1. Skill overview

1a. Staff

Staff 1: Mostly irrelevant. But the only other 1200 range skill of a Firebrand (other than line of warding). Use it for spam or if the commander asks for range pew pew/ to put enemies into combat. 

Staff 2: Small heals (4 pulses) + blast inside circle – Use it when on staff and not on tomes for blasting fields and small heals inside bomb. Before engagement use it for blasting stealth.

Staff 3: Use it as a dps skill in combat as a means to remove enemy aegis (in range spikes) or prior to melee engagement as a range skill to put enemies into combat if they are reversing back. There are lots of sources of swiftness ingame to have a need to use it for swiftness during engagement movements. But please do pay attention to the swiftness needs if any, in your party. Some commanders will ask for symbol stacks prior to first melee engagement. Pay attention that you DO NOT use a symbol in stealth fields.
Staff 4: Might stack and heal pulses for your party. One of the highest party healing skill of  a Firebrand. Commanders ask for empowers prior to melee engagement (for might stacks). Otherwise use it inside combat and often when the commander asks you to hold and sustain at a spot. Gives massive heals+ might stack which is needed for your dps classes in party. Do take note that the skill charges on spot and you can’t move. Be very careful when you use it and don’t get caught out away from your melee train trying to use empower. However, empowers can be cancelled mid-cast.

Staff 5: Important skill to catch enemy players without stability. Use it at the start of fights before entering melee engagement (one of the popular calls “drop lines” from several commanders) or when staff is available during engagement.
Always use this skill when staff is available. Can be used to split enemies, remove some stacks of Stability, more rewarding in chokes or narrow enemy pushes. TAKE NOTE: It’s not a good practice to drop several lines at the same spot from multiple Firebrands. There is an internal cooldown of 0.75 second on how often a stack of stability can be removed by cc skills. So its nice to spread it out or just use it at the last second expecting a committed melee push from the enemy zerg.

1b. Mace+Shield

Mace 1: Use it inside the melee train when F2 and F3 tomes are exhausted or not needed to be used. Gives small heals to party on 3rd strike. Doesn’t see much use.

Mace 2: An important skill to use when you find yourself with a mace inside combat. Drops a light field which damages foes and if blasted by other player skills, area cleanses. This field also gives 5x stacks of regen. Also, the highest damage skill a Firebrand has outside F1 tome. 
Mace 3: An important defensive skill that is a 3.75 secs sustained cast which allows movement. Gives aegis and protection to 5x people on top of you while moving (240 radius). 

Shield 4: An important defensive skill. Forward facing cone of 600 range that gives aegis and protection of 4.75 secs to 5 people and does little damage to enemies.

Shield 5: An important situational defensive and healing skill which is a sustained cast and allows for movement with a bubble of 300 range following you. A cc skill which knocks enemies without stability back. Absorbs all projectiles(pew pew damage skills). A light field which cleanses conditions if blasted by other players. Lasts for 4 secs but if the skill is pressed again before it runs out, gives medium heals to 5 targets inside its 300 range. 

2. Utility Skills

All mantra skills are pre-charged before entering into combat or if all charges are used. They each have 3 charges which are recovered in 12 secs, while elite mantra(stun break) takes 25 secs to recharge. The final charge is more powerful if used before the earlier charges are recovered. Usually try not use the final charge unless in dire conditions, in which scenario, the powerful final change could be a much needed boost to turn things around.

You usually don’t want to spend all your mantra charges including final without recovering charges. However, based on your personal situation and based on the ‘final push circumstances’ of a hard fight, do use the final charge, as this may very well change the outcome of battle favourably.

