A Guide to Verdant Brink (Guild Wars 2 : Heart of Thorns)

Welcome, adventurers! The 2016 Spring Update brought significant changes to the way Verdant Brink plays and I felt that the usual technical guides could do with a more conversational companion guide to advise players on what they could do in this zone given 20 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour of play time.

The zone is still on a 2 hour day/night cycle, which means that if you entered the zone at daybreak it would take a full 2 hours to get your final map reward at the following daybreak. Obviously a lot of players don’t have 2 straight hours to do this, so let’s go over what happens during the cycle, and then what you can do if you arrive at a random time with only a shorter session at hand.

Technical Guide and Event Timers

You can find an overview to Verdant Brink on the official wiki here along with an event timer that tracks the current day/night cycle. There you will find maps and details on how each sector of the map progresses during the day, and then details on the night campaign and locations of the canopy bosses that appear in the last 20 minutes.

The wiki guide is a useful reference for finding things but it doesn’t tell you how to effectively use your time in the map, so let’s get started on that now.

From Dawn to Dusk

At dawn break, each sector of the map begins a chain of events that builds up that location. These five sectors are known as the Itzel (aka “frogs”), the Nobles (Lord Faren and friends), the Pact (starring Doc Elly, Chief Timblin and Master-at-Arms Neary), Pale Reavers (aka “sylvari”, lead by Laranthir of the Wild) and the Ordinance Corps (Beigarth and company).

If you just want to follow along with the local story then it’s as easy as joining in on the dynamic events that are going on. Even after the area is complete there will be additional bonus events such as hunting veteran mordrem to watch out for. Bonus events are especially worth watching out for as they’re an easy source of Pact Crowbars, which you use to open Airship Cargo treasure chests, which contain loot and (often enough) lots of the local Airship Parts map currency that you can spend at vendors for map rewards.

A Downed Airship in Verdant Brink.
Downed Airship

From Dusk until Dawn

At night, a 45 minute countdown will begin and various Pact “rally points” will be marked on the map. You can help out by defending these rally points, escort Pact soldiers carrying supplies, retake lost rally points, or hunt bonus mordrem veterans. Alternatively you can just goof off and look for treasure (Airship Cargo), hit the gathering nodes, and maybe help out at random events you trip over along the way like the Skritt Burglar or Treasure Mushroom.

At the 20:30 minute mark, the Night Bosses will be available and you can consider going to those.

If you plan on sticking around until the map rewards are handed out at the end of the timer, aim to get 100% or greater “map participation”. You can check your current level by hovering over the chest icon above the mini map. Any event you do at night will advance your participation and the fastest way to raise it is to do escorts, tag defence events and and slay veteran rampaging mordrem. You might also have opportunities to tag Hero Point events and odd things like the Skritt Burglar and Treasure Mushroom.

Defence Events

All of the player controlled rally points will all be attacked at the 44:30 mark, 34:30 mark and 24:30 mark on the timer for 4 minutes or until the mordrem win. If you intend to play these events, you must retain control of the “capture zone” by slaying the invading mordrem and making sure that they don’t outnumber you and your allies in the capture zone.

  • If mordrem outnumber you and your allies the capture bar will start to slowly fill. If it completes then you’ve lost.
  • If the capture bar partly fills and you slay enough mordrem, or additional allies arrive to outnumber them, then the capture bar will quickly go back down to safe levels.
  • You will struggle to succeed on your own. A second player makes things manageable and a third or more should make things comfortable if you’re any good. If you’re still struggling then stick with other players while you learn how to deal with the various enemy types, practice different things, and consider wearing tankier gear until you can survive reliably. Heart of Thorns is considerably more dangerous than Core Tyria and it takes a bit of time to adjust.
  • Cooperating with 1-2 other players is a recipe for success.

Pact Soldiers

These guys carry enough supplies to add a full level to a rally point, immediately refreshing any barricades and turrets, possibly adding new features and allies to fight off mordrem. The best time to do these events is after mordrem attacks have ended, but if the rally point you are supporting has a lot of players defending it then you can probably get away with doing an escort during the invasions.

  • You may also find Pact Supplies lying around. If you take them to a rally point you add a chunk of progress to the current upgrade, get some experience, and a stack of the “Pact Supplier” buff that gives you a little more experience from kills. Running supplies is far less effective than escorting a soldier but you can do it at any time.

