Guild Wars 2 Elementalist Comprehensive Guide

Guild Wars 2 Elementalist Comprehensive Guide by Anlyon Spellrage

Hey there fellow and prospective Elementalists! I’m writing this guide to help people who are looking at the Elementalist and arent sure its for them, and to help people already playing Elementalists gain some more knowledge of the Profession.
I’ve been following GW2 since 2009, and knew right from the get-go I wanted to play this Profession. I’ve played all but 5 hours across all of the Beta Weekends and Stress tests on my Elementalist.
Im totally passionate about the Elementalist, and im hoping to share that passion with you all!

I am a PvPer, and so this guide does reflect that. I will however quite happily add PvP or PvE sections that readers feel they can contribute. Feel free to shoot me a PM.

1. Introduction

Elementalists are multi-faceted spellcasters that channel elemental forces, making fire, air, earth, and water do their bidding. What they lack in physical toughness, they make up in versatility and the ability to inflict massive damage in a single attack. The Elementalist is a Scholar Profession and wears light armor.

I will be using a variety of symbols to help you quite identify what a spell does. Lets looks at these now and what they mean. If you arent Familiar with any of these, you can click on the link to learn more.

Quite alot to remember huh? You can always refer back to here if you arent sure what a symbol i’ve used is!

1.1 Why Play an Elementalist

Elementalists are the masters of versatility. With every weapon setup providing 20 spells, we have a huge arsenal at our disposal. With such a wide variety of spells, we can easily adapt our playstyle to suit any situation. We have the ability to deal scorching burst damage, crippling condition damage and powerful support spells. This profession can do more than any other!

If you’re looking for a class that is quite hard to master, and has a huge potential to outplay any opponent, you cant not try the Elementalist. Through we often need to put in a bit of effort to get out what other classes seem to do with ease don’t be fooled into thinking we’re not powerful. When played with the right hands, the Elementalist truly becomes the master of the battlefield.

Be cautious when making your own build. The Elementalist is the class with the least Vitality and Armor. You will need some form of defensive stats if you are to have any hope of being competitive.

Central to the success of the Elementalist is the Attunement mechanic. With this we can swap between powerful elemental attunements, which change our weapon abilities.
Initally this mechanic can seem quite complicated, but don’t let that put you off. It is this mechanic that is the pivotal force behind our versatility, and why the Elementalist is such a joy to play.

Each attunement focuses on different types of abilities. Here is a brief outline of the four atttunements;

Fire Attunement
Fire Focuses primarily on Area Of Effect damage. It is also often the source of our burst damage skills. Fire also provides us with access to Burning and Might.

Water Attunement
Water focuses primarily on Healing and Condition Removal. It also allows us to use abilities make our foes Chilled and give us Regeneration.

Air Attunement
Air focuses on single target damage and mobility.   It’ll allow us to use Swiftness and Blind .

Earth Attunement
Earth focuses on slightly more defensive spells (though this isn’t a rule), and provides us with the ability to Bleed our target and provide ourselves with Protection.

If you arent sure which of these Attunements is best for you, or want tips or info on how to maximise your Attunement Swapping, check out the Combos and Playstyles Section further down.

2. Weapons

Below is an outline of the weapons we can use. While the list itself is quite small, remember that each attunement changes the abilities that the weapons provide.

Its Important to know that spells are very greatly affected by their animation time. Some spells take a long time to actually cast and this affects the spell alot. Get used to animations, and start watching your own and your enemies. They’re vitally important.

2.1 Staff

The staff is the classic spellcaster weapon, and is a very well rounded and powerful weapon. It can cater to almost any kind of build, be it Direct Damage, Control, Condition Damage or Support.

It is the only choice for WvW due to the short range of the other weapons, and the massive amounts of AoE spells you can throw out; from raining fireballs from the sky to providing useful Swiftness to nearby friends, Chilling swathes of enemies and healing your friends. This is the single best weapon in WvW period.

The staff is still a great choice for the more personal and fastpaced atmosphere in structured PvP. While the Area Effect damage is …well… less effective because you can’t hit as many targets, it’s still a solid choice. The range on it is particularly useful, however the huge number of combo fields you can pump out is its true powerhouse. Compared to the other weapons, it does have a slower casting speed, with many animations being quite slow.


Fire Attunement

  • A great auto-attack. Deals AoE damage upon connecting, and hits quite hard. The spell itself can take some time to travel to its target, which can be offset by being closer, resulting in a slightly hit.It has quite a slow rate of fire. This is a great spell to have on auto cast, there is never a bad time to throw one of these out. Autocast it.
Lavafont 6 sec |     |   (Fire Field)
  • This spell a decent spell, and hits for reasonable damage. It has quite a small AoE (which can be extended with the Trait Blasting Staff) so be sure you are placing it correctly (getting people to spend the max time running through it!). It also doesn’t last for an overtly large amount of time, so its important to try and maximise the time someone spends in it. Stunning, Knocking Down, immobilizing, anything you can to keep someone in it!
    It is a Fire Field.
Flame Burst 10 sec |   |   
  • A nice AoE Burn spell for condition builds. Even if you’re not a condition build, its worth throwing this out just because it has no travel time. The radius isn’t very obvious, and isn’t very big. Also without a decent portion of Condition Duration in your build, the uptime on the burning isn’t very impressive.
    The burning lasts for 5 seconds.
Burning Retreat 20 sec |   |     |  (Fire Field)
  • A fairly underwhelming skill. The Fire field is very easy to avoid, and very hard to ‘hit with’. Because this is usually a retreat (which makes sense on the staff) you’d think you could use it to get away… well if you’re running from someone, guess where this will put you… right into their arms.
    HOWEVER. Little trick – I bind ‘About Face’ (under Movement in the settings) to Alt. Now Alt +4 sends me forward! Nice!
    The burning it inflicts lasts for 1 second.
Meteor Shower 30 sec  |
  • A brilliant example of deadly AoE and the quintessential skill in WvW. This skill hits hard, and hits lots…..but not often in the same place. Infact, sometimes you wont hit your ‘target’ at all. But in larger battles, especially in WvW, this skill is bomber. And its worth throwing out at the start of a fight in PvP, since it continues after the spell has been cast.

