GW2 Elementalist PvE Class Guide originally written by Haviz and Zelyhn, modified by Austin, used to be updated and maintained by Purple Miku, while now it’s maintained by Amira Martell — all expert elementalist players of Retaliate [rT]. This is the 5th in a series of class guides written by members of [rT], a European dungeon speed clearing/raiding guild.
Last updated 22nd December, 2015
The elementalist is a clever approach to the mage type class, differentiating itself from traditional role-play games’ designs by allowing you to master all four primary elements in a martial art fashion. It is a lot of fun to play, but it is also quite demanding and difficult to learn throughout the entire process of leveling. Being a good elementalist is not easy and will take practice and dedication. This guide will include all of the necessary information required to perform efficiently in PvE as an elementalist.
You are about to learn one of the most entertaining and potent classes of the game. If you are a new player you will certainly find that this guide has more information than you can digest in one setting. Do not be afraid, as all elementalists have endured this stage in order to have become the players that they currently are today! We will expose not just the most efficient ways to play but also the thought processes that lead to our meta builds. We believe that a display of the best practices is of no use unless we teach our readers how and why we make our decisions. It requires a lot of practice and discipline to know what is best to use and why, but it will be a rewarding end result to those that put in the effort necessary to master the elementalist.
The elementalist is a very complex class; it has so many capabilities and it faces numerous challenges. In order to outline the path of efficiency through our vast possibilities, we structure our guide in eight different sections. Section 2 explains the underlying ideas that define how the elementalist is best played and the mindset that leads to efficient gameplay choices. Sections 3 to 7 delve into the assets available to our class, outlining how each of them can be used. These sections are detailed and exhaustive, they cover every single aspect involved in making a build for your character. Finally, section 8 shows how the class assets can be combined with synergy to create builds that empower specific play-styles. Without further ado, we now begin section 2 which defines the essence of our class; explaining both what the elementalist is and what it can do.
- Auto-attack: an attack without resource cost (no cooldown)
- Cleave: the factor enabling your attack to hit multiple targets (often 3) in melee range (sometimes further).
- Damage: unless otherwise stated, all damage qualifications are expressed in damage per second terms (DPS), i.e. the nominal damage done by the skill divided by the total time spent from the beginning of the cast until another spell can be used (total cast time).
- Proc: used to describe whenever a passive random event occurs or random item activates.
- Kiting: an act of movement in order to avoid damage by keeping your enemy at a certain distance and often still being able to attack him.
- Skipping: an act of passing by enemy mobs (sometimes bosses) without a desire to kill them.
- Main weapons: weapons equipped via the equipment panel (as opposed to conjured weapons also known as “conjures”)
- Sustain: the ability to withstand pressure by healing health lost and mitigating incoming damage.
- Hard controls: effects that prevents your enemies from using attacks (stuns, knock-downs, daze), commonly known as “CC” (Crowd Control).
- Outsut: used to describe the effect of our actions in a fight (damage, control, buff, etc).
- Offensive support: the group-wide damage increase provided by the synergistic action of might, fury, and vulnerability.
- Break-bars: the new system that replaced Defiance stacks after the release of HoT, acts like a second bar (Defiance bar) that goes down when we use CCs on the enemy.
The profession-specific mechanic of the elementalist is the ability to attune to elements in order to cast spells. Since each attunement specialises in some aspect of combat, the elementalist has access to a wide variety of output. Versatility is the basis of our profession, however this is a double-edged sword as attempting to use all assets at our disposal can make us inefficient with each one of them and not all abilities are relevant for every encounter. Therefore, in order to be efficient we must specialise by using traits to focus on relevant aspects of combat.
We also have access to another mechanic unique to our profession: conjured weapons. When wielding them we forgo our main weapon skills, that is, we trade our versatility for more focused abilities. Interestingly we can swap attunements while wielding conjures while still maintaining the same skill set which is contrary to the behavior of our regular weapon sets. This double aspect of specialisation versus versatility is the complexity of the elementalist; it yields builds that can feel unnatural at first glance, but we are the masters of the elements that get to decide what is natural and what is not!
Survival is the toughest challenge for all beginners primarily due to the fact that the base stats of the elementalist are the lowest of all classes for both health and armor. This implies that our passive defense is the weakest of the game, as we cannot sustain direct hits while maintaining our efficiency like some of the other classes are able to. Instead we have to rely more on active defense: mitigating the enemy attacks before they hit you or avoiding them altogether. Luckily for us, the elementalist has access to a plethora of active defense capabilities which if used correctly can make an elementalist just as capable of surviving as any other class!
The first and most important of them is dodging which will take time and patience to master. The leveling period is the best time for this, as each enemy in the open world has a specific type that shares similar attack animations and effects at all levels. It is best to learn to recognise them as you gain experience and you can do so by training to dodge them even when the danger is low, as this will prepare you for more engaging combat later along the road (e.g. dungeons, fractals,raids). In the last section of this guide we disclose a number of builds that are designed to ease the learning of dodging by giving you access to superior sustain abilities.
Secondly it is also possible to avoid being hit by using movement and distance control. An attack that can not reach you is an attack that you do not even need to dodge. We have access to numerous offensive conditions which can be used to control movement (chill, cripple, immobilise) in order to kite or to directly mitigate incoming damage (blind, weakness, hard controls). For example, the combination of the weakness condition and the protection boon reduces damage pressure by roughly 50% on average!
Active defense is the most efficient way of surviving but it requires attention, as we must stay focused in order to dodge properly or else a few mistakes will bring an elementalist down. This is why we must do everything we can to shorten the time we are exposed to danger. In layman’s terms: kill before being killed! All races of Tyria have lasted long enough to understand this basic principle. In the first sentence of this paragraph we stated that survival is the weak point of the elementalist, however damage is most certainly the strong point.
Damage comes from two sources: direct damage, and conditions. It is very important to understand that direct damage gains synergy from being in a group (might and fury boon sharing, vulnerability application on enemies, etc.) along with the fact that there is no ramp-up time, unlike with condition damage. Intensity-stacking conditions have had their hard caps moved from 25 to 1500, but the damage from a condition-centric build is still largely passive and requires ramp-up time to achieve the full effect.
Because of this, it tends to be less preferable in groups due to the fact that the shorter a fight is, the less valuable a build focusing on maximising condition damage is whereas a build focused on maximising direct damage is valuable in all situations and capable of dealing significantly higher burst damage. Therefore we will focus on direct damage in this guide as we aim to teach the most efficient options for gameplay in PvE. The elementalist is one of the professions that contributes the most to the damage output of a group by both by dealing very strong personal damage as well as buffing allies in several ways.
Might & Fury
Stacking this boon is a crucial aspect of efficient combat, as it is intensity stacking with each stack of might providing an additional 30 power and condition damage in a level 80 map (with a cap at 25 stacks). A full stack of 25 might increases the damage output of your group by at least 33%, making it one of the most essential factors to consider when optimising output.
The best way to build up might stacks on an elementalist is to lay down a fire field and use blast combo finishers in it. Each blast finisher used in a fire field will provide 3 stacks of might which is equivalent to 90 additional power for 20 seconds to a maximum of 5 unique combatants in 360 range of the blast location. Though there are many ways to acquire this boon, it happens to be the case that elementalists have access to the most blast finishers out of all classes, making it one of the most efficient sources of it!
For a demonstration of how it is possible to both stack might and maintain it, refer to the video below:
And this one is a Tempest version, which includes more blasts making the job easier:
In addition to the many blast finishers, the elementalist has some of the best tools to contribute to might stacking including easy access to long-lasting fire fields on all weapon sets. This is why the role of our profession in most groups is to help ensure that might is pre-stacked when needed. Note that when performing a blast finisher on multiple fields, it is the oldest field that will be taken into account. This means that in order to maximise efficiency, it is up to the group to coordinate combo fields in order to ensure that a fire field is always laid down first to avoid stacking undesirable and less helpful area effects.
While might is certainly an important boon to stack during combat in order to maintain high damage output, it is certainly not the only one. Fury is a duration-stacking boon that will improve the critical hit chance of the combatant it is applied to by 20%, making it an extremely helpful asset to any class as long as the enemy in question is capable of being critically hit.
Elementalists is a very efficient source of party-wide fury in the game, as they have access to a trait (Persisting Flames) that enables them to provide party-wide fury on every execution of a blast finisher in a fire field in addition to might! Plus, warhorn skill 4 on fire (Heat Sync) multiplies the fury already applied to group members. Another very important source in the game to provide fury is the ranger, with the pets (tiger/moa). Altough the ranger is generally considered the primary source of fury, it is very often not enough so it’s the job of the elementalist to help with blasting his fire fields. When playing dagger/warhorn that can be done by using Frozen burst (water 3), Sand Squall (earth 4) and any utilities you might bring along (Arcane Brilliance/Wave), while when playing staff you either have to bring both Utility blast finishers or/and cast Eruption before Lava font. Pre-stacking Fury before a fight is still something a good elementalist should do in most dungeons/fractals, don’t bother doing that on raids as all boons are removed at the start of the fight.
It’s also important not to forget that Elementalist, being the class with the most blasts has an essential role in blasting stealth when skipping stuff, mostly in dungeons with a thief or whatever, so you should get used to doing 2-4 blasts at any given time!
Melee vs. Range
It is very important to understand that melee is generally more rewarding on most classes with this game to engage in close-range combat (melee) as opposed to long distance (range), as it coincides with the age old notion of “Risk vs. Reward.” Because most of the time an enemy in question will have an easier time inflicting damage upon a player when they are within closer range, it only makes sense to expect that to compensate for said risk, the player’s capacity for damage should be greater.
While this is the case in some situations, it is important to note that on elementalist our absolute highest damage potential is with our staff which is in fact a ranged weapon. This exception gives the elementalist more freedom in positioning than most other classes, as the range of the elementalist’s staff allows for just as high output when standing on top of an enemy and standing farther away.
In addition to understanding the significance of positioning, elementalists must understand the significance of kiting in order to survive in situations of which they are not provided with the protection of other classes. In certain situations we will be able to kite, but in most fights we will have to dodge regardless of how far we stand.
Finally, the area effect combos providing might have a range limited to 360 so if we stand too far from our group we will lose a large part of our potential damage output. For these reasons it is more efficient to fight in melee range regardless of which weapon set we use, though it is important to understand that this does not means “hugging” or standing directly on top your enemies. Many of our melee attacks have an extended range, thereby enabling us to often stay out of immediate danger while still benefiting from group buffs. We advise all new elementalists to refrain from ranging unless it is necessary, as only by training to fight in melee range will you learn the skills necessary to better yourself both as an individual and team player.
You may or may not have noticed that the unique ability for elementalists to swap attunements does not constitute a unique mechanic in itself, but rather it effectively acts as an augmented weapon swapping ability with diverse cooldowns.
Many of the elementalist’s skills have long cooldowns and the possibility to use these skills is constrained by the specific attunement or conjured weapon recharge time. Due to the fact that we are only capable of viewing and using the 5 weapon skills specific to our current attunement at a given time, we will not be able to visually monitor the time left on most of our weapon skill cooldowns as we use them.
For these reasons, the main resource that we will be managing as an elementalist is the cooldown time of our skills. Using resources such as attunement swapping, overloading or conjures in order to access a specific skill and finding it on cooldown is a grave mismanagement. Therefore it is of the utmost importance to train until the recharge time of our abilities becomes intuitive, which will inevitably require a lot of time in order to develop repeatable rotations in combat.
Each class has the ability to re-trait and swap weapons when out of combat, but the elementalist excels in adaptability thanks to the wide variety of our output and the complexity of our builds. This is why we must learn to master all weapons, conjures, and traits: we must be aware of the potential of all our assets in order to make the most efficient choices and best fit to the situations we encounter.
Section 8 of this guide will develop on the main build archetypes for the elementalist, but there are many more viable builds. Making an exhaustive list of all possibilities would be endless, so instead we give you core concepts and asset analysis to work with which will allow you to understand our choices and learn to make your own on the fly. This way you will be able to adapt to each encounter and to all types of groups depending on what is needed and what you are able to provide.
Attunements & Primary Weapons
The ability to attune to elements is a peculiar skill. It acts as a weapon swap in the sense that it triggers on-swap procs. It is instant, and contrary to other profession’s weapon swaps it does not interrupt our actions. In fact it can be advantageous to cast a spell and swap attunement during the cast so that its effect takes place under a preferred attunement. Remember that the effect of a spell is calculated depending on our state at the instant of the hit, not when we cast it. This mechanic can be used to maximise the effect of attunement-specific traits (like Piercing Shards) or on-swap traits (Arcane Fury). Note that swapping attunement is considered as casting a spell. It will therefore trigger on-cast effects such as the heal from Signet of Restoration, or the damage from confusion.
The cooldown of each attunement starts when you leave it by swapping to another. In addition to this, the swapping ability is subject to a general cooldown preventing us from swapping for a brief time after attuning. These cooldowns are reduced by taking the Arcane specialization. The trait Fresh Air is the only way to instantly reset the air and the general cooldowns instantly on critical hit. It is important to keep in mind the effect of those two cooldowns when assessing the potency of attunement related traits: since the cooldown of a given attunement only starts after you exit it, and a general cooldown prevents you from swapping at will, the real cooldown of attunements is equal to their individual cooldown (10s base, 8.7s with arcane equipped). Now, with overloading in place with the Tempest elite specialization, we have the ability to overload our attunements. Overload becomes available 5 seconds after attuning to an element, has a 4 seconds cast time and leaves a lingering effect at the spot where we finished casting the spell. After overloading, the cooldown of our current attunement is set to 20 seconds no matter if we have arcane equipped or not, even though the skill bar states that the cooldown is 17.5s with arcane. Overload is an interesting mechanic but we have to be wary of the long cooldown on our attunements after doing it, so we need to be careful with swapping out of fire after Overload Fire for example, as in that case we will be locked out of our fire attunement skills (biggest dagame source for staff elementalists) for 20 seconds. Also it’s very important to note that to get the best out of overloading we have to complete the cast without getting interrupted or having to dodge, which can prove tricky in certain situations, but with experience it’s easy to get used to and there are also ways to avoid getting interrupted which will be explained later on (for example arcane shield).
This overload ability does pulse damage, 5 times while casting it and 5 times after the cast is finished successfully. Every pulse also gives 1 stack of might, so a full overload is going to provide us with 10 stacks of might. This skill can hit up yo 5 targets. It also stun breaks like all Overload abilities.
This overload ability pulses a small heal 4 times and on the 5th pulse we heal for a pretty big amount. Every pulse also cleanses on condition. Stun Breaks. This ability can be useful when we desperately need a heal or condition cleanse, but is not as reliable/efficient as we have to wait 5 seconds in water to be able to cast it, losing significant DPS.
This overload ability can hit up to 3 targets with lightning, 17 times during and after the cast is complete. When the cast is complete we leave behind a lingering static field for 4 seconds and we apply “Static Charge” to our allies, which is practically a sigil of air proc. Every lightning also applies 1 stack of vulnerability, which makes this ability a good way to start a fight, since u can apply 17 stacks pretty fast. Breaks stun. This is a very useful ability which should be used as often as possible in most Tempest rotations, especially when quickness and alacrity are available. The “Static Charge” that we apply is a significant indirect damage increase which isn’t recorded in our own combat log.
This overload ability provides 3 stacks of stability and protection to ourselves, protection to allies we pass through and cripple plus bleed to enemies, while and after the cast. When the cast is complete we apply 4 seconds of immobilize and the end is also a blast finisher, which is not worth the 4 second long cast. Stun Breaks. This ability can be useful when we need to immobilize an enemy like for example the elite mobs after gorseval spawns them. Not very reliable/efficient though for the same reasons with Overload Water heals. Overall this overload is the one used the least because mainly we never should stay in earth for 5 seconds.
Dagger Main Hand
This is the autoattack on the fire attunement that requires the caster to be in melee range for all the projectiles to hit a single target. Even when all attacks connect this skills does mediocre damage and it can be reflected, which makes it a dangerous skill to use against enemies capable of applying reflection. Time in fire attunement is better spent casting other spells.
This skill can hit up to 5 targets at mid-range for low amount of damage and apply burns to the enemies. Burning does low damage in itself, but it enables the effects of a number of traits and skill facts resulting in a DPS increase for your group.
This skill is one of the most damaging spells in our arsenal when using a weapon set involving dagger mainhand. There are several facts to keep in mind in order to use this ability as efficiently as possible: it moves you forward, it has a fairly high damage coefficient, it applies burning at the final location, it leaves a fire-combo trail on your way, and has a short evade frame.
The movement factor can help you to reach your targets but mostly it implies that positioning is key to landing this crucial spell. Additionaly, it is possible to manipulate the distance traveled with your camera by looking straight down during the cast.
It is ideal to use this skill so that you pass through and end up a little past your target as it will allow the final explosion as well as the fire trail to hit your foes. While your target stands in the fire trail it will suffer from continuous hits and burning, and will allow you to more efficiently execute might combos.
The evade frame comes with a few split seconds of delay after activation of the spell, making it a difficult task to evade with this skill however the combination of movement and evades gives you agility in battle. Burning Speed is therefore a complicated spell with multiple uses and a great importance in terms of damage contribution.
This is the longest range attack of the weapon set that deals low damage and stacks a decent amount of vulnerability, however it requires the projectile to pass through the target(s) twice to reach its full effect. The low speed of the projectiles and their small radius can make this a difficult task if your target is moving.
