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How do you choose the best Runes and Relics for different builds in Guild Wars 2, 2023?

The release of Secrets of the Obscure brought a major overhaul to the upgrade system in Guild Wars 2. It introduced a new item type called Relics, replacing traditional runes. This change allows players a significant degree of customization and choice when selecting attributes and special bonuses for their builds. In this guide, we will explore some of the most powerful runes and Relics, primarily within the context of PvE. However, many of these choices are versatile and can be applied effectively in other game modes as well.


How do you choose the best Runes and Relics for different builds in Guild Wars 2, 2023?


Power Builds

  • Scholar Rune: The Scholar Rune remains a powerhouse for power-oriented builds, providing a substantial damage boost when above 90% health.
  • Dragon Hunter Rune: This Rune offers a remarkable boost in ferocity and has become a new favourite for power builds, often replacing the Thief Rune.
  • Infiltration Rune: Ideal for builds that struggle to reach crit cap without additional support, the Infiltration Rune grants stacking damage increases with each ability that has a cooldown or resource cost.
  • Relic of the Thief: This Relic complements the Infiltration Rune by further enhancing damage upon using abilities with cooldowns or resource costs.
  • Relic of Fireworks: This Relic rewards you with a 10% damage increase every time you land a weapon skill with a cooldown of 20 seconds or more, making it a fun choice to diversify your rotation. Fireworks Relic applies on pulsing attacks, including those used in forms like Reaper Shroud.


Condition Builds

  • Trapper Runes: These runes are the go-to choice for nearly all condition-based builds, offering significant bonuses to condition duration and condition damage.
  • Exception: For builds focusing on a single condition, consider a rune that specifically boosts that condition, such as Rune of the Crate, for 50% increased bleed duration.
  • Relic of Akeem: This Relic is exceptionally powerful, activating an area attack that inflicts more torment and confusion when you land a disable on a target with five stacks of torment or confusion. It's a must-have for any condition build that can trigger it.
  • Relic of the Fractal: Inflicting bleeding on an enemy with six or more stacks also applies burning and torment, making this Relic a solid choice for condition builds.
  • Relic of the Aristocracy: If you don't have access to Secrets of the Obscure or seek an immediate Relic purchase, this option provides additional attributes.


Support or Healer Builds

  • Monk Rune: A standard choice for healing builds, the Monk Rune offers healing power and boon duration, which are crucial for support roles.
  • Water Rune: Consider this Rune if your build needs more boon duration from traits. It provides extra concentration, helping maintain boons effectively.
  • Monk Relic: This Relic synergizes well with Monk Runes, granting additional healing when applying boons.
  • Mercy Relic: A valuable option for builds focused on reviving allies, as it improves revive speed and effectiveness. It is particularly effective for classes like healing scourge. Reviving allies at high health can be a game-changer in chaotic situations.
  • Dwayna Relic: While providing a 20% effectiveness boost to regeneration, the Monk Relic often outperforms it due to its broader applicability.


Special Bonuses

  • Relic of Speed: Offers an incredible mobility boost by increasing your movement speed by 66% when you have swiftness, making it great for World vs. World and for fun, fast-paced gameplay.
  • Anti-Toxin Relic: An excellent choice for competitive modes, this Relic removes an extra condition every 10 seconds when you remove a condition, which can significantly enhance your condition cleansing abilities.
  • Relic of Mabon: Currently bugged, it amplifies might stack from allies, but it's expected to be fixed. Keep an eye on this Relic for potential support builds in the future.
  • Relic of Sari: Summons a giant eye that corrupts boons and damages enemies. While not exceptionally powerful, it's a fun and unique effect to experiment with.
  • Relic of the Daredevil: A thrilling option for builds with significant evades or dodges, guaranteeing a critical hit on your next attack after a dodge roll or evasion.
  • Relic of Lear: This Relic shields allies when you heal them, redirecting damage to you. While it has usability issues, it's a unique and interesting effect to explore.
  • Relic of the Warrior: Reduces weapon swap recharge time by 25%, offering easier access to faster weapon swapping. Experiment with different combinations of Relics and runes to create unique and powerful builds that suit your playstyle.



Secrets of the Obscure brought a significant shift in the upgrade system of Guild Wars 2, offering players a plethora of choices through Relics. Whether you prefer sticking to the tried-and-true options or want to explore new and exciting combinations, the Relic system allows for diverse and creative builds. Stay within one or two Relics; build an impressive Relic arsenal and discover the full potential of your character. Enjoy experimenting and optimizing your builds with these powerful runes and Relics!

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