Water Attunement

Water Blast    |  
  • A pretty unimpressive spell, but certainly not without its use.  Small single target damage with a small AoE heal around the point of impact. Unless you go for really big healing numbers, this spell doesn’t really perform all that well. Its not worth using for damage, and the healing wont keep you up by any means. However, in WvW, it can certainly provide a little bit of support to people in the front lines (assuming you can target something there).
Ice Spike 4 sec |   |   (x5)
  • Deals AoE damage and vulnerability. The damage is pretty nice, and the 5 stacks of vulnerability also lend to its attractiveness (also, the damage of this spell is calculated after the Vulnerability is applied, meaning you’re already doing damage against someone with 5 stacks), however its long animation before it ‘drops’, and its average AoE size mean that its very easy to avoid. Getting this to land is much easier on a chilled enemy (Nudge nudge – Frozen Ground). Short CD is nice too.
Geyser 20 sec |   |   (Water Field)
  • Eh. Really don’t like this spell myself. Small AoE Short duration, low heal amount.  This is barely supplementary healing  and staying it it often means you’re a sitting duck if you sit in it at all. It does stack with Healing rain, but its not a spell I like to use often, unless im recovering from combat and need a little healing quickly.
    Note the Water Field. This should be used with a Blast Finisher (like Eruption)
Frozen Ground 40 sec |    |   | (Ice Field)
  • Probably one of the best sources of chilled in the game! Dispite only lasting for 5 seconds, each second spent in it gives 2 seconds of chilled (meaning you can get up to 10 seconds of chill!) In general people tend to ignore this spell, but it certainly is a great spell to use both defensively and offensively. As I mentioned earlier, pair this up with an Ice Spike for awesomeness!
    The Ice Field can create some epic combos, so be sure to USE IT!!
Healing Rain 45 sec |   |   | (Water Field)
  • A great Condition removal skill, but the fairly lengthy cooldown kinda stinks. Also the regen and condition removal ‘pulses’ every 3 seconds, which isnt ideal, but will help keep those pesky conditions off your back. This skill also has a HUGE range on it when traited with Blasting Staff.
    This is a Water Field, meaning it can be used to heal! (see Combos section)

Air Attunement

  • This skill is pretty decent when it comes down to it. It hits up to three targets for decent damage, and can hit the same target twice. As far as Auto Attacks go, its great!
Lightning Surge 10 sec | |
  • Has a cast time which kinda stinks, but deals pretty decent damage and has an AoE blind. Its best use is against Burst classes, and trying to prevent their ‘line-up’ skill. For example the Warriors Bull Rush. Since you have better range, you can use this to make his initiate miss, even with the cast time.
Gust 30 sec
  • This spell is kinda lackluster. The knockback on it is okay, but the cooldown is too long, and the spell is actually a ‘missile’. This means it can miss (quite easily infact). Still useful for getting a melee off you, but dont try anything at range if they are moving.
Windborne Speed 30 sec | |
  • AoE Swiftness? Hell yeah! Great for an out of the gates boost for you team, or to help you run around the map faster. However, dont forget that it can be used to remove immobilize, cripple and chill. The Immobilize removal is vital, because lots of burst classes like to immobilize you right before they burst!
Static Field 40 sec | | | (Electric Field)
  • A nice AoE stun! Certainly a very useful spell. Make sure you follow up this with some damage. Also, try and make sure your enemies have to get through it to get to you

Earth Attunement

Stoning | (Projectile)
  • Spammable Weakness! Totally awesome skill. The damage isnt anything to write home about, but being able to stack weakness on your foe is totally rocking.
Eruption 6 sec | | | (Blast)
  • Another condition build spell, and a darn good one at that. 6 stacks of bleeding for 12 seconds on a 6 sec CD. The CD also starts before the bleeding is applied since there is a slight delay. The only trick is getting your enemy near it when it goes off! By now you’re seeing why the stun and chill is so important!
Magnetic Aura 30 sec
  • A nice defensive spell, especially in WvW where there are lots of projectiles flying left right and center. Dispite the short duration and longish CD, its a decent spell. This is an Aura and is affect by Aura Traits.
Unsteady Ground 30 sec | |
  • Makes a rectangular ‘Cripple Zone’. The cripple inflicted is short, only 2 seconds or so, but it can give you alot of breathing room if you are kiting. Try placing an Eruption just on your side of the spell!
Shockwave 30 sec | |
  • A pretty nifty spell, but tricky to get off. Again, its a missile, so it can quite easily miss the intended target. Not something i rely on, but i love to throw it out after someone has been stunned etc.

2.2 Scepter

The Scepter is a medium range, all round weapon. It has great condition damage, good burst, good defence and is a solid choice for any budding Elementalist.

It is arguable the better of the two main hands, due to its range and versatility.

Not a great choice, although it can work. Its lack of range and AoE make it alot less effective than the staff. It certainly can work in open field combat, but not a great choice for Keep sieges.

In structured, the Scepter is a strong choice. Regardless of how you pick your poison, it’ll do just fine. Spammable burns and bleeds, good burst, good condition removal and a fair bit of utility. You have to try it just to find out! What really makes it is what you pair it with. Going with an offhand dagger will give you a bit more burst, but you’ll want to be a bit more close up. Going with the focus will give you more utility and defence, and means you can stick at range a bit more.


Fire Attunement


  • Spammable burning! Nice!! The duration isnt long, so you have to hit it a while to get any decent length, however the spell itself also does some damage. It also has no missile (yay!) and hits the target as soon as the cast animation is finished. You can cast this while popping in an out of cover to quite good effect.
Dragons Tooth 6 sec | | | (Blast)
  • A very strong spell, but has a slight delay before hitting. Alot of people are quite successfully comboing this together with the next spell, Phoenix for good burst damage.
    Note: The Blast is actually based on your position, not where the tooth lands. You nee to be standing in the fire field for this to ‘Blast’ it.
Phoenix 20 sec | | | (Blast)
  • Another solid spell. This actually works best in close range, since it acts kinda like a boomerang. You throw it out, it explodes, then comes back to you. Its damage is modest, but alot of people are pairing it up with Dragons tooth for a fairly damaging, if somewhat easy to avoid combo. The Vigor on this is also quite nice… but the real awesome bit of this is the condition removal. Short CD and lots of Conditions removed!
    Note: The blast on this is the same as DT, you need to be standing in it, not launch this to it.