Heal skill: / ‘aegis skill’ A very important skill. Use it to apply aegis on you and your allies (up to 5 targets) in a cone in front of you. Gives a small self-heal and the trait “Pure of Heart” in Honor gives small heals to allies when their aegis gets triggered. Use it a little spammy when your squad/party is inside the brunt of the enemy bombs. So to block some of the damage plus small heals. The final charge just gives medium self healing to yourself and the usual aegis to allies has no additional boost to allies. When running “Stalwart Speed” in the Firebrand trait line, all charges also grants quickness to allies. In which case, you may also use this skill when the commander calls for  spikes/bombs.

Utility skill: / ‘cleanse skill’ Cone-shaped direcional skill. Use this skill sparingly to cleanse your party as its main objective. Take note that there will be secondary supports cleansing your party at the start of the engagements so use it only when its needed. The skill removes 2 debuffs partywide and also gives a medium powered regen heal for 7.75 secs. The final charge converts 5 conditions to boons party-wide and applies a much longer regeneration. You may definitely use this final charge skill later in the engagement if the enemies (especially guild groups/stronger squads) have very good late bombs and your party conditions are not getting removed.  Still, ideally, Firebrands do not use final charge of any mantra in extended battles.

Utility skill: paired with trait this skill has a 48 sec cd and 10 pulses. It is a 900 range dropped aoe skill which creates a large field pulsing stability and retaliation, lasting 10 seconds and affecting 5 targets in it. It is also a fire field which can be blasted to apply might to allies. Use this skill inside melee vs melee engagements to fill in the gaps in stability uptime from other skills. Best skill for holding on top or at the outskirts of the enemy melee train, ideally placed somewhere the group will be staying for the next few seconds to get the most out of the skill’s pulses.

Utility skill: 5 stacks of Stability and Retaliation. Breaks stuns on you. Use it at the start of melee engagement. Use it again later for other mid fight hard melee pushes. Sustain party stability otherwise using F3 tome skills, and .

Elite skill: / Most powerful party wide stunbreak in the current composition. Firebrands can make or break good party movements out of enemy bombs with good stun breaks. Pay attention to your party members positions and debuffs and use stun breaks as needed to recover them from an enemy bomb. Paired with aegis mantra, it can help with good party movements out of enemy bombs that are at really tight spots when the squad is caught out in enemy bombs.

3. Tome skills (F-skills)

3a.
Tome of justice is a rarely used tome and new players may avoid using it altogether in zerg fights. One rotation that can be followed/practiced is using Tome of Justice right before entering a melee bomb or range bomb, is to use Skill 5 on the tome and maybe (if given the circumstances or chance) use Skill 3 then quickly change to your weapon set skills or other tomes. If you are slow or lack practice, avoid using Tome of Justice prior to tough zerg engagements.

Skill 1: [“Chapter 1: Searing Spell”] Unimportant skill. A simple forward cone dps/burn debuff. Can be used while killing a PvE champ/lord or tagging downed enemy players after the victory is secured.
Skill 2: [“Chapter 2: Igniting Burst”] Unimportant skill. Damage/burn/weakness in a very small radius around you. A harder hitting skill with 2x stacks of burn 4 secs of weakness. If the fights are going well, and you happen to pop your F1 tome to kill few stragglers, a decent enough cc/debuff skill. 
Skill 3: [“Chapter 3: Heated Rebuke”] A.k.a “Pull”. A useful skill. Not the best pull skill, but handy certain circumstances if well-timed. Spawns circle on the floor at the targeted location (900 range) which pulls enemies without stability to the center of the circle. Also, while it’s hard to use it to pull enemies off a wall completely, it can still pull the enemies close to the edge where they can be killed by the squad’s damage dealers.
Skill 4: [“Chapter 4: Scorched Aftermath”] A Fire field around you that pulses damage and  burns on foes. Another PvE skill. Or use it in easy fights/engagements or to clean up at the end.
Skill 5: [“Epilogue: Ashes of the Just”] A.k.a. “Ashes”. Grants nearby party members a buff that makes their next attacks inflict burning on enemies. If you can, use this skill alone from the tome right before an enemy engagement and quickly change back to your weapon skill or other tomes. 

