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GW2 Runes and Relics: Which are the Best and Worst in Secrets of the Obscure?

Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure expansion introduced significant changes to the Rune and Relic systems, revolutionizing the combat experience. Formerly, runes provided both stats and effects, requiring players to make trade-offs between synergistic effects and optimal stats. Now, runes dictate stats, and effects are chosen through relics. This guide aims to demystify these changes, helping you identify the best and worst runes and relics for various playstyles. Whether you're seeking power, condition, support, or survival, we've got you covered.



GW2 Runes and Relics: Which are the Best and Worst in Secrets of the Obscure?


Runes and Relics Changes

In the Secrets of the Obscure expansion, the Rune and Relic systems have been split, allowing players to choose their desired stats with Runes and effects with Relics. Runes are used to select your stats, while Relics provide additional effects. Unlike before, where trade-offs were common, these changes make the decision-making process more straightforward. Let's start by breaking down the best and worst choices for different playstyles.


Best and Worst Runes for Different Playstyles

Power Builds

Best Choice Scholar Runes Scholar Runes offer raw power and ferocity, making them ideal for power builds focused on burst damage.
Alternative Precision Runes (Infiltration Runes, Ranger Runes, Thief Runes) When the crit chance is low, go for Precision Runes. Infiltration Runes, Ranger Runes, and Thief Runes provide a balance of crit chance and power.
Honorable Mention Trapper Runes Trapper Runes offer high-condition damage and duration, making them suitable for power builds that also utilize conditions.


Condition Builds

Best Choice Tempest Runes Tempest Runes offer a solid boost in condition duration and expertise, benefiting condition-heavy builds.
Alternative Berserker Runes Berserker Runes provide raw condition damage and power, making them ideal for condition-focused builds.
Niche Balthazar Runes, Perplexity Runes, Thorns Runes, Crate Runes, Tormenting Runes Choose runes based on your primary condition type or build focus. Mix and match to maximize duration.


Support Builds

Best Choice for Boon Duration Water Runes Water Runes provide boon duration and healing power, perfect for healers looking to enhance their support capabilities.
Best Choice for Healing Monk Runes Monk Runes offer healing power and some boon duration, making them suitable for healers focusing more on healing than boon duration.
Alternative Leadership Runes Leadership Runes offer high boon duration, although they provide extra toughness that might not be suitable for certain situations.


Survival Builds

Best Choice: Durability Runes

Durability Runes offer a balanced combination of toughness, vitality, and boon duration, making them a great choice for squishy builds aiming to survive.


Movement Builds

Power Builds Surging Runes, Cavalier Runes Surging Runes provide boon duration, while Cavalier Runes offer extra toughness. Both are valuable for power builds.
Other Builds Traveler Runes Traveler Runes offers movement speed for classes that need more reliable mobility skills.


Remember to adapt your rune choices to your specific playstyle and role. PvP and WvW may have different optimal rune choices due to their unique dynamics.


Best and Worst Relics for Different Playstyles

Survival Relics

Best Choice Relic of Durability Relic of Durability offers a balance of toughness, vitality, and boon duration, making it a solid option for survival-focused builds.
Alternative Relic of Resistance Relic of Resistance can be useful for tanky builds that focus on boon uptime and barrier generation.


Support Relics

Best Choice for Cleansing Relic of the Trooper Relic of the Trooper excels in cleansing conditions on allies affected by your shouts. It's particularly valuable for supporting guardians or warriors.
Best Choice for Boon Support Relic of Leadership Relic of Leadership converts conditions into boons, making it excellent for supports aiming to enhance boon output.
Alternative Relic of the Monk Relic of the Monk provides healing power and boon duration, making it suitable for healers who want to focus more on healing than boon duration.


Power Relics

Best Choice for Damage Relic of the Thief Relic of the Thief offers a stacking strike damage modifier, making it reliable for power builds focused on sustained damage.
Alternative Relic of Fireworks Relic of Fireworks provides a 10% damage boost for 6 seconds after hitting an enemy with a weapon skill that has a 20-second cooldown or more.


Condition Relics

Best Choice Relic of the Scourge Relic of the Scourge offers stacking condition duration when applying a barrier to an ally. It's a solid choice for condition-based builds.
Alternative Relic of Aristocracy Relic of Aristocracy provides a stacking condition duration buff after applying weakness or vulnerability, making it valuable for various condition-focused builds.


Expansion Relics

Best Choice for Burst Relic of Izgaren Relic of Izgaren marks an enemy after evading their attacks, resulting in increased strike damage and condition duration against them.
Niche Relic of Leer, Relic of Patha, Relic of the Unseen These relics cater to specific playstyles and builds and may have limited utility outside of those scenarios.



Remember that effective use of runes and relics relies on your playstyle, build synergy, and chosen activities (PvE, PvP, WvW). Feel free to experiment and tailor your choices to your preferences. For additional information, refer to sources like's build section to find specific rune and relic suggestions for different game modes. Enjoy optimizing your character's potential in the Secrets of the Obscure expansion!

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