In addition, the return part of the projectiles can be canceled if the initial blade hits terrain. Therefore, this spell is very sparingly useful in clear open ground on immobile targets when you must disengage from melee.
This skill is the water version of Drake’s Breath; it deals low damage but heals you and your allies instead of burning nearby enemies. The heal is not substantial enough to justify using this spell in most circumstances, however if you find yourself in a situation where your group is under constant pressure then it can be useful to help sustain health.
While this skill deals low damage, it is very desirable because of its blast-finisher factor. It’s also very quick to cast (a quarter of a second) and hits 5 targets, along with applying a very brief chill. Its primary use is for blasting in combo fields.
This is our strongest auto-attack of all weapon sets. It is by no mean impressive, but it is fast and formidable. Compared to most other melee classes, this attack has an extended range. Being able to hits targets further away can be used to your advantage by allowing you to position yourself with less danger exposure and by cleaving a wider area. Regardless, lashing your enemies with bolts of lightning is very satisfying if the dark side of the force is deeply rooted in you.
A very low damage attack with a constraining target limit of 3, but the long duration of weakness is worth mentioning provided it would ever be desired for anything. As it currently stands, this skill is a DPS loss and has little to no use in PvE.
There is little use for the Shocking Aura since we can hardly bear any hits. However, this spell allows us to trigger traits such as Zephyr’s Boon for self buffing, Elemental Bastion for self heals and Powerful Aura can push the synergy even further by extending the boons and heals to your group.
Additionally, Shocking Aura has instant cast so you might as well use it especially when you want to break-bar.
This skill deals very low damage and while it is rarely desirable in everyday situations, it is worth knowing that this spell bypasses terrain, vertical axis and vision to hit targets in odd locations.
Ring of Earth hits 5 targets and deals more damage than Impale, but still in terms of damage alone it is mediocre and has a slow enough cast time to make it unworthy of including in a damage rotation.
Despite knowing this, it can be useful in combat due to the fact that it cripples and serves as a projectile block! At the very end of the animation when the rocks have fully emerged, incoming projectiles will be blocked by roughly 2 seconds making it a particularly useful skill against bosses like Captain Mai Trin to counter her teleporting shot.
The unblockable immobilise is very useful on some bosses like the Legendary Imbued Shaman to prevent him from reaching villagers in his shield phase. The follow up Magnetic Leap can be used if a fire field is laying between you and your target to gain a fire aura, thereby triggering aura-related traits. Fire aura itself might be strong in open world content where your enemies are numerous and don’t hit for that much damage. Note however, that you can not grant auras to your allies by using the Powerful Aura trait in this way.
Dagger Off Hand
This is the largest fire field available to the elementalist. This spell is crucial to stacking might, as its duration and size allow the group to reach 25 stacks easily. Do note that despite the fact that it is larger and easier to blast in, the duration of the fire field is shorter than that of Flamewall. Also bear in mind that the burning on this skill is only inflicted if your foes cross the ring, which is very unlikely unless you cast it before they get onto your position.
This skill has the second highest damage coefficient out of all our skills if the enemy in question is inflicted with burning, only surpassed by that of Churning Earth. Despite the fact that it deals extremely high damage, it is notorious for being extremely difficult to land unless the target is not moving and is directly in front of you during its cast. To maximise the likelihood of it hitting, it is best to stand at some distance (250-300) range from your foes. It has similar hitbox to Shocking Touch but hits 5 targets.
Frost Aura is hardly useful in PvE since we are avoiding the situations that allow us to withstand direct hits. The Frost Armor can be helpful against an incoming burst that you are unable to dodge, but typically this situation never occurs for numerous reasons, including the fact that offhand dagger is generally only used in open world combat with the exception of niche situations.
Cleansing Wave is a decent spell that both heals and removes a condition for you and up to 5 nearby allies. The long cast time implies that you do not want to find yourself in a situation where this is your only option to survive.
A very good skill to make use of for the purpose of mobility, but bear in mind that using it while being immobilised or against a surface serves as a self-stun, as the skill cannot be cancelled. Note that this skill actually is a transformation, meaning it can be casted mid-air and also will lock the user out of their skill bar. It is also good to burst single targets in melee, as the lack of distance will make it an instant hit. Note that the cooldown is not halved if your target is dodging, blocking, or if you do not hit. Using this spell is considered a weapon swap for proccing purposes.
The knockback on Updraft is difficult to make use of as moving your foes can disrupt the damage output of your group. This spell can however be useful for mobility purposes by turning your camera using the about face camera function before casting it to move forward rather than backwards. It also has a short evade frame and provides 10 seconds of swiftness on use.
Earthquake is typically not worth casting in the middle of a fight as it has a fairly long cast time, stops your character’s movement when using, and does not deal a very impressive amount of damage. It is very often used, however, for a blast finisher either when pre-stacking might before an encounter or for blasting stealth, etc.
This skill actually has the absolute highest damage coefficient out of all of our attacks (just barely above that of Fire Grab when used against burning targets), however the long activation time of this spell makes it weak in terms of DPS. The situation in which it is useful is normally when in a party, waiting for mobs/bosses to become hostile after dialogue sequences or cutscenes are triggered. In these circumstances, it is fine to use when prestacking might.
Flamewall is our longest lasting fire field, though it is slightly more difficult to blast in as the blast radius of the field is a narrow rectangle rather than a large circle like Ring of Fire. This spell is instrumental for might stacking and generating procs on targets thanks to its high number of hits over its duration. Note however that this skill may not hit a target (except buildings) more than once per second. Therefore unlike Burning Speed, Flamewall does not get stronger on larger targets.
As we can already supply might for ourselves and apply burn easily, this skill is useful to trigger aura-related effects and to reduce duration of incoming conditions by 20%. For no other purpose is this skill valuable to use, though it is instant cast so it will not be harmful to activate either way.
Though this skill is extremely weak and negligible in terms of damage, it can be helpful if for whatever reason stacking chill on a boss can be useful. Note that the animation of it is quite distracting and can easily obstruct the animations of bosses, which can make things irritating for party members.
Blast finishers are a strong point of the elementalist but this one is difficult to use when pre-stacking might before a combat engagement. In order to better control the location of its impact with no target selected, angle your camera to look either straight up or down before casting but note that your character must be moving. If done correctly, it should land within close proximity to the caster. Whether or not looking up or down to make sure Comet land in the desired location depends on the terrain; sometimes it will not land properly depending on the terrain resulting in sometimes only being able to look up for it to work and vice versa.
As far as casting with a target selected is concerned, it is important to note that this skill will daze the enemy for 2 seconds. As same with all control skills, it can be used against all break-bars. The damage of Comet itself is negligible in itself but as it is a blast finisher, there is no harm in using it on an enemy in a fire field. After the change that made Dragon’s Tooth a ground targeted ability, Comet is now the only skill that can pull enemies when obstructed by terrain.
This is one of the most important and iconic skills of the Focus. It destroys projectiles, but unblockable projectiles (e.g. Malrona’s Venom Blast attack, Mai Trin’s Pistol Spin attack, etc.) will not be affected. You can increase the chance of Swirling Winds protecting your group in many encounters by jumping a few split seconds after initiating the cast. This will set the spell higher in the air, thereby catching flying projectiles more effectively. It is good to start a fight with Swirling winds before swapping to your main weapons when that reflect is necessary.
While the single-target knockdown of this spell is long, it is usually best used on break-bars as it actually applies the knockdown twice, making it pretty strong against them. You should, however, use this to interrupt the deadly attacks of normal foes such as the life drain of the cultists in the Ascalon Fractal for example.
There is a lot packed in this spell. In fact, it is almost difficult to make the most out of it due to its high number of skill factors: you rarely have the need for reflect, condition cleanse, crippling and damaging nearby enemies, blasting in a combo field at the same time! This is one of the best self-survivability skills provided by the focus and does a much better job at blasting than its off-hand dagger counterpart, Earthquake, thanks to the fact that it has instant cast time.
This is the longest invulnerability available to your class, and unlike Mist Form it lets us use skills as it does not count as a transformation. This is a very strong defensive skill that can be used to help survive in combat, but it is helpful to note that it can be extremely useful to pre-cast at the start of an encounter before swapping to another weapon set, and even better can be very useful for skipping trash mobs and remaining out of combat! This skill can also absorb projectiles from enemies such as the Triple Trouble Wurms spit attack, or the Ancient Ooze in arah p1, making these fights much easier.
This ability resembles mesmer’s Signet of Inspiration, but it only copies the current boons on us, giving them to our allies as well. It’s also an indirect blast finisher for when we stack might, so it can be part of pre-stacking might before a fight, as shown on a video earlier.
This ability provides a fire field which also lasts for 10 seconds just like Flame wall. The problem with this one is that it takes few seconds to fully appear so some blasts in it might go to waste, so it’s recommended to stick to the Flame wall for might-stacking purposes or the Ring of Fire when there are people helping with blasts. Despite that, this skill is a good way to start a fight before swapping to staff or whatever as shown in a video down below in the skill combinations sector.
This skills is a pretty good heal and can be used when running warhorn and some heal is needed to survive, also it provides a decent CC in the form of a knockback for break-bars.
This skill is the only water-field provided by an off-hand weapon, making warhorn the best weapon choice when we wish to run a more heal oriented build. The drawback is that the field is moving so that might prove annoying in some cases and requires more careful blasting.
This skill is the warhorn skill that gives us swiftness and every class that can u se warhorn has a similar one. The gimmick of this “warhorn swiftness” skill is that it can pull enemies, much like revenant axe 5 skill. This CC is mostly good to use on break bars, rather than to pull enemies, that job right now is best done by mesmers.
This skill is an important part of dagger/warhorn rotations, it’s a pretty good dps increase and should be used, when available, right after overloading air before swapping to fire. The lightning it shoots also applies vulnerability so in combination with overload air/glyph of storms we get 25 stacks of vulnerability on the enemy pretty easily.
This skill is basically a blast finisher, a magnetic shield, a slight boon duration increase and it provides few seconds of protection. The best thing about it is the fact that it’s a blast finisher and that it also increases boon duration slightly, making this skill particularly useful in might-stacking, as shown on the video earlier. It can also be used when we want to chain magnetic shields (magnetic shield also comes from earth staff 3 and the shout “Aftershock”).
This skill is only useful for the blinds its can provide, so it can be used at the start of a fight before swapping to our main weapons to provide some blinds, much like glyph of sandstorm.
A very poor attack that is single target, long cast time, and low damage even considering the burn applied. Never waste time casting Flamestrike.
This delayed blast finisher is a strong burst ability for the scepter and has one of our highest damage coefficients, third to both Fire Grab and Churning Earth. It is optimal to cast Dragon’s Tooth right before casting a fire field at the landing location of the tooth to generate might efficiently.
The Phoenix is an interesting spell that can be used as a blast-finisher and as a burst skill. It is optimal to cast it in melee range by aiming slightly behind your target so that it is hit three times: by the phoenix on its way to the targeted location, when it explodes, and as it passes through your target again to return to you.
The addition of these three hits makes this spell stronger than a Fire Grab! Note than the Phoenix follows terrain, as such it will be able to hit targets on terrain lower than you, but not elevated targets as well as enemies standing on some kind of platforms like harpies in the Uncategorized Fractal. In additon to what has already been mentioned, it cures one of your conditions and provides 5 seconds of vigor.
A weak single target auto-attack which little value comes from the number of hits it can generate in order to facilitate procs.
This spell is good to stack vulnerability but its long cast time and delay take away all its value.
A rather quick heal that can be efficient when your allies are stacked in one location. The regeneration can be used in synergy with Cleansing Water to cleanse conditions.
This autoattack is the only of the scepter that can hit more than one foe, but this requires enemies to stand between you and your target. It is weak in terms of damage (damage displayed on screen is for cumulative hits) and its only value comes from its high number of hits per second, which facilitates procs. Also the longer you cast this spell the damage it deals increases.
An instant spell that deals decent damage. The combination of Lightning Strike and Arc Lightning is still a low damage skill rotation.
A blinding skill that can be used proactively to counter an incoming attack. Note that blind is only 10% effective on bosses with a break bar.
This autoattack is very slow and its damage comes mainly from the bleed that it applies, which is very negligible.
On level 80 this spell increases your character’s toughness by 250. This is good as our armor is low, but this does not constitute a good survivability skill as we can hardly bear directs hits regardless. The follow up skill, Hurl, generates 5 projectile finishers that take effect at the instant of activation.
Enemies are blinded as this skill pierces through them. Foes may be hit multiple times if cast against a wall, but it deals very low damage regardless.
This is the best auto-attack of the staff. Note that it is weak in itself compared to Lightning Whip by comparison but due to the fact that it can be paired with Lava Font for extremely high damage, it makes staff more powerful DPS with just these two skill casted off cooldown than almost all other of our options. It has a range of 1200, making it very easy for a staff elementalist to be effective at both long and short distances and thereby giving us room to better position ourselves.
Its ability to cleave makes it strong for most content, and the AoE allows you to hit targets further than maximum range. Note also that due to the fact that the fireball is a projectile, it can be reflected by enemies cause both you and your allies to take a massive amount of damage if used carelessly. To circumvent this problem, one can unselect the target in question that is reflecting, angle the camera in the direction of the enemy in question and cast the spell to cleave for damage due to its lenient radius.
This is the strength of the staff. This low cooldown spell is a fire field that can be [almost] permanently maintained on the ground, and it deals almost as much raw damage as a warrior’s Hundred Blades. The combination of Lava Font and Fireball cast on cooldown is one of the highest damaging skill chains in the game, but it requires your targets to be immobile. Even though the skill tooltip indicates no casting time, Lava Font is not instant cast – its casting time is approximately 0.2 seconds.
Flame Burst deals very little direct damage, but it applies burning, which triggers the bonus 10% damage from Burning Rage. In general this skill isn’t needed because of Burning Precision, but it is useful to use before casting higher-damaging skills like Meteor Shower and Ice Storm as it will cause every impact to deal 10% higher damage assuming you are equipped with the Fire specialization.
Flame Burst currently can be abused to bug enemy attacks by forcing an interrupt, done by casting it while directly behind an enemy that is channeling a skill.
The evade portion as well as the long distance it covers makes Burning Retreat perfect for repositioning during combat even when the area is covered in AoEs. Moreover, it can be used as a mobility skill in conjuction with the about face camera function (or by simply turning your camera by 180 degree) to move in a forward direction rather than backwards. The fire trail left behind is made of 6 patches of fire than will each damage and can be used as a fire field to stack might.
This skill makes 24 meteors rain on the target area. The damage of this spell is unpredictable due to the randomness of the meteor falling pattern, but on average it is extremely damaging and against enemies with a large hitbox and can potentially be the single most damaging skill in the game. You remain immobile to cast this spell, so be sure to cast it from a safe location.
Note that, even though some meteors will start falling before the channeling time ends during the cast, it is required to stand still almost until the end of the incantation as interrupting the cast too early will result in a lower amount of meteors falling. It is possible to concentrate the meteors in a smaller area than that of the shower by casting the spell on a small area of solid ground: the meteors will always converge towards a valid landing spot.
This spell deals almost no damage at all, but what is worth knowing is that with every cast it heals nearby allies a small amount. What this means is that for example during a timegated event, you can spam the autoattack with no target selected to slowly heal others’ or your own health back to full. Your allies must stay in melee range to be affected by the AoE heal from Water Blast.
Ice Spike has a fairly high damage coefficient and would be one of our higher hitting burst skills but the long delay before the impact makes it sometimes a little tough to use. The vulnerability applied by this skill has a long duration. This, in addition to the delay before impact, makes this spell a good option to cast on yourself while pulling enemies: as your foes arrive at your location they will be hit for a decent amount of damage and vulnerability.
This heal is decent and useful to relieve the pressure on your group. Make sure to coordinate its cast with your teammates so that they stand in it and blast its water field for additional healing quickly before Geyser runs its short duration (2s). Regardless of whether or not you blast in Geyser, it is worth remembering that it provides a small base heal at the location of where it is casted.
The unblockable skill fact of this spell makes it a good control option, where chilling can significantly slow the enemy down, or prevent the regeneration of the Defiance bar. The ice field in itself is not very useful as the Frost Armor it can generate with combos only stacks up to 5 times and is a weak protection. Although the spell tooltip indicates no casting time, this spell is not instant, its casting time is similar to Lava Font and is around 0.2s.
This spell is a very large water field and is instrumental in dealing with continuous condition pressure. The synergy with the Cleansing Water trait creates a partially condition-free zone for its duration. Healing Rain heals less than Geyser since it has no direct heal fact, but has a longer duration for healing combos and provides regen.
While this skill deals mediocre damage, it can hit up to three targets. It is therefore best used against exactly two foes as the lightning will bounce back to your initial target after hitting the second, thereby dealing slightly more damage than it normally would.
The long cast time of this spell prevents us from applying blind proactively to an incoming attack, coupled with fairly low damage. All in all, this kill is a definite DPS loss and offers no real utility in PvE.
The pathing of the Gust follows terrain, so it may fail to hit elevated targets for example. The projectile is rather slow but it pierces. It could be used to reposition your enemy or interrupt a slow attack. This is the only actual CC staff elementalist has access to, along with the immobilize in earth attunement, which can both help in breaking the defiance bars.
