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Sabway[]

The infamous "Triple Necro Vanquish". I had never tried it before, nor for that matter did I even have the requisite skills. But now I have put it to some tests and this is my story of it.

The attributes are slightly non-canonical because I had different rune setup. All Heroes had Tormentor's Insignia and a Bloodstained, no Vigor runes, and Hourglass Staff; I had the same armor but with Major Vigor, and Droknar's Soul Reaping Staff.

1) SS Necro (Olias)

Spiteful Spirit.jpg

Spiteful Spirit

Reckless Haste.jpg

Reckless Haste

Enfeebling Blood.jpg

Enfeebling Blood

Barbs.jpg

Barbs

Rip Enchantment.jpg

Rip Enchantment

Mark of Pain.jpg

Mark of Pain

Signet of Lost Souls.jpg

Signet of Lost Souls

Death Pact Signet.jpg

Death Pact Signet

14 Soul Reaping, 13 Curses

2) Sabway Healer (Livia)

Weapon of Remedy.jpg

Weapon of Remedy

Splinter Weapon.jpg

Splinter Weapon

Mend Body and Soul.jpg

Mend Body and Soul

Spirit Light.jpg

Spirit Light

Protective Was Kaolai.jpg

Protective Was Kaolai

Life.jpg

Life

Signet of Lost Souls.jpg

Signet of Lost Souls

Death Pact Signet.jpg

Death Pact Signet

12 Restoration Magic, 10 Channeling Magic, rest to Soul Reaping

3) Jagged MM (Master of Whispers)

Jagged Bones.jpg

Jagged Bones

Animate Bone Minions.jpg

Animate Bone Minions

Death Nova.jpg

Death Nova

Blood of the Master.jpg

Blood of the Master

Foul Feast.jpg

Foul Feast

Protective Spirit.jpg

Protective Spirit

Aegis.jpg

Aegis

Signet of Lost Souls.jpg

Signet of Lost Souls

9 Protection Prayers, 13 Death Magic, rest to Soul Reaping

4) Second SS Necro (Dunames Dark Witch)

Signet of Lost Souls.jpg

Signet of Lost Souls

Signet of Sorrow.jpg

Signet of Sorrow

Suffering.jpg

Suffering

Weaken Armor.jpg

Weaken Armor

Necrosis.jpg

Necrosis

Spiteful Spirit.jpg

Spiteful Spirit

Insidious Parasite.jpg

Insidious Parasite

Reckless Haste.jpg

Reckless Haste

14 Soul Reaping, 13 Curses

Henchmen taken along were Zho, Talon Silverwing (replaced by Herta in Assault on the Stronghold), Aidan, and Eve. I was not aware at the time of the recommendation to take at least the Protection henchman. For A Time for Heroes, it was Eve, Herta, Devona, and Lo Sha.

The Journey Begins[]

1) A Time for Heroes

I decided to start off with the last mission because it is so short. Normally, I go in with three Monks:

Signet of Devotion.jpg

Signet of Devotion

Signet of Rejuvenation.jpg

Signet of Rejuvenation

Words of Comfort.jpg

Words of Comfort

Healing Touch.jpg

Healing Touch

Healing Ring.jpg

Healing Ring

Light of Deliverance.jpg

Light of Deliverance

Heal Party.jpg

Heal Party

Vengeance.jpg

Vengeance

...and that guarantees me a win no matter what class I am playing as. Herta, Lo Sha, Devona, Talon. I really don't like the hench use of interrupts, since it's counterproductive on this setup, but since Cynn and Aidan are so useless here I have no choice.

Anyway, going in with Sabway, I didn't know what to expect. It seemed like it would fail miserably since there were few corpses, and Spirits suffer from the burning of lava.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I managed to win, although it was something of a close call because I had multiple people dying and we probably would have wiped a bit after. Still, the fact that I managed to win with unsuitable build told me that Sabway just might have some promise.

2) Destruction's Depths

I did this next because it is the longest mission and I wanted a good test. Normally I have all sorts of setups that I have tried for this mission, usually focusing on strong anti-melee. Sometimes I do really well, sometimes I do really poorly. This time, with only Aegis, I frankly had my doubts.

