This is a full tank build that I created with mesmer. It is really strong in both pvp and pve, although it has really low damage output in pve.


Here is the build:

This build works around getting hit, and returning damage. The main features are 100% retaliation uptime, 100% regeneration uptime, and around 50% uptime on protection and chaos armor.

The weapons used are staff + sword/focus. Traits are 0/0/20/20/30, taking chaos 4 and 10 for staff recharges and 3% reduced damage per illusion. Inspiration 4 and 8 for condition removal on heal, and focus recharges. Illusions 2, 6, and 11 for retaliation when using cry of frustration, recharge shatters at 50% hp, and illusionary persona. The usual utilities I run with are phantasmal defender mirror images, and decoy. I will swap out mirror images for arcane thievery or feedback depending on the situation.


All of my armor and weapons are level 80 exotics with soldiers stats (Power/vitality/toughness). My amulet and earrings are level 80 exotics with soldiers stats, and crests of the soldier. My rings and backpiece are ascended with soldiers stats. The runes in my build are 6x runes of melandru. These give a good amount of toughness, but more importantly provide a massive amount of innate condition resistance with the -25% condition duration and -25% stun duration.


I always use superior sharpening stones. Since this build has very high toughness and vitality, these stones give a large amount of power. My other food is now always bowls of lemongrass-poultry soup. This gives 70 vitality, but most importantly it gives -40% condition duration. In combination with the runes of melandru, this provides a total of -65% condition duration. With this much condition duration, things like immobilizes become little more than stutter-steps, cripple and chill drop off barely noticeable, and bleeds become exceedingly difficult to stack in any relevant way.


The playstyle utilizes leap combo finishers to keep most of the buffs up. Illusionary leap and swap are a total of 2 leap combo finishers. Dropping temporal curtain then using both skills on top of it generates around 14 seconds retaliation. A full 3 clone (illusionary persona won’t increase the time here) cry of frustration will generate around 15 seconds of retaliation. Between these 2 skills and the token retaliation from chaos storm, you can easily have 100% uptime, even against someone stripping the boons.

Regeneration is given in aoe pulses of 3 seconds from your phantasms. You should be dropping phantasms as often as possible, and this will easily keep regen going 100% of the time.

Protection is gained in a few ways. Every 15 seconds, you will get 2 seconds of protection from the regen applied by the phantasms. This used to be stronger, but was nerfed. You will get 5 seconds of protection upon activation of the chaos armor skill on the staff, as well as another 5 seconds whenever the proc goes off from being hit. This ends up producing a decent uptime on protection, provided you have chaos armor on while being attacked.

Chaos armor is applied from the staff 4 skill, as well as leap combo finishers through any ethereal combo field. This can be feedback, chaos storm, time warp, or null field. Generally, I use phase retreat for the leap combo finisher through chaos storm. Chaos armor lasts 5 seconds, and does not stack in duration, but simply refreshes the 5 seconds duration when reapplied, so be careful about stacking too many chaos armor combos, as they will not gain in effectiveness.


Your focus will reflect projectiles, and so abuse this as much as you can. Dropping a warden on anyone spamming ranged attacks will force them to immediately change to something else. When starting a fight, there is a bit of build-up time where you get your boons up, and shattering phantasms at this stage is fine, as I usually let them get 1 attack off and then shatter. The exception to this is phantasmal defender. As soon as you have done your initial 3 clone cry of frustration, put down the defender, and don’t shatter until it is dead, as this doubles the damage returned from retaliation.

In order to really finish someone off, you generally will need to burst confusion with a cry + mirror images + mind wrack for just a little bit of burst damage to get them downed, but for the majority of the fight, just focus on staying high on health, and letting them slowly work their health down from retaliation damage.

And without further ado, here is a video:

One versus many, part 1:

One versus many, part 2:–u3A25GI&

Soloing a fully upgraded supply camp:



Additional Guide Tips Welcomed!