It is also worth noting that if casted on an enemy while under the effects of stealth, it will not reveal you as it does no damage. Taking advantage of this fact, it is possible to reposition mobs without aggroing them, however it will put you in combat.
Useful for maintaining swiftness and cleansing movement-impairing conditions. This will be a spell you will frequently make use of when moving from point A to B.
Most often used to stack swiftness by blasting the lightning field created by this spell. Also useful during skipping phases to save your group from enemies catching up. It also can be used for stripping defiance off of bosses but you must get them to attempt to pass through the field. Interestingly, Static Field has no target limit meaning it can and will affect any and every enemy that passes through it.
This low damage auto-attack is very suboptimal as it is single target and projectile combos are not often useful. It can however apply weakness on mobs.
This skill can be useful as you engage on a target before swapping to fire to cast Lava Font. The resulting delayed blast will take effect in the fire field thereby buffing you and your team with 3 might stacks (and fury assuming you have Persisting Flames traited). Additionally, the damage from Eruption itself is actually pretty decent in itself (a bit lower than Ice Spike) and applies 6 stacks of bleeding.
A personal reflect aura that can be shared with the Powerful Aura trait for a group-wide personal reflect. It is particularly useful against Orrian Turrets in Arah. It can also be used to reflect larger projectiles, for example the frenzied blast during the Giganticus Lupicus fight in Arah (an attack in his second phase), but the problem is that the reflect radius doesn’t extend very far so for larger projectiles like those, you will get damaged if there are any other impacts that land nearby. What this means is that any nearby allies must stand directly on top of you and you must not move in order to ensure that the projectile actually hits your character(s). It will only reflect if it hits you!
Another interesting thing to note is that while it’s possible for two elementalists using the Powerful Aura trait to stack fire auras, frost auras, shocking auras, and light auras it is impossible to stack a longer duration of magnetic auras; this is the one aura that is unique in that respect.
It is possible to influence the orientation of the rock wall by turning your camera during the cast time of this spell: the wall will always be perpendicular to the direction your character is facing. This spell is useful when skipping to prevent enemies from catching up with your group but try to refrain from using it if you are not in combat yet.
The projectile is rather slow and follows terrain, making it sometimes difficult to land. However, it pierces and applies Immobilized to up to 5 targets along with inflicting a small amount of bleeding. Shockwave can be useful to keep a boss in place when kiting, but it is rarely worth swapping to earth attunement to use it as the effect is weak for the time dedicated to the cast. This skill is situational at best and should only be used for the purpose of application of immobilise for when it is needed for whatever reason, same as overload earth.
Flame Axe is unfortunately the single conjure weapon with little to no use in any game mode because of a combination of relatively low damage and lack of unique utility to provide. Despite this fact, it is the only conjure weapon with a fire field.
A fairly weak autoattack in terms of damage, but it has a fast cast time and provides might after every throw when in combat. Because of the fact that the attack involves a projectile, it can be reflected however the might will only apply to the caster.
This skill deals a decent amount of damage (up to 5 targets) and is a projectile finisher with ground targeting. Due to the fact that it is a projectile, it can be reflected.
Very similar to the staff’s version but with reduced damage and a reduced duration on the fire field. The evade frames on both this version and the staff’s version are identical (1 second).
Very similar to dagger off hand’s version but with reduced damage and a reduced duration on the fire field. This is the only fire field accessible from conjure weapons.
Though this skill has the same animation as warrior’s Eviscerate, it deals significantly less damage and has a longer cooldown. This skill is in general pretty weak and in addition to only being single target, it only applies a single stack of burning.
While wielding it your healing power and condition duration are increased respectively by 180 and 20% so in terms of extra attributes it is relatively worse than other conjures as there is rarely any situation where healing power is needed in PvE, especially with a conjure equipped.
Ice Bow is now useful only on targets with big hitboxes after the big nerfs it received, gorseval being the prime example alongside the molten duo. Also Deep Freeze can be useful against the break bars of some bosses, while it’s not that great against break-bars of other bosses. You can only use up to 15 attacks (25 with Conjured trait) but due to the semi-long cooldown on its better skills and very awful autoattack it should be dropped promptly after using its better skills. Note that the Ice bow is very quick to conjure, which is advantageous in terms of time management and ease of applying burst damage.
This is the one skill of the Ice Bow that is genuinely awful. Every skill on the Ice Bow can be put to good use aside from its very awful autoattack, Water Arrow. One thing to note is that it does, in fact, have the same AoE healing ability that the autoattack on staff with water attunement does.
The damage from Frost Volley is fairly decent and applies long-lasting vulnerability with each shot counting as a projectile finisher. One situation in which this skill in particular is very useful would be at Jade Maw, as when used in a dark field each shot of Frost Volley will have life steal effects. This in turn results in being capable of damaging it when normal attacks otherwise would not.
Best used in melee so that all 7 arrows hit and apply as much chill as possible on your priority target. The arrows pierce therefore more enemies will be hit.
This is one of our most damaging skill of all weapon sets, on large hitbox targets. Similarly to Meteor Shower, this skill must be cast while stationary and fully channeled for the entirety of the arrows to rain down on your enemies. This is a very strong burst skill, effective only on large hitbox enemies mostly, structures, or large groups as more arrows will hit your foes. Note that this skill can hit up to 24 times in a short period of time. It is therefore a good spell to generate procs such as the Weak Spot trait. This skill is usually followed up by a Frost Fan before dropping the ice-bow
This skill is still one of the strongest skills against break-bars, but it has lost the utility it used to offer with the 5s CC. It is difficult to land due to long cast time and slow projectile, therefore you must plan for its use. Stand in close range if the target is mobile. This skill is usually followed up by Ice Storm.
While wielding it your precision and ferocity are increased respectively by 180 and 75 at level 80 (which gives about +8% critical chance and +5% critical damage). The lightning hammer attributes are therefore a strong damage buff just by themselves, and the lightning hammer skills specialise us even further for more damage. The auto-attack chain is the most desirable skill of this weapon set, though it is worth mentioning that for large hitboxes the fourth skill deals extremely high burst! You can only use up to 15 attacks (25 with Conjurer trait) before it will disappear and the second LH will stay on the ground for exactly 60 seconds.
This auto-attack chain is one of the most damaging in the entire game. Its range is slightly above that of usual melee attacks (150). While the first two hits have a target limitation 3, the final blow can hit 5 targets in AoE, applies blindness, and blast in combo fields at the same time, called a Thunderclap. This is particularly useful against large groups of enemies as you may not be able to dodge all incoming attacks. This cheap and recurrent source of blast finishers is perfect to stack might with the help of fire fields previously laid or provided by your teammates.
The combo of this leap-finisher and lightning field will only daze one target. This spell is mainly useful for movement: to go faster or to outsmart certain terrain restrictions. It is worth knowing that like other leap skills with an ending animation, it is possible to interrupt it by hitting your weapon swap keybind in the middle of the leap animation. If done correctly, you should see a message appear that declares you cannot drop a bundle mid-air, but should also notice that the leap will extend further. This can be helpful for when trying to leap to specific locations that you would otherwise be unable to.
A slow interrupt that can be used to throw your targets towards advantageous locations for your group, like against a wall (600 range launch). Bring the Lightning Hammer for this skill if you are doing the South Octovine during the Auric Basin meta in Tarir, as it helps push the explosive.
The damage from this spell is decent only against a large concentration of enemies and against targets with large hitboxes or structures. If used on a target with a small hitbox, the likelihood of enough impacts hitting enough to make this skill worthwhile is too low to justify casting, as it can potentially result in nothing hitting at all. However, it will hit a lot of damage against enemies with large hitboxes!
Unlike its counterpart from the staff skill set, this spell requires the caster to be immobile during its activation time. This limits the utility of Static Field. In general, it is assumed that when using an LH it will rarely be the case that an elementalist will need to make use of its Static Field but like the staff’s version, it has no target limit meaning it can and will affect any and every enemy that passes through it. This can be helpful for controlling large groups of enemies at once.
While wielding this weapon your vitality and toughness are increased by 180. These attributes are rather desirable but the skill set of the Earth Shield is niche. Its main uses involve pulling enemies into one point or acquiring invulnerability. You can only use up to 15 attacks (25 with Conjurer trait) but usually after using skill you wanted, it should be dropped, most of the skill are weak compared to your main weapon skills.
The autoattack chain is not a strong point of this conjure weapon, however it is fairly decent DPS by comparison with some of our primary weapon autoattacks. It applies bleeds on the first two hits and a cripple on the third.
This is a useful 2.25s channeled block on a fairly short cooldown that can be used to block a single attack. After an attack is blocked it will apply 3 stacks of bleed to up to 3 nearby targets (within 240 range).
This is a skill that can be used for mobility as it is a dash skill with a 600 range unit. In addition to its mobility function it applies 2 seconds of daze to up to 3 targets, meaning it can be helpful for stripping stacks of Defiance.
Compared to similar skills of other professions, Magnetic Shield is rather weak: its radius of effect is 600 but the pull is of only 400 units on a maximum of 3 targets. It can be used to control groups of enemies that are spread out, pulling them inwards to cleave them down easier.
During the invulnerability you may not move, but you can use instant cast spells such as Lightning Flash for example to move to another location. This spell is a helpful immunity that is available to use regardless of which primary weapons we are using, making it helpful in certain situations such as preventing the petrification from Simin, The Risen Priestess of Dwayna in Arah path 4. Also just like Obsidian Flesh this skill can absorb projectiles from enemies such as the Triple Trouble Wurms spit attack, or the Ancient Ooze in arah p1, making these fights much easier.
Commonly used in the past, an elite skill known by its acronym “FGS” was used to burst down bosses extremely fast with its iconic Fiery Rush. Nowadays it’s used strictly for increasing your mobility and increasing your damage potential moderately. While wielding it, your Power is increased by 260 and your Condition Damage by 180. You can only use up to 15 attacks (25 with Conjured trait). Be careful not to summon it on the group of enemies before combat since it is the only conjured weapon that deals damage upon conjuration.
The 4 projectiles that will be shot during this channeling skill pierce through targets and follow terrain. Each set of four projectiles consumes only one weapon charge. Flame Wave deals high damage but it is pretty slow and tricky to use against a pack of mobs to maximise its potential.
Applies a long burning uptime (3s) every second over a duration of 6s. This spell is only used when your party has a hard time sustaining a high burning uptime. Note that you can cancel the aftercast animation by moving after the spell has taken effect.
Deals high damage on a low cooldown and evades for more than a second. You can therefore choose to save this to deal with incoming attacks. Fiery Whirl can hit your target for a maximum of 8 times depending on position, target size and freedom of movement: if used against a wall your enemies will take all hits. It is also possible to use this spell in combination with Lightning Flash by teleporting back in front of your target right after you Fiery Whirl through it thereby effectively striking the target with a double Fiery Whirl. However, this skill truly shines when increased mobility is required.
This used to be the the most damaging skill in the game but now, like Fiery Whirl, it used for increasing your own mobility. When used against a target, it deals fairly high damage.
As this skill hits 9 times over 8 seconds (first hit being instant after cast), it deals a decent amount of damage and as such it is very desirable. In addition this skill has a target limitation of 10 enemies therefore it is all the more effective against larger groups. Note that the damage is a pulse applied over the whole AoE each second, similar to lava font, rather than individual hits like ice bow or meteor shower.
Heals, Utilities & Elites
This is one of our most commonly used healing skills due to the fact that it serves as a blast finisher, allowing us to blast in combo fields for secondary effects (e.g. might, swiftness, stealth). Arcane Brilliance does not heal a lot, but it has a bonus effect where the amount of health restored increases based off of the number of targets within the damage radius. This fact, plus that blasts are not that useful in a raid scenario, makes this heal be not that effective in raids where having a stronger heal can keep you alive and above 90% for the scholar buff.
This is our most powerful condition removal skill due to the fact that it removes a condition each pulse (8 total). Additionally it heals a lot of health, but the unfortunate drawback of this heal is that it is a channeled skill over the course of several seconds. This makes Ether Renewal a good choice when you are trying to solo the consoles in the Aetherblade fractal. This also means that not only can an elementalist be interrupted out of the heal, but no other skills can be executed during its cast unless they are instant (e.g. arcane wave, arcane blast).
While the cooldown for Ether Renewal is 18 seconds, its effective cooldown is 21.5 seconds due to the fact that the cast time of the skill is 3.5 seconds. Note that because this skill is a cantrip, it can be extremely beneficial to use in combination with the trait Soothing Disruption for a reduced recharge along with additional regen and vigor on cast.
While Glyph of Elemental Harmony does heal a fairly decent amount comparatively to Arcane Brilliance, its semi-long cast time and lack of a blast finisher prevent it from being a good choice to use while in combat. This healing skill will provide a boon depending on what attunement it is casted in (fire/might, air/swiftness, water/regen, earth/protection). If casted in the water attunement, it is one of our strongest heals, making this the best choice in raids if you are not running Tempest for whatever reason (maybe you are ranging Sabetha), however the primary use for it in PvE is for maintaining swiftness when out of combat in the air attunement (use the Inscription trait when doing this for reduced glyph recharge!).
This is our least commonly used healing skill for various reasons. The first is that it requires a fast attack speed to make the full use out of, meaning the only appropriate weapon to use with this heal is dagger main hand. The second reason is that the elementalist is susceptible to burst damage in PvE, as bosses in this game tend to deal high damage but with slow attack speeds. This makes this healing skill the least attractive option for the elementalist, as this heal is only relevant in situations with constant pressure.
“Wash the pain away”
This is the heal that comes from choosing the Tempest Elite Specialization. This is your go-to heal when you are raiding as it’s not only a strong base heal for yourself but it can almost fully heal your entire group as well. The cooldown is also on par with arcane brilliance so there isn’t really a drawback on using this one on every raid scenario. The only reason to choose Arcane Brilliance over this one in a raid group would probably be if you don’t have a revenant in your group and you want to blast your fire fields to provide fury to your group. This skill being a shout, you should be prepared to listen to your character shouting it over and over if you use it.
Cantrips are defensive utilities with niche uses in PvE and in general should only be used as last resort options with the exception of Lightning Flash, which is frequently used for the purpose of mobility. They are affected by the Soothing Disruption trait, which reduces cooldowns on cantrip utilities and provides vigor and regen after each use.
This is one of the few sources of stability available to the elementalist along with Overload Earth and the trait Harmonius Conduit. It also serves as a stunbreaker and provides protection. Unfortunately, due to the very long cooldown it is best advised to avoid using this utility unless it is absolutely necessary, as stability can easily be outsourced by other classes.
This cantrip is instant cast and will remove up to 3 conditions. Though it is usually better to remove conditions without having to waste utility slots, it is always an available option with a medium-length cooldown.
This is the only cantrip that an elementalist should find highly relevant in PvE, as it is a 900 range instant cast teleport on medium-length cooldown. Lightning Flash can be used in some circumstances to reach elevated terrain, making it a very useful tool to take shortcuts in certain dungeons and fractals. This skill now will teleport you to your target only if a path to it is available, which makes using the skill and getting nothing doesn’t happen anymore. It’s also a good utility to take at the Sabetha fight when raiding, as it allows you to reposition yourself around the platform depending on your job. After enough experience though you will be where you need to be without the need to blink.
Mist Form is a niche utility skill that can be very helpful in situations that require damage immunity as it grants invulnerability for 3 seconds and increases movement speed by 66% (note that this cannot exceed the speed of running out of combat with swiftness). Unfortunately it has a very long cooldown making it a utility that should only be taken as a last resort for when the situation calls for invulnerability. It can also block projectiles like Obsidian flesh and Fortify.
Glyphs have different effects depending on the attunement of the elementalist. All glyphs will take effect depending on the element that the elementalist is attuned to at the end of the cast animation with the exception of Glyph of storms, which will take effect based off of the attunement at the start of the animation. There are certain traits with synergic effects based off of attunements, like Inscription, which will also reduce the recharge of glyphs.
While Glyph of Elemental Power serves as a stunbreak, it is usually only a good choice in situations that involve a ton of kiting as it can be used to maintain high chill uptime on enemies. While the trigger chance is technically based off of RNG, it can be maximised by using weapons with fast attack speed (e.g. dagger main hand for its Lightning Whip in the air attunement).
The effect depends on the attunement that it is casted in like all glyphs. This utility is a very strong defensive option that can enable an elementalist to almost permanently inflict movement-impairing conditions on enemies if combined with other weapon skills, utilities, and traits.
Glyph of Lesser Elementals is an infrequently useful utility skill that summons a small elemental depending on the attunement of the elementalist at the end of the cast. The only times in which this utility is useful in PvE are situations in which the team can benefit more from having more targeted allies (e.g. Lupicus’s Frenzied Blast attack in phase 2 under a mesmer’s Feedback, or when additional targets (mostly earth elemental because it’s tanky) can help distract enemies by aggroing them or by blocking projectiles (Old Tom in Uncategorized Fractal) so that the elementalist (or group) can safely dps for some time.
This is one of the most frequently used utilities available to the elementalist and is one of the most powerful offensive and defensive skills available to us in PvE. Like all glyphs, this skill’s effect depends on the attunement of the elementalist but unlike all other glyphs, it takes effect based off of the attunement the elementalist is in at the start of the cast rather than the end. The storm has a radius of 240 along with a range of 900, and will most frequently be used in both solos and groups in air and earth attunements.