Veteran Mordrem

Most of the veteran mordrem are easy kills for easy map participation and rewards. If you see one nearby you should consider going over and blowing it up before continuing with whatever it was you were doing.

Updraft Use in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns
Updraft Use

Night Bosses

The five night bosses are the big highlight of Verdant Brink but you might only have time to do one of them at a time, so think about which boss fight you’d like to go to beforehand. Each boss corresponds with a zone from the day phase and you can take any of the Pact choppers in that zone to reach the same boss. These are, with notes for fighting them:

Any Itzel chopper for Cotoni and Huetzi (aka “frogs”).

  • You will need Itzel Mastery #1, Jumping Mushrooms to reach their healing spot but as long as some players can do that part you’ll be fine without it.

Any Nobles chopper for Axemaster Gwyllion.

  • You will need Nuhoch Mastery #4, Stealth Detection to see him during his super attack, but you can still hit him without it.
  • Stuns and other control effects are needed to break him during his super attack, otherwise he downs every player he marked with it.
  • Itzel Mastery #6, Adrenal Mushrooms is helpful to reset your skills and fully charge class mechanics such as adrenaline, initiative, astral force etc.
  • He is easily overwhelmed by a mob of players providing they go in together.

Any Pact chopper for the Wyvern Matriarch.

  • Glider Basics is all you need.
  • Ranged control abilities such as fear, knockback, stun etc. can be used during her “take off phases” to gain a massive advantage if you break her in time.

Any Pale Reavers chopper for the Wyvern Patriarch.

  • You will need Gliding Mastery #2, Updraft Use to attend.
  • If you want to melee you can stand under the patriarch, but be sure to stay behind him to avoid wing buffets and tail slaps.
  • There is an “egg phase” at 75%, 50% and 25% health remaining at which time you must throw wyvern eggs at the boss while gliding to break his fiery shield. You can find these littering the ruins below at this time, but be careful not to glide too low or you will need to take a chopper back.
  • The egg phases significantly slows how fast this boss dies, so it’s best to start as soon as the bosses become available.
  • You can fight this boss solo if you know what you’re doing, but it’ll go a lot faster with a few allies.
  • The patriarch has immunity to all crowd control for the entire fight. Damage is king.

Any Ordinance Corps chopper for the Tetrad.

  • Itzel Mastery #6, Adrenal Mushrooms is extremely helpful and overpowered here. Use them to refresh all your skills and fully charge class mechanics. There are 4 mushrooms around the arena, allowing you to perform mass Thieves Guild summonings, chain Time Warps, chain Berserk mode or whatever else you can think of.
  • This fight gets brutal quickly if you’re on your own. Try to go in with 4-5 players at least.
  • You will fight three bosses at once to begin with and they power each other up when nearby. Keep them separated if you can.
  • The final boss appears once the first 3 are slain and his appearance creates a wind wall around the arena that will block your movement. If you are knocked out of the arena, you can perform a dodge-roll to get through the wind and re-enter.
  • The final boss creates a predictable shockwave every time he teleports back to the middle, so be sure to dodge-roll it every time he does that or you will be knocked out of the arena and/or killed.
  • The final boss is very vulnerable to control effects like stuns, providing you can find a space to land them.

Providing you kill any of these bosses you will get a big boss chest with some special daily rewards that you can only get once per day. If you stay until the timer reaches zero you will also get a reward based on your map participation, including a Bladed Armor Box if your map reached tier 4. You can use any spare time to mop up Airship Cargo, especially the floating cargo pods that you only need to touch to collect. Note that you still need a crowbar to do this.

The Wyvern Patriarch in Verdant Brink, Heart of Thorns
The Wyvern Patriarch

At Any Time

If you want to maximise your rewards for time spent then hit a few events to get crowbars and then spend some time hunting down cargo chests to open. If you need Mastery Experience then be aware that you can do Hero Points (HP’s) once a day for loot and experience, so if you see someone calling out for help in map chat be aware of that opportunity. Also if you have some crowbars, keep an eye out for Large Airship Cargo chests that can be found just about anywhere.

If you just want to relax and explore during the day or night time then gathering can be both fun and lucrative, especially if you’ve stockpiled some crowbars as well.

