GW2 Elementalist Guide - Harness The Power Of Four Elements!
Guild wars 2 Elementalist Guide
Elementalists are scholars that can wield the power of all four nature’s elements and use it to destroy their enemies, or empower their allies. They can attune to any of the elements to gain access to a set of spells related to it. As one of the scholar professions, they wear light armor. Furthermore, they have the smalles HP pool in the game, what in combination with the scholar gear, makes them an extremely squishy class. That being said, if you enjoy the mage DPS playstyle, you can have a lot of fun playing an Elementalist. Of course, there are some other viable playstyles for this class too.
Similar to Engineers, they can’t swap weapons, because of their unique professional mechanics. Elementalists are mostly used as a damage-dealing class, but different elements can empower certain aspects of their skill set. This is one of the professions that retained a lot of its identity established in the first Guild Wars game.
Table of content:
The attunements were present in the previous game as skills. They have been completely reworked for Guild Wars 2. Essentially, they work just like weapon swapping, or like the different Engineer’s tool kits. They replace all of your weapon skills with spells that harness the power of a certain element.
Usually, you can only have one of the four options active at a time. You have to choose between Fire Attunement, Water Attunement, Air Attunement, and Earth Attunement. The elite specialization called Weaver is an exception to that since Weavers can stay attuned to two elements at once.
Besides the elemental spells that replace the Elementalist’s weapons, this class has some more unique ability types. They can conjure special shields and weapons for themselves and their allies. They also have access to Arcane spells that deal damage with non-elemental energy.
Moreover, Elementalists have the possibility of creating auras that buff them and harm nearby enemies. They also have glyphs and defensive cantrips, while with the elite specializations they can unlock shouts and stances.
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Weapons are definitely not the most important part of playing Elementalist. With how attunements work and the fact that you have access to the conjure spells, you rarely even use your standard weapon skill at all. That being said, there are quite a few possibilities to choose from:
Main-hand: Dagger, Scepter, Sword (Weaver only)
Off-hand: Dagger, Focus, Warhorn (Tempest only)
Specializations and Traits
Four of the core specializations empower the usage of the four elements. That’s mostly a unique situation in Guild Wars 2. That’s also the reason why most builds don’t focus on using that many different elements.
Each of the elements has its strong and weak sides. Creating an Elementalist build, you have to know exactly which attunements you’re going to be using in combat. It’s necessary to choose the right traits and specializations that can enhance the parts of this profession’s skill set that you’re going to utilize.
Fire – the first elemental specialization enhances your damage and burning abilities. It, of course, empowers the skills that you get after using the Fire Attunement. It can also make the conjured weapons stronger. The Fire specialization is often used in various DPS builds. Damage dealer is by far the most popular role for Elementalist in GW2.
The minor traits provide you with extra power from Empowering Flame, a fire aura and extra damage to burning enemies. As far as the major ones go, in the first slot, you can go for Burning Precision to inflict this condition on critical hits and make it last longer. The other, a more utility-focused option, is Burning Fire, for condition removal and burning foes.
As long as you’re planning on dealing most of the damage while attuned to fire, Pyromancer’s Training is the best option in the second position. It gives your fire skills extra damage and reduced cooldown. Power Overwhelming might be considered for some builds focused on condition damage. In the last slot, Pyromancer’s Puissance provides a lot of extra power if you have the Fire Attunement active. The other option - Blinding Ashes, brings some great utility.
Air - this element is responsible for mobility and critical damage. Besides the air weapon spells, it also empowers the usage of glyphs. It provides a lot of movement speed boosts and opens up some burst damage options. This is the second spec tree that’s used mostly for damage. It’s sometimes taken alongside Fire, but other combinations are also popular.
It’s all reflected in the minor traits. They provide extra movement speed while attuned to air, strike an enemy with lightning when you use the attunement spell and Aeromancer’s Training reduces the cooldowns of your air weapon skills and provides extra crit chance.
In the vast majority of situations, Ferocious Winds is the best option as the first major trait. It’s a critical damage buff that scales off your critical ratio. The second position has to interesting choices. Raging Storm helps to generate both fury and ferocity what adds up to a huge DPS boost. Stormsoul increases the duration of stuns that you inflict and enhances your damage against enemies who are under any crowd control effects.
For the final trait, you can go with Bolt to the Heart for significantly increased damage to targets that are below half HP, or Fresh Air for extra crit chance and permanent Air Attunement uptime.
