Any attempt to create Comedy Mesmer Builds in Guild Wars 2 must begin with an understanding of the weapon slots. In Guild Wars One terms, a weapon sort of translates as a kind of preset unalterable ‘half-build’, presumably with a particular kind of purpose and gameplay style in mind. In this case, the weapon becomes the starting point of any Guild Wars 2 Comedy build.
I particularly like the Mesmer Greatsword and use it almost exclusively as a default weapon for almost all activities, only switching in the Sword/Focus for particular specifics.
The basic attack (#1 Spatial Surge) is a hoot; the Mesmer makes the thing hover between outstretched arms and then uses it as the focusing lens of a massive purple stabby laserbeam. What’s not to like? This auto-attack is surprisingly powerful, relatively fast and seems to crit pretty often. Worth noting that the beam does more damage the further away you are. It’ll work at point blank range (Base Damage: 201), but the ideal range is also the maximum range; 1200 (Base Damage: 348; about +70% improvement), so be sure to tumble backwards for preference when dodging, and use the various Illusions to try to distract the foe and keep them at range where possible. Keep this going any time you aren’t casting anything else. Remember, in the hands of the Mesmer, a Greatsword is a ranged weapon.
#2 Mirror Blade is a dependable Combo Finisher, of the Physical Projectile type. This means when fired into or through a Combo Field skill (#7, #8 or #10 in my typical skillbar), it will cause the Confusion condition on the enemy it connects with. It also Combo Finishes through other people’s Fields too; lines of fire, healing domes, etc. Use into any persistent friendly AOE you see! It also bounces between several targets, which I’ve improved with traiting. As with many Mesmer skills, it variously debuffs enemies and buffs friendlies, which is a nice bonus. This one does Vulnerability or Might. It also looks cool. It doesn’t do a huge amount of straight damage, so I usually save it for Combo work, rather than spamming it whenever it lights up. On contact with the first target, this will also create a Clone directly into melee, which isn’t powerful, but does a good job of running interference, and can be used for the F1-4 shatter skills as needed.
#3 Mind Stab is a bit weak. It doesn’t do a huge amount of damage, it has a fiddley flow-breaking positionable AOE template which itself is quite small and the boon stripping isn’t a massive gamechanger. A useful fallback in point-blank melee scrums, or if everything else is cooling down.
#4 Phantasmal Berserker is the real workhorse skill on this weapon. It summons an imaginary you with a greatsword who then does great big charging sweeps on the chosen target. These sweeps are AOE spinning attacks every 7 seconds or so which cause Crippled condition, have a satisfyingly high DPS and seem to crit like crazy. The spin attack is a Combo Finisher: Whirl so if launched into an Ethereal field will also start firing off Confusion bolts in all directions! Interestingly, this skill does not require line of sight to use; very handy for WvWvW Keep Battles – with some clever targeting, it can be summoned on the other side of closed keep doors or along wall tops. In large zergs (PvE events, or WvW), the Cripple component is the most valuable aspect, ensuring you tag almost everything and help prevent most of it from getting away or getting to you while the rest of your zerg now grinds them up at leisure. It’s not a real tank (See Phantasmal Defender and Phantasmal Warden), but opening with this skill buys you a valuable few seconds of DPS time, and when the enemy does start to notice you, they are limping when they come for you. As a phantasm, it counts as Active Illusion pip for F1-4 shattering, although in my opinion is far more useful alive than exploded; there are plenty of more disposable Illusions more suited for that, not least the one created by a Mirror Blade hit, above. Aim to have an iBerserker in play at all times, and remember to resummon a new one after each target dies. One thing to watch out for; the long sweeping dashes it makes, in largely random directions, can be hell for secondary aggro, so watch for unavoidable adds when using this skill; the iBerserker will end up pulling the entire room or campsite pretty much on its first sweeping pass. Plan accordingly.
#5 Illusionary Wave is okay, but situational. A kind of mini panic-button in function, it is a hefty on-demand forward facing arc knockback which can be used to quickly gain range on an enemy who is too close, particularly when followed up by Crippling #4 sweep and a backward tumble. Unfairly, while monsters with knockback can gleefully punt players off tall ledges to their deaths far below, this skill will not. Enemies will be driven back to the edge of a ledge or drop, but cannot be forced over them. In fights against large numbers, correct application of this skill can refocus and herd the fight back into more manageable front-lines, especially when adds are starting to peel off and attack back-row people. It causes poor damage and no conditions (a Mesmer rarity!) and used incorrectly can even drive enemies to safety from damaging AOE bubbles and the like. It does Interrupt, (or what passes for interruption in Guild Wars 2), so assuming the big uber-monster is capable of being knocked over, and is telegraphing a big wind-up teamkill special move clearly enough, hitting them with this will buy the team time. Interruption is nowhere near the science it was in the original game though, so best of luck with that!
On the whole, the Greatsword seems to fulfil a decent offensive ranged DPS role without too much in the way of tricksey gimmicks. Illusion generation is decent, with two clones created per skill rotation, neither needing complex circumstances to do. I haven’t done any Structured PvP yet, but in all other areas of the game, I find it performs well and is a solid dependable DPS beast. Its skills work together reasonably well, and anyway, it looks damned cool.
Getting long, so more on the Sword/Focus secondary and my Heal/Utility/Elite slots next time!