But, I was in for a surprise - not only did I win with only partywide ~7% DP, but I believe this was my fastest time yet for clearing the mission. The only other fastest time would have been with Shadowcrest, who was also running Sabway; that time we just steamrolled over everything in the mission.

Normally, the Destroyers are a pain because they deal mass AoE from Barrage, Triple Chop, etc. But with Insidious Parasite, I turned their power against them. Sometimes they died instantly from a single usage, because they hit minions and party members...

The Destroyer of Thoughts was also super annoying since I had plenty of Hexes for it to Shatter and Hex Eater Vortex on. This occasionally resulted in spikes of the melee hench, but most of the time it was minions who suffered from this.

When I got to the Disc of Chaos, I messed up and aggroed all the other Destroyers, too. Yet somehow I managed to escape unscathed, or mostly in any case. Also, during the Norn part, I actually went in with just two Golems because I'd forgotten to revive one of them.

Thus, I was pretty confident now of Sabway's ability to work as a whole.

Asura lands[]

3) Finding the Bloodstone

I next turned to Asuran lands. I admit that against Dinosaurs, Sabway has problems, but that is mainly because of Twisting Jaws spike and lifesteal. The actual mission was a breeze, and went faster than usual. At the end, I just rushed the Guardian, and he went down very fast. No deaths. It was also quite amusing when I faced that massive group of Skeletal Hounds and they all got owned by SS/Splinter/etc.

4) The Elusive Golemancer

Okay. No matter what build you run, the deadliest part of this mission is the fiery gauntlet. Sabway was no exception, and I got multiple deaths. I have yet to find a way around this.

Also, because Golems do not leave exploitable corpses, I was missing a lot of Sabway's functionality. Nevertheless, the rest of the mission is laughably easy, so either way it was a quick clear. For this particular mission, Sabway is no more or less effective than a typical build. However, I would like to note that it enabled me to easily take out all the Krait, Wind Riders, Hylek, etc. along the way to the mission. Normally I try to stay clear of at least the Krait, because they are dangerous. This time they were pushovers.

5) Genius Operated Living Enchanted Manifestation

This was very easy. It's not usually hard at all, but sometimes you can get careless and forget about having to rush to the other kiln. I was owning the incoming Destroyers so fast that there was a lot of time spend waiting for the next wave. Part of this was probably also the update that removed Iron Mist from Gadd, as this sped up many of the kills on his side.

After that part of the mission was done, I killed the two Bringers of Destruction. Amusingly enough, they both died nearly simultaneously, since they were near enough that Splinter Weapon, Death Nova, etc. hit both. In this mission, Sabway is effective, but not by an enormous margin - a traditional build taking high firepower works well too. I just normally take Dunkoro and Tahlkora since Mhenlo and Lina suck.

Norn lands[]

6) A Gate Too Far

This is arguably the easiest of all the Norn missions. It went by pretty fast, and I can't think of any problems that I had...no deaths. Sometimes the Destroyer Tremors would nuke all the minions at once, which slowed me down a bit. But otherwise no issues. Sabway works well here, probably better than usual as I tend to have one or two deaths at certain points.

7) Curse of the Nornbear

Here is where I first started to run into problems. Mainly, Backfire, Visions of Regret, and Mandragor condition spamming. It was never a problem to kill the Mandragor groups, but they were extremely painful because the entire party would continually get conditions, and even with Foul Feast and Weapon of Remedy and Mend Body and Soul it took awhile to clean them all off. The Jotun Mesmers were less annoying, but more lethal. H/H will not cast spells under Backfire if they deem it too dangerous, and they treat Visions of Regret the same way. So with no hex removal at all, every time I faced off aganist these it was literally a fight to the death. Sometimes I would get lucky and Zho would immediately BHA them, but not always.

As for the rest of the mission, it was easy. The Nornbear went down fast, thanks to exploding minions.

8) Blood Washes Blood

Once again I had some problems with mass conditions and Hexes, such as Suffering. Also, the Charr have an abundance of AoE, and so the minions would often be killed off, and I would need to wait after battle for the Master of Whispers to make a new set. Nevertheless, it went by quickly. At the part with the three Charr bosses, I just rushed them. Normally, the Elementalist with three other Elementalists is a huge pain, but somehow I got lucky and they went down quietly. The Ranger boss also died very quickly thanks to Insidious Parasite. The rest of the mission was easy, although I think it would have gone faster if I was not using the Ursan skills.