When casted in air attunement, Glyph of Storms will become a Lightning Storm with 36 impacts, each one dealing damage and applying 2 vulnerability. This means that on bosses, it is guaranteed in almost all circumstances that the boss will be capped at 25 vulnerability for the duration of the storm, making it a 25% DPS increase for both the elementalist casting it and all nearby allies!
When used in earth attunement, Glyph of Storms will become the most powerful blind field in the game, pulsing 11 times in 10 seconds with a maximum of 5 targets. This spell can be used to in many cases have 10 seconds of damage immunity to enemies that are susceptible to blinds, making it an extremely powerful defensive skill for both solo and group settings.
Additionally, Glyph of Storms can be used to maintain high chill uptime in situations that involve a ton of kiting. Chill not only slows down the movement speed of enemies by 66%, but increases the cooldown of enemy skills as well, which can be helpful to prevent bosses from doing certain attacks. Unfortunately casting this utility in fire attunement is scarcely useful, as the damage dealt by Firestorm is low by comparison with Lightning Storm and is only purposeful for when stacking burns is needed.
Glyph of Renewal is very rarely worth using due to the extremely long cooldown (165 seconds without Inscriptions, 132 seconds with) but still can be utilised for rare circumstances in which a reviving allies is needed. You can use this skill to revive up to 3 allies if casted while in earth attunement, serving a similar effect to that of warrior’s Battle Standard. In water attunement you can revive a single ally to full health which can be helpful in niche situations like Detha in Ascalonian Catacombs path 2 during the trap event or Warmaster Grast at the end of Ascalonian Catacombs path 3.
Arcane spells are interesting and unique skills that always critically hit. They are affected by the trait Elemental Surge in the Arcane specialization, which inflicts conditions based off of the attunement and provides an additional 150 ferocity after using an arcane skill along with reducing the recharge of all arcane skills by 20%. These 2 utilities that follow, are now more viable than before since the icebow is useful in only a few fights. This means that there is always an extra utility slot for an arcane skill/lightning flash or a shout depending on the fight.
Arcane Wave is an extremely helpful utility available to the elementalist as it is our only utility skill capable of blasting in a combo field with the exception of Lightning Hammer’s autoattack chain. Thankfully due to the fact that it is instant cast, it can be used during other animations without disrupting their channel. This is one of the most widely used utility skill of the elementalist both in and out of combat. Just like Arcane Brilliance healing skill, blast utilities are not that useful in raid scenarios since you don’t need might from blasting/fury/stealth/swiftness, so arcane wave can easily be swapped out for something else, depending on your needs.
Arcane Shield is a stun-breaker that grants 3 blocks, after which it will explode and deal a small amount of damage to nearby enemies (only if all 3 blocks are used). This is a very helpful defensive utility to take especially due to the instant cast time, but unfortunately due to the long 75 second cooldown it cannot be used very frequently. I find this utility particularly useful now that the Tempest is here and overloading is an important part of elementalist rotations. Arcane shield will allow you to focus on completing your overload without needing to dodge, thus interrupting it. It also can help in raids to relieve some pressure from you when things get rough in some of the encounters, if you cant deal with it another way.
This utility can be very helpful in two ways; it is a stunbreak on a fairly short cooldown, and it also provides a passive 25% movement speed increase which can be helpful in situations where swiftness is unavailable.
Signet of Earth is very infrequently needed due to toughness being an attribute that serves little importance in PvE, but it can be very useful in circumstances that immobilising a boss is needed as its active use will immobilise a target for 3 seconds on a relatively short cooldown.
Signet of Water
Signet of Water one of the signets available to the elementalist that is overall a poor choice in PvE with hardly any use. While it can be used to passively remove a condition every 10 seconds, it is most of the time inefficient due to the fact that elementalist has much better options available for condition removal. It can be used for its active to help maintain high chill uptime, but it is rarely needed due to there already being many other ways to stack chill on enemies.
This is the most useful signet available to the elementalist in PvE and is essential in downscaled maps where attributes are much lower and critical chance is needed badly. While Signet of Fire is most commonly used for increasing precision (180 precision, which equates to 8.57% critical chance in a level 80 map), it can also be used for its active which instantly applies burning. This can be very useful on Legendary Shoggroth in Arah path 1, to prevent his attacks from encasing everyone in tar. This is another skill that got indirectly buffed when icebow got nerfed (used only occasionally), so now you are able to have this skill sloted in most fights especially when you are not carrying icebow.
The shouts were introduced to the elementalist with the Tempest Elite Specialization. There is one corresponding to every element and each apply their corresponding auras (except Eye of the Storm). Auras, that’s the biggest reason these utilities are viable. When playing tempest you can have the grandmaster trait Elemental Bastion which heals you or your allies when an aura is applied. This is particularly helpful in raids where heals are very useful for the party, to keep people alive and to keep your scholar buff up most of the time, especially in the Vale Guardian. Note, also, that shouts are instant cast, which is always nice.
“Feel the burn”
Applies a fire aura to you and your allies (up to 5), deals average damage and applies a stack of burn. It has the lowest cooldown (20s) of all the shouts so it’s the best choice.
“Eye of the storm”
This is the only shout that doesn’t apply an aura. Instead, it applies you superspeed and it’s also a stun break. Long cooldown(45s).
Applies a magnetic aura to you and your allies (up to 5), deals damage that is more than Arcane Wave (double the damage) and is a blast finisher which executes the moment you cast it just like Arcane Wave, but it has a longer cooldown (45s). If this skill had a lower cooldown it would easily replace Arcane wave in every encounter, but sadly the long cooldown doesn’t make it very useful. However, it’s a third utility blast finisher, without counting Lightning hammer auto attack, so it can be used if you have a slot for it in your utilities and you need a blast/magnetic shield.
Applies a frost aura to you and your allies (up to 5), deals low damage and applies chill. It also has a low cooldown (25s) so it can be used as a second shout but this is not recommended, unless you really need some extra heals.
While the elementalist does have an arsenal of tools that can be both extremely powerful and helpful in PvE, it does not have any elite skills that truly define its efficacy in combat and none of them are essential to combat rotations. Unfortunately all of them have very long cooldowns as well, making them sometimes difficult to coordinate and make the best use of in dungeons and fractals.
Since this is a Conjure-type elite skill, it is described in more detail in section 4.5 (Conjure Weapons). Fiery Greatsword is one of the most important elite skills for optimised group runs, as traveling from point A to B is generally what takes up the largest portion of a dungeon or fractal’s overall time.
In addition to mobility, Fiery Greatsword is a massive DPS increase when using its skill Fiery Whirl against a wall or object that obstructs the distance traveled, forcing all 8 hits of the attack to concentrate in the same area.
This elite summons an Elemental for that lasts for 60 seconds, after which the skill goes on cooldown for 120 seconds. Like the utility skill Glyph of Lesser Elementals, this elite will summon a larger and more powerful version of the same type of elemental with higher attributes and slightly different and more potent special abilities.
The earth elemental, also known as the infamous “Rocky”, can be used to tank hits from bosses and temporarily grant protection to nearby allies, making him one of the most powerful defensive utilities available to the elementalist in many circumstances! Many bosses on this game prioritise high armor values when determining who to attack, so because Rocky is heavily armored he will often take aggro and allow almost complete safety for the full duration of its lifespan.
The water elemental can sometimes be used for situations in which a group is under constant pressure, as their special ability heals up quite a lot. A team of 5 elementalists using this elite can nearly stand still and tank some of the hardest-hitting bosses in the game abusing the heals, making the elite water elemental a potentially very helpful familiar.
The air and fire elementals are unfortunately very lackluster, as they deal moderately low damage and don’t sustain hits very well either.
Tornado is very infrequently useful in PvE due to the fact that the transformation itself offers low damage and disrupts the elementalist from making use of more relevant skills in combat. It is a cantrip with a very long cooldown (150 seconds base, 120 seconds with the trait Soothing Disruption) that transforms the elementalist into a moving tornado for 15 seconds. The tornado will pulse stability and damage every 3 seconds and replace the elementalist’s weapon skillbar with Electrified Tornado, Dust Tornado, and Debris Tornado.
While this transformation is capable of both soft and hard AoE crowd control, the fact that it is both on such a long cooldown and removes the ability to cast heals, utilities and regular weapon skills makes it almost never worth using in PvE. One particularly helpful situation for this skill would be in Crucible of Eternity path 1 in the security room where Tornado can be used right before interacting with the console, pulsing damage which will destroy the miniature golems that attempt to explode.
This is the Elite shout that was introduced with the Tempest. When casted, it gives the affected allies a buff for 5s which will heal them for a small amount if they take fatal damage, in the duration, instead of getting downed or it will just apply an aura based on your attunement to everyone affected by the buff when it expires. Keep in mind that this utility doesn’t prevent death from enemy abilities which completely kill you in 1 hit like Gorseval’s big AoE attack or Sabetha’s Flamewall skill or even fall damage.
Specializations & Traits
The fire specialization is overall our most important specialization, as it not only enables us to maintain 100% fury duration for both ourselves and our allies but it increases our damage significantly, making it a critical specialization for elementalists in PvE. In general it is safe to assume that regardless of the circumstance, the fire specialization should always be equipped!
Empowering Flame (Adept minor)
This minor trait gives us 150 power whenever we are attuned to fire which is roughly a 4-6% damage increase depending on how much might is applied.
Burning Fire (Adept major)
This trait does not have a lot of uses since conditions in PvE are most of the time not relevant enough to justify the need for traiting specifically for condition removal most of the time. Even if condition removal is needed, there are typically much better options than this trait. A possible use would be when running the wisps to the clefts in the Swampland fractal
Burning Precision (Adept major)
This is the adept trait that should be equipped almost all of the time in PvE as it is a solid DPS increase by applying burns frequently on critical hits. This will not only deal damage itself, but it will help maintain the Grandmaster minor trait Burning Rage, which is a 10% damage increase to burning foes. Since burning stacks intensity, this trait never goes to waste unless the enemy in question is immune to burning.
Conjurer (Adept major)
For any circumstance in which an elementalist chooses to run a Scepter + LH build in PvE, this trait will be required as it will enable 25 attacks with a conjure weapon as opposed to 15. In almost any other circumstance this trait is unneeded as most conjure weapons are used briefly for certain skill usage then promptly dropped afterwards.
Sunspot will deal damage at the location of the elementalist within melee range (180 radius) when attuning to fire. Sunspot will only trigger while in combat and in addition to dealing damage to up to 5 nearby enemies, it will provide the elementalist a fire aura for 3 seconds, which has great synergy with Elemental Bastion tempest trait allowing you to heal while simply executing your rotation.
Pyromancer’s Training (Master major)
This is one of the most essential traits to the elementalist and should be equipped essentially all of the time in PvE. Pyromancer’s training not only reduces the recharge of all fire weapon skills by 20%, but it increases the damage of all attacks while in fire attunement by 10%.
This is not a trait that will be of much use in PvE and is a very underwhelming option. Fire auras will have their duration increased by 33% and grant 2 stacks of might for 10 seconds each time they are applied.
Like One with Fire, this is not a trait that will be of much use in PvE due to the fact that condition builds on an elementalist are extremely underwhelming compared to direct damage builds. Power Overwhelming provides additional condtion damage based off of 10% of an elementalist’s power.
Burning Rage (Grandmaster minor)
Burning Rage is a 10% damage modifier that is effective on any target that is inflicted by burning. This damage modifier is synergic with the trait Burning Precision and is relatively easy to have high uptime of even in a solo setting, so it is safely assumed that in groups there should never be downtime.
Persisting Flames (Grandmaster major)
Persisting Flames is one of the most iconic features to the elementalist and is one of the most significant traits out of all specializations for PvE. Not only is it a remarkably strong DPS increase for staff builds, as it increases the duration of fire fields and thus lava font’s overall damage, but it can provide you and your party with permanent fury in addition to might whenever we blast in fire fields. As if that was not enough, Persisting Flames also will have a lava font erupt from the ground whenever you down which increases your chance of rallying — all in one package!
Considering just how powerful this trait is, it is worthless to even consider dropping the fire specialization in PvE let alone choosing one of the other grandmaster traits. Persisting Flames increases the overall damage by lava font by 50% making it one of the hardest-hitting skills in the game.
This trait grants might for 15 seconds every time a skill is used while in fire attunement. While this trait is actually very good, it is nowhere near as useful as Persisting Flames is so sadly it is just about never an option for PvE.
Blinding Ashes (Grandmaster major)
Blinding Ashes is a trait that enables an elementalist to blind enemies for 4 seconds whenever they are burned, on a 5 second cooldown. This may be a useful asset in PvP or WvW, but sadly it has just about no purpose in PvE due to the fact that not only is it a massive DPS loss to not take Persisting Flames, but we have a more efficient source of blinding enemies by using the Sandstorm utility.
The air specialization is a very useful specialization with plenty of niche options in PvE that include damage modifiers, boon application and sharing, reduced glyph recharge, increased mobility and air attunement and weapon skill recharge reductions and more. It is a highly important specialization that should be equipped in the vast majority of circumstances in PvE.
This minor trait gives a flat 25% movement speed increase while attuned to air, which is very nice when running around a map. Rather than swapping out a utility for Signet of Air or spamming swiftness on yourself, you can simply sit in air attunement.
Zephyr’s Boon (Adept major)
Zephyr’s Boon can be used to provide party-wide fury and swiftness if combined with the Powerful Aura trait in the water specialization. This can be a decent and handy way to ensure a party maintains fury and swiftness.-
One with Air (Adept major)
One with Air provides 3 seconds of super speed, which makes it extremely helpful for running around the map and general mobility. It overrides the movement speed cap, making it very powerful if used with the Fresh Air trait.
Ferocious Winds (Adept minor)
Ferocious Winds provides ferocity based off the precision of a player, making it the most commonly chosen adept major trait for the air specialization. Ferocious Winds will be roughly a 3% DPS increase for a player with around 2000 precision.
Electric Discharge (Master minor)
This trait becomes valuable if you can swap to air frequently, as it deals damage when in combat. Therefore it is a good boost to your single target damage when used in synergy with Fresh Air.
Inscription (Master major)
Inscription is a very valuable trait that both provides boons when activating a glyph depending on the attunement and reduces the recharge of them. With this trait, you can give yourself nearly permanent swiftness uptime with the Glyph of Elemental Harmony healing skill, making it an extremely helpful trait for mobility.
Inscription is also nice in dungeons and fractals to reduce the cooldown on both Glyph of Storms and Glyph of Elementals, which are both important active defense skills when used in earth attunement. This also helps to get a high uptime of the effect of Glyph of Elemental Power, which is useful when soft control is necessary.
Aeromancer’s Training (Master major)
This trait finds its application when you need reduced recharge of any air weapon skills. This can range from a plethora of reasons which can be anything from needing higher projectile defense uptime from Swirling Winds on a D/F build, need to strip defiance stacks off of a boss quicker without engaging in combat, want to use Ride the Lightning more often or want to maintain swiftness easier for increased mobility.
Tempest Defense (Master major)
Tempest Defense is one of the most powerful damage modifiers available to an elementalist that should be used during any circumstance in which a boss can be stunned for a significant duration of time (3-5 seconds or more). After the release of HoT and the introduction of the defiance bars this trait has lost most of its strength, since you can no longer stun enemies for 5s with Deep Freeze, so the other 2 master traits are now more viable than before.
Weak Spot (Grandmaster minor)
Weak Spot is a powerful tool used for application of vulnerability and it has no cooldown, which means that we can achieve a decent spike of vulnerability when using attacks with lots of hits (e.g. Meteor Shower, Ice Storm, and Frost Fan).
Bolt to the Heart (Grandmaster major)
Bolt to the Heart is one of the most valuable grandmaster traits available to an elementalist, as it provides a 20% damage increase to any enemy below 50% health. On average, this increases damage by 10% when factoring in the duration of the entire fight, making it a very good damage modifier to take. This trait is huge for staff and scepter builds, but since it shares a spot with fresh air, it is unfortunately unavailable to D/F builds.
Fresh Air (Grandmaster major)
This trait can refresh air attunement after every critical hit with no internal cooldown. This is very strong for dagger builds as it allows us to stay in air and simply hop in other attunements to use a few skills before swapping back to take advantage of the strong air auto attack. It has good synergy with on-swap traits such as Electric Discharge, Arcane Fury, and One with Air.
Lightning Rod (Grandmaster major)
While Lightning Rod is a strong trait, it is very infrequently a better option to take over Bolt to the Heart or Fresh Air in PvE due to the fact that the damage will not trigger frequently enough to compete with our other options. One very niche use for this is in the Volcanic Fractal when fighting Legendary Imbued Shaman, an elementalist with Lightning Rod can remove anywhere between 5-10 stacks off of his shield during the shield phase from lava elementals that cross into a Static Field, as each proc from Lightning Rod will count as an individual attack.
The earth specialization focuses on defense, so it is not very useful when building for damage. However, there are some good defensive traits here that can be clutch in solos or duos and thus is worth discussing.
Stone Flesh (Adept minor)
This trait gives 150 additional toughness while attuned to earth; the defensive earth version of the fire specialization.
Earth’s Embrace (Adept major)
This is an extremely situational trait that activates Armor of Earth when your health drops below 50% (75 second cooldown), but it’s worth mentioning because it can save your life in situations like for example at the end of the Aetherblade Retreat fractal if you don’t have a guardian or other source of stability.
