Fractal Basics

  • Princeps.6481 and Mistlocked [FotM]

Introduction to fractals

Fractals of the mists or also frequently called FOTM (or just "fracs") are 5-man repeatable endgame dungeon-like content with a large scale of difficulty and rewards. There are 100 levels that are structured into 4 different tiers each consisting out of 25 levels. You can find the portal entrance to fractals in Fort Marriner in Lions Arch. There are no gear requirements for tier 1 fractals allowing anybody to try fractals out.

The higher level the more mechanics are added to fractals, the harder hit enemies but you also receive more loot. Starting from level 20 the players need to deal with

which requires
to counter effectively. Every level has a recommendation of how much
you should have at least. Without
you lose a percentage of your HP every second while under the effect of
. Click on the
icon to learn more about the scaling of the damage by

reduces your healing by 70% per stack. Never use your heal skill while you are under the effect of

Starting with tier 2 the heroes are encountering Mistlock instabilities which add another layer of difficulty. A complete list of Mistlock instabilities and countermeasures can be found at the bottom of this page.

Tiermax. required
1170This tier is meant as an introduction to fractals. Mechanics and damage are very forgiving.
2611Tier 2 fractals should be played in a party with 5. The mechanics hit slightly harder and you encounter mistlock instabilities and
31062When starting to do tier 3 fractals you are expected to start reading up on how your class and fractals work. Enemies hit hard, are more frequent and you have to deal with two mistlock instabilities at the same time!
41503When running tier 4 fractals you should be comfortable with your class and the mechanics. It is expected that you carry your own weight. Running with optimal utility and food as well as fractal potions (, , ) is expected.

Defiance bars

Have you noticed the blue bar under the boss' HP bar? Whenever you use a Crowd Control skill (a skill that throws the enemy around, stuns or applies movement impaling conditions) a chunk of the bar gets removed. When the entire bar is broken the boss gets the

debuff which increases the incoming damage to the boss by 50%. This is one of the most important mechanics across all fractals as this allows you to deal huge amounts of damage in a short time. The idea is to always break this bar and then burst. Ideally everyone in the team contributes to break the bar as it appears.

Using Crowd Control effectively is the key to success in almost all fractals! A fast break will decrease kill times by a large margin even if your party underperforms in every other aspect!
Read more about breaking CC bars here: CC-distribution examples!

Differences between fractals and raids/strikes

There are quite a few differences that set fractals apart from other PvE content in Guild Wars 2. Most prominently is the length of a single level: One level is usually completed in 5-10 minutes. The levels do not only contain bosses but also other encounters such as small puzzles or fighting mobs. Many levels can be sped up by thinking outside the box and using smart tricks.

The fractal specific potions influence the way builds are designed. Each of them grants 1.5 times of your

in a specific stat. This allows builds to be played a lot more offensive compared to elsewhere. Our builds are optimized for multiple amounts of
since you will acquire more than 162
over the course of your fractal journey due to Mist Attunement 1 and higher augmentations.

PotionStatGain on 162
= 11.57%
= 16.2%

Fractal Masteries

Follows Advice1Unlocks daily rewards for fractals and additional vendors in the fractal lobby.
Agony Channeler2Allows attuning rings. Fractal potions grant 10% stat bonus (see above).
Recursive Resourcing3Increases the rewards by a large margin. Fractal potions now grant 25% stat bonus.
Mistlock Singularities5Unlockes Mistlock Singularities. Fractal potions now grant 30% stat bonus.

Acquiring gear to counter

For beginners, it is recommended to socket only in infusion slots of ascended gear since they are the most efficient ones to use and the builds on this website are optimized for having all 18 infusion slots occupied with to reach 162

. In case you are tight on money you can also slot and upgrade them later by extracting them with .

For a temporary 15

buff, you can buy a and skip ahead of the suggested table below. We suggest acquiring most of the gear in fractals, however, you of course can buy your gear in WvW or open world or any other place.

Tier 1: max 17

Requirement: Full exotic gear
Optional: Level Chef to 400 (costs about 2.76g, check, craft which enables a fast track to Tier 2 fractals. Since Tier 1 and 2 are essentially identically in difficulty it is recommended to go that route, however, you will need to exchange the backpiece very soon.


  • Start working towards the accessories that you can buy with guild commendations or - if you have a lot of spare laurels - buy them for laurels. Keep in mind you need 30 laurels later for crafting your ascended armor.
  • Save up relics to buy ascended rings (5 days of T1 fractal dailies are required)
  • Alternatively, buy Living World Season 3 Episode 3: A Crack in the ice and farm for trinkets (or any other living story maps: Bloodstone fen, Dragonfall). The fastest way is to farm both Bitterfrost Frontier and Dragonfall.
  • Craft or buy an aquivalent via laurels (if your build uses base game stats)

Tier 2: max 61

Acquire on your journey in T2:

  • 18
    : Two ascended accessories of your build of choice. Example: and .
  • 36
    : By attuning ascended rings. Example: and
  • 9
    : Getting a back item such as:


  • Start leveling the profession for your armor class (Armorsmith, Leatherwork, Tailor) to 500. Use for the cheapest leveling.

