Confused about Guild Wars 2's new mastery system? Check out our comprehensive guide to all the Heart of Maguuma Masteries now available in Heart of Thorns.

Guild Wars 2 Masteries Guide: Heart of Maguuma

Confused about Guild Wars 2's new mastery system? Check out our comprehensive guide to all the Heart of Maguuma Masteries now available in Heart of Thorns.

Guild Wars 2’s new expansion, Heart of Thorns, has introduced a jungle of new content, including an entirely new progression path known as Masteries. Masteries open up new forms of travel, crafting abilities, vendors, and more. And they’re essential to progressing in the new zones of the expansion. There are two main categories of MasteriesCentral Tyria masteries, which are focused on vanilla Guild Wars 2 content, and Heart of Maguuma masteries, which help you progress in Heart of Thorns. Here’s what you need to know about masteries.

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How Masteries Work

Masteries are unlocked with experience – like levels, all of your experience earned through kills, events, and story progression will help move the bar toward your next Mastery unlock (it is worth noting that achievements also count toward mastery unlocks). Once unlocked with experience, you need Mastery Points to activate the mastery, and these can be found throughout the Maguuma Jungle, much like places of power, or earned through the story.

It takes a pretty substantial amount of XP to earn all of the masteries – 88 million  XP for all of them – but most of the new expansion can be accessed with just a few. Here are the key parts of each mastery line.


Glider Basics

This is the first mastery you’re going to complete (all the others are locked until you finish Glider Basics), but that’s probably a good thing, because this is far and away the most important mastery you need for exploring Maguuma. Finishing Glider Basics allows you to glide while in the air by holding space, but your gliding time and control are limited at first.

Updraft Use

While gliding around in Maguuma you’re going to notice a lot of whirling columns of air scattered around – with Updraft Use, these will shoot you up in the air and give you a boost to your endurance, allowing you to glide further and reach a lot more places. There are a few hero points and essential areas that you can’t reach without Updraft Use, and it’s extremely useful in general, so this should probably be one of the first things you unlock.

Lean Techniques

This isn’t a terribly exciting mastery, but it does offer you increased control of your glider, which can be a huge help if you’re having trouble landing where you want to. It works a lot more smoothly when you have some of the more advanced Gliding masteries, but by itself it isn’t all that impressive, so if you’re doing fine with your glider you can probably hold off on this for a while.

Stealth Gliding

This is fairly situational, and not all that exciting, but there are definitely some places in the new maps where Mordrem Snipers and other anti-air mobs will make your life extremely unpleasant, and being able to stealth past them can make your exploration a lot less stressful. Again, there’s no reason to rush this, but it’s handy once you have it.

Advanced Gliding

This is the real cherry on the Gliding Mastery sundae – this mastery gives you essentially unlimited endurance and allows you to fly forever, as long as you don’t abuse your lean techniques. You don’t need this to get anywhere, but it makes traversing the enormous Heart of Thorns maps a breeze, and gives you a lot more leeway when it comes to reaching your target location or trying to get to a new spot.

Ley Line Gliding

This is important for reaching 100% map completion and for ease of travel, but is otherwise not essential. It’s definitely worth working toward, but it can be delayed until you’ve filled out some of the other lines. It will let you travel along Ley Lines, which is hugely useful in Auric Basin especially, but it’s not something you need anytime soon.

Itzel Lore

Bouncing Mushrooms

This mastery allows you to hop on the mushrooms that are sprouting glowing lines and ride them up – these are everywhere, too, and unlocking this opens up huge areas of all the maps. This is definitely the second unlock you want to shoot for, since it gives you access to a bunch of hero challenges, waypoints, and vistas, as well as just making moving around easier. The mushrooms can be a little tricky because you don’t always know where they’re going to send you, but it’s pretty quick to learn where you’ll end up.

Itzel Language

Unlocking this mastery allows you to talk to the various Itzel vendors in the Heart of Maguuma and opens up some new interactions. The Itzel vendors sell the Bladed Set, insignias with the new Minstrel affix, and a bunch of other goodies, so this is definitely worth your time. Itzel language is not essential, but it’s relatively easy to unlock and has a lot to offer.

Blazing Speed Mushrooms

With this mastery, you gain the ability to ingest the speed-boosting mushrooms that are pretty much everywhere in the Heart of Maguuma. Out of combat, this doesn’t make you much faster than you would be with swiftness, though they do give you a substantial boost to combat speed, which can be really handy vs. some of the fast-moving and AoE enemies you’ll encounter. Generally this isn’t a huge boon, but it’s nice to have, and it’s on the way to better masteries.

