Last article I discussed the basics of the Necromancer profession. In that article I shared my pet build and the basics and benefits of that style of play. This article, I’m going to change it up and present you to the beauty and power of Wells.
“So what are Wells?” I covered the basics of Wells last week, but in quick recap, Wells are large, area-of-effect abilities that induce various conditions on those inside of them and take up the 6-0 keys. Some heal and buff allies, while others poison and blind enemies. These abilities are more useful for large scale world-versus-world battles than pets. If you plan on waging war across The Mists, I highly recommend using Wells in combination with the staff to gain large AOE control and damage.
Special note about Wells. Without the “Focused Rituals” trait, Wells will automatically be cast where you are standing. By taking this trait in your talent tree, you are free to cast Wells at range, which is vital for their effective use.
“So why use Wells when I can use pets?” Simple. For WvW. My pet build is a very strong build for leveling or 5v5 pvp. The pet build makes the necromancer tanky and allows a necromancer to take and hold capture points with confidence. However, when was the last time a pet let you attack someone on top of a wall in WvW pvp? Wells are a necromancer’s best friend in WvW pvp. Pets die too quickly and to easily when confronted with a large mass of enemy players. It is all too easy to end up in a hail of arrows or a rain of fire and for all your pets to evaporate in an instant, leaving a pet using necromancer suddenly at a serious disadvantage as a horde of players swarms over the nearby hills.
Wells offer a safe alternative. A necromancer wielding a staff and Wells can create walls of effects that damage and hinder large groups of players while allowing the necromancer to stay out of harm’s way.
There are Five Wells. These Wells and their effects are:
Well of Blood = 40 second cooldown, lasts for 10 seconds. This Well is a healing Well and heals all allies within while also healing the necromancer for a moderate amount of health when the spell is first fast. An excellent option for WvW when your team needs to be kept alive.
Well of Corruption = 45 second cooldown, last 5 seconds – converts enemy boons to conditions. This Well is an enemy guardian’s worst friend.
Well of Darkness = 60 second cooldown – 5 second duration. My personal favorite and one I always have on my bar while I am using Wells. It ticks every second for five seconds and each time it ticks it blinds all enemies within for 3 seconds. It is a brutal well that can prevent entire groups of enemies from harming you
Well of Power = 60 second cooldown – 5 second duration – A great Well for buffing allies. Makes enemy necromancers furious as their debuffs start to make your allies stronger.
Well of suffering = 45 second cooldown – 5 second duration – As it ticks, it damages enemies and causes them to be weakened. An excellent Well to cast in front of a charging horde of enemies before they engage your allies in close combat.
Plague = 180 second cooldown – 20 second duration – This isn’t really a well but it acts similar to one. The catch? You are the well. With this spell, you turn yourself into a ball of black smoke for 20 seconds. While in this form you can harm and bleed enemies that around you, blind all foes within a certain radius of you, or poison and cripple foes, depending on which effect you want to inflict foes with. The advantage to this form is that you are mobile while this spell is active and acting as a mobile smoke cloud that blinds enemies is a lot of fun. I also use this elite skill in combination with my Well abilities
So now that we know the basics of the Wells, it’s time to discuss my build for using them effectively.
The primary weapon you will use for this build is the staff. The staff’s abilities for the necromancer act as spamable mines called marks. Each mark has its own effect and these act as a sort of mini-well when the enemy steps on them. The four marks are:
Mark of Blood = Inscribe a mark that bleeds foes when they trigger it, and grants regeneration to allies. This will be your most used ability.
Chillblains = Inscribe a mark that chills foes when they trigger it, and leaves a poisonous area. Essential for crowd control.
Putrid Mark = Inscribe a mark that transfers conditions from allies to foes when they trigger it. The most situational of the marks at your disposal.
Reaper’s Mark = Inscribe a mark that causes fear when foes trigger it. Excellent crowd control for groups
The second weapon set you will use is the scepter/horn combo. The scepter induces bleeds and has a nice area-of-effect and range. The horn can save your life and help you move swiftly with its “Locust Swarm” ability.
Now for the talent build. I use the 20/20/20 split because I like having my marks constantly on the ground in case I get jumped while my Wells are recharging. This build focuses entirely on range and uses the scepter/horn combination as a means of retreat more than attack. This build is able to attack both enemies in the open as well as those cowering behind parapets on the walls. One just needs to be careful with the placement of their marks and Wells. It does take a little bit of practice to be able to hit enemies on the top of walls but is do-able. Also the scepter’s “Grasping Dead” ability is incredibly good at hitting enemies hiding on walls.