Tier 3: max 106

Acquire on your journey in T3:

  • You need 5 more to fit the maximum requirement of 106
  • Suggestion: craft 4 ascended armor pieces and hope to get a to upgrade one of your rings to
  • Alternatively, do strike missions and open the weekly chest for a chance of recieving an ascended armor box.


  • Start leveling the profession that can craft your desired weapons to 500. Use for the cheapest leveling.

Tier 4: max 150

Wrapping up:

  1. Finish your ascended armor
  2. Infuse your remaining ring(s)
  3. Craft ascended weapons (easy way: Caladbolg alternatively profession weapons from Path of Fire)
  4. Infuse your backpack
  5. Upgrade - if necessary - to

Congratulations! Now you should have exactly 162

and match the gear in our builds page.

Abbreviations for navigating the LFG

BSBannerslavewar, bersBerserker that carries
QFBQuick Firebrandpfb, fbPower Firebrand for
HBHeal Firebrandfb, hfbHeal Firebrand for
, Healer build
CFBCondi Firebrandcqfb, fbCondi Firebrand for
or as a DPS
RenAlacrity Renegadealac, revRenegade for
and support utilties
SlbSoulbeastdpsSoulbeast as meta DPSBuild
WeaWeaverdps, eleWeaver as meta DPSBuild
DHDragonhunterdpsDragonhunter as offmeta DPSBuild
DoDDefier of DoubttitleRequirement in LFG, earned by completing level 100 in challenge mode
DwDDances with DemonstitleRequirement in LFG, earned by completing level 100 in challenge mode without someone dying.
kpKill proofUCE: Requirement in LFG, cannot be earned any longer.

Current fractal META

Although most groups in LFG don't follow the META it can be beneficial for you to understand how it works in theory to play your own build more efficiently. All the builds in the META have very specific key roles. It is important to fulfill your role to aid the best possible support to your team (also DPS classes support the team with CC and other unique buffs).

Please consult the meta-page for more information about the current fractal META.

Usage of /gg

You can use the chat command /gg within fractals to immediately kill your character (dead, not downed). This can be used generously in fractal skips, as it allows the entire party to teleport to a checkpoint once one player activates it.

If everyone in the party is dead at the same time, cooldowns will reset for all players. Therefore it is advised for the entire group to use /gg at certain key positions to reset long cooldowns, like between Siax (2nd boss) and Ensolyss (3rd boss) in Nightmare CM. Never resurrect as long as another player is still alive. If another player tells you /gg he is probably doing a skip that you are unaware of or he wasn't ready for combat yet. Either way, do not waste time questioning it.

Note that the Warrior's Adrenaline bar, Druid's

for Reaper will fully recharge after the resurrection. Also the Mistlock Singularities are resets once everyone in the party is dead.

A dead player

Pre-stacking at Mistlock Singularity

by Rubby

After maxing the fractal masteries to level 4 you get access to Mistlock Singularities. Taking one of these will reset the cooldowns of all your skills! This allows you to precast certain skills before entering the battle without a penalty. It makes sense to precast

and use blast finishers on certain Combo Fields.

The most common applications are

-stacking using blast finishers inside a Fire Field (3 stacks for 20 seconds with boon duration) and
-stacking inside a Smoke Field (3 seconds).

Do not use other combo fields than fire on the Mistlock Singularity! All combo fields but the Fire Field are useless in terms of prebooning.

You can find out which skills are Combo Fields and Combo Finishers by hovering over the skill and reading the tooltip. Hover over the following skills:

is a Fire Field and
a Blast Finisher.
Below is a list of frequently used blast finishers among all professions. Note that it is often required to swap to different weapons, make sure to swap back before you enter combat.

stacking for groups using
from Soulbeast.

  • Renegade:
    (Staff 4)
  • Firebrand:
    (Focus 5),
    (Staff 2) and
    (Hammer 2)
  • Berserker:
    (Warhorn 4),
    (Warhorn 5)
  • Weaver: Use
    (Scepter 2),
    (Dagger 4) and
    (Scepter 3) in
  • Soulbeast: Take the trait
    and use
    to make boons last longer, use
    (Warhorn 5)

Fire fields

Below is a list of commonly used Fire Field skills. Make sure that everyone is back on their main weapon set before starting a fight.

  • Elementalist:

    • (Staff 2,
    • (Dagger 4,
    • (Focus 4,
    • (Warhorn 5,
      , )
  • Berserker:

    • (Torch 5)
  • Ranger:

    • (Torch 5)
  • Firebrand:

    • Skill 4 (Chapter 4: Scorched Aftermath)

Smoke fields

Be careful not to aggro mobs with blasts or you will get


  • Thief:

    • (Pistol 5)
  • Ranger:

    • (Smokescale pet)
  • Engineer:

    • (Bomb kit)

Other skills that grant party

  • Mesmer:

    • Double any skill with
  • Thief:

Line of Sight (LoS) and stacking

In many Fractals the concept of "Line of Sight" can be applied to pack mobs together without using any skills that

. As soon as a player takes aggro of a mob it tries to attack the player. In doing so it needs to find a valid path. For enemies with melee weapons this means it will run right towards you, ranged enemies need a clear sight towards the player without obstruction. After taking aggro of a mob the player wants to move behind a wall so the mob loses Line of Sight and is forced to take the shortest path to the player.