Elemental Shielding (Adept major)
This trait provides protection whenever an aura is used, which may sound helpful but the reality is that it is hardly useful in PvE. This trait can be combined with Powerful Aura to provide party-wide protection and then with Elemental Bastion to provide heals + protection.
Serrated Stones (Adept major)
This is the damage modifier available to the earth specialization. While 5% damage is nothing in particular that will make a difference on the outcome of a fight, it is a solid option to pick at the adept level for situations in which an elementalist decides to go into earth for the defensive master or grandmaster traits.
Earthen Blast (Master minor)
Earthen Blast is a 3-target AoE blast that deals low damage and cripples nearby foes for 3 seconds when attuneing to earth (only triggers while in combat).
Strength of Stone (Master major)
Strength of Stone is a trait that elementalists will likely never find useful in PvE. It provides additional condition damage based off of 10% of an elementalist’s toughness.
Rock Solid (Master major)
While this trait provides the fastest recharging and most frequent source of stability to the elementalist, it is only 1 stack of it that lasts for 2 seconds when attuning to earth making it very difficult to make use of in PvE.
Geomancer’s Training (Master major)
Geomancer’s Training is one of the few earth traits that can be useful in PvE as it can be used to not only reduce the duration on movement-impairing conditions (e.g. chill, cripple, immobilise) by 33%, it reduces the recharge on earth weapon skills by 20%, meaning very helpful defensive skills like Magnetic Aura and Obsidian Flesh will be available more often.
Geomancer’s Defense (Grandmaster minor)
This trait will cause an elementalist to take 10% less damage from enemies within 360 range, making it quite a powerful passive defense trait.
Diamond Skin (Grandmaster major)
Diamond Skin is very niche, but condition immunity can be extremely powerful in some solo situations. Good examples of fights where this trait is useful are Belka in Arah path 2 and Lyssa in Arah path 4, since it allows you to bypass their constant pressure with conditions as long as you can maintain at least 90% health. This is useful to get the achievement “I Can Outrun… a Ghost” in the Spirit Vale raid achievements.
Written in Stone (Grandmaster major)
Written in Stone has little to no use in PvE; it allows an elementalist to maintain the passive effects of signets after activating them, but also reduces the recharge of them by 20%. Since signets are primarily used in PvE for their passive effects, this trait ends up on the shelf with the rest of the hardly-ever-used traits.
Stone Heart (Grandmaster major)
Stone Heart prevents enemies from critically hitting you while attuned to earth. Due to the generally predictable nature of enemy attacks, this is useless in PvE since we have much better methods of mitigating incoming damage.
The water specialization is supposed to be the healing-themed traitline, but it also contains some powerful damage modifiers and good utility, making it a great choice in general and especially for PvE.
Soothing Mist (Adept minor)
This minor trait serves as a slightly weaker version of the regen boon, but it stacks along with it which makes it quite helpful for a brief and small heal.
Soothing Ice (Adept major)
Soothing Ice provides regen and a frost aura for 4 seconds on a 20 second cooldown whenever critically hit. This trait is almost never worth taking in PvE because of the lack of necessity for the regen, and because of the fact that it competes with Piercing Shards.
Piercing Shards (Adept major)
Piercing Shards is one of our strongest damage modifiers, giving us 20% extra damage when attuned to water. In addition to the added damage, this trait provides a 33% increased duration on all vulnerability applied regardless of attunement which gives it strong synergy to the trait Weak Spot.
This trait is imperative for elementalists running builds that make use of Lightning Hammer, as attacking in the water attunement will greatly increase their damage after their might stacking rotation. Additionally, elementalists using Ice Bow will find that casting its Ice Storm while in water attunement will be especially helpful on large hitboxes where every impact will have a 20% damage increase applied while this trait is equipped. Sadly after the introduction of the Tempest there is no room for the Tempest specialization on most basic Tempest builds/rotations.
Stop, Drop, and Roll (Adept major)
Stop, Drop and Roll is a trait that removes burning and chill from yourself and nearby allies whenever dodging, regardless of attunement (10 second cooldown). There are not many applications for this trait in PvE but it could be used during the Volcanic fractal in the last fight to help with the constant pressure of burning being applied from the Legendary Imbued Shaman’s arrows and the ground that frequently applies it.
Healing Ripple (Master minor)
Healing Ripple will heal a decent amount of health (1,302 in a level 80 area with no healing power) for up to 5 nearby allies (240 radius) whenever attuning to water while in combat. This is, of course, automatically functioning with the 15% healing bonus from the trait Aquatic Benevolence (grandmaster minor in water).
Soothing Disruption (Master major)
Soothing Disruption is a situationally helpful trait to take whenever a reduction in the cooldown for cantrips is needed, like Lightning Flash, as it reduces all cantrip recharge rates by 20%. Additionally, it also provide 6 seconds of both vigor and regen after activating a cantrip skill, making it an extremely helpful trait for soloing the light orbs puzzle in Arah paths 3 and 4.
Cleansing Wave (Master major)
Cleansing Wave will not be a commonly needed trait in PvE, but it can be very useful in niche situations where frequent condition removal is needed! A great example is when low-manning Farnaz, the Risen Priestess of Lyssa in Arah path 4, who frequently can apply over 50 stacks of confusion at once from her illusions.
Aquamancer’s Training (Master major)
This is a trait that works exactly like the scholar rune’s 6th bonus, which provides 10% more damage while health is at or above 90%. This makes it a very good trait for offensive builds but makes staying above 90% HP threshold even more crucial. Additionally, Aquamancer’s Training also reduces the cooldowns on all water weapon skills.
Aquatic Benevolence (Grandmaster minor)
Like mentioned above in the Healing Ripple description, Aquatic Benevolence will increase the outgoing healing done to allies by 15%. These two traits have nice synergy and will heal together heal allies whenever attuning to water during fights.
Cleansing Water (Grandmaster major)
Cleansing Water is a situationally useful trait for when a lot of condition removal is needed, as it will remove a condition whenever regen is applied. This can be helpful for when casting Cleansing Rain on staff, where it normally would remove a single condition once applied but would instantly remove 2 with this trait, along with temporarily keeping the area a “condition-free zone.”
Powerful Aura (Grandmaster major)
This trait combined with Magnetic Aura on staff’s earth attunement can provide party-wide projectile reflection for 5 seconds and has synergy with several other traits (e.g. One with Fire, Zephyr’s Boon, Elemental Shielding, Elemental Bastion). This is very useful against bosses that have hard-hitting projectile attacks both for the reflect damage along with the party-wide defense. Note that auras generated by sources that are not weapon skills, like combos, will not trigger the sharing.
Soothing Power (Grandmaster major)
In situations where it is difficult to maintain high health due to constant pressure, Soothing Power can help you and your allies maintain high health by increasing the efficacy of Soothing Mist by a lot, making it a helpful choice in a variety of encounters in PvE.
The arcane specialization has some key traits that make it useful both for offensive and defensive situations, focusing primarily on both personal and party-wide boon effects. It is the specialization that often competes with water in PvE.
Arcane Fury (Adept minor)
This is a solid trait when soloing or when your party lacks fury that has strong synergy with Fresh Air, as every attunement swap back to air will give us 4 seconds of fury (base duration) and is repeatable every 5 seconds.
Arcane Precision (Adept major)
While this trait is actually quite good in PvE, the problem that it has is that it has to compete with Renewing Stamina which is both a damage loss when considering Bountiful Power and also a defensive loss due to the lack of vigor. While it would be nice to use this trait, as it can help maintain burning along with other conditions depending on the attunement, it is hardly ever capable of being used without a significant sacrifice.
Renewing Stamina (Adept major)
This is one of the iconic traits of the arcane specialization due to its ability to provide an elementalist with permanent vigor along with helping ensure an additional 2% damage is maintained with Bountiful Power. It is very good for both beginners and experts, as it will enable dodging more frequently which is sometimes a necessity in encounters that involve a lot of kiting and frequent hard-hitting attacks. This trait should essentially always be equipped when using the arcane specialization.
Arcane Abatement (Adept major)
Arcane Abatement is not a trait that proves to be useful in combat, but it can be helpful for the moments when you wish to explore and do jumping puzzles, as it reduces fall damage by 50%.
Elemental Attunement (Master minor)
This is a very strong defensive support trait that can be situationally useful in parties with low boon application as well as for inexperienced players. This has fantastic synergy with Bountiful Power, as it allows the elementalist easy access to 4 different boons, which provides a brief 8% damage buff.
Arcane Resurrection (Master major)
This will not be a trait used often in general, but it’s available for the times in which it is desired to revive someone or multiple allies quickly.
Elemental Contingency (Master major)
Ideally it is best advised to avoid taking damage, but Elemental Contingency can be put to use in situations which involve tons of attacks that cannot be avoided. It is the elementalist’s only source of retaliation and is best used in hordes of enemies. If combined with the Persisting Flames trait in a group of enemies, an elementalist can have both retaliation and a lava font ticking if/when downed, resulting in a lot of additional damage. This can be helpful to guarantee rallies and is in particular helpful for when clearing the mobs before beginning the Grenth timegated event in Arah path 4.
Final Shielding (Master major)
Final Shielding is a defensive option available to the elementalist that will provide an instantly-casted arcane shield whenever low health on a 75 second cooldown. While this trait can potentially be the difference of life or death, it is only a trait that has the potential of being useful when mistakes are made, making it in general not a very appealing trait to use. However, the arcane master traits are in general lackluster.
Elemental Enchantment (Grandmaster minor)
This trait reduces the cooldowns of attunements, which is very valuable for scepter and dagger builds. Because of the quicker attunement swap recharge rate, it is great for D/F builds and helpful for stacking might in general along with encounters that require kiting. The extra boon duration from it also is very nice for pre-stacking might before an encounter and also for maintaining the damage modifier Bountiful Power.
Evasive Arcana (Grandmaster major)
This trait mainly can be useful for the heal and condition cleanse when dodging in water and the blast finisher when dodging in earth. It is a helpful trait to use during encounters that have a lot of condition and damage pressure, but it is a fairly significant DPS loss due to losing Bountiful Power in order to take it.
Elemental Surge (Grandmaster major)
Elemental Surge is a very strong trait that applies conditions to enemies based off of the attunement an elementalist is in at the time of casting an arcane skill, but also provides 150 ferocity after each arcane skill use and reduces the recharge on all arcane skills by 20%. This trait can be helpful to use right before casting an arcane skill while out of combat, then swapping to Bountiful Power right before engaging in combat for an additional 150 ferocity for the first 10-15 seconds of an fight.
Bountiful Power (Grandmaster minor)
Bountiful Power is the other iconic trait of the arcane specialization that will be most frequently used in PvE whenever arcane is equipped, due to the fact that it provides 2% additional damage for every boon on you. What this means is that with 5 boons maintained, it closely competes for damage with the water specialization in terms of overall DPS.
This trait has strong synergy with Renewing Stamina as well, because the permanent vigor uptime provided by it will ensure an additional 2% of damage during fights. An elementalist by themself should easily be able to maintain 3 boons at all times (might, fury, vigor) when using this trait, making it at minimum in most cases a 6% damage increase with occasional 8-10% spikes or more.
The Tempest elite specialization offers to the elementalist additional power to each attunement allowing for new rotations and higher dps/burst damage thanks to the ability to overload. Tempest also offers some traits that can make auramancer elementalist a healer that can do his job quite efficiently in most raid scenarios.
Singularity (Adept minor)
This is basically the trait that allows you to overload your attunements.
Gale Song (Adept major)
This trait is what is best to use when doing open-world stuff or fractals, as the stun break is really responsive and can save your life or prevent awkward situations.
Latent Stamina (Adept major)
This one seems like a pretty useful trait on paper and can be used, when dodges are very important, in synergy with Invigorating Torrents in auramancer builds, but sadly any kind of auramancer healer would prefer to get Unstable Conduit instead of this trait.
Unstable Conduit (Adept major)
This is one very important trait, especially when raiding, because it allows you, when used together with Elemental Bastion, to keep yourself healthy most of the time and preserve your scholar buff. Also, core element of any auramancer healer builds.
Speedy Conduit (Master minor)
This trait gives you swiftness when you start an overload. This is basically an alternative way to give yourself permanent swiftness when running. Just press the overload button, then instantly swap to another attunement and wait for the overload. Just keep doing this with whatever attunement is available and you can have permanent swiftness. This is particularly useful when you are carrying bundles (like when carrying a wisp in Swamp fractal) and you don’t have Signet of Air slotted, so you can’t access swiftness.
Tempestuous Aria (Master major)
Tempestuous Aria as well as Invigorating Torrents is a trait you would never want to pick, just because you have Harmonious Conduit on this tier. And even if your focus on a fight would not be to deal damage, this trait is still inferior to Invigorating Torrents.
Invigorating Torrents (Master major)
This trait as explained above is only useful when for whatever reason you want to focus on a healing build rather than a damage build.
Harmonious Conduit (Master major)
Harmonious Conduit is the only damage modifier trait offered in the tempest specialization (10%), which makes it very crucial to try to get the most out of, when executing a tempest rotation. You get this buff after successfully completing an overload. So basically what you want to do is overload and then cast hard hitting spells as fast as possible.
Hardy Conduit (Grandmaster minor)
This is a nice trait to have as it improves the effectiveness of protection on you by 20%, making the protection boon reduce incoming damage by 60% instead of 40%. Also gives protection when overloading, which makes it easier to just take a hit, intead of dodging to avoid damage and canceling your overload.
Imbued Melodies (Grandmaster major)
This is the warhorn related trait. Cast Sand Squall when struck below 90%. This trait is pretty much never used just because the other 2 grandmaster traits are far superior to this one.
Lucid Singularity (Grandmaster major)
Lucid Singularity is good to have with you when doing open-world content or fractals as the condi remove it provides can be pretty helpful at times. You can use this one when healing through applying auras is not needed.
Elemental Bastion (Grandmaster major)
Elemental Bastion is a very important trait introduced with the Tempest. It puts the icing on the cake for the auramancer elementalists builds, as it provides a tremendous amount of support through heals when applying your auras. Synergises very well with a great amount of elementalist traits that revolve around the application of auras. Having this one when raiding is very important as it allows you and your allies to stay healthy and preserve your scholar buffs especially when combined with shout utilities and Unstable Conduit.
Equipment & Nourishment
This section will cover all of our recommendations for equipment and nourishment for an elementalist in PvE and will include information regarding attributes and stat prefixes, rune and sigil choices, and nourishment options.
Maximising output is not a simple process and there are many factors to take into consideration when determining what the best way to go about an encounter is, but a great way to ensure that you are able to perform at your absolute best potential is by having the best equipment.
Let us begin by talking about which stat prefixes we should choose from and what attributes are best to prioritise!
Attributes & Stat Prefixes
The recommendation for elementalists in PvE is to stick with the Berserker stat prefix. For a detailed explanation as to why we draw this conclusion continue reading but if not, skip to the Runes and Sigils!
Why Berserker is best for elementalists in PvE:
There are many different attributes in this game– all of which affect our characters’ ability to perform up to our expectations in combat. Naturally, one might expect that due to the elementalist’s innately lower health pool and armor value that it would be ideal to take into consideration increasing the attributes that aid in passive defense and sustain (healing power, toughness, vitality).
While this may be preferable to some, it ends up becoming wasteful the more an elementalist practices and becomes better at not just the class itself, but the combat system and the content that they play in. In short, the better the player the less the passive defense and sustain is needed. On the contrary, dealing increased damage is useful regardless of skill level and knowledge of encounters.
Damage in general is broken down into two broad categories: direct damage and condition damage. Direct damage is a function of three synergic attributes: power, precision, and ferocity whereas condition damage is only affected by the attributes condition damage and condition duration. In order to deal optimal damage we must maximise these attributes by selecting appropriate gear.
This guide will only be focusing on direct damage builds due to the fact that condition builds are generally under-performing by comparison with direct damage builds in terms of DPS, though with the exception of some classes like ranger and engineer it is possible for condition damage builds to be more effective in solo settings than their direct damage counterparts. Unfortunately for condition damage lovers, elementalist is not one of those classes.
This leaves us with three attributes to select from and optimise with: power, precision, ferocity.
As of current the only two stat prefixes that we are able to choose from based off of these 3 attributes are Berserker (power primary) and Assassin (precision primary).
Generally speaking, it is always better to gear up your character with its level in mind and in level 80 zones it is the most efficient choice for an elementlist to use Berserker. The reason for this is because there is a delicate balance between power and precision that must be taken into consideration when maximising DPS.
The more precision you have, the less valuable it becomes however in the case of power it is always beneficial to have more of it unless you happen to hit the maximum attribute cap (this will vary depending on level and is in some cases impossible to achieve with the current equipment values offered in the game).
However, it is important to remember that GW2 has a system that involves downscaling of a player’s attributes when in a lower-leveled zone. This downscaling affects all attributes, which includes critical chance. What this means is that in harshly downscaled maps, precision becomes more and more valuable meaning the Assassin prefix can potentially be better.
Note that since the launch of HoT all the new areas, the raids, fractals are all level 80 and the dungeon rewards have been nerfed so people are not really doing them. Also the fact that carrying Signet of Fire around has become more viable with the icebow nerfs, you don’t need extra precision from Assasin’s gear.
