Mesmers are generally seen as an elitist unit in the sense that they should not be used by a novice to the game. This is what they are seen as, in all reality they are about the same difficulty level to use as a Monk or an Elementalist and are no harder to learn how to use either.
People's reasoning for them being difficult generates from their not fitting into any real category, such as close combat or healing. They are designed to counter, as such they perform to the perfect strength against any opponent weakness. The general idea is that they are designed with the sole purpose of stopping another character in their tracks.
They can siphon energy or block skills/attacks etc. The concept is that Mesmers have an understanding of everything and as such this allows them to be the ultimate counter. Through an understanding and knowledge of magic, rather than a knowing of, they may use it to their advantage in any scenario presented.
So where is the difficulty in them? It resides in the timing, as the wrong timing means a wrong move and therefore a wrong which could go on to spell your downfall. This is negated by generally just watching the opponent and attempting to guess when a skill will be used, by when they use them before, to counter and win.
Yes they do take practice and knowledge, however they are extremely useful when mastered. The best way to do this is by playing as one, so try it out!
 Fast Casting
Fast Casting is the exclusive attribute to Mesmers. Higher fast casting decreases the amount of time it takes to deliver your spells. The higher the fast casting, the lower the time. This is the essential requirements of any Mesmer that does not want to be interrupted while casting spells. With many Mesmer skills with a 1 second or lower cast time, even a low level fast casting Mesmer with the right spells is almost uninterruptable.
 Domination Magic
The "anti-caster" attribute. It skills allow a player to "control" an enemy by means of hexes that force foes into difficult situations.
 Illusion Magic
Most Illusion skills spike health, degenerate health, or impair your opponent in some way. Many are geared towards the Warrior and Ranger class causing massive damage for attacking within an allotted time. Some skills even rob Warriors of their adrenaline and energy. If the strongest class is vulnerable to Mesmer, just imagine what these can do to casting classes.
 Inspiration Magic
Inspiration skills are aimed towards energy/health replenishment and conservation. There are a few purely offensive spells to remove hexes, enchantments, and even taking out your enemy's elite skill out of play. Inspiration has a wide variety of skills that use up your opponent's energy that are essential to any energy denial build. Domination and Inspiration go hand in hand, as proven by most Inspiration based weapons requirements of at least Level 9 Domination.
 Character Combinations
- Perfect counter to everything
- Intimidating to opponents
- Ideal for stopping major threats
- Fun choice for those who don't enjoy straight out combat
- Ability to take energy from the enemy and then use it against them!
- Have to be aware at all times of enemies
- Do take a while to master
- Can't stay in one place for too long
- Once outnumbered the Mesmer is rendered useless for that part of the battle
Popular Mesmer builds. Choose your version of Guild Wars and see what people are using in PvP and PvE.
Note that each build has different difficulty ratings, and that they should reflect to how comfortable you are with the character class. It also puts into account if certain micromanagement is needed amongst the spells.
The Mesmer class is probably the hardest class to use in PvP. Usually you are a high priority target of casters, rangers and warriors. In fact, sometimes Mesmers even take precendence to Healers in terms of how much they contribute to a team. A good mesmer can effectively shutdown an opponent, while a great one can shutdown two or more of their foes.
Fast Casting: 0-4
Secondary Attributes: Blood: 4-12
Secondary Class: Necromancer (optional)
Note: This is a prophecies only degen build, factions opened up a far more effective degen mesmer posibilities.
People Love the Degen. Degeneration works so well people stack that stuff like there's no tomorrow. One of the more straightforward builds that are equality damaging to any build, everyone's favorite degen is Conjure Phantasm. At a modest energy cost of 10, at level 16 Illusion it lasts for 15 seconds at -5 pips of health degen! That's truely a phatasmic pain in the head if you ever have one.
If you add Phantom Pain to the mix, which we do, you have a total of -8 degen for 10 seconds, and a nice Deep Wound of 21 seconds! Those are the main two skills for degen. Now you have to look at your other options for either casters or melee fighters.
Lots of people like to bring Migrane along, this combines -3 degen and Arcade Conundrum into one spell. The duration at this level is 21 seconds! Bring along your favorite interrupt, or my favorites Power Drain, or Leech Sig for energy replenishment. Since migraine is an elite, I also recommend Ineptitude for warriors, rangers and assassins. You can also do a Signet of Midnight/Plague Touch combo if you want for a safer way to shutdown attackers. If you do use Necromancer as your secondary, bring along Life Siphon and put a couple points into it. It has a really long duration at a very low level. Note that it caps out at +2/-2 and doesn't hit +3/-3 unless you are level 12 or above in blood magic.
Other options for the remaining spells are Wither, Life Transfer, Clumsiness, Arcane Conundrum, Energy Tap, Ether Feast, Distortion, and Mantra of Recovery (with adjustments to fast casting). The maximum degen is 10 pips, but if they use a healing spell or skill any pips over 10 will counteract their regen healing skill. Usually Conjure Phantasm, and Phantom Pain is enough for most opponents to start healing themselves. When the deep wound hit, recast Phantom Pain immediately. Deep Wound is excellent especially if your opponent cannot rid themselves of that condition.