Water Attunement

Ice Shards

  • A rather ho-hum spell. Three rather weak shards, with a total damage which isnt that high, and no special effect. The reasonable rate of fire and modest range could appeal to people making crit-proc builds, but there certainly are better choices.
Shatterstone 2 sec |   |   (x4)
  • This acts very much like the Staff’s Ice Spike, only its more obvious and cant get an increased radius. Im sure its fine in PvE. in PvP, it can be tricky to get this off multiple times in a row. However, the CD is very short and the Vulnerability lasts for 15 seconds. Considering that, its actually not a bad spell. It takes some practice to get it to connect lots!
Water Trident 20 sec |   |
  • A neat idea, having an AoE heal and damage, however its not fantastic in use. The healing is alright, but nothing to rely on, and the damage is mediocre. Can be nice in team fights, or to give yourself a little nudge in the healing direction in a smaller fight. Still the CD isnt great, and you’ll probably not be using this a whole lot.

Air Attunement

  • A very useful spell this one. Pretty much channels lightning at your foe. Has decent range, and rate of fire. It does scream “Hey you, im attacking you! Hello, im over here!” but its worth it. Great on crit builds. It also channels towards an enemy even if they arent in sight or out of range (doesnt work through stealth). Best of all, its instant, so those thieves who keep teleporting around when downed suddenly become super easy to track.
Lightning Strike 5 sec
  • A decent damage dealing spell, and can be cast while channelling Arc Lightning. Also hits almost right after casting, so its nice for trying to get killing blows. Fairly straightforward spell, and not one that does much more than advertised.
Blinding Flash 10 sec |
  • A nice little blind and is cast instantly, so can be used to try and avoid abilities that hurt such as Evicerate if you’re already in Air attunement. Otherwise its something that i just tend to throw out willy nilly.

Earth Attunement

Stone Shards (x3) 6 sec | (Projectile)
  • Channelled Bleeding. Each hit causes bleeding Has a decent rate of fire, and the bleeding lasts for a modest time (6 sec). Works well when fired through a Combo Field (Fire for example, for extra burning, or Water for condition removal).
Rock Barrier 15 sec | Duration 30 sec → Hurl (Projectile)
  • A nifty little spell. Gain toughness, and then use it to hurt enemies! I like it alot. The Rock Barrier lasts through attunement switching, so go ahead as keep swapping with it on. Just dont forget to put it back up when you see them disappear!
This grants 250 toughness….thats alot!
Dust Devil 15 sec |   | 10 sec
  • I totally undervalued this spell when i first came across it. Its an Aoe Blind ‘missile’. Blind i dont find particularly powerful, but this can certainly help in any fight. A reasonable CD. Would like this to be a Whirl Finisher!

2.3 Focus

The Focus is an off-hand Weapon that ‘focuses’ on support and control more than damage.
Its often an undervalued weapon due to the Dagger offhands great damage output. The Focus isnt going to wow you with huge numbers, but its going to make fighting you alot harder for any class.
It’ll take some getting used to, and its skills are best paired with a Scepter in my opinion. But of course encourage you to try it for yourself!

While its no staff, the Focus does have some AoE and support, particularly with its ability to reflect and deflect incoming projectiles. Note that reflecting sends a projectile back to its owner. Works great in a group build, and is worth toying around with.PvP
In structured, the Focus is particularly undervalued because support is currently undervalued. It wont hit big numbers, but thats not always the best route to success, despite the youtube ‘fame’ of solo people hitting 15k damage with 3 abilities.
What they dont show you on the videos is the times they’re sown like wheat, and more often than not, they are facing people who are new to the game and are still learning.
Support is very important, and the Focus, is an incredibly powerful support weapon. Dont dismiss it!Spells

Fire Attunement

Flamewall 20 sec | | 1 sec | Duration 6 sec | (Fire Field)
  • Makes a rectangular ‘Burning Field’ at the target location. It nice to be able to direct this spell where you like, and it will always be square on to you, so you do have to use some position to get this spell right.
    Unfortunately, the damage this spell deals on its own is pretty poor. Running through this field will only place 1 second of burning on the enemy. It might tickle. However, the field itself should be used for more advantages means through a cross profession combo, and the fire hangs around for 8 seconds, so you should have some time to use it.
Fire Shield 40 sec | 1 sec/hit | Duration 3 sec
  • A very awful spell on its own. The skill lasts for 3 seconds, has a huge CD and each time you’re hit, only delivers 1 second of burning. It only becomes useful against enemies with a high attack speed (for example an Unload theif), and if you have decent condition damage. Otherwise the 40 seconds doesn’t justify the damage you’ll get out of this against most people.
    Its one redeeming quality is that it is infact an Aura, meaning it can receive bonuses from Aura Traits. I talk about these later on.

Water Attunement

Freezing Gust 25 sec | 3 sec
  • Not a spell you’re write to mum about but its not one that should be ignored either. Its useful for getting a bit of space between you and whatever you are kiting (or chasing). It is cast on the target almost instantly. The chill duration is a little short, but certainly not outrageous.
Comet 25 sec | | 2 sec | (Blast)
  • A great spell for breaking up a Melee train. The daze prevents enemies from using abilities for 2 seconds. The AoE small, but the spell animates very quickly so use this wisely! The Blast is also very useful to use on many combo fields!

Air Attunement

Swirling Winds 30 sec | | Duration 6 sec
  • The first Projectile destroyer of this weapon set. This spell creates a very large AoE that destroys any projectiles entering it, or that are fired in it.  Its basically a ‘null zone’ for any projectiles. This spell can be used both offensively and defensively. IM sure your imagination can show you how ;)
Gale 50 sec | 2 sec
  • A nice little range knockdown. It does have a long CD, so should be used with a bit of wisdom. When is a good time to use this? Well it animates nice and fast, so any time you see someone using a powerful spell with any kind of animation, such as Bulls Charge. Used against a fleeing enemy can stop him in his tracks, and used against a Foe that is on low health can prevent him from healing before you take him out.