Conclusion: Since the launch of HoT Berserker’s gear outshines Assasin’s, making the choice clearer. However, if you are looking to maximize your critical chance having 2 Assasin’s accessories, Signet of Fire, Discipline banner, power-precision food and Spotter from Ranger will get you almost 100%. If you lack any of these you can also use Maintenance oils. On dagger builds you are going to be using Aeromancer’s Training so the accessories are not necessary. Mind that you can always play around with what you have in your group and use what’s optimal for each specific situation. On solo situations having Assasin’s armor and 2 accessories nets you 91% and 100% crit chance with and without Aeromancer’s Training respectively. (All the statistics are calculated without using precision runes.)
Runes & Sigils
There are many different rune and sigil choices that can be used in PvE and all of them will work, but some of them will always outperform the others. To aid in your decision of what to choose from, we list what we recommend as the absolute best options for an elementalist in PvE along with some alternatives.
The best rune options:
Scholar runes are capable of providing the highest damage output out of all options, but at the same time can in some circumstances be worse because the 6th rune bonus will only work when the player is above 90% health. Having a full set of scholar runes will provide an additional 175 power, 100 ferocity, and 10% extra damage while health is above 90%.Now, this may sound like a bad choice for raiding due to the constant damage we get during the fight, but with some small optimizations to our build + the druid that might be in your team, keeping the scholar buff up for the biggest part of the duration of the fight isn’t that hard. As far as cost is concerned, scholar runes are one of the more expensive options but not the most expensive rune choice.
Strength runes are capable of producing the highest damage in some situations but as far as potential is concerned, it is second to scholar. The 6th rune bonus is much easier to maintain due to only requiring any amount of stacks of might as opposed to a specific amount of them, and the might duration provided by having these runes equipped makes it pretty much guaranteed for the damage bonus to always remain active. This rune is not that great in raids because with a proper group you will always have 25 might stacks, making the might duration offered from these runes completely useless. Having a full set of strength runes will provide an additional 175 power, 45% might duration, and 5% extra damage while under the effects of might. The huge drawback of this set is the cost — they are more than twice the cost of scholar!
The alternative rune options:
Hoelbrak is an alternative option to strength runes but is discouraged because of the fact that they cost roughly the same yet provide less offensive bonuses. Due to the fact that conditions can be mitigated through the use of weapon skills, utilities, and traits it renders the 6th bonus of hoelbrak runes to be nearly useless in PvE. If the cost of the rune ever drops significantly lower then it will be a very solid alternative. A full set of hoelbrak runes will provide an additional 175 power, 30% might duration, and -20% condition duration on all incoming conditions.
This is a rune choice that is one of the best cheaper alternatives available to the elementalist and is what we recommend using if neither scholar or strength runes are affordable. Instead of burning duration, this rune increases burning duration which can be helpful for maintaining the Burning Rage damage modifier from the fire specialization. The 6th rune bonus damage is actually higher than that of strength runes’, making it a very good low-budget choice! A full set of flame legion runes will provide an additional 175 power, 45% burning duration, and 7% extra damage to burning foes. Go for these runes if you are planning on raiding and you cannot afford Scholar runes/you are not confident in keeping the scholar buff up during the fight.
This rune is a very low-budget alternative to the runes offered above that will deal acceptable damage, but noticeably less than scholar. Due to the fact that the rock dog summon is essentially useless in almost any situation imaginable, it is worth disregarding altogether especially considering the long cooldown and unpredictable nature of its summoning. A full set of ogre runes will provide an additional 175 power, 35 ferocity, a 25% chance to summon a rock dog when struck by an enemy, and 4% extra damage.
The best sigil options:
This is one of the most valuable sigils available to us as it provides a flat 5% increased damage regardless of where or what we are doing. It is a solid choice regardless of what build in particular we are using and is typically paired with either a night sigil or a slaying sigil for optimal damage.
In organised teams in daytime dungeons and raids when your party would hit the limit of 25 stacks of might as well as 25 stacks of vulnerability, and in open world events with the introduction of HoT, this sigil is the best option, despite the nerfs during summer 2015. What makes this sigil probably the best choice alongside Force sigil is the fact that slaying/night sigils are useless in most of HoT content/raids. For daytime fractals, Air is not a bad choice, when you don’t want to have Force/slaying weapons.
This is the strongest damage-boosting sigil excluding creature-specific sigils. It is similar to the force sigil but grants a 10% damage increase rather than 5% with the condition that it only works during the night. The viable dungeons and fractals for this sigil are AC, TA, SE, CoF CoE, Swampland, Snowblind, Volcanic, Underground and Solid Ocean. Unfortunately this sigil is useless in raids, because it’s day time in Spirit Vale.
This is another type of a 10% damage modifier that only applies to enemies with the type undead, making it a sigil most appropriate to take in the dungeon Arah. While it is not necessary to have, it is ideal to possess a weapon with this slaying sigil and consider it as an “X Slaying” weapon; because slaying sigils are generally very cheap, this sigil would be interchangeable with many other slaying sigils (e.g. Elemental Slaying, Sigil of Justice, etc).
This is a sigil that is only useful for maps in which you are downscaled in. For a level 80 character, the 7% additional critical chance is very underwhelming of a choice but in lower level dungeons like AC and CM for example, this sigil becomes extremely valuable because of the fact that it gives 7% critical chance regardless of downscaling. This means that the lower level the zone, the better this sigil becomes!
This sigil usually replaces a sigil of night in daytime dungeons if you do not want to bother with specific slaying sigils, as they can be quite tedious to repeatedly swap out especially in dungeons with varying enemy types. Frailty will help with vulnerability contribution which tends to be more valuable in longer fights, but it is important to keep in mind that for short fights where vulnerability is already capped and easily maintained, this sigil does nothing. It is situationally useful and important to consider.
This sigil triggers on critical hit (60% chance on that) and grants 1 stack of might for 10 seconds with a cooldown of 1 second, which means it should be used only while having relatively high chance to score a critical hit. Similarly to Superior Sigil of Battle, this sigil works very well with strength runes (or Hoelbrak alternative) because it will enable you to accumulate and maintain 25 might much easier. When soloing this sigil is a strong option that in many cases provides more damage than force sigil does, provided you can maintain at least 7-8 stacks of might more than you normally would have without. Because it grants short duration stacks it shouldn’t be used when your team stacks enough might, making this an undesirable sigil in group/raid play.
This sigil gives 2 stacks of Might for 20 seconds upon an attunement weapon swap (or in our case, attunement swap). With a cooldown of 9 seconds, this sigil is easier to make use of on elementalists especially when using the arcane specialization or with the Fresh Air trait, as we will be able to swap faster than most other classes normally would (warrior being an exception). Unfortunately due to a change in 2014, this sigil is less potent than it once was and is generally not the best option to take anymore as it once gave 3 might on swap instead of 2. This sigil sustains about 4 stacks of might with no additional might/boon duration.
This is another sigil that triggers on weapon/attunement swap with a 9 second cooldown, but is instead a more defensive option that gives exactly 50 endurance which is equal to exactly 1 dodge. This is a particularly useful sigil to take when soloing a very dangerous encounter that requires more defense than the permanent vigor provided from the Renewing Stamina trait.
Formerly good, but now inefficient
This sigil was once a great option during the earlier years of the game, but became obsolete for elementalists during the ferocity implementation in April 2014 where attribute stacks no longer remain after swapping out the weapon with the sigil. Bloodlust and all other attribute stacking sigils are now terrible options for an elementalist because it means that in order to make use of them, you cannot ever swap weapons. Camping the same weapon at all times is something we cannot afford to do even for 250 power, making this a dreadful choice.
Nourishment is very important for min-maxing and suggested as well for casual gameplay, due to how many options there are and how beneficial they can be. Regardless of how low of a budget a player is on, there is no excuse to let laziness get the best of you when you are missing out on easy attributes!
There are two types of nourishments that a player can benefit from at a given time, which are food and utility items. We will begin by going over the main types of food nourishment and follow up with utility items that we suggest for elementalists in PvE.
The first-choice food options:
This food tends to be the best choice for elementalists, as power is the primary attribute we want to increase most of the time along with the fact that precision is something we can always use more of when using full berserker. The optimal food choice of this type is Plate of Truffle Steak, which increases your power by 100 and precision by 70. In many cases (like raids) this food is the most optimal food choice available to us, but we do not recommend using it for casual gameplay and instead suggest using the cheaper alternatives found in the table provided below:
This food proves to be extremely powerful for min-maxing, but it is important to note the practicality of its use; the power that is gained from using this food will only take effect for 30 seconds after killing an enemy, making it very much useless against long boss fights or when there will be a large gap in time between encounters. The time in which this food can be extremely helpful are when killing multiple lower level or lower health enemies, as the power will be maintained regularly which will provide the most damage in some cases.
Additionally, this food can be swapped out for another type of food that gives attributes for an extended period of time immediately after getting the 30 second power buff. Because of the short duration of the power gained on kills, it is highly discouraged to make use of these foods unless it is one of the higher-tiered versions that give 200 power, as these foods are only recommended for min-maxers. With this in mind, it is by far the most cost-efficient method to only use Dragon’s Breath Bun if you plan to swap out the food in between runs. If for whatever reason you want to only use power on kill foods without swapping, then you can find two longer-lasting verions below in our table of suggested options for power on kill foods:
|Dragon’s Breath Bun||+200 Power on kill, +70 Ferocity (20 minutes)|
|Plate of Truffle Steak Dinner||+200 Power on kill, +70 Ferocity (30 minutes)|
|Carrot Soufflé||+200 Power on kill, +70 Ferocity (60 minutes)|
This type of food is generally not considered to be the most efficient, but it is a great alternative and a perfectly acceptable food to use during casual runs that help make it easier to survive, especially in poorly optimised groups and low-man settings.
Lifesteal food will both damage a level 80 opponent and heal you for 325 on a 1 second internal cooldown, with the frequency varying depending on the tier of food used. The best lifesteal food will provide a 66% chance to steal life on a critical hit, making the food a highly beneficial choice provided that an elementalist’s critical chance is high enough. This additionally means that the lower level the area that you are being downscaled in, the worse this food becomes!
As well as damaging enemies and healing yourself on occasion, using lifesteal food will give you additional precision with the amount depending on the tier. The most economical version of this food is Slice of Candied Dragon Roll/Scoops of Mintberry Swirl Ice Cream. The best option for you will depend on how long you want the effect to last and how much you want to spend, and the table for what we suggest can be found below:
Other food options:
This food gives the unique effect of increasing your damage output by 10% but only when you are moving. This provides the highest damage modifier of all foods, but since many of the elementalist’s strongest-hitting attacks cannot be casted while moving, this buff food’s usefulness is significantly reduced for us and is suboptimal in most cases. Overall we do not suggest using it with most staff/icebow builds but with the tempest and permanent quickness from chronomacers, cast times are really short plus overloading can be casted while moving so this food has become pretty powerful for the elementalist. Also, with all dagger builds, this is hands down the best food since you never have to stop moving to cast skills.
This is a very strong food that can be helpful in situations with which might is not outsourced by a warrior running a phalanx build and is especially strong in combination with strength runes for the additional might duration. It has a chance of 33% on a critical hit to grant 1 stack of might for 5 seconds base with no internal cooldown, making it incredibly powerful when using a weapon with a fast attack speed or when using high burst skills like Meteor Shower and Ice Storm that will trigger frequently in quick succession. This is wonderful in solos or unorganized groups, and is especially helpful for the increased boon duration as well.
Bowl of Curry Butternut Squash Soup
While this food was once one of the most optimal foods in the pre-ferocity era, Bowl of Curry Butternut Squash Soup and all of its lower-tiered versions now is less efficient of a choice for elementalists. It provides 100 precision and 70 ferocity making it still a powerful selection, but slightly worse than cheaper alternatives which makes it pointless to use. We do not suggest buying or using this food anymore.
Similar to Bowl of Curry Butternut Squash Soup in the sense of it losing its efficiency after the ferocity implementation, but instead this food gives 100 power and 70 ferocity. It is the most expensive food in the game as of current due to it giving very high attribute bonuses for the longest available duration (1 hour). It is sub-optimal by comparison to cheaper alternatives, due to the fact that elementalist benefits more from additional precision than ferocity when using full berserker.
Utility nourishment options:
General potions of slaying should be always used whenever possible because they grant the strongest damage boosts as well as reduction of incoming damage from specific enemy types, making it a substantial impact on your efficacy in combat. If using the highest tier available you will notice a large difference in the outcome of a fight as these potions combine both defensive and offensive properties. Because they in general are much cheaper than food, we strongly advise all players use the highest-tiered slaying potions available. For a full list of slaying potions, visit this link here from the wiki page. Unfortunately Slaying potions have been disabled completely from raids, so we have to look for alternatives.
This is a utility item/potion that has a 10% chance to inflict weakness and vulnerability when striking an enemy (no internal cooldown). Weakness is always helpful in high scale fractals due to the increased scaling of enemy damage and abundance of trash mobs that hit very hard, making this a desirable alternative. The drawback to this item is that it is only obtainable from an event chain in Iron Marches along with the duration of the nourishment lasting only 10 minutes, meaning you will have to frequently refresh it.
Sharpening stones are a utility nourishment option that provide an additional power bonus with the amount depending on the tier used, sometimes giving either a flat bonus or scaling based off of your toughness/vitality. Maintenance oils are just like sharpening stones but instead provide an additional precision bonus with the amount depending on the tier used, sometimes either giving a flat bonus or scaling based off of your toughness/vitality.
The very best and most recommended of these utility items are Bountiful Sharpening Stone, which provides 100 power and an additional 10% boon duration and the maintenance oil counterpart Bountiful Maintenance Oil, which provides 100 precision and an additional 10% boon duration. These can be particularly helpful for when enemy types in a dungeon and fractal vary a lot or when fighting enemies that have no specific type, meaning a slaying potion is unavailable (e.g. Bloomhunger, Mossman, gravelings in Ascalonian Catacombs). This is also the best choice for raids, but since you can’t just buy them off the TP and instead you have to craft them, a just as good alternative is Toxic Sharpening Stone and Toxic Maintenance Oil. Cheaper counterparts of sharpening stones/maintenance oil are these 2 nourishments which are equal to Superior Sharpening Stones/Master Maintenance Oil: Tins of Fruitcake and Peppermint Oil.
While precision is typically more desirable for lower level areas due to the drastically reduced critical chance from downscaling, this nourishment proves to be helpful in the dungeon Ascalonian Catacombs due to there being so many encounters with objects that cannot be critically hit, such as burrows.
Builds and Rotations
General Build Information
There are many factors that must be taken into account in order to decide on which build to use and we must consider our group composition as well as the type of encounter that we are about to face to know what is optimal.
A build is a response to a purpose, and that purpose can be fulfilled by knowledge of the class mechanics and the profession assets discussed previous sections of the guide which must be picked carefully in order to match what we intend to achieve. The following list shows the main PvE aspects we must assess to choose our building assets efficiently:
- Offensive support: can our group generate enough might, fury and vulnerability?
- Personal damage: it should always be maximised, but without comprising the group offensive support capability.
- Versatility: is other support and non-damage output required? Examples include soft and hard cc, mobility, defensive utility (e.g. projectile blocks, reflects), condition removal, etc.
In this section we will explain the three main build archetypes that cover all aspects of PvE and our chosen build variants for them, but in order to make proper use of them one must understand the similarities and differences between the builds and understand the many variations that can be made to them to succeed efficiently.
Keep in mind that although the builds mentioned here focus on specific weapon sets, it is required to have all weapons available in the inventory in order to be ready to face any situation. While we explain the builds’ mechanics and their optimal rotations, we advise the reader to refer to previous sections in order to better understand how to use each weapon, their corresponding skills and the plethora of utility options available.
Note that optimal rotations are designed to yield the highest DPS possible while fulfilling the role of each build, however in most encounters we will not be able to perform these rotations perfectly as described due to the need to dodge or because of encounter-specific mechanics. In other words, things can and will often go wrong and for these reasons a detailed mastery of all assets at our disposal is essential.
Common Utilities and Elites
Despite there being key differences between the optimal elementalist builds, there are some things that they all have in common and that is that as far as personal damage is concerned they benefit from the same utilities and elites.
When nothing but personal DPS is needed, all optimised elementalist builds will make use of any combination of the following utilities:
Signet of Fire is commonly utilised to ensure we have enough critical chance during combat. Arcane wave is useful to blast in order for you and your party to have enough fury for the fight. When there is a Herald using his Legendary Dragon Stance, Arcane wave is not needed for this purpose.
Glyph of Storms and Ice Bow are both important assets used for burst damage in fights and when used together can be one of the most devastating combos not only of the elementalist itself, but out of all classes in general. After the icebow nerfs this is only true for targets with very large hitboxes. Glyph of Storms though, is still a great utility and it’s recommended that you carry it with you in almost every situation, either for the Lightning Storm or for the Sandstorm.
When damage alone is not enough to get the job done and a certain tool is needed, an elementalist will sometimes find it necessary to take something else. A few other niche utilities that are frequently used in both casual and optimised runs:
Lightning Flash is used for the purpose of mobility throughout dungeons and fractals and can be used to take huge shortcuts. Since travel time is one of the biggest factors in the overall length of a dungeon, this utility can make a big difference. Can also be used in raids when you feel like you need more mobility.
Earth Shield is occasionally useful for when pulling groups of mobs together is ever desired and sometimes for when invulnerability is needed. While it is generally better for another class like mesmer or guardian to control the positioning of mobs or to provide party-wide stability, sometimes these luxuries are unavailable and the Earth Shield can be of use. Can also absorb projectiles with Fortify in the Triple Trouble Wurm fight or in arah p1 after killing the Ancient Ooze.
