘specs’) that can defend an already captured node. The basis of scoring in sPvP is the amount of time each team can hold nodes, and everything else is meaningless if your team cannot maintain this primary objective. Qualifying specs are usually tanky with multiple sources of damage mitigation, have good sustain, and most importantly, able to fight on the small capture point circles. They will often be expected to withstand pressure from 2 or more enemies for long enough that another ally can come to their aid. Specs that rely on stealth or kiting from a distance are generally ill suited for the job due to either having to fight from off the capture point circle, or using stealth for offense/defense and giving up on contesting the point. I advise having 2-3 team members that are able fulfill the role of capture point defender, since a team needs to hold at least 2 points for the majority of a game to win.
Deploy the Loose Cannon
With the defense in place, your team needs ways to gain advantages in combat. In a balanced team composition, there should be at least one spec which is primarily focused on tipping a battle in your favor. They need to be able to output a large amount of damage very quickly, and they need the means to reliably get their damage off, whether it be stealth, range, or mobility. (Or all of them!) However due to their focus on offense, this kind of spec tends to make for a poor node defender and can be weak in outnumbered situations or even 1v1s. For this reason I do not recommend having more than 2 per team, as any more can lead to difficulty holding nodes.
Gotta Go Fast
Do not forget mobility. Rotating from point to point is such an important aspect of Guild Wars 2 sPvP that games can often come down to which team rotates better rather than which team fights better. A team composition of all Guardians and Necromancers may have some major issues getting from point to point in a timely manner. Some professions can provide for themselves when it comes to mobility (Thieves), and some professions can even provide for others (Mesmer Portal, Elementalist Fiery Greatsword). If you choose to bring a less portable spec, make sure your team has sufficient mobility to make up for it. I do not recommend having more than 2 low mobility specs. Even in the case that there are 2 present, I advise having a mobility provider on the team (like a Mesmer Portal).
Mix It Up
Have different types of damage. A team with only condition damage will run into issues facing a high condi clearing build, a team with only burst will be in trouble if they cannot burst fast enough and allow the opposing team to heal in between cooldowns. While this can be harder to implement in solo queue, having a good balance of physical damage per second, physical burst damage, and condition damage can give your team composition an edge due to the various sources of pressure your opponents will need to deal with. Likewise, make sure your own team has the tools to address different kinds of threats. Allowing a Ranger free reign over the map or finding yourself lacking in condition clear will likely lead to a loss.
Balance in All Things
Finally, a certain degree of balance is always necessarily for a successful team composition. Even if your team is focused on team fighting, having sufficient mobility to split off to side points at certain times can only better your chances to win – see Orange Logo vs The Abjured at WTS Cologne. Generally speaking, this can be achieved with a nice mix of professions, since each profession tends to specialize in different things. Focusing too hard on one of the concepts I listed above will lead to glaring weaknesses in your composition compared to a team with good balance. When games can come down to as few as 20 points, the difference can simply be having 1 too few node defenders, or the inability to deal with that condition Engineer and having him pick up 4 kills too many for his team.
Stay tuned for Part II where I go over some popular meta builds and how they fit into a team composition.
*Update: Part II will be published with the release of Heart of Thorns.
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