Earth Attunement

Magnetic Wave 25 sec | 5 sec | | Reflection Duration 3 sec | (Blast)
  • A great spell for many occasions. Removes 3 conditions, Reflects projectiles, damages enemies and is a Blast Finisher, all on a short-ish CD.
    The Condition removal is particularly nice, however the spell animates very quickly, meaning that you have to time it well to get the reflect.
    Note that any spell flying towards you is reflected regardless of how close they are. So long as it in ‘en-route’ it seems to get reflected.
Obsidian Flesh 50 sec | Duration 4 sec
  • Invulnerability! ‘Nuff said right? This spell will make you immune to any incoming sources of damage or effects. Note that any current effects will linger, such as conditions. It also cannot be used while stunned. You can move around with it active, which is a bonus!
    The use of this is very much situational. I tend to use it if I need to buy some time before my heal comes off CD, or if I see a big chunk of damage coming soon from people or persons. It also works great at the start of an encounter when people tend to use their big CD’s. It does have a long CD, so use it wisely.

2.4 Dagger

The dagger is probably my favourite weapon set. Its a touch weaker at the moment than the other sets (due to its risk vs reward being quite high vs low), but is a ton of fun to play anyway. It also has some really unique abilities and is powerful enough to be competitive.

For WvW, this is a kinda weak choice. Its great in open field, small group combat, but is a death sentence in large scale fights or anything to do with walls. Its range is tiny, Its Auras are melee range, and all of its skills dont work on a Z axis (or very little).
I’d keep at least one in your bag.
Why? Right the Lightning. This Off-hand Air Dagger skill #4 is the best mobility skill in the game bar none. It moves you super speed a good distance, and in the air. If you are clever, you can use it to jump gaps NO-ONE else can, and i mean no-one, not even a Teleporting mesmer.
For PvP the Daggers are a solid choice. They are still a little behind the rest, but not by much. The close range means warriors are going to suck, but they are killable.
The Dagger main hand has some excellent skills, including a Stun Aura and a Chill Aura.
I love D/D myself, and that’s generally what you’ll see me running if you bump into me.
I love the challenge and the play of the Daggers!

Fire Attunement

Main Hand

  • A solid Auto-Attack. It hits for reasonable damage when all three hit, and is worth spamming. Even if you only get one or two connections, its still worth it. This animates nice and fast, and works  great with the trait Pyromancers Pussiance. If you are holding down the RMB, this will fire where you have your screen aimed. Each hit is a separate proc for any proc related stuff.
Drakes Breath 5 sec | | 3 sec
  • Channelled. A nice AoE skill that hits decently and also deals burning. As with Dragons Claw, your RMB can direct the aim of the cone. Note that it ticks, dispite being a constant animation. Dont expect to see it hit something if you’re whipping it past it quickly.
Burning Speed 15 sec | | 1 sec | (Fire Field) | Duration 4 sec
  • One of my most favourite attacks! Launches you forward, and deals an AoE Blast of damage when you stop. It hits pretty hard too! Once you get a hand of the range of this thing, its easy to judge where you’ll end up.
    The Fire Field doesnt last very long. If you want to make use of it, use it quick!
    Note: This will send you DIRECTLY forward So dont expect yourself to auto target. For those of you familiar with the idea, this is a Skill Shot!​
Ring of Fire 15 sec | | 5 sec | (Fire Field) | Duration 6 sec
  • Thank you Jonny Cash. Makes a nice little burning circle around yourself. This also deals decent AoE Damage. This is great for firing projectiles (like Scepters Stone Shards) through, since you can fire through it straight away in any direction, and if an enemy comes close, you can retreat through to the other side of it, and keep firing through it.
Fire Grab 45 sec |
  • A great spell in terms of design. Deals damage, and deals more damage if your target is burning. Dispite the rather long CD, its reasonably easy to make sure your target is burning before you use this. oh and incase you didnt catch on MAKE DAMN SURE YOUR TARGET IS BURNING.Otherwise its a wasted skill. And dont hold down RMB when casting this. There seems to be alot of ‘miss’ issues when you do.

Water Attunement

Main Hand

Water Blade 6 sec
  • Another neat spell. Boomerangs a blade of water to hit your enemies. It deals Vulnerability on each pass. Its actually best to be back peddelling when using this, because the blade returns towards you, and will miss the enemy on the return pass.
    Eahc hit also can proc, meaning it can stack lots of vulnerability with the trait Weak Spot
Cone of Cold 10 sec |    |  
  • Another nice spell that isnt often used. Is an AoE damage and heal. It’ll hit for ~1000, and heal for about 700, but do consider its AoE meaning up to 5 allies can benefit from it (total of 4200 healing). Its nothing incredible, but worth using if you get the chance.
Frozen Burst 15 sec |    | 3 sec
  • A great spell for kiting, or for slowing enemies down. Small radius PBAoE in all directions. Stacking the chill from this with something else is a great idea!
Frost Aura 40 sec | 2 secs | Duration 7 secs
  • ​A great Aura. This is a longer version of the Ice Combo Blast effect. Chills enemies for 2 seconds when they hit you. They must however be ‘in range’ of the aura for it to take effect, and the range is quite short. This means it doesnt work if someone is kiting you from a good distance. Chaining with Frozen Burst can result in plenty of chill.
Cleansing Wave CD40 sec | AoE   |  Heals
  • The only Condition Removal in the Dagger set. Also gives a small direct heal. This does have a small to reasonably size AoE. However its CD is quite long, so use this with discretion and wisdom!

Air Attunement

Main Hand

  • A favourite spell of mine. Hits hard, and fast. Its quite possible to get this to crit for 1k+ each hit, and it hits twice per cast! It is however only melee range, so you’ll be putting yourself at alot of risk to use this.
Lightning Touch CD10 sec | Weakness5 sec
  • ​ Another great spell. Inflicts weakness, which will help with being so vulnerable in melee. Does have a slight cast time, and make sure you dont hold RM while casting and moving  as this can make the spell miss, and its better to let yourself auto-face.
Shocking Aura CD25 sec | Stun 1 sec | Duration 5 sec
  • A great Aura. Stuns foes who hit you. Again, like Frost Aura, it has a small range, so they actually have to be pretty close to melee range for this to be effective.
Ride the Lightning CD 15 sec | AOE
  • Probably the best mobility skill in the game. Shoots you forward (or towards your target OR the nearest target), deals aoe damage, and turns you into an orb of lightning. Its quite buggy at the moment, but still a great skill. The animation for this is quite long, meaning normal skills will be queued up for after you exit the animation, however skills that cast instantly can be used while travelling.
Updraft CD 40 sec | AOE | Swiftness
  • Launches nearby foes, and grants swiftness. Combos great into many skills, but has a long CD and a small radius. Use wisely!