Lightning Hammer is a powerful conjure weapon that is not only a part of one of the main build archetypes for the elementalist, but an extremely helpful tool to provide to groups that can aid in reflect damage. Because of the fact that it provides both additional precision and ferocity, it is ideal for a mesmer to have a Lightning Hammer equipped for when reflect damage is a significant part of an encounter (e.g. Giganticus Lupicus’s phase 2 frenzied blast attack).
“Feel the Burn” is useful mainly in raids where you might need that extra sustain from Elemental Bastion trait.
For more specific information on the many utilities available to the elementalist along with their uses, please refer to sections 4 and 5.
The elite skills most commonly used in elementalist builds will be either of the following:
Fiery Greatsword will be most commonly used due to the fact that it not only provides high burst damage but is extremely good for mobility. However, sometimes it is desirable to use Glyph of Elementals for additional projectile defense.
When summoning Rocky with earth attunement, it is sometimes possible to distract bosses with him long enough for you and your allies to deal a large portion of damage without taking any. This becomes especially useful for bosses that otherwise would involve a lot of kiting, as it enables the party to more easily unload their damage while temporarily keeping enemies in place.
These are just the most frequently used utilities to mention — there are many more available to us that are worth considering!
All of the builds suggested in this guide will involve a combination of the following 4 specializations:
The fire specialization will be found in every efficient PvE build due to the increased damage from additional power, the damage modifiers, and the synergic traits with the ever-potent fire weapon skills. It is arguably the most important specialization for us, but offers little diversity within the line as most of the builds will use the same traits.
The air specialization is important due to the damage modifiers it offers (Bolt to the Heart, Ferocious winds), but in addition to that it is commonly useful for the decreased recharge of both air weapon skills and glyphs along with the very powerful Fresh Air trait, which enables access to the air attunement at all times while in combat.
The water and arcane specializations, since the release of HoT and introduction of tempest have fallen off and are rarely used. Tempest, introduces new mechanics which offer new important damage sources.
- Fire / Air / Tempest
- Fire / Air / Water
- Fire / Air / Arcane
- Fire / Water / Tempest
Knowing which and when to take comes down to experience and extensive knowledge of the class and its assets, but the short answer is that it can be safely assumed that Tempest in general will offer superior damage output over water/arcane, in most situations.
For a detailed explanation comparing the benefits and drawbacks to all options along with the factors to take into consideration when determining which of the three is best, continue reading below. If you wish to skip ahead, scroll down to the last part of Section 8.1 titled Skill Combinations.
Tempest vs. Water vs. Arcane. Which should you use?
There are many things to take into consideration when deciding which of these two is best to take, but it is still important to remember that regardless of what is decided neither choice is going to result in poor damage output. Both are efficient options, but certain situations favor water more as well as vice versa.
The main advantages of tempest are:
- The ability to overload your abilities, giving you access to new damaging spells, which are important after the icebow nerf, making the rotations more versatile.
- The ability to sustain when applying auras.
- A flat 10% damage modifier after completing an overload.
- The ability to use warhorn off-hand has alot of potential for dagger/warhorn damaging/healing builds
- Access to the new Shout heal “Wash the pain away”, very strong for raiding.
The main advantages of water are:
- A flat 10% damage modifier provided when health is above 90%
- A 20% damage modifier when attuned to water which is very powerful when combined with Ice Storm from Ice Bow along with the 25 vulnerability from Lightning Storm.
- 33% longer vulnerability duration at all times with the Piercing Shards trait.
- Reduced recharge on Frozen Ground, which can be helpful for fights that chill can be extremely helpful.
- The ability to trait for party-wide aura sharing, most often used for magnetic aura to reflect projectiles for 5 seconds or for the heals through Elemental Bastion.
- Additional healing and condition removal options.
The main advantages of arcane are:
- Permanent vigor uptime, meaning high endurance for fights that involve more pressure and require more effort to survive in
- Reduced attunement recharge rate making it less damaging to the elementalist’s overall DPS whenever swapping attunements is necessary
- The ability to stay in fire for optimal damage, meaning that rotations are simpler to perform unlike with water and this also results in getting an additional 10% damage from Pyromancer’s Training, making it competitive with Piercing Shards
- Bountiful Power means that it is possible to achieve even higher damage than water if provided a lot of boons (it takes only 5 boons to maintain to be equal in DPS, and a solo elementalist can maintain 3!)
- The temporary addition of boons on attunement swap including additional fury from the minor traits Arcane Fury and Elemental Enchantment
As evident, all traitlines are able to provide efficient damage but their utility is what changes the most. It is up to the elementalist to know which of these utilities are needed, but as far as damage is concerned it is safely assumed that tempest/water will in general yield higher damage potential provided that you use what they have to offer to your advantage.
The larger an enemy hitbox is, the more valuable the Ice bow becomes as it will ensure that more of the burst will land with the Ice Storm attack — the more of the 24 possible impacts that land on the enemy, the more value the 20% damage modifier Piercing Shards from the water specialization has. This is probably the only case where you want to pick water over tempest, and even then it’s still arguable, because in the longer run tempest still outdamages water.
It is also important to keep in mind that while 20% additional damage is pretty huge for burst damage, an elementalist will get an additional 150 power while in fire attunement along with an additional 10% damage from being in fire attunement due to the trait Pyromancer’s Training. This ends up with casting an Ice Storm in fire attunement compared to water attunement with Piercing Shards only about a 5% difference at most. This is where the tempest comes in giving you the ability to overload fire, get the extra 10% from Harmonious Conduit then cast Ice Storm, meaning that you are doing more damage than when casting it in water.
The thing is, rotations vary a lot depending on the type of encounter, the team comp, and the management of cooldowns in a group. For example in the current meta alacrity/perma quickness offered by the Chronomancer is really a game-changer. It gives you the ability to cast all you hard hitting spells like meteor shower/ice storm always right after an overload (either fire or air one), essentially outdamaging water specialization with the tempest one, by staying in fire.
In addition, it is important to remember that in lower level maps power will be downscaled, meaning the additional 150 power from Empowering Flame will be less potent. With the water specialization, the damage modifiers do not get downscaled and will always give their percentage increases regardless of downscaling. Despite all that fire+tempest offers enough damage modifiers to make that difference not that significant.
Now, you might be thinking why not go for the 4th option. Replacing Air with Water means that you will lose the damage boosts from air completely to get Water which provides good damage modifiers but only when you are in water attunement. And then when you are in water attunement you lose the 10% from fire. On top of that when you are not running ice-bow the only reason to swap to water is for meteor shower, followed up by few seconds of being unable to go back to fire. Then even if you are using ice-bow going to water for meteor shower+ice storm means you don’t overcharge before ice storm. However, if a fight is really short and you have ice-bow Water over Air can prove beneficial, as the enemy should be dead while you cast your hard hitting spells in water.
In short, water and tempest are not that far apart when damage modifiers are concerned, but tempest always manages to beat water around every corner. Air beats Water as well, as explained above, so it’s better to just take the modifiers from Air and not bother switching to water attunement at all, since it’s mostly a dps loss. Take into consideration what is needed for an encounter when making your decision and remember that swapping traits is free and can be done out of combat at any time!
In order to truly master our class to its fullest potential, we must understand and utilise our skills and combine them to achieve their fullest effects. Elementalists have the most blast finishers out of all classes along with access to the greatest abundance to fire fields and static fields, meaning that we can not only stack a ton of might, fury and swiftness for ourselves when out of combat but for allies as well.
Below is an example of a combination of blast finishers to achieve over 50 seconds of swiftness in one static field with no additional boon duration:
While it is certainly not necessary nor is it always practical to use this many blasts every time you want to stack swiftness (especially when with others who can contribute to blasting in fields), it is very useful to practice enough so that you can be capable of providing yourself with enough swiftness for when it cannot be outsourced by other classes.
For a few more tryhard methods of swiftness stacking, refer to this video for 1 minute and 30 seconds of swiftness prestacking making use of arcane, air and water traits or this video for up to even more!
Coupled with the ability to maintain high swiftness uptime, it is possible to achieve very high mobility on an elementalist making use of the About Face keybind function to rotate your camera 180 degrees. This can be done to move forward with both Lava Axe’s and staff’s Burning Retreat and also dagger offhand’s Updraft.
In addition to the above, it is also possible to combine skills for a strong opening burst, often times resulting in killing an enemy before it even has the chance to turn hostile.
Below is a video of a possible skill combination used to kill a Veteran Risen Giant in about 7 seconds. It is by no means the fastest, but serves as a good example showing the different weapon skills you can cast before actually hitting the enemy.
Another example opening skillcombo, available to the Tempest is this one:
Both of these combos are not easy to pull off consistently and it takes a lot of practise to master. There are many other possibilities and it is strongly encouraged to all aspiring elementalist players to explore different options and to get used to taking advantage of weapon swapping and combining skills. It is one of the best ways to give yourself an edge in combat and truly show what the class can do!
Staff builds are capable of producing the absolute highest sustained DPS out of all options for the elementalist along with having the ability to deal high burst damage. They are the most preferable builds in PvE for optimised gameplay and are typically utilised in teams strictly for their damage output, with their efficacy in combat increasing the greater the size of the enemy along with being best capable of dealing with the greatest amount of enemies at once.
Staff builds are versatile, deadly and straightforward to learn with generally simpler rotations that have surprisingly high output. Most of the damage comes from the fire attunement while the other attunements are generally used for different purposes such as controlling enemies, cleansing conditions and providing allies with swiftness.
While staff elementalists will generally always have the same roles in combat, the trait options can vary and can be generalised into two main options:
- Fire/Air/Tempest Staff Build
- Fire/Air/Water Staff Build (older and less efficient)
- Fire/Air/Arcane Staff Build (older and less efficient)
However, there are many variations that can be made to both of these builds depending on the circumstances.
Potential trait variations:
- Swap out Burning Precision to Burning Fire for an additional automatic condition removal skill whenever 3 or more conditions are applied to you
- Swap out Ferocious Winds to One with Air for situations that involve a lot of kiting and additonal mobility besides the 25% movement speed can be of use
- Swap Inscriptions to Tempest Defense when there are alot of break-bars in fights. Inscriptions is better for reduced glyph recharges, while Aeromancer’s Training gives an additional 190 precision, which can both get you way over 100% crit cap and is not utilised much in the rotation.
- Swap out utilities to whatever fits better, depending on the situation, as explained earlier in the guide.
- Swap out Gale Song and Lucid Singularity for Unstable Conduit and Elemental Bastion respectively when raiding to better sustain yourself and your team.
- The lower level the zone, the more precision is needed to maintain a high enough critical chance meaning switching some pieces to Assassin rather than full Berserker could be helpful (trinkets are recommended to change before armor!). Same goes for when you are soloing.
Staff elementalists deal their damage while switching between fire and air attunement (mostly fire), have access to their healing skills and condition cleanse in water attunement, and their hard crowd control split both air and earth attunements. In addition, water attunement has access to a strong unblockable chill field called Frozen Ground that can be very helpful for slowing enemies down and manipulating the recharge of their skills (66% reduced movement duration, 33% reduced skill recharge rate).
While staff elementalists deal very strong personal damage, they trade off their offensive support capabilities and are unable to provide a sufficient amount of might and fury uptime for themselves and nearby allies due to the lack of blast finishers and because it’s generally not the kind of weapon that involves a lot of attunement dancing. Because of this, the might boon must be provided by other classes in addition to the small amount that staff elementalists are able to provide to ensure that when in groups the party maintains 25 stacks at all times.
The rotations of staff builds are generally not complicated at all aside from the opening burst. The opening burst rotations vary depending on the specific type of encounter along with the build you are using.
Generally speaking it is ideal to cast Ice Storm/Meteor shower after overloading an attunement. Meteor Shower technically deals the most damage out of all skills, but it takes a longer time for all of the impacts to land whereas Ice Storm’s impacts are more condensed and the cast finishes faster. So for Meteor shower we sadly can’t have Harmonious Conduit up for the whole spell (unless we have quickness), which is not the case for Ice Storm.
Lava Font is one of the most damaging of our skills so if possible, casting it always when it’s up is ideal, especially before using an Ice Storm or Meteor Shower or Overload. When you are in air attunement you should have something to cast while waiting for the overload to come up, like glyph of storms, or rarely ice-bow. If not, swapping to air while casting a meteor shower helps cover a part of the time waiting for Overload Air. When out of fire or air attunement and you have nothing meaningful to cast, both Ice Spike in water attunement and Eruption in earth attunement deal fairly high damage but are backloaded attacks that will only hit a stationary enemy. For maximum effect, place a Lava Font above an Eruption so that it will blast in the fire field for might and fury to nearby allies.
Here are some videos showcasing Tempest rotations, in a raid scenario: Gorseval(with icebow) and Sabetha(without icebow).
These rotations are done with alacrity and quickness which you should have in most cases in this meta. However if you don’t have alacrity and quickness the only problem will be having to wait for Overload Air a second or so longer. Ways to cover that waiting time have been mentioned above.
The following video shows the older and now less efficient rotations when you are not running Tempest, maybe when you don’t own HoT:
Dagger builds in PvE offer the greatest versatility out of all elementalist builds as we have more in-combat mobility, complex rotations, make the most use out of our attunements and can perform in nearly any situation. They can be classified into three main types: Dagger/Dagger (D/D), Dagger/Focus (D/F) and Dagger/Warhorn (D/W).
Dagger builds unlike staff builds concentrate the bulk of their DPS with Lightning Whip autoattacks in the air attunement in between brief skill combinations when “dancing” around the attunements.
D/D builds are strictly sub-optimal as far as damage and utility is concerned but it is arguably one of the easiest weaponsets to learn for beginner elementalists and can be very effective for both leveling and map completion in the open world PvE maps. These builds are designed with damage in mind, but only if it does not compromise mobility.
D/F builds are inferior to damage for that of staff, but have been widely-acknowledged as a fun defensive combat style in dungeons with helpful projectile blocks, higher-than-average burst damage and sustained DPS, and an active role in contribution to both vulnerability and offensive buffing to nearby allies. These builds are capable of sustaining very high amounts of might and fury and are the overall best option as far as self-buffing during combat is concerned.
There are many different builds to use for daggers depending on what the intended purpose is, and while dagger builds are never truly optimal they are very versatile and often times fun, as they offer fast-paced combat that involves the most movement out of all types of elementalist builds.
D/D builds are generally only used for the sake of learning basic class mechanics and leveling in open world so because of that, the first option listed is made in mind for situations that call for extra defense for newer players and the second is strictly for the sake of increasing mobility as best as possible as it is made with map completion in mind.
Map completion and in general, traveling throughout maps takes a lot of time so in order to maximise travel speed it is suggested to sacrifice the 10% damage modifier from Aquamancer’s Training for Soothing Disruption, as being able to use Lightning Flash off cooldown is going to make a large difference in the longrun. In addition to this, Aeromancer’s Training is advised for reduced recharge on Ride The Lightning along with the trait One with Air for superspeed every time that you attune to air.
Please keep in mind that while the build editor links will show full ascended Berserker with either Superior Rune of the Scholar or Superior Rune of Strength, it is obviously unrealistic to assume that this equipment would be available and attainable when learning the class and/or leveling up your character. The reason for it shown in the editor is because it shows what would produce the most output.
Without further ado, some variations that can be made to the builds:
- Ferocious Winds instead of One with Air for increased ferocity
- Inscriptions instead of Aeromancer’s Training for decreased glyph recharge if ever needed or Tempest Defense for an additional 20% damage to stunned foes.
- Aquamancer’s Training instead of Soothing Disruption if you would rather have the 10% increased damage instead of reduced recharge on Lightning Flash
- Evasive Arcana instead of Bountiful Power if you would rather have the additional heal-on-dodge when attuning to water.
- Using centaur runes (Minor/Major/Superior Rune of the Centaur) for the 6th rune bonus, which gives swiftness when activating a heal — this would be helpful for maintaining swiftness when traveling throughout open world maps.
D/D builds will not be making use of the earth attunement and instead will restrict itself to only fire, air and water attunements during combat. Because D/D builds include Fire Grab in their rotation, they are capable of fairly decent burst damage but unlike D/F builds they are inferior at sustaining higher stacks of might, meaning they are worse at self-buffing. Because D/D builds are generally designed for solo gameplay in the open world, they have little group utility to offer, making them inferior to the other builds (d/f, d/w).
The rotations for D/D builds are not very complicated and because of that, there will be no demonstration video for it.
The basic idea for D/D builds is to autoattack with Lightning Whips but swap to fire attunement as soon as it is off cooldown to use Burning Speed, Ring of Fire and Fire Grab. Swap to water whenever Frozen Burst is off cooldown and autoattack with Lightning Whip repeatedly.
Swapping to earth is not worth it because neither Earthquake or Churning Earth are worth casting mid-fight, due to their very long cooldowns and cast times.
It is best advised not to use Ride The Lightning in combat when leveling in the open world or doing map completion, as it should be used for mobility to travel around quicker.