3b.
Tome of Resolve should be used as an heal support tome inside engagements and generally used after you are done with Tome of Courage. Available effects and boons in this tome are : Healing, water field, vigor, regeneration, swiftness and cleansing. All the skills are useful and situation-based.
Note: with trait, all F2 page skills apply a party-wide regeneration for circa 2.25 secs.

Skill 1: [“Chapter 1: Desert Bloom”] Cone-shaped directional skill. Basic moderate heal skill. Use/spam it if, and only if, party members are going dangerously low on hp and either do not have conditions on them or skill 2 is on cooldown. If not, avoid spamming this skill.
Skill 2: [“Chapter 2: Radiant Recovery”] Short-range AoE around the firebrand Cleanses one condition and also does moderate healing based on if a condition was removed. Low cooldown. 5 targets. Use it only when there are conditions to be removed.
Skill 3: [“Chapter 3: Azure Sun”] Applies vigor, regeneration and swiftness skill. A circle which can be dropped within a 900 range. Use it as an offensive support skill in mid-engagement. Make sure to always use this skill when off cooldown in melee engagement.
Skill 4: [“Chapter 4: Shining River”] Drops a water field in a big circle around the caster. Applies swiftness to all inside, pulses small heals. Its effectiveness is multiplied when the field is blasted for area healing. Firebrands on voice may call “blast water” half a second before casting the skill to let their allies know. Chances are, some random skill from other players will blast them anyway in the middle of melee bomb zones. 
Skill 5: [“Epilogue: Eternal Oasis”] Gives 8 secs of [“Eternal Oasis”] boon to upto 5 players. All healing effectiveness to these players from all sources improved by 20%. First skill to use upon opening this tome and always use it when it’s off cooldown. Try to also use it as the last page in this tome.

 

3c.
Tome of Courage is usually the first tome that all Firebrands must use while entering into a melee engagement or a heavy range engagement that will likely lead to a melee clash. More often than not, inexperienced firebrands prematurely pop Tome of Courage when they can be using their weapon skills (which includes empowers on staff, other support skills in mace/shield etc.). Sometimes, the Firebrand can be too late to pop Tome of Courage in time and may get stability stripped and hard cc-ed. In which case make sure to quickly use your stun break elite skill and pop Tome of Courage.
Note: if you are running trait, opening F3 tome already breaks stuns on you and and applied 3 stacks of stability for circa 6 seconds to you and your party
Note: if you are running trait, all skills in F3 gives an additional ~1.5 seconds of protection to you and your party.
Important skills are 5, 4, 2 and 1. 3rd skill maybe used situational.

Skill 1: [“Chapter 1: Unflinching Charge”] Used to top off stability on self and allies when the superior version (Skill 5) is on cooldown. Also grants swiftness.
Skill 2: [“Chapter 2: Daring Challenge”] Applies retaliation, taunts nearby enemies. Can be used to cc bubbling warriors in melee range.
Skill 3: [“Chapter 3: Valiant Bulwark”] Reflects all enemy projectiles in a target area. Use it in spots where the commander asks to hold and sustain. You may also drop this skill in chokes between you and the enemy or on top of sieges to prevent them from being disabled.
Skill 4: [“Chapter 4: Stalwart stand”] Drops a large field pulsing resistance around the firebrand. Drop it inside enemy bomb range, usually in melee but say if you are holding a choke corner while enemies have 1200 range and range bombing / cc-ing you. Resistance makes allies affected by conditions ignore their effects which, most importantly, allows them to move unimpeded and gives time for them to be cleansed. This skill is also a personal stunbreak.
Skill 5: [“Chapter 5: Unbroken Lines”] Better (longer) stability than Skill 1, also applies extra 200 toughness to party members. Use it when entering a melee bomb trade/train for stability and aegis. When running , this skill may be used after Skill 4. If not, start with this skill.