So now that we know the Wells and their effects and have a build that supports it, we need to learn the basics strategies of this build.
I have several tactics that I list below. Often I will make mention of a” line of marks”. Normally this is a horizontal line that will create a barrier between yourself and the enemy. There is a specific pattern to this line. From left to right, the line I use is Mark of Blood, Chillblains, Putrid Mark, and Reaper’s Mark. This line should have the edges of the marks overlap ever so slightly so multiple marks can be triggered by the same enemy at once. I put the marks of Chillblains and Blood side-by-side because the slow is the most important and lets you escape while the enemy is slowly damaged. Fear is on the outside to cause confusion and send enemies away from you at a, hopefully, diagonal angle, giving you more time to run.
“The Wall” = Possibly the most useful strategy against large groups in fields. The idea is that you are going to spam a straight line of marks from your staff horizontally across the ground. As the enemy charges, watch their actions. Most players will attempt to run to the left or right of the line of marks and avoid the damage they do. This is what we want though! As the enemy move around the line, ready your Wells and spring the trap. Focus on the larger group of enemies and place the first Well slightly behind the line so the enemy has to walk across the entire distance, suffering from the effects of the Well. Then place a second Well to the left of the first, forcing the enemy force to move even further around. Now at this point, the enemy’s front rank is suffering from continuous damage and effects but more enemies are closing in! It’s time to run! Use the “Retreat in Shadow” stagey at this time.
“Retreat in Shadow.” = The strategy for when it’s time to make a heroic retreat. I always keep “Well of Darkness” assigned for my 9 key for this tactic. Create a line of horizontal marks from your staff between you and the enemy and then place “Well of Darkness “beside the line where the greatest number of enemies are about to run through. Then turn around and switch to your horn weapon set. Activate” Locust Swarm” and start running. The blind from “Well of Darkness” will prevent any enemies from hitting your retreating flank. However, if the enemy catches you off-guard and unprepared, there is a modification to this strategy. Switch to the horn weapon set; throw the “Well of Darkness” directly in front of you once you have picked the direction you are going to run. Run through the Well. The blind from this Well should prevent any melee characters from getting a stun off on you. Then activate the horn’s “Locust Swarm” ability and begin to run. As you are about to leave the Well, turn yourself into a ball of darkness by activating “Plague” and race off. The blind from “Plague” will keep any swift melee characters from hitting you and letting you, hopefully, put enough space between the enemy force and yourself to get away.
“Let them charge” = This is a favorite of mine while defending gates or narrow spaces. The idea here is that we are going to use our marks and Wells as one massive atom bomb of destruction. Place all your marks behind the gate. Wait until the door is about to go. Right before it does, put up all your Wells and turn and run. What you may miss is sheer amount of confusion and damaged you are going to do to the people who charge in first. People never wait to charge through the gate and this tactic can several weaken the enemy. If you can coordinate with a guardian, you can actually trap the attacking force inside the gate area. Place your Wells the moment the gate goes down and have the guardian throw up his impassable barrier ability at the same time. This will trap the unsuspecting force inside your Wells for their full duration. This tactic can actually let you wipe the enemy assault right there, especially if a thief lines the area with traps and you have enough defenders spam AOE abilities to weaken them and a few arrow carts aimed at the door.
“Once more to the breach dear friends!” = This tactic relies on one ability. You are going to use “Plague” to turn into a mobile ball of blinding gas and rush headlong into the enemy force. Nothing messes up a mass of enemies more than an all of them suddenly being blind and unable to do damage to the mass of allies that charge behind you. This is a risky strategy and one that can result in your death if your allies decide not to follow you. But it’s often worth it. Moving amongst an enemy mass, spreading blind as you go, can cause the route or defeat or many a mass of enemies. They will, at the very least have to stop and deal with you and this can be all the time your teammates need to regroup and attack or join you amongst the enemy’s ranks. When taking a castle, be the first to rush through the broken gate or wall and try to get onto the ramparts as fast as possible and spread your blind up there. This can save your allies and reduce the enemy’s ability to defend.
So there you have it. A Well build, a list of their effects, and some basic tactics that should help you out should you choose to use them in combat. Until we meet again, may the wind be forever at for face and blow the stench of your undead minions away from you.