Itzel Poison Lore

This is a surprisingly useful mastery – there are more than a couple hero challenges and areas that are inaccessible or difficult to complete without Itzel Poison Lore, so this isn’t something that you want to put off for too long. Not having this isn’t going to gate a whole lot of content, but there is definitely some that you’ll miss out on, so pick it up when you can.

Itzel Leadership

This mastery allows you to spawn a daily champ that you can fight – beating it will grant you a mastery point and grant a reward chest that you need Itzel Leadership to unlock. Early testing indicates that the chest has mostly Airship Parts, which are useful, but it may be capable of giving other rewards. This is a nice bonus, but nothing special, so it can probably be safely ignored until you are further along the other lines.

Adrenal Mushrooms

Like Blazing Speed Mushrooms, this is a straight-up buff that can definitely be very useful in certain situations, but you probably don’t need Adrenal Mushrooms for anything essential. There is at least one Hero Challenge that is supposed to require Adrenal Mushrooms, but it can be bypassed without this mastery, so feel free to hold off on leveling this unless you think you can benefit from using these.

Exalted Lore

Exalted Markings

Without this, a lot of areas, lore, and rewards are off limits to you, especially in Auric Basin. And since it’s the first mastery in the tree, it’s a good one to pick up. It will allow you make a lot more progress and contribute more significantly to the Tarir event in Auric Basin, and beating that opens up a ton of new areas and offers serious rewards. You also need this to claim Gilded Hollow for your Guild, which is important for advancing your guild hall.

Exalted Acceptance

This unlocks Exalted Vendors and a little bit of previously inaccessible content. Nothing here is absolutely essential, but like with the Itzel, the vendors have access to some Heart of Thorns exclusive gear and materials and recipes that are important for completing the bladed set and making some of the new insignia, so this is definitely worthwhile.

Exalted Assistance

This mastery allows you to summon Exalted warriors from Exalted Recall devices to help you out, While that sounds somewhat situational, it can be really helpful in Auric Basin, especially during the Tarir Event. And you are going to find that this can make a big difference in whether or not you’re able to take down the Octovines in time.

Exalted Purification

Like Itzel Leadership, this gives you access to a champion fight with a mastery point and a reward chest every day. If you squeeze this into your daily rotation then you can end up with a lot of Heart of Thorns mats, which can definitely add up. It also unlocks some previously inaccessible content, so it’s worth picking up, but is probably not essential and can be delayed.

Exalted Gathering

This mastery allows you to mine Aurillium, which is used in the creation of the new insignia, some of which have the potential to be very useful. You can also trade Aurillium for exalted keys, which allow you to open the chests in Auric Basin. If you want to use any of the new gear types, you definitely need this, though it may prove useful even if you don’t intend to use the new types of armor and weapons.

Nuhoch Lore

Nuhoch Hunting

The mastery unlocks some new collectibles, bonus loot from enemies, and items that you wouldn’t be able to access otherwise, so it’s pretty handy to have. Unlike the other tier-one masteries, it doesn’t unlock any hero challenges or gated content, but it can lead to bonus achievement points and interesting loot, so it’s a good mastery to pursue regardless. 

Nuhoch Wallows

Unlocking Nuhoch Wallows allows you to travel through the hidden passages located on the map (much like Skritt Tunnels). These are extremely useful, and almost essential once you get to the Tangled Depths. Definitely consider picking this up early on.

Nuhoch Language

Just like the Itzel vendors and the Exalted vendors, these guys sell Heart of Thorns-specific recipes, materials, and gear. Speaking their language also unlocks some lore and content, so it’s definitely worth picking up, though perhaps not right away.

Nuhoch Stealth Detection

This is a very niche mastery, since it doesn’t apply to all or even most enemies, but there are a few events that are more or less impossible without this, so if you’re a completionist or need something specific from any of those areas, it’s worth picking up.

Nuhoch Proving

This mastery allows you to challenge Nuhoch in certain areas, and there is at least once Hero Challenge that requires this to complete, so you’re probably going to need to pick it up if you’re trying to finish your elite specialization. It also unlocks another mastery point and daily reward chest, so it’s a pretty useful mastery overall.

Nuhoch Alchemy

Much like Nuhoch Stealth Detection, this mastery is fairly focused, but without it the tougher Chak enemies will obliterate you, so for players wanting to complete Chak events or explore the deep parts of Maguuma, this is definitely a priority, though it’s fairly expensive, so it may have to wait.

That’s all we have on Masteries for now. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Heart of Thorns guides. And share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Robert Guthrie
Writer, freelancer, historian.