Along the way we even found some areas we had never seen before, even after 6+ years of Guild Wars! Most recently, the troll cave in Snake Dance.
We would like to share some of our tips and tricks for gaining the Legendary Vanquisher title for any other brave souls attempting it or intending to attempt it now.
1. Find a build that works for you.
It's very important you design a team that makes sense to you, a team build that you can understand and run. Mousie and I were alone together with 6 heroes, and our build revolved around direct damage, massive AOE punishment and plenty of spirit / minion fodder. These are some of the most useful skills we found for Hard Mode:
to name but a few. Our general tactic was to pull a group (they would tend to clump themselves together for us, usually) and obliterate them wth our AOE attacks such as whirlind attack and volley while under a splinter weapon, with our target hexed with mark of pain. Not a lot can survive such punishment.
Don't underestimate the importance of a balanced team. These days, a lot of people tend to go with gimmicks they find posted on the PvX builds wiki rather than puzzling out their own build, but to think of your own team have them work in sync with one another is an amazing thing.
It's also important to remember that you won't always have the luxury of a party of 8. You need to find a way to make your team work for you when the limit is reduced to 6, or even 4 in some instances.
2. Know your enemy and exploit their weaknesses.
It's a good idea to visit the official guild wars wiki (wiki.guildwars.com) or use /wiki in game, to find some information about your intended vanquish area. For example, if you're facing an area full of water magic wielding enemies you may consider outfitting your team with Mantra of Frost! There's a Mantra for every element and they helped us immensely. Fire forest? Mantra of fire! Shiverpeak mountains? Mantra of frost! etc.
In Hard Mode, enemies receive a 50% attack and movement speed boost so you can use this against them. Skills such as Empathy and Spiteful Spirit will have them commiting suicide in no time at all. You could also choose to negate their bonuses by taking Shared Burden. Defy Pain was truly a life safer, too; I rarely took any damage from basic attacks, and even most spells were limited in their effects. Since I was usually the last to die in those instances we were to have a party wipe, I could easily shout "By Ural's Hammer!" to bring my entire party back with a vengeance. This can also be a good tactic to ressurect a wiped party; use Ural's Hammer! to ressurect one of your party with a renewable ressurect, and have them ressurect the rest of the team. You'll be back on your feet again in no time.
Unfortunately, since most enemies are of a much higher level (and likely have stronger armour) in Hard Mode, certain professions such as Elementalists may feel their spells a little underwhelming. I have to recommend that direct damage in the form of holy, dark or chaos damage is your best bet for a consistent battle.
3. Back to back vanquishes
This mostly applies to Tyria. If there are some tough zones coming up, and uh oh, you notice you can only have a party of four in them; you may be so lucky as to enter from another explorable zone from a different outpost allowing six. A perfect example of this would be the entire of Ascalon; It's actually possible to backtrack from Yak's Bend with a party of six and vanquish every single zone in the Ascalon area (usually a party of 4) with your party of 6. It definitely makes things easier on you, even if you need to be prepared to leave your computer switched on to finish the vanquishes the following day.
4. Sweet, sweet CANDY!
Honeycombs. Honeycombs, Honeycombs, Honeycombs Honeycombs. Oh, and if I forgot to mention it? HONEYCOMBS!
I don't know just how many times our scarred and charred butts have been saved by noshing a few of these beautiful things. Honeycombs grant your entire party a 5% morale boost, so they are incredibly useful for vanquishers in a tough spot. In some zones these are absolutely priceless, and they are cheap and readily available in any major city for between 100 and 200 gold a pop.
Although Honeycombs are the ultimate vanquisher's candy, there's plenty of other useful candies for you to consider using too. They can boost life, energy, attack speed, skill casting speed, and more!
Rainbow Candy Cane (Honeycomb equivalent)
Some of these are rarer than others, but most of them won't set you back much gold at all and can mean the difference between a successful vanquish and a party wipe.
5. Don't give up!
If at first something feels horrendously difficult, or even impossible, take solace in the fact that it truly isn't. Many others have done this before, and you can do it too!