Obviously the use of the build is quite simple. Keep Conjure Phantasm and Phantom Pain up on your opponent at all times, and their times of 15 seconds and 10 seconds/21 seconds is enough for you to always have enough energy to recast once the duration is over. Use your blinding skills as necessary, and bring along plague touch or epidemic to spread the pain. A combo of Ineptitude and Clumsiness on one warrior is quite devastating if they don't look at what they're hexed with. That combo for 20 energy usually means half their health in most cases, and in endgame usually instant death (especially with frenzy).
This simple build introduces minor micromanagement, and is a learning step for more micromanagement intensive builds that mesmers are far more effective with.
 Energy Denial
Author : CleavesF
Difficulty : Hard
Domination : 14
Fast Casting : 4
Illusion : 0
Inspiration : 13
Secondary Attributes : N/A
Secondary Class : N/A
This build is not just good against casters, but also warriors and rangers. Those are the attributes of a good build, to be able to threaten all the classes. The reason this works well against the fighter classes is because they have very limited energy compared to casters like say an Elementalist with 97 energy.
Energy Denial is based off Mind Wrack. The spell deals 85 damage when your foe's energy hits 0. The long duration of the hex and spamability of it makes it very powerful when you combine it with energy destroying spells and signets. Even monks with Contemplation of Purity will run for their lives as without energy they are useless to even remove this hex. I call this the Lather, Rinse, Repeat build. Cast Mind Wrack, burn their energy until it gets to 0, cast Mind Wrack, burn, Wrack, burn, Wrack, burn... it's actually quite satisfying.
Signet of Weariness
Now you may ask, why Arcane Echo and Energy Drain instead of Energy Surge and Energy Tap. After lots of testing, I found out that Energy Tap isn't fast enough for this build. At a 3 second cast time you can easily be interrupted (even with high fast casting), while with Energy Drain at a 1 second cast, you are less likely to be. Also, Energy Drain gives you more energy than Energy Tap. At a burn of 9 energy versus 7 energy for Energy Tap, and a faster cast time gives it the nod. Arcane Echo Energy Burn and effectively it's like having Energy Surge. In all honestly there is no use for Energy Surge anyways since you're focusing on shutting down ONE target rather than all of them. In addition to energy problems with using Arcane Echo for 15 energy with two Energy Burns for 20, when Arcane recycles you can Arcane Echo Energy Drain for double the energy. If you cycle Arcane Echoing Energy Burn and Drain you seldom run into energy problems. This is also very true once you get your opponent on the 0 brink as you'll have to cast less often than at the very beginning of the match to destroy their energy bar.
The build needs a bit of micromanagement. Once again this is because of Arcane Echo and the high energy cost. First cast Power Leak. The instant -24 energy loss is devastating to Necros, Mesmers, and Monks. Only Elementalists are "somewhat" immune to the initial onslaught of losing energy. After Power Leak, cast Mind Wrack, cast Arcane Echo, and then cast Energy Burn. Energy Burn at this level should take off -8 energy and 80 health. Now you should also have a fresh copy of Energy Burn, save it. Use Signet of Weariness to burn up -10 energy again. At this point, you used 40 energy (10+5+15+10) to burn off 42 (24+8+10). Use Energy Drain. You gain 13 energy (-5+18) and burn off -9 energy for a total of 53 energy burned. At this point Mind Wrack should have hit by now, and that is if they haven't casted a single spell. Considering they are helping you burn energy only makes their life harder!
When Mind Wrack hits for 85 damage, you have to be observant. You'll see the yellow -85 go up and the pink hex arrow gone from their health bar. After positive confirmation Mind Wrack hit, cast it again. This is what you saved your echoed Energy Burn for. You cast Energy Burn and spike them for -8 energy, -80 health, and -85 health from Mind Wrack. That's 165 damage from 15 energy. By now, your original Energy Burn is almost recycled and so is your Power Drain and your Sig is halfway there. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
Upon the next recycle of Arcane Echo, echo Energy Drain this time and burn off -18 energy and gain 26 energy! Alternate Arcane Echo as your energy bar sees fit. Lather, Rinse, Repeat!
There will come a time when Arcane Echo, Energy Burn, Energy Drain, and Signet of Weariness are all recharging. If you are low on energy and you know your opponent has very little energy, use Ether Feast to burn up -3 energy for 5 energy. If you don't need healing, recharge and wait to spike them with Power Leak again. Obviously cast Mind Wrack and then Power Leak and hopefully Energy Drain is ready by now so you can use your Energy Burn for a health spike of 165. Management of the order you cast things are essential to absolute domination of your opponent and maximizing damage and reducing your energy costs. Note that this build is extremely effective against E-Denial mesmers that use Energy Tap (and Energy Surge) as Power Leaking them on that skill is ridiculously easy. That is the sole reason why Energy Drain/Arcane Echo is superior to having Energy Surge/Energy Tap. Arcane Echo has a cast time of 1 sec also... no problems. Just like they say, the fastest casting Mesmer is the Mesmer who wins.
 See Also
Related ThreadsGeneral Mesmer Discussion - last post by @ Jun 16, 2006
Release Of The 8th Profession: The Mind-Bending Mesmer! - last post by @ Feb 8, 2012
Getting Closer To The Mesmer: Necromancer Reveal! =P - last post by @ Oct 6, 2011
Mesmer Help! - last post by @ Jun 20, 2007
I need a Good Ranger/Mesmer biuld. - last post by @ Nov 1, 2006