Ranger Spike Build Variants, Some thoughts and ideas

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Ranger Spike Build Variants, Some thoughts and ideas

Post  jeunfb on Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:04 am

Ranger spike has been a very popular and successful build to run in the past. Since there are a number of posts about updating it and running it again, I have started this topic for ideas and discussion.

Shotgun or Timed Spike
Ranger spike can either have a timed spike or a shotgun approach. The Timed Spike usually uses Dual Shot followed by Punishing Shot. Bows normally fire at a rate of 2 to 2.4 seconds, but certain bow skills like interupts have activation times, so they fire quicker. So with Dual Shot + an interupt like Punishing shot, you can have 3 arrows hitting a target within 0.5 seconds of each other.

The shotgun approach is used as a pressure build. The target caller switches targets often, so the enemy monks waste energy putting protective enchantments on targets. With enough arrows hitting targets, the monks run out of energy and targets start to drop quickly. A shotgun spike team can also incorporate some timed spikes by switching targets frequently and saving their bow skills like Dual Shot to use simultaneously.

I prefer the shotgun pressure approach + occasional spikes if the targets are not going down.

The Damage
The damage from Ranger Spikes comes from having multiple sources of damage that add up to some impressive totals.

Bow Damage: 15 to 28 = 21.5 average
Vampiric Weapon Mod: +5 lifestealing
Favorable Winds: +6 damage
Winnowing: +4 damage
Read the Wind: +9 or 10 damage
Order of Pain or Order of the Vampire: +17 damage/life stealing
OR..Brutal Weapon: +10 to 13 damage

Together they add up to roughly 60 damage per shot. Since the damage comes from different sources it doesn't get reduced by Protective Spirit or Spirit Bond. However, enchantments like Shield of Absorption or Shielding Hands will negate most of the damage as it is triggered multiple times per shot.

How many Rangers to bring?
Generally you need at least 4 Rangers to spike a target (3 arrows in a spike x 60 each = 180 x 4 rangers = 720 damage).

Adding a 5th Ranger works out to about the same as having 4 Rangers + an Orders spammer. Without Orders, each shot does about 43 damage so 5 rangers produce a volley that does ~215 damage (roughly the same as 4 rangers x 60 damage each = 240 damage).

The pros/cons of bringing an orders Necro are as follows:
PRO: a bit more damage, Necro can bring more utility skills like Order of Apostasy, Aegis, Martyr, Light of Deliverance, etc.
CONS: much less ability to split the team if needed. spamming orders can be boring. Necro is squishy if positioning is bad. Can't use Brutal Weapon (no enchantments).

Another option is to drop 1 Ranger for a Warrior. Having one Warrior out front can help with team positioning, absorb some damage and add a Deep Wound to spikes. The downside is that you can't switch targets quite as quickly.

Another option is to drop one or more Rangers for Paragons. Spears are faster than bows (1.5 seconds instead of 2 seconds) and only do a little bit less damage (20.5 average and 3 from vampiric instead of 5). Paragons would not benefit from Favorable Winds, but could add a ranged deep wound and more pressure with shouts like Anthem of Flame.

If I were building an updated Shotgun spike, I would have 1 Paragon, 3 Rangers, and 1 Orders Necro.

Balancing the Build and Countering the Counters
If the other team does not have counters, the pressure from a shotgun spike will crush the other team. However, almost every team has hexes, conditions, and other skills to stop ranger/paragon teams.

Here are the counters and what skills you can bring to counter the counters:
Blind: Blinding Surge is still popular. With enchantments like orders, it will be an AOE blind. Options include Elite Condition removal like Martyr or Cautery Signet. Another option is to put condition removal on all or most of the Rangers/Paragons. Signet of Malice is nice if you are applying some conditions. Remedy Signet & Antidote Signet are good options.

Splitting/Movement: Almost all teams will try to split vs Ranger/Paragon spike. You can counter this some of the time with a good home map (Jade, Burning, or Imperial Isle would be the best bets). Other than that you need movement boosts or snares (preferably both). Fall Back on one or two Rangers/Paragons works well. Charge is an option. Ranger run skills like Natural Stride work too, but the monks & necro also need a speed boost.

Hexes: Having Elite hex removal will be important. Many teams bring Spoil Victor, Spiteful Spirit, Insidious Parasite, Faintheartedness, etc and then cover the hexes.

Hiding/Dodging: Good teams will use obstructions on the map and kiting to dodge/avoid arrows. A good home map will help some. Having snares like Pin Down, Crippling Shot, & Water Hexes can help a lot.

Blocking Enchantments: An Aegis chain will cut your damage output in half. Bringing Natures Renewal and using interupts are a good solution for stoping Aegis. Order of Apostasy is another option. An Orders Necro can also bring Well of the Profane to removal multiple enchantments.

There are also skills like Rigor Mortis that prevents a single target from blocking attacks, but the recharge time does not work well for a shotgun pressure approach. You can also use Called Shot which can't be blocked.

Shields Up: This Warrior Shot is the bane of Ranger/Paragon teams. It gives 50 armor & 50% blocking vs arrows & spears, so your damage is cut by ~ 75%. It has a duration of 15-18 seconds and a 30 second recharge. Vocal Minority can slow down the use of Shields Up, but not really prevent it.

The Ranger Skills
The logical choices for the Elite Skill in Ranger Spike are Punishing Shot for a timed spike and Quick Shot for a shotgun pressure approach.

Quick Shot does not add any damage, but it has a 1 second activation time (instead of the normal 2 seconds for a bow shot) and it flies faster. I prefer to save the Elite skill slots for other skills that round out the team build rather than using Quick Shot because Rangers run out of energy using Quick Shot, even with high expertise (2 energy used per second requires 6 pips of regen).

If you don't use Quick Shot, here are some ideas for Elites:
Attack Speed Boosts:
Rampage as One: Run & Attack Speed Boost. Bring a pet for more pressure.
Soldier's Stance
Soldier's Fury

Expel Hexes: Keep the team shooting more often
Shatterstorm: Multiple Enchantment removal
Empathic Removal
Signet of Removal
Crippling Anthem

Burning Arrow: +83 damage every 5 seconds is nice
Poison Arrow: more pressure from conditions
Broad Head Arrow: Add Dazed to take down monks

Once you pick your Elite, here are the standard Ranger skills:
1) Read the Wind
2) Winnowing/Favorable Winds/other spirit like Nature's Renewal or Frozen Soil
3) Savage Shot
4) Dual Shot
5) ELITE Skill
6) Utility Skill (Pin Down, Distracting Shot, Debiliating Shot, run skill)
7) Utility Skill (Troll Unguent, Antidote Signet, etc)
Cool Rez Signet

Debilitating Shot works very well with the Shotgun pressure approach.

Ranger Shotgun Spike could work well with either 3 Rangers, 1 Paragon, 1 Orders Necro, 2 Monks and 1 flagger or 4 Ranger/Ritualists, 1 Paragon, 2 Monks and 1 flagger. Either a Ranger, Water Ele or monk flagger would work well with the build.

For maximum pressure, I would include Nature's Renewal and Ranger/Paragon skills that cause conditions. I think I prefer Poison Arrow, Burning Arrow, Broadhead Arrow, Crippling Anthem, and Offering of Blood as the Elites on the damagers. http://www.theamazonbasin.com/gw/forums/index.php?showtopic=7626

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