3. Utility Spells

Below are the Utility, Healing and Elite Spells we can use. Note that I have included traits which affect that Utility Skill, and how they affect it along with a general outline of the skill and its usefulness.

Arcane Spells
All of the following spells are Arcane Spells, and benefit from any traits that affect Arcane Spells.

Arcane Blast 20 sec

  • Deals critical damage to a single target. It animates pretty quickly, and deals decent damage. The range is the same as most Staff skills [1500].
    Can be cast in the middle of casting anything else, or while stunned, or while in Mist Form.
    Note: Because this has a 100% crit chance, its actually more effective in high power builds or high crit damage builds. If you have a high crit chance, I wouldn’t both with this skill.
Influential Traits

Arcane Wave 30 sec | | (Blast)

  • Deals Critical AoE damage, and is a Blast finisher. Hits pretty hard! Has quite a small AoE, but is cast almost instantly, and has very difficult to see animation. A favourite of mine when playing D/D! Same idea as Arcane Blast, in that its more effective in a Power build.
    Can be cast in the middle of casting anything else, or while stunned, or while in Mist Form.
Influential Traits

Arcane Shield 75 sec | Duration 5 seconds

  • A great little number. It blocks up to three attacks, and if it does block three, then it explodes immediately. It actually uses Arcane Wave (above), when it explodes minus the Blast Finsher! Which means anything that Arcane Wave does, this does when it explodes. So you have a trait which says ‘Arcane spells do X on hit’ this spell will do IF it explodes.
    Can be cast instantly in the middle of casting anything else, or while stunned, or while in Mist Form (though a complete waste if in mist form!).
Influential Traits

Arcane Power 45 sec | Duration 30 sec

  • Makes your next [5 hits] Critical. It actually also makes them Arcane too. This means your next 5 spells benefit from any Arcane Spell on hit effects, such as Elemental Surge.
    Can be cast instantly in the middle of casting anything else, or while stunned, or while in Mist Form. It also lasts for 30 seconds.
Influential Traits

All of the following spells are Cantrips, and affected by traits mentioning Cantrips.

Cleansing Fire 50 sec | | 3.5sec

  • Breaks Stun. Removes 3 conditions. This skill burns nearby enemies too! It has the shortest CD of the Cantrips, and a great selection for facing Engineers.  That said, compared to the utility you gain from other Cantrips, this spell falls a little behind.
    Is instant cast, and can be cast while casting anything else. The AoE is rather small.
Influential Traits

Mist Form 75 sec

  • Invulnerability. Breaks Stun. A fantastic ability, and one that never seems to move from my hotbar. This will give you 5 seconds of invulnerability, where any skills wont affect you, This includes CC. Any effects still on you will continue until they expire. However, Cripple, Chilled and Immobilize ARE cleared, meaning you get free movement!
    Also, this skill can be used while channelling/without interrupting casts. This means you can use it to finish people, or revive allies without being interrupted or damaged!
Influential Traits

Lightning Flash 45 sec

  • Breaks Stun. Another great spell. Its a medium range teleport, that can be used to get you out of CC, as well as getting you across places you cant jump. Watch the use with Z axis (going up or down), It can be buggy. Great use for this in the Battle for Khylo, and going from the ground to the ledges around the Clock tower. You can target the bottom side and teleport to the top side. Again, its very temperamental.
    There is a sweet spot, and ill get a screenshot next time i get a chance.
Influential Traits

Armor of Earth 60 sec | 6 sec | 6 sec

  • Breaks Stun. Neat spell, granting Stability and Protection for 6 seconds. The stability will prevent you from being stunned etc, so this spell can be used BEFORE getting stunned. The protection will also slow down the damage you are taking.
    Just like the other Cantrips, can be cast instantly and in the middle of casting anything else.
Influential Traits

All of the following are Signets are are affected by such traits.

Signet of Fire 20 sec | 9sec

  • A decent signet. At level 10 this was giving me ~10% crit chance, and at 80, gives ~5% crit chance. You may find this best in a crit/condition build, or in a Auramancer Build, since this can grant an Aura when traited. Otherwise there are much better options.

Signet of Air 20 sec | | 5 sec

  • 10% Movement Speed. A nice little boost, however according to the latest tests this doesnt stack with other movement speed passives, such as Windborne Dagger. The Blind feels a little weak compared to the other passives, dispite being AoE. Again, great in an Aura build but otherwise we have much better options.

Signet of Water 30 sec | 4 sec

  • A great passive, if a little long between pulses. (removes 1 condition every 10 sec). It is interesting to note that the passive doesnt tick every 10 seconds, it actually is a constant effect that has a 10 sec ICD. What this means is the first condition you receive will be removed, then 1 condition 10 seconds after that. The chill is actually quite nice and has decent range.

Signet of Earth 30 sec | 2 sec

  • In my opinion the best signet we have. Adds 170 toughness passively. Great for setting up combos with Updraft, Burning Speed, Firegrab… whatever you wish.

3.1 Healing Spells

Ether Renewal 15 sec |
  • Not the most attractive heal, because its a self root. It heals per pulse, and I clocked it at 13 pulses. Each pulse removes a condition too, so thats alot of condition removal. It also heals for about the same as Glyph of Elemental Harmony.
    Without the root, this would be an attractive heal.
Influential Traits
Glyph of Elemental Harmony 20 sec | | ///
  • This is the gold standard of healing for most Elementalists. Short CD, decent heal, and some nice boons. I don’t find myself wanting the ‘Power’ generally, because if Im healing, I want something to help enhance the heal, such as regen, or protection.
    However, because of the short CD, you should be using this AS SOON as you lose more than ~5k health. This will give you the best chance of having it off CD again, maximising its use. At that stage it could be useful to get 20 sec of power (using this in Fire). If you’re looking for maximum healing, drop into Water. If you’re fighting a Thief or fast hitting class, drop into Earth.
    Any of these boons can be extended with Boon Duration (Concentration)
Influential Traits
  • Quick Glyphs – CD reduced by 20 % [16 sec]
  • Inscription – Effectively doubles the boons stacks/duration.
  • Cleansing Water – Being granted Regen (Using this while in water) will remove a condition.
Signet of Restoration 25 sec |
  • A solid choice in some builds. Pretty much gives you heal on cast and then a bigger heal when you want it. It heals for slightly less than the Glyph, and once you’ve used it, the passive healing doesn’t happen until it’s off CD.
Influential Traits

4. Playstyles

This section is here to give you the rundown on how to play an elementalist better. It may pertain to builds, since a solo build should look different from a team build, but focuses more on what you should be doing with yourself, and what you want to be trying to achieve than what trait and utilties to use.

