If you pvp at all you know combat is meh, bad damage, half decent survival, but only if you spec for 100% deflect. Trapper, evil stunbot - good for support if you are part of a premade perhaps. That leaves us with the weird choice - archer. Long neglected because of zero survival. However now that the damage of combat is gone with the piercing nerfs, archer is the only path that can hurt the enemy. And by "hurt" I mean "blow their brains out all over the floor".
Gear, see bottom of guide.
Paragon, pathfinder for ambush. No other reason.
Feats, the usual choices and then all the archer feats except the 2 lower leftmost columns.
Boon-wise, chòose everything offensive, keep repeating the mantra "I am not a defensive build, I am not a defensive build." Stay away from the damage on reflect boons, the manticore will bite you.
Stats, Arpen to as close as you can get to 100% defences ignored. Crit enough to get you to 80% with stillness of the forest, the rest into power. Defence, if you rock a shadowclad, stack hitpoints. If you don't have shadowclad, stack deflect. If you do have anything left, stack about 6 or 7k recovery, but don't sweat it if you can't, at-wills have no cooldowns and act says 55% of my damage comes from aimed shot and long shot, (the archer tree piercing feat - however, despite the changes, longshot is not a huge source of damage, the real reason archer is so lethal is our enormous base damage, meaning that even post mitigation, the damage that does get through is still enough to blast away big chunks of the enemy's HP).
Rotation. (No pressure long version instakill) Forest ghost, ambush, commanding, lonstriders, aimed shot, aimed shot... (Under pressure short version) Longstriders, disruptive, aimed shot, run away.
Class features, seekers and falcon.
Mainhand, aimed shot, offhand, falcon.
Tactics: Offence. sit waaaaaaay back off mid, wait until your teamates engage. Pick target, hardlock if you like, especially if anyone has illusion weapons, though hardlock is such a pain I don't bother usually, and pew-pew-pew. If you have a choice, always choose tanks - OPs, GFs, DCs, GWFs. Also, kill any other HRs as soon as you see them. A trapper will lock you down and kill you easily, another archer will blow you away. Don't be ashamed to use the pillars if your team can't hold the enemy's attention. If the node absolutely needs you to cap it, hop on and stealth up, try to keep out of the way. Remember, you have only one job - kill everything. All else is secondary.
Tactics: Defence. This is the bit that takes some getting used to. Basically it boils down to: run away. Don't look back, just run like mad. Don't get all "never back down" just run. Keep running. Run aaalllllllllll the way across the map. Feated as you are, you will sometimes outrun even the fastest gwf, don't worry. You're basically the Flash, with a bow. Also, forest ghost is your friend. Kite, kite, kite - especially when it comes to the "famous" GFs and GWFs, I've won a lot of matches which my team shouldn't have, simply because these guys get so enraged that they spend the whole match trying to kill me.
CWs, SWs. Anything with ranged control attacks are a huge problem for us. If your team are any good, best just to snipe at these 2 classes, then run away and find a node with better prey. If you have to engage these two, stealth up, get range, and hope their cooldowns aren't ready.
TRs. Basically, try to out-stealth them. Lol. With ambush, forest and shadowclad, we have pretty decent stealth capabilities. Longstriders and disruptive are very quick casts, and if manticore procs, boom they lose half their HP. Longshot feat, while pretty lousy, does add piercing damage which is neccesary considering TR stupid-overpowered deflect. Chip away, thornward is your friend.
Pros: It's hilarious. Those immortal OPs everyone complains about... Those immortal DCs, those tough-as nails GFs with their little cutesy shields... Nope, no longer immortal. Very surprised yes, immortal no.
Cons: Everybody hates you. The enemy team, your own team, everybody. I've been playing archer for a long time, averaging 10 to 20 kills a match with a high so far of 42. Lots of hate tells from butthurt tanks lol. However, the traditional pvp meta being "FIGHT ON THE HAMSTER NODE NOOBZ!!!!!" (which you can't do and be useful at the same time), you also get hated (at least till people realise OMG that HR just killed everyone on mid by himself in under 20 seconds) by your own team mates... Oh well. ☺ Also, you will get ganked. As I said before, I've had enemy teams so angry that they chase me me all over the shop, even though it means they lose the match because my team caps everything in the interim.