Charr Lands[]

9) Against the Charr

This mission is never a real problem, and it wasn't with Sabway either. Some of the mobs contain multiple Elementalists, and the Elementalist boss also hits hard with Deep Freeze, so sometimes they are problematic. But I had no deaths.

10) Assault on the Stronghold

Because the other mission takes longer, I did this first. I had no Bonder as I normally do, so I was uncertain how it would go. I was once again surprised, because I actually succeeded very easily. It only took two Saurus before the gate broke...no deaths. I am really not sure how it worked out, to be honest, since with no buffs on the Saurus they usually die quickly. Maybe I just got lucky.

I will have to admit that the first time I tried, I failed, because the Charr allies were grouping around me to heal minions and such. This resulted in their Siege Devourer being killed, which quickly led to failure. But that isn't a fault with Sabway itself.

11) Warband of Brothers

I always hate this mission. I never know if I will wipe at certain groups, because they are absolutely huge and your Charr allies are less than helpful usually. Also, I was going in without a second BHA or a Mesmer, so I had doubts about the Charr Effigies at the end.

Yet once again, I was surprised. In fact, I was shocked. I went through this in a record time, and I took on entire groups of Charr at a time - I did not pull them as I usually do. On the second level there is an enormous group of Charr before Seer Fiercesign (iirc); I took them all out at once, with no deaths. A bit later on there is another large group of two patrols, and after that a bunch of Stalkers on a hill; I killed them all, too. Finally, there is the "spider pit" at the end of that floor; I killed every Spider instead of running through as I usually do. Again, no pulls, no deaths. It was fantastic.

On the final floor, there is a large group before Roan Fierceheart (iirc); I had some deaths here because the Charr acted strangely and did not aggro after I attacked. This led to melee hench overextending and Livia not being able to heal them. Plus I forgot they had Res sigs. Nevertheless, I got through that without wiping.

When I got to Flamemaster Maultooth and the Effigies, I considered just rushing him, since you win the mission when he dies. But I thought again, because it looked like suicide with no other anti-caster than Zho. I was correct; the Effigies, Flameshielders, and Maultooth himself put a serious hurt on the party, so taking them all at once would have been stupid. Nevertheless, this is one of the only times where I have managed this final group without strong anti-caster and come away without a wipe or multiple deaths. So Sabway once again proved itself against the odds.

Conclusion[]

Though I cannot get an exact time, I can say that it took no more than two hours to complete ALL the missions in Eye of the North, when doing another Hero's Handbook. That is INCREDIBLY fast, and my best time to date. If I also had done Heart of the Shiverpeaks, that would have added on no more than 30 minutes tops, although without strong lifesteal/Protective Bond/lack of corpses Cyndr might have been a problem. So, Sabway is very fast, very efficient, and definitely one of the best builds I have ever run for Eye of the North.

Although I did not have to go through all the travel that one must normally do in Eye of the North, I am sure that Sabway would still have seen me through most areas with relative ease. Some problem places would be Jotun, Mandragor, dinosaurs, and to a lesser extent Avalances and Vaettir (Holy damage; and Scourge Healing tended to kill Livia quickly). Still, I always have some problems against these anyway. I still would have a record time if I had factored in this, because normally doing all of Eye of the North takes me two days minimum.

I did some other tests in random places in other campaigns, and it seems to work just as well or even better in those places, too.

One of the great strengths of Sabway is that it works in so many situations. I never had to adjust any of the skillbars, and I only had minimal adjustment of Henchmen for certain mission. I am one of those people who tries to customize the party to best fit the situation, so I typically spend a long time in setup before doing missions. Not so with Sabway.

As experienced by me here, Sabway has problems with mass condition removal, mass hex removal, and Hexway style monsters. But these are already admitted weaknesses of Sabway, as the PvX page shows.

To sum this all up...I have to admit that frankly, Sabway rocks. I don't understand why it works, but it does. I don't like it because it's a "FotM" and because it's not original for me to use. But I cannot deny its success.

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