Everyone playstyle is different, and there is no one playstyle that is best for any given situation. PLaying more offensively might work one time, but then fail miserably the next, so its up to you to adapt and overcome…. and as Elementalists, all the tools to do this are provided!

4.1 Team Play

Team play is about ….playing as a team! Who’d have guessed it.
The first thing you should be thinking about when playing with your team is what you bring to the table.

Have your brought a ton of burst? Some healing? Maybe some CC? Either way, know what you are bringing to the team, because they need to know. If you can CC someone, another player in your team might be able to utilize that and deliver some sweet burst.

The first thing i sort out that i’ve brought it Combo Fields. Staff has a ton of these, so al you staff users out there, rejoice!

4.2 1v1 Matchups

Any 1v1 is subject to many variables. No one fight is the same, even against the same person with the same build. As such, this is by no means a way to win every time, or even win at all. These are just general tips that will help you play against these foes with better success, and make you aware of things you might not have known before.


Fighting a good thief is no easy task.


All of the elites you want to stay well clear of. LoS the ‘Thieves Guild’/ kite them till they expire. Chill/Cripple When they use Dagger Storm, and stay at max range, even if it means you dont attack him.
Balisik venom is harder to spot, but if you see it, try to make sure you dodge the next attack, making it miss and wasting his elite.

What to Dodge
Dodging the next attack after you see any posions on their boon bar is helpful.
Dodge Heartseeker if you can when you’re on low health. It has a quick animation.
Dodge Leaping Death Blossom.
If a D/D Thief comes out of stealth (probably with a backstab), kite him. As soon as Revealed is off, he’ll try and use Cloak and Dagger to Stealth again. Even better, put in a dodge as soon as you see the Revealed Buff dissappear and make him waste 5 ini.
Try and bait a Dodge or two. Use skills like Dragons Tooth, but dont follow up with a Phoenix/FG combo, or Churning Earth, then cancel it after he dodges. They often have lots of dodges, and you want to drain them/CC them before you go in for the kill.
If you have Magnetic Aura, use it as soon as you see a P/P thief use Haste (he’ll follow with a fast Unload, which you can reflect right back onto him easily dealing 4-6k)
If you see Infiltrators Signet (looks like a boot), be prepared to Stunbreak. They will likely Try a Pistolwhip-shadowstep for a stun and damage. As soon as you see them attempt to shadowstep, you can either try and dodge if you are quick enough, or use the stun break and avoid the damage. Be sure to turn around and hit them with something to make them regret that move!

5. Builds

Im a huge fan of making your own builds to suit YOUR playstyle. Some certainly are more effective than others, but the best build is the one that you enjoy most, and that suits how you want to play.
In following with this, im not just going to ‘serve you a build’ and tell you why its the best, because that wont work for everyone.
Im going to show you common ‘build elements’, or parts of builds, and explain how they contribute to the overall theme of the build.
Im also going to show you combinations of weapons skills and/or traits and/or utilities that really complement each other.
All of this should help to inspire you to create your own builds and try different combinations!

Build Calculators
The most updated and easy to use (and informative) Calculator at the moment.
I use this one all the time.

When making a build;
Making a build from scratch, especially when you are new to a class can be a daunting task. Stick with it, it’ll get easier as you learn more and more. But here are some general guidelines when making any build.

  • Have at least 2 condition removals (esp in sPvP). Condition damage is hugely powerful, and often big bleed stacks are covered with annoying junk condis just to stop you from cleansing them. If you cant cleanse at least two, you’re gunna run into plenty of times you’re watching a 15+ stack of bleeding….bleed you out. Pun intended.
  • Have a Stun Break. People stun you right before they bust out something big and mean and nasty and often very close range. If you cant get out of that, they’re gunna shove an axe down your throat and you wont like it.
  • Stick with a theme. Going high crit damage then getting a whole bunch of Condition Damage might seem like a good idea at them time, but unless you know what you’re doing with that, and stick with it the whole way through, it’s probably just gunna feel sucky. Likewise, if you’ve picked up some might stacking traits, if you pick up more, its gunna be more powerful. Going for 3 random stack of might isnt great. Focusing on might stacks and getting 15+ is outstanding.
  • Dont be afraid to go a bit more all rounded with stats. Those Glass Cannon builds that get a few youtube hits are usually against people who cant play worth a damn, and the deaths are edited out. Going balanced will be alot more fun long term (but totally try out the glass cannon builds!!)
  • Try things out! Experiment, create, and tinker with everything. Play the way you want to play.

List of Traits
There is a great list of our traits Here

Good General Utilities, Traits and Items
These skills are great in any build, regardless of what your goal is with that build. They all are different and some may not work with your build as well as another just because of these differences. You may know what you want already, or you may want to try out some of these in your current build just to see how it works.
Experiment, be creative and dont let yourself or your build stagnate!

All of these are subject to change from buffs and nerfs.

Mist Form

  • Always epic. This goes with any build because the Invuln is great, but it can be used to protect you while you perform actions, such as rezzing or finishing. It is also a Stun Break and gives you free movement. The time this can buy you and number of times it’ll save you make it a winner beyond many other utilities.

Armor of Earth

  • Stability. Thats all im gunna say, because if you didnt know, stability is really, truly, honestly the king of pvp. Its pretty much CC immunity…. which you very well may die for. It also is affected by boon duration. SCORE!
    Couple this with protection and you’ve got an awesome skill, even if the duration is short and the CD is long.

Lightning Flash

  • Low CD teleport that breaks stun and deals damage and can be used to jump up walls, in and out of fights and can be traited to get even better. While not as common, it should still be considered, especially if you’re looking for a nice mobility spell!

Glyph of Elementals (elite)

  • Why have i included this? If you’re taking Tornado or FGS, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. Tornado can average ~7-8k damage if you spam Electrified Tornado. The kncokback on it is decent…. but you become a HUGE target. You paint a giant ‘SLAP ME SILLY’ on your forehead.
    The Elemental can deal up to 30k damage single target over the course of its life, and comes with nice effects, such as stuns, aoe ice fields (Frost Aura for all you aura junkies!), heals and AoE damage.
    Yes it has a health bar (it gets ignored 98% of the time in PvP, and will heal out of combat in PvE), and yes you gain more health from Tornado, but I challenge you to just try it. You wont feel as ‘wow’ed by the skill, but you’ll notice the difference. Combined with a lesser elemental, it can look quite daunting running in to fight an Ele!