Is this build for you..? Hate to say it, but you probably need really good gear.
Try this test. Take off your pet, go to trade of blades. Sit by the vendors and pew-pew the furthest dummy you can hit. Watch your numbers. If you are hitting reliable, consecutive crits with aimed shot after the 3 encounter set up of between 400 and 500k and your arpen is around 90-100%... I think you are good to go.
Anyway, try it. Fun on a bun.
P.s. one thing I forgot to mention, race, my prime choice, human. Those 3 extra points help you max out the final top row normal feat 9% extra damage on atwills to targets not aiming at you. Kind of a must.
Final final final final mount bonuses and stats (updated for mod 13/14 gear):
Assassin's. Shepherds. Artificers. Guile. (movement is a lifesaver). Calvalrys' warning (not crazy useful but nice if you have time to set up to take down a really tanky target). (Note. If you don't have an orange mount, replace warning with another guile).
Example stats. (my stats lol). 99.9% arpen. 7k+ recovery. 44k power buffing to about 50k. (SH power boon) ~78% crit (crit-light gear unfortunately). 150%+ critsev. 15% deflect (if you don't have shadowclad, stack this though as your main defence stat). ~200k HP. (SH HP boon). Absolutely bugger all lifesteal. Whatever defence is on my gear. 5,000,000% run speed (approx). Happiness factor: high (unless pugs and/or wall to wall TRs). Ability to kill Saber: fair. Ability to make Saber insane: very high.
If your guild has them, and especially if they have the slayer boon, use a rnk2 GF slayer glyph, because in PvP, GFs are like a rash, or a TR ward..
New mod14 Gear choices.
*Manticore mane head. (Slayer glyph). *Puppet's plate chest + T.shadowclad. (Hag's Rags unfortunately don't stack with eyestalk wraps). *Eyestalk hands.(crit glyph). *Enduring boots. *Exhalted Pilgrim weapons + U. Vorpal (dread is good too, fey is ok). *Company dex neck. *Greater dex belt. *Bronzewood ring. *Offensive action ring. *Exquisite elemental gemmed pants/mod 13 paints shirt. *Dc sigil, giant eye, gwf sigil, cw sigil. (Or whatever you have - DC sigil kinda a must though). *Enchants, offence slots: dark/radiant13s and 1 high-ranked tenebrous if you like. Defence slots: radiant 13s - defence is a useless stat for HR, deflect we want to be low so shadowclad stealth procs reliably. If you use eclipse, silveries. *Pots/buffs, wildstorm elixir, watermelon sorbet, invoke buff, SH power food, enhanced crit potion, pocket-pet.
The ring, arms, and boots give a total 9% damage bonus if a) you've popped off a daily recntly and b) have full stamina. Both of which are ideal for us as we sneak initially without dodging, and always have a daily ready to go. Add on 9% if they are not targetting you, 50% from prey, 19% if you are behind them with seekers, and 20% with the right slayer glyph+boon... All told a possible 100%+ self-buff - these are the keys to one/two/three-shotting people. The manticore head while not deadly alone, may just finish someone off who we've almost killed before they get within striking distance, and the stats are ok I suppose.
Note: Manticore is broke, it's possible to multiproc on some long dailies. However, it is not broke on disrruptive, and only slightly broke on forest ghost, I've seen it proc twice once in a blue moon. So don't feel too bad about it. There is a mile of difference between manticore HR and manticore TR/OP. It also multiprocs mainly off damage reflect boons like frozen reflection and fey thistle, so don't take those boons.
Why pilgrim and not primal..? Because of our playstyle. Primal procs on heals and taking a hit. Considering the high HP we stack in pvp, and the massive healing depression, getting a big enough heal to proc the primal set is a problem. And of course, being a glass cannon, you don't really want to get hit, because usually that first hit leads to a second and a third and... back to the spawncamp lol. Pilgrim however procs as soon as you are in combat, giving you an immediate +5% damage boost, lasting for either a minute, or until your opponent is dead. ie. A no brainer. Some of the new ravenloft weapons are also just as good, and don't need to be exhalted.
And an added plus of mod 13/14 is that finally, at last thank god the illusion set is dead. No more confusing clouds of targets on mid.