4. Additional gameplay tips

  1. Switch your squad UI to display only your subgroup by uncheck ‘View as Grid’ option in your Squad/Party settings (commander icon in the top left corner of the screen), so you can look at your party hp bar, boons and conditions. It’s also recommended to go to game’s options window, first tab, and make sure that ‘Thick Party Health Bars’ is checked, while ‘Thick Squads Health Bars’ is unchecked. This allows you to easily see where your subjects are so that you can help them survive.
  2. Be smart about managing skill cooldowns, you do not want to run out of them before the major engagement.
  3. Try to go through your weapon skills between activating tomes to maximize healing and boon output. Chances are, they will be off cooldown by the time you use up all the tome’s pages.
  4. Use from time to time unless the commander is micromanaging empowers before a hard engagement. Pay attention not to get caught off by late empowers during movements or at bad spots. Ensure you have stability mid fights before you empower. A Firebrand has to keep up with the commander tag.
  5. Use and as a range skill to remove enemy aegis or to put them into combat. Do note, that it will also put you into combat.
  6. is better used at the last second expecting an enemy dive. Or pre-dropped when enemies are stealthed. It will help in removing aegis/stack of stability. Stacking multiple lines of warding by multiple Firebrands at the same spot on top of each other does not give good returns.
  7. When running into a hard engagement or crossing the 1200 enemy range and when the enemy has already started dropping fields on the ground in front of you, start off with Stand your ground and apply aegis. If you are stealth pushing an unaware enemy, you may start with f3 instead and rotate use of Stand your ground after f3 tome is over. 
  8. Pop Tome 3, and use skill 5 before hard entering engagement and skill 4 (aoe resistance pulsing circle) on top of enemy bombs. While running trait, start with skill 4 inside enemy melee bomb range. Skill 5 after.
  9. When you have a secondary support cleanser such as scrapper/tempest, they will be doing the main cleansing, so use cleanse mantra sparingly, so that it still has charges to deal with possible emergencies.
  10. Use your tome 3 skills situationally, but skills 4 and 5 can be used pretty much off cd during engagements. 
  11. Pay attention to your party mates’ boons and positioning and use stability or stun breaks effectively. When in Tome 3, you can use skill 1 for stability top-up.
  12. Go to tome 2 after tome 3 if you are still engaged in melee. Refer to (tome 2) skill overview above on how best to use it. Skill 5 and 4 are for basic refreshes while in tome 2.
  13. Use aegis mantra skill from time to time when you and your team are right on top of enemy bombs. Chances are the commander will be constantly ensuring to move out of enemy bombs. But when caught out or trying to sustain a few secs in enemy bombs, use them as needed. 
  14. Use elite mantra skill for stun breaks which is also as a source of stability when right on top of heavy enemy bombs. Chances are you and your team will just need them anyway.
  15. Watch your mantra stacks and try not run out of them. But do use the last stack if things are really hard for you and your team’s survival and you may just need the final charge to survive for a little bit longer with the powerful final charge effects. The longer you/your team survives, the higher the chance of winning the fight
  16. Use in melee pushes while there is a melee vs melee bombs on both sides. Can be saved for use after F3 tome. In big blob fights, use it in the first melee vs melee on top of each other engagement.
  17. Do not use inside enemy spellbreaker bubbles. And use your boon application skills only if really needed (stability and stun break if needed). Based on the number of enemy bubbles, your boon application may not be wasted as a single bubble only affects 5 targets. You can help CC the Spellbreaker when there is a bubble.
  18. Do not stay in Tomes if you didn’t manage to use all the skills yet the fight is over or the zergs have disengaged. It’s usually better to quickly use up the remaining pages to let the tome go on cooldown.
  19. Don’t forget to dodge. Make use of the dodges to keep avoiding enemy bombs/spikes while healing your party. Your dodge roll heals 5 targets in a small radius around you via passive trait in Honor trait line. Opening and closing tomes counts as a weapon swap for your .

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