Earths Embrace (trait)

  • Since this gives you a free Armor of Earth at 50% health (right when you kinda need it), and is only 10 point in on the Earth Tree, this is a great trait in any build. If you have 10 point floating around you arent sure what to do with, this is a great option.

Final Shielding (trait)

  • Much like the above, a free Arcane Shield at 25% health helps ALOT, regardless of your build. If you’re going Glass Cannon, it can mean extra burst to help finish your enemy. If you’re going defensive, its 3 skill blocked when you’re low, which might just give you enough time to get your heal off.
    Also since you’re on low health, that’s when people are gunna start unloading on you to finish you, and blocking them can make or break the fight!
    Only 10 points in Arcane, another great option.

Elemental Attunement (trait)

  • Might, Swiftness, Regen and Protection, just for using your mechanic. All of these have great uses, and decent durations. Add to that the passive bonus the Arcana Tree gives you, and being another 10 point option, this is a fantastic little number than really helps!

5.1 Direct Damage

Direct Damage builds are generally built somewhere on the continuum between high Power and high Crit/Crit Damage. You are one, or the other, or some happy place inbetween. There is no right and wrong here, both are effective and both can deal huge chunks of damage.
So lets break those down.
Power Builds
Power builds rely on having a high base damage. This gives them total assurance that a skill will hit within a certain range on a certain target.
Lets look at some common themes that feature in Power Builds
  • Arcane Power – But wait, thats Crits?! It sure is. If you have a low crit chance and high base damage, even with a base crit damage modifier of 1.5, your regular hard hitting skills become uber powerful. You’re also not wasting crits you might have got natively ( because you dont get any anyway!).
  • Arcane Blast/Wave – Im putting these in here now, because they semi- apply as the above applies, but I feel their damage is too low and they’re gunna fall out of fashion.
Armor Items
  • Rune of Strength Increases the Might boon duration by 20% and increases your Damage by 5% while under the effects of Might. If you’re stacking Might, this is awesomesauce.
  • Rune of Vampirism – Power, Lifesteal and Free Stealth at 10% health? Ill take that. If you dont see how this is awesome shame on you. Go play a warrior.
  • Soldiers Amulet – The classic Amulet for Ele’s. Power, Toughness and Vitality. Everything we need.
  • Sigil of Force – 5% more damage is great. Its simple and works perfect with Power builds.
  • Sigil of Water – For a little more sustain, you might choose to grab some AoE healing goodness.
  • Sigil of Battle – For those of you who love might stacks, getting more might stacks when you swap attunements is never a bad thing.
  • Sigil of Leeching – while not totally just for Power builds, the sustain from this is great, and works well with any power build.
  • Embers Might – 10% more damage while in one of the most damaging attunements? GREAT choice.
  • Spell Slinger – Cantrips Grant Might stacks…. If you didnt have enough might stacks, now you certainly should. This isnt the greatest trait, since 3 stacks arent much and cantrips have a long CD (and shouldnt be used for anything other than their primary purpose!)
  • Pyromancers Alacrity – Lower CD’s on your increased damaging spells in your damaging attunement? Why wouldnt you?
  • Pyromancers Pussiance – Okay, now you just have way too many might stacks.
Build Bases
A high Power build might start off with something like this
  • Link (note that i followed my rules on making builds located at the top of this chapter)
From there you can choose to go for Signets, and 30 points in Earth for Signet Mastery and Written in Stone, which will give you a bit more defence, and passive healing.
Or you might go for Glyphs, and put 20 in Air for Quick Glyphs and Inscription, which gives you long boons such as protection and swiftness, and some crit chance for even more damage.
You might also choose to go for a bit more of a dancy build, and put 30 in arcane for Elemental Surge and Elemental Attunement, and swap attunements like mad!
You could totally go with something else entirely!

5.2 Support


6. Tips and Tricks

In the Tips and Tricks section I’m going to go over various tips and tricks that myself, and other Elementalist users have discovered.
These tips can and will range from simple uses of skills, to complex rune, ability, build and keybinding tricks.

I also give a brief outline on Reactions, or things to look out for from other classes, and Counters, Things to do to outer classes to make them hurt!

I do accept anyones tip or trick they may wish to add to this list, and I can include your name if you wish, just shoot me a PM or leave a comment.

#1. Attunement Swapping

This is the single biggest problem people have with the Elementalist. Especially when you are new to the class its very easy to feel like you arent using it right.
I tend to see people do one of two things. They either dont swap at all and play the Elementalist like its a single Element mage, or they swap too much,, and just cycle through CDs.
Both of these styles aren’t maximising the attunement mechanic, and more often than not will leave you performing underpar.
That said, it is okay to sit in one element, or to swap as quickly as you can but do it with purpose. Dont just do it for the hell of it, or because you’re not sure what to do.

To understand how to maximise your Attunement Swapping, you need to understand why you swap.
Swapping isnt just about gaining new skills, its about adapting to a situation. Much like a Builder has different tools for different jobs, we have different attunements for different things, and each of these ‘tools’ we have has a different time you’d want to use it.

Unfortunately your job is made tougher because we have different weapon setups. These are like a whole new construction site for our builder, and while alot of stuff is transferable, some things are just totally different. We also have a huge ton of traits and utilities that can affect our abilities, and there are literally countless situations you can get yourself into.
What I’m getting at is there is no forumla. There is nothing you can write down on paper that says ‘If X, do Y’, because there is so much about the situation that you cant foresee. All I can do is give you some tools, and let you go smash some rocks!

Step #1 Learn the Attunements.
So the first step whenever you pick up any tool is understanding how and when to use it. You dont use a hammer to beat in a screw, and likewise, we dont use our damage attunement to try and save our skin.
You should be now understand the basics of the attunements, That Fire is Area Damage and Burning, Air is Mobility and Single Target, Water is Healing and Chill, and Earth is Defence and Bleeding. This will be affected by what build you are running, but as a general rule, thats pretty solid.

Each attunement is going to be affected by your traits, and your attunements in turn are going to affect some of your utilities and your playstyle.