Rich Orichalcum Node

  • There is a rich orichalcum node in Verdant Brink that changes location daily (and its location can differ from instance to instance of the map to add confusion). Its location is often down in the canyons at one of the Hero Points such as Alchemist’s Ledge, Abyssal Colonnade, on the ledge above Ancient Tree or in the area of the Nightthistle Blossom. Otherwise you might find it by gliding around in the canyons, but this will require Advanced Gliding Mastery to do properly so that you don’t run out of flight time.
  • You can harvest this node once a day per character. If you can reliably get into the same map instance on different characters (by being in a squad or party), you can harvest this node multiple times to make a lot of orichalcum quickly.

Orichalcum, Mithril, Ancient and Palm Nodes

  • Regular orichalcum nodes and ancient saplings (tier 6 metal and wood nodes) are both worth significantly more than mithril and elder wood (tier 5 metal and wood nodes). All four of these nodes also have the chance at giving jewels used in the manufacture of valuable amalgamated gemstone and can be sold on the Trading Post.


  • If you’re lucky you can harvest Freshwater Pearls, worth ~5g each at time of writing.

Jungle Plants

  • If you’re lucky you can harvest Maguuma Lilies, worth ~9-10g each at time of writing.


  • There’s a flax farm under Jaka Itzel waypoint in the north east where you can harvest these plants in bulk and sell the proceeds on the Trading Post if you wish. You may wish to refine flax seeds into Linseed Oil before selling.

Large Airship Cargo

  • Found just about anywhere, they seem especially common down in the canyons along with various gathering nodes and mordrem snipers. They need a crowbar to open and typically contain map currency and salvage fodder.

Airship Cargo

  • These are probably going to be your main source of Airship Parts map currency, and may also contain valuable goods such as Black Diamonds. They need a crowbar to open.

Cashing In Your Currency

Once you’ve opened a whole load of Airship Cargo chests and claimed other event rewards, you’ll have a big stack of Airship Parts to spend at the zone merchants. There’s an Itzel Mastery vendor at the east entrance of the zone at all times, and there’s another one some of the time in the Itzel village.

If you have currencies from Auric Basin and Tangled Depths, there are also merchants who take those currencies as well. The Exalted Mastery vendor is by the Noble Ledges waypoint in the west and the Nuhoch Mastery vendor is in the Itzel village, but depending on the time of day they may or may not be there.

The main things to buy at the Itzel vendor is probably the Bladed Armor set. There’s a small number of achievement points (3) for collecting every piece and a bonus reward of 3 transmutation charges.

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns, Bugs in the Branches Adventure
Bugs in the Branches

Adventures, Insights, Strongboxes and Hero Points

No guide would be complete without mentioning these.

Adventures are mostly available during the day. They give out rewards for each tier (gold, silver, bronze) once per day, making them a decent source of mastery experience if you find them fun. They also give out a little currency and an item.

  • Achieving gold and silver will also give a mastery point for your masteries the first time you make it.
  • Getting gold will give you a guaranteed rare item once per day that you can sell or salvage for ectoplasm.

Insights are Mastery Points that you have to reach and channel like the similar type of Hero Point challenge. You do them once and that’s it.

Strongboxes are similar to Insights, except they are not marked on the map. They can be looted once per day for a few items and don’t need a crowbar. There is an achievement associated with finding each one.

Hero Points are split into the channel types that you only have to get to and channel, and the combat ones that can be quite demanding.

  • Combat challenges are repeatable for mastery experience and rewards, so consider helping other players if they ask for help.

Ranger Pets

Almost a footnote, the juvenile Fire Wyvern is found here. You can get there any time by following the directions given on the wiki.

Thanks For Reading

So, that’s about all I can think of that’s worth mentioning concerning Verdant Brink. If there’s one other thing I’ll say is that this map is gigantic to the point I’ve been exploring it for months, especially since fully unlocking my masteries. It’s very easy to find things to do and the day time stories are really quite entertaining. There’s a great deal of replayability value here to keep you entertained for a long time, whether it’s getting some action at a boss fight, chilling out cruising the canyons for resources, popping a few airship cargoes, or whatever else you like doing.

If there’s any details you’d like me to add, comments, suggestions or whatever then please leave them in the comment section below. Also if you liked this guide, please share it and follow me using the social buttons for more. There’s also lots more Guild Wars 2 articles here and more around the site.

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Thanks for reading and happy adventuring!