- D/F – Fire/Arcane/Tempest – Condition build (full credit goes to Particlar [KING])
- D/F – Fire/Air/Water – Glyph & Ice Bow
- D/F – Fire/Air/Arcane – Glyph & Ice Bow
- D/F – Fire/Air/Arcane (Defensive)
For D/F builds we have 4 listed suggestions depending on the intentions of the elementalist. Unlike D/D builds, D/F is a fairly solid defensive option for dungeons/fractals/raids that is both effective and fun for solo and group play. Unfortunately, the regular dagger/focus builds have fallen off due to many reasons, mainly for the lack of solo content at the moment and the introduction of warhorn as off-hand. Now dagger/focus is only used for condition damage builds and when you really need those defensive skills, instead of picking dagger/warhorn.
The first option is a condition damage build and is vastly different from the other D/F builds. With 100% burn duration and a high number of different burning traits, utilities and skills this build can maintain a high number of burning on the enemy. Due to the long cooldown on Flamewall and Overload Fire this build’s dps gets crippled if the enemy runs out of your fields. However, in situations where an enemy has low mobility (preferably stationary) and also might have high armor values this build can outshine other high-damage meta builds.
The second option includes every option available to maximise both the burst and sustained damage for D/F elementalists and includes both Glyph of Storms and Ice Bow.
The third option is an alternative and slightly more conservative variation of the first, with the two major things changed being arcane specialization over water for extra endurance from Renewing Stamina and strength runes instead of scholar, as it is typically implied that when in close-range combat with no additional healing properties from having the water specialization equipped it will be more difficult to maintain the scholar rune’s 10% damage modifier.
The fourth option is the most defensive option we suggest and is similar to the second variation but instead gets rid of Glyph of Storms and Ice Bow for both Arcane Shield and Arcane Wave. This is a build for those that want to both play defensively without having to worry about large cooldowns or adding complexity to their rotations, but it is important to note that it is drastically inferior as far as output is concerned.
Some potential variations to these D/F builds:
- Take One with Air instead of Ferocious Winds for increased mobility in and out of combat
- Take Inscriptions instead of Aeromancer’s Training for decreased glyph recharge if needed or Tempest Defense for an additional 20% damage to stunned foes
- Take Bolt to the Heart instead of Fresh Air for additional damage, but be warned this highly disrupts the functionality of the build!
- Swap out Aquamancer’s Training for Cleansing Wave if extra condition removal is needed for whatever reason
- Swap out Soothing Power for Powerful Aura if party-wide reflects or to Cleansing Water if extra condition removal is needed
- Swap out Elemental Contingency for Final Shielding if the extra blocks at low health could be of use
- Swap out Bountiful Power to Evasive Arcana for a helpful heal-on-dodge in water attunement when it is needed for anything that is tough to survive in
- Take “Feel the burn” instead of Signet of Fire in encounters that you need extra heals for the Scholar buff. (condi build)
The D/F condition build only utilises the fire in its rotation since it’s the only attunement that provides burns. The D/F power builds will be making use of all four of the attunements during their rotations. D/F builds have a strong projectile block on air attunement that lasts for 6 seconds, known as Swirling Winds. It is the primary use of the weaponset as far as group utility is concerned, for when other projectile defenses are unavailable. When on the other hand there is a need for group support through heals, the D/W auramancer build mentioned later is preferable.
D/F Condition damage Build
In the D/F condition build rotation you will always stay in fire attunement. In order to achieve highest DPS we need to make sure that our highest damage skills are always on cooldown. Since this build has many skills that provide burning and the random alacrity can throw a rotation off balance we’re gonna focus on a priority list instead:
- Cast Glyph of Storms, Glyph of Elemental Power and Signet of Fire off cooldown.
- Burning Speed
- Overload Fire
- Dodge (evasive arcana trait)
- Drake’s breath
- Auto attack
A specific rotation with Fiery Greatsword can also be used to boost your damage during a short period of time. Cast flamewall and burning speed before dropping your Fiery Greatsword. By holding the conjure we boost our condition damage to deal increased damage. Mind to dodge quite often for the extra burning damage. This rotation is used when you are provided with alacrity and quickness which is basically when this build can really shine. If you do not get quickness and alacrity you should just keep in mind the priority of skills mentioned above.
Here is a video provided by Particlar [KING] showcasing this rotation and build:
D/F Power Build
The rotations for D/F power builds can be a bit confusing at first but after practice it will feel more natural, especially if you break apart the rotation into chunks:
- Flamewall + Burning Speed
- Arcane Brilliance + Magnetic Wave / Frozen Burst + Comet
If you can remember to pair these together, then all that needs to be memorised are the cooldowns of these skills because all you are doing in between these skills is autoattacking in the air attunement. When broken down this way it seems much simpler but the rotation can get to be a lot more complicated when Glyph of Storms and Ice Bow is added into the rotation.
To make the rotation easier to learn for beginners, we will demonstrate a sample rotation for D/F builds without making use of Ice Bow:
It does not need to be in the exact order seen in the video — just remember that you use the two skills in pairs with Lightning Whip autoattacks in between!
Tip: the ideal moment to swap back to fire can be difficult to judge initially; if you are playing in solo, then look at the burning condition timer on your target: if the target remained standing in the flamewall for its entire duration then the optimal time to swap back to fire is roughly when the burning timer runs out.
For Dagger/Warhorn we have two builds depending on what role you intend to fulfill in your group.
The first option is a full DPS build which is the alternative to staff Tempest when a target is not stationary, for example the Vale Guardian. The damage is inferior to staff but it’s still worth bringing. Usually on this build you want to bring a Shout utility or two for the sustain, mainly on the Vale Guardian to help you and your teammates keep their scholar buff up.
The second option is the first actually viable healer build for the elementalist. Provides still decent amount of damage and heals that are enough to keep your party alive in the Vale Guardian fight, where heals are more crucial than any other part of the game. The rotation on this one remains the same as the first build while continuously giving auras through shouts, overload air and shocking aura, traits as well as providing protection. In moments of higher pressure you can go to water to provide bigger heals.
Some potential variations to these D/W builds:
- Take Zephyr’s Boon instead of Ferocious Winds when your group lacks fury. Arcane wave helps with that as well.
- Take Gale Song/Lucid Singularity if you don’t need heals.
- Take 2 shout utilities if you need more sustain.
- Take icebow if you are fighting a target with a large hitbox.
D/W builds only need to make use of air and fire attunements(and water, plus earth to blast or give protection, if you are playing aurahealer). D/W builds are the best option for healing when you are using a dagger mainhand. What makes D/W builds very strong is mainly the ability to spam Overload Air in combination with air autoattacks resulting in big damages. If you are playing it right you can Overload Air every roughly 10 seconds. What really makes this build better in terms of raw damage though is the fact that the damaging skills Warhorn offers are far superior that those of any other off-hands.
D/W DPS Build
The D/W DPS build is a new iteration of the aforementioned D/F Fresh Air build and has a lot of similarities with the rotation of that build. The idea is to spend as little time outside of the air attunement as possible. We want to cast Overload Air as much as possible so casting it or starting it’s cooldown by swapping back to air is a top priority. Right after Overloading Air we want to switch to Fire attunement and cast Burning Speed and Wildfire (when it’s off couldown). Wildfire is actually stronger than Burning Speed if our enemy stays in the firefield during its full
duration. When casting the fire skills, directly go into Air once you’ve started the skill cast. This way we can speed up the rotation and use Overload Air more often. Also note that Lightning Orb is a pretty big DPS boost so we want to use it always. It’s recommended to use Lightning Orb whenever it’s off cooldown when we are provided with alacrity and quickness, but when we are not try to use Lightning Orb right after Overload Air, before swapping to fire, for a nice damage increase.
The rotation is as follows: (alacrity version)
Note: Remember to autoattack while waiting for skills to be up (Overload) and cast Lightning orb on cooldown with alacrity!
Here is a video with this rotation in action on Vale Guardian by Particlar [KING]:
D/W Aurahealer Build
The D/W Aurahealer build uses a very similar rotation to the one already described. Since we won’t have access to the Pyromancer’s Training trait our fire skills will have a longer cooldown than the rest of the rotation. The Air attunement part of the rotation stays the same as in the build above. When swapping attunement after Overload Air there are 3 options:
- * Swap to Fire attunement
* Burning Speed
* Swap to Air attunement
* Auto Attack until Overload Air is off cooldown
- * Swap to Fire attunement
* Swap to Air attunement
* Auto Attack until Overload Air is off cooldown
- * Swap to Water attunement
* Tidal Surge
* Swap to Air attunement
* Auto Attack until Overload Air is off cooldown
Only do the 3rd one when in need of quick heals or you know that both Wildfire and Burning Speed is on cooldown. With experience you will learn which option to go for at any time, that’s a given. By casting your shouts, Shocking Aura and Overload Air you’ll keep a high sustained healing. If your team is in need of some quick heals you should choose the third part, as mentioned. Water Globe with blasting, Overload Water and “Wash The Pain Away!” should be used to provide big heals. Overload Earth will provide a very long duration of protection but also note that you will sacrifice the majority of your DPS during the time casting the overload.
Scepter builds in PvE are the one unique elementalist build archetype that rather than primarily utilising weapon skills for the bulk of their damage, uses conjures the most. These builds have traditionally been used for the purpose of helping maintain might and fury during combat in conjunction with another elementalist using staff, combining the Lightning Hammer’s autoattack with Lava Font.
Unfortunately these builds are obsolete because of a few major reasons:
- Warrior was given the Phalanx Strength trait in 2014, allowing them to generate might much more efficiently than elementalists are able to during fights. This allows both elementalists to run staff builds for increased damage potency
- The specializations update removed the ability to use more than 3 traitlines at once along with removing several important damage modifiers, resulting in a personal DPS loss for scepter builds running with LH
- Staff builds are significantly easier to play and deal much higher damage than scepter builds; more so than ever before
Therefore, it is not recommended to use these builds in dungeon or fractal runs but we felt it necessary to include information of them for the purpose of versatility, education and history of the elementalist’s role in PvE.
While there is little variation between scepter builds, there is a distinct difference between taking focus and dagger off hand:
- Scepter/Warhorn Tempest Lightning Hammer Build
- Scepter/Focus Lightning Hammer Build (old and not as efficient)
- Scepter/Dagger Lightning Hammer Build (old and not as efficient)
These builds are made to fulfill the exact same role, which is to maintain might and fury to the group.
On this build we are not using Water, but instead we take Air attunement since when autoattacking in air we can take advantage of Overload air, Lightning orb, Lightning strike, Glyph of storm which are a HUGE dps increase compared to, simply, the damage modifiers Water can offer. Also mind that conjurer is not needed on this build which let’s you use burning precision to apply that burn for the damage modifier, especially when solo where it’s much needed.
The S/W LH build does pretty good DPS (almost equal to Phalanx Warrior), so it’s a good alternative when you don’t have a phalanx warrior in your party. The disadvantage of this build is the lack of offensive support that the warrior provides with his banners/Empowered Allies, making this an inferior build to the Phalanx Warrior.
The difference between dagger and focus offhand is that while focus has more usable blasts in combat in addition to the party-wide projectile defense from Swirling Winds, dagger offhand has additional burst damage with Fire Grab and a larger fire field with Ring of Fire, giving it a slight edge in terms of personal damage and making it a bit easier for allies to blast in the field.
These builds aren’t very useful in alot of encounters in the game as of now, since pre-stacking might before a fight is often enough. In fractals or other kind of content where fights tend to be longer this build can prove useful.
Potential trait variations:
- Swap Bolt to the Heart with Fresh Air always when there is a chronomancer providing alacrity or a revenant giving you boon duration and you have strength runes, or even solo as the ability to overcharge air twice as showcased on the video down below is quite the damage boost.
- Swap out Isncriptions for Aeromancer’s Training if you are getting alacrity.
- Take Lucid Singularity and Gale Song instead of Elemental Bastion and Unstable Conduit if you don’t need heals
Potential gear and utility skill variations:
- If you want to use icebow because the target has a large hitbox then it’s recommended to swap out Signet of Fire for it, and use it immediately after an overload (either after Overload fire or after Overloading air for the second time when playing Fresh Air)
- The lower level the zone, the more precision is needed to maintain a high enough critical chance meaning switching some pieces to Assassin rather than full Berserker could be helpful (trinkets are recommended to change before armor!)
The mechanics of these builds are complicated and they have traditionally been known to include the most advanced gameplay of the three main archetypes of elementalists in PvE due to difficult rotations to perfect and because of heavy reliance on others.
Contrary to both staff and D/F builds, scepter builds absolutely require the support of others to achieve their intended effects. Not only do these builds require another elementalist to consistently drop Lava Fonts, or the presence of a revenant to provide boon duration,in order to maintain 25 stacks of might, but the rotations assume that dodging is never needed. However it’s possible to maintain 25 stacks of might Solo using Strength runes/Bountiful utility food and maybe a strength sigil, making this a viable build when soloing, to ago alongside the usual dagger/focus build, which it definitely outdamages.
The warhorn as an off-hand combined with the Overload ability provides the highest personal damage out of all 3 builds. The Warhorn offers access to the strongest, damage wise, fire field available to an off-hand. That combined with Heat Sync and Overload Fire allows the elementalist to stack 25 mights ONLY in fire attunement, then swap to air and do their damage with LH. It’s also important to cast Glyph of Storms (when up), Lightning orb and Lightning strike as they are both a dps increase, before swapping to LH, where you want to overcharge Air (once or twice depending if you are using fresh air or not) while auto attacking, until Fire attunement is up again. Important note: Your allies have to be inside your overload fire when you cast it to get the might stacks from it, however even if they are not, Heat Sync makes sure they will have enough might.
These builds will always begin with fire attunement to go through their initial burst rotations. Scepter as a weapon is capable of quite high burst damage, but after its main skills are used it has absolutely terrible DPS due to poor autoattack options on all attunements. After the initial burst they will follow through with dropping their Lightning Hammer and using a certain attunement to autoattack until the conjure charges wear out, following up with another might stacking rotation before picking up the second Lightning Hammer.
This leads into another commonly-run-into problem that scepter builds have always faced — if someone accidentally or purposefully picks up their second Lightning Hammer or if the elementalist downs and loses it, they will have nothing meaningful to attack with besides Dragon’s Tooth and Phoenix until their conjure utility is off cooldown. This has made scepter builds in general never worth taking in PUGs (pick up groups), due to the need for team coordination in order to avoid this from happening.
This is the basic rotation with tempest Scepter/warhorn and lightning hammer (with and without fresh air), without the use of icebow, to make it easier to get used to:
Because both off hand focus and dagger variants will be making use of Piercing Shards, it is optimal to ensure that we autoattack as much as we can in water attunement for the additional 20% damage, but in these demo rotations we will be swapping back to fire attunement when there are around 7-8 charges left on the Lightning Hammer. This is to make the rotation repeatable for the sake of learning the basic mechanics of the way these builds function.
To help give the general idea of how it is done, we have two repeatable yet sub-optimal rotations with both Lightning Storm and Ice Bow omitted in order for it to be easily repeated and learned.
With focus off hand:
With dagger off hand:
An elementalist is capable of soloing the light orbs puzzle found in both Arah paths 3 and 4, but it requires a fairly decent amount of healing power to pull off ~900 or more. For more detailed information, view the video below!
Despite the fact that a video was previously linked in the earlier portion of the guide, we figured it would be best to show an intermediate step-by-step process explaining a way to pre-stack might before an encounter. The rotation described below can be used to get 25 stacks of might before the combat begins. It requires all weapon types and is best performed with your inventory window open.
About the Authors
Haviz, Zelyhn, Purple Miku, Austin and Amira Martell are all dedicated elementalist players from Retaliate [rT], a high-end European PvE guild that excels in speedrunning and solo gameplay. All players are known for their will to push the limits of the profession and have a passion for challenge and engaging content.
Haviz is the co-leader of [rT] along with one of the founders of the guild. In addition to his high status in the guild, Haviz was one of the first ever players to have solod the iconic Giganticus Lupicus on an elementalist and has taken part in many of the guild’s accomplishments, such as the 7 second Giganticus Lupicus speedkill. Equipped with a rich history of accomplishments and an in-depth expertise of all aspects of GW2, Haviz has been a key contributor to the http://gw2dungeons.net/ knowledge database.
Zelyhn is a well-known theorycrafter who has been highly active on elementalist forums and in the dungeon community, contributing together with Haviz to design the ever-versatile D/F build. In addition to this, Zelyhn contributed a significant portion to the writing of this guide along with the guide posted on the official forums in the Elementalist subforum.
Purple Miku is a well-known and popular livestreamer on Twitch and a video maker for Youtube and has taken part in records including both solo and group play. Miku tends to prefer Arah and FotM, and has written a warrior DPS guide on the official forums for solo settings and was one of the most important authors of this guide along with the warrior guide on dulfy up until the HoT release. Additionally, Miku also is an officer but he is currently inactive
Austin is an expert elementalist player known for both theorycrafting along with uploading plenty of videos demonstrating the elementalist’s power soloing bosses such as Giganticus Lupicus. In addition, Austin has contributed to multiple records in several guilds, both on EU And NA servers and currently holds the fastest ever Giganticus Lupicus solo done on an elementalist since the September feature patch in 2014.
Amira Martell is one of the newest members of rT, long time elementalist main with alot of experience in speedrunning currently updating this elementalist guide after the release of HoT with stuff concerning mostly the Tempest elite specialization and the role of the Tempest in raids.
The authors intend to ensure that the guide is maintained and updated. Have any suggestions or questions? Feel free to contact me ingame at:
- Purple Miku.7032
- Austin.1327 / Quin Marino.6384
- Konina.7051 – Current supervisor.