Generally, you always want to stick together as a group. Reason being that boons and unique buffs won't reach players that are standing too far away. Since most classes deal high damage in melee the logical conclusion is to stack up, pull mobs together either with

s or Line of Sight and burst them down as quickly as possible. Even if the amount of enemies seems dangerous at the first glance the most secure position on the map is in the center of the stack!

Pulling mobs by using Line of Sight

Mistlock Instabilities

Tier 4 fractals always have three Mistlock Instabilities active which add additional mechanics to the fights. The selection is random for each difficulty level and changes daily. More information can be found in the official wiki.

Below is a list of all current instabilities and their possible countermeasures.

When enraged, enemies deal 150% increased damage while they're low on health. Enemies deal 20% less damage when not enraged.
duration is increased by 50%. Enemies apply random conditions. (
). Not necessary, although a good countermeasure is to have the Firebrand use
or blasting light fields.
This means that players in combat are randomly marked with Flux Bombs which leave a damaging and blinding AoE field behind. Do not place those inside the combat area, learn to dash away right before the field deploys. If you keep walking forward while marked you won't get any damage from the bomb. Flux bombs now apply to both allies and enemies. It is a little DPS increase to deploy it under the boss/mobs but it is not worth it blinding your team members!
Enemies explode upon death if not stunned. Stunned enemies apply protection and stability to nearby players. Each enemy killed explodes within a 180 radius 1.75 seconds after its death, dealing high damage and apply
to foes around it. Recognizable by a yellow zone after a mob's death. Stunned enemies apply
to nearby players.
Causes a set of effects from other fractals to spawn, including The Mossman, a deadly Champion Rabbit, Veteran Jade Maw Tentacles, an airstrike from the PvP map Skyhammer and the cannon assault from Captain Mai Trin Fractal.
Enemies receive
when you hit them. Has a 20 second internal cooldown per enemy, Renegade can strip with
) or Power Reaper can strip with
and weapon skills or
from Holosmith or Chronomancer can strip with
or auto-attacks. Stripping an enemy boon will steal their life.
Players will be pushed away from one another. Make sure to not run around like a headless chicken! Find a good spot and stand still.
Enemies leave a trail of poison behind them which inflicts direct damage and the
condition. Blocking a toxic-trail attack will absorb it and cleanse the condition. It can be very dangerous when fighting multiple mobs. Removes
Fractal Avengers are replaced by hard-hitting Fractal Vindicators. Those need to be killed as fast as possible to prevent further chaos.
The lower your health, the slower you move. Endurance regenerates 33% faster. Heal yourself to reduce Hamstrung stacks!
Each boon on a player increases incoming strike damage by 5%. Outgoing boon duration is increased by 20%.
Players are smaller and have 30% less health, but they move 25% faster.
Enemies create flaming missiles when damaged. Incoming condition damage is reduced by 20%. It can be reflected for extra damage. In T4s Renegade should bring
and keep the bubble up in critical moments.
When enemies die, they enhance nearby foes with multiple boons, it does not apply to elite foes. Strip any enemy boon to inflict them with weakness.
Foes within 300 range do 300% more damage when attacking from behind, but do 25% less damage to you (their damage is reduced to 75%) when attacking from ahead.
Take 60% increased damage when not within a range of 300 of an ally. Take 20% reduced damage when within a range of 300 of an ally.
Increases player movement speed and attack speed by 15%. Elite and lower enemies' movement speed and attack speed increases by 35%.
Players are occasionally affected by the toxic vomit attack out of the Nightmare Fractal. Every player gets a cone AoE in front of him, aiming at a party member will deal lethal damage. Proper stacking and positioning nullify this instability effectively.

Key findings

  • Don't use your heal skill while under the effect of
  • CC the boss first, then use your burst skills. Everyone has to contribute!
  • Only use Fire Fields on the Mistlock Singularity.
  • Always stack together, boons are shared in close proximity.
  • Don't be afraid to communicate with your team if you are new.

Trouble finding groups?


Mistlocked [FotM] is a Guild & Discord Server focused on teaching new members of the Guild Wars 2 community the various aspects of Fractals of the Mist!
While Fractals are their main focus, they do offer other training & organized groups for Raids, as well as Strike Missions, and Dungeons!

All information is available on their discord.

If you are one of those that seek to improve beyond clearing fractals for the loot we highly encourage you to find a static via our #looking-for-static channel on our discord or apply to Discretize. We encourage the fractal community to strive for self-improvement and help in any possible way on our discord server or in-game.

What now?

Continue reading the basics of fractals like group compositions and what is the meta for organized groups and PuGs here or if you already read that we recommend taking a look at what classes of meta compositions can do to break the Defiance bar here!