Traits such as Elemental Attunement, which grants a boon on attunement, lends towards the above idea of the attunements.
However traits such as Piercing Shards , Which makes your Water spells deal 20% more damage to Vulnerable foes, suddenly makes your Healing attunement a little more more offensive.
Understanding how your build is influencing your attunements is crucial to understanding your atttunements. When you are making your build, pay attention to everything your trait says, as well as the passive points you are receiving from the tree

The use of some Abilites such as Glyph of Elemental Power, which gives your spells a chance to inflict a condition based on attunement, is going to be heavily influenced by your attunement, and using it you’re going to need to be in the correct attunement for the effect you want to achieve.
Some utility abilities are more effective, or more useful in certain elements. For example Arcane Wave is alot better used in Fire, since you can use it in the midst of your attacks to deal even more AoE damage.

Step #2 Learn the Abilities on each weapon AND for each element AND from your traits!
Since each Weapon Set has 20 skills, and we have 5 totally different weapon set ups, thats only 60 different skills to learn! Breathing a sigh of relief? I thought not. Dont worry, I’ve outlined every weapon spell right here.

This step is cruical! Knowing what skills you have available to you, and knowing when to use them is central to correct attunement swapping.
This step is also the biggest step, and takes the longest. While in any attunement 3/4 of your skills are hidden from you, so you need to KNOW them, without looking at them. Commit each skill to memory. Until you are totally familiar with each of the skills you have, you’ll miss crucial opportunities.

Again, traits are going to affect the abilities, so make sure you are paying attention to what you pick up.
Getting a Trait like Elemental Attunement is going to mean that you’ll want to swap more often so you maximise your buff uptime.
Conversely getting a Trait like One with the Wind will mean you want to maximise your time in Air.

Unfortunately, I cant do much more than put on a teacher face and say in a high pitch, whiney voice “Go learn your Ability tables!” because thats all there is too it.
Once you know what skills you can use, you’ll start on the next step!

Step #3 Plan ahead!
This is where you’ll stop spamming attunements, or not attuning at all. This is the stage where people will start to notice “on hey, this guy knows his stuff”.
Its also the section I could write pages and pages on. This is about planning ahead, and thinking “Okay, when I hit 50% health, im going to swap to Water, use my heal, throw on my chill aura, swap to earth, cripple them, and then go back to trying to kill them”.
Now you’re starting to think about WHEN and HOW you’re going to use each ability, and what you’re going to do after that.
You might think, “Alright, im going to run in, use my Updraft right before i use Burning Speed, then follow up with a Firegrab.” Or maybe something a little unorthodox like ” Open with a Magnetic Grasp, if that hits ill use a Shocking Aura, Lightning Touch and spam Lightning Whip. If it misses, ill use Ride the Lightning and go from there.”

This is also the stage you should be starting to learn you opponents abilities.
A classic example of this is when I see a Warrior with a Two-handed Sword use the ability Throw Bolas on me. I know im about to be hit with a Hundred Blades ability. If I cant or dont dodge the Throw Bolas, Im immobilized.
Even while throw bolas is coming towards me, and Im attempting a dodge, Im swapping to Air. If i get Immobilized, I use the ability Shocking Aura. The first hit of his Hundred Blades is going to stun him, and I’m going to turn around and punch his face in.
This is only one example, and only in a very certain situation. Sometimes i might wait and use Mist form. Other times I might swap to water and use the Cleansing Wave trait to remove the immobilize…. you can see that its never something set in stone.

I’m not going to compile a list for you of when to do when any little thing happens, because it would never end. Moreover, this part is often done on the fly. You suddenly realise ‘oh man, i really need to -inset action-‘.

Part of planning ahead is also planning in advance the Cooldown of Attunement Swapping. You dont want to be putting Water attunement on CD and need to heal in 5 seconds. You dont want to leave your damage attunement and then want to quickly burst a low health target. So planning in advance when you’re going to need each attunement is pretty important!

Here is a quick recap incase you got lost in those examples.

  • Plan what abilities your going to do in situations you know you’ll eventually be in (low health, opponent has low health, opponent is fleeing, you need to flee, A slow big burst is coming your way, you want to get out of a stack of conditions, you’re stunned and want to flee, you want to get the last hit….. etc infinitum. You’ll nee to know your abilities for this!
  • Know what to look out for from your opponents. Learn important animations, even play the class yourself!
  • Plan your Attunement CD’s so you can be in the right attunement at the right time!

Step # 4 Practice practice then practice some more.
You knew that was coming.
There is nothing better than first-hand experience.
Alot of these things have to be done on the fly, and no-one gets it right every time. But just like an Olympian, practising it (on NPC’s or training dummies) or doing it for real (in a fight) will always make you a better player.

Extra Notes Courtesy of FrancisCrawford

  • Build so that there are at least two attunements you are happy to deal damage in, and try not to have them both on cooldown very often. That way, you can always be effective in hurting the opponent.
  • For direct damage, the pair is most likely to be Fire/Air. For conditions, the pair is most likely to be Fire/Earth.
  • While moving purposely between your two damage attunements, Water for healing, and the utility of your fourth attunement, see if there’s anything else you want to briefly stop in on. For example, if you have a Scepter Fire/Earth condition build, with Elemental Attunement, stopping into Air gives you Swiftness, some quick damage and a Blind if you want to spam it. That’s a reasonable choice to make, although another reasonable choice is to save Air for when you want to screw up your opponent’s burst skill. Or if you have a Focus, Comet is too good not to use when it’s available, but too slow to use reactively. So you might as well drop it when you can — unless of course, you’re too concerned about being locked out of your other water skills, in which case you can save it for when you decide those water skill are good, and drop your Comet then!

TL;DR: Swap when your build and the situation requires you to in order to maximise your effectiveness.

7. Videos

Below is a bunch of Videos (duh!!). This will be a work in progress, but i want to analyse each video, and where skilful moves, or important mistakes to avoid are made, I will link the time and discuss exactly what happened and why.

This is open for any guild or person to add too (at my discretion. If i dont pick your video, please dont take offence). This is to help people looking for a bit of notoriety, and to help beginners. Win – Win!

Ill try and get a video of myself, if my FPS allows!

Tempest Gaming – Team Paradigm
Here is a video from my team mate, Tempest. Kick ass D/D ele!

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