Earth – unsurprisingly, it’s one of the more defensive specializations. You can use it for extra durability, empowering auras as well as cleansing and inflicting conditions. It also enhances the power of signet skills. It’s mostly used in the open world, where extra survivability is the most useful. Earth magic can also be seen as a part of the condition DPS setup.
Minor Earth traits provide a lot of tackiness and some crowd control. Different major traits can be used, depending on the setup. Serrated Stones can be a significant boost to a condi DPS build. Elemental Shielding is another option for the first position. It makes your auras grant protection*.
In the second slot, Strength of Stone provides extra condition damage, while Geomancer’s Training reduces the cooldown of your earth spells and the duration of CC that impairs your mobility. The last position is the most interesting. Diamond Skin lets you remove conditions, Written in Stone empowers signets and Stone Heart grants you immunity to critical hits, as long as you’re attuned to earth.
*protection – a boon that reduces 33% of incoming damage
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Water – while Earth was focused on tackiness and condition damage, Water is mostly geared toward healing and supporting with some additional debuffs that can be cast on enemies. It can also empower cantrips. Support Elementalists are quite rare, but they’re actually not that bad. Water is almost never used in builds other than support.
It’s not that surprising since all the minor traits in this tree provide or empower healing. In the first major slot, you can choose either empowered vulnerability from Piercing Shards or a Frost Aura and regeneration provides by Soothing Ice.
The second slot has the Aquamancer’s Training, to decrease the cooldown of water weapon skills and get some extra damage. The third position again has multiple valuable possibilities. Soothing Power doubles the regeneration from your minor trait. Cleansing Water might be useful when extra condition removal is necessary. Powerful Aura lets you grant auras when you're casting them on yourself.
Arcane – the only non-elemental core specialization. It obviously empowers the arcane spells. It also encourages switching attunements, similarly to the other professions’ weapon-swapping. In general, it’s a pretty flexible tree that can be used for both defensive and offensive options. It’s used to complement DPS, open-world, and support builds, but it’s not extremely necessary in any of them.
All the minor traits in this tree are focused on the attunement-swapping. As we already mentioned, the major ones vary a lot. Arcane Precision makes your critical hits inflict conditions, based on the active attunement. Renewing Stamina provides some extra endurance regeneration that allows you to dodge more frequently.
In the second position, Arcane Shielding provides a shield when you drop below 50% HP. Elemental Contingency is another viable option, as it provides extra boons based on your current attunement. For the final trait, Evasive Arcana provide extra damage and burning when you dodge. The other option, Bountiful Power provides extra damage for the active boons. It can be useful in a power DPS build.
Tempest – the first Elementalist elite specialization unlocks off-hand warhorns and shout skills. It also introduces a new mechanic – overloading attunements. After staying attuned to an element for six seconds, you get access to an overload skill. Those spells are extremely powerful, but they also increase the recharge time of the attunement that’s being overloaded. The Tempest tree has a lot of supportive and utility-focused qualities, but it’s also often used in DPS setups.
All the minor traits in this tree relate to the overload mechanic, giving it additional swiftness and protection. For the first major trait, all the options are viable in different setups. Gale Song provides a stun break and a major movement speed increase to nearby allies when you’re it with crowd control. Latent Stamina helps your teammates regenerate endurance. Unstable Conduit makes your overload skills provide you with auras.
In the second position, Invigorating Torrents are a great supportive option that makes your auras provide extra healing and endurance. Harmonious Conduit is good for DPS builds. The final position only has supportive traits. Imbued Melodies empowers your boons and grants protection, while Elemental Bastion gives even more healing to your auras and provides extra Frost Aura casts on your allies.
Weaver – the Path of Fire elite specialization enables the Elementalist to hold two attunements at the same time. It also provides access to swords and stance skills. Dual-attunements grant you a dual attack – weapon skill that combines powers of two elements. This tree can significantly increase your damage output which makes it worthwhile in many DPS build.
The way dual-attunement mechanic works is pretty simple. When you attune to a second element it influences your main-hand weapon and skills and the older one moves to the off-hand. You also get access to a respective dual attack.
The minor traits grant you extra defense when you’re using dual attacks and boost your base attributes for the elements you’re wielding. Fire gives you power, Water provides healing power, Air brings extra ferocity (critical chance) and Earth offers additional toughness (armor). Attuning to two elements at the same time provides both full bonuses.
In the first major trait, Superior Elements make your dual attacks inflict weakness and give you an extra critical chance against the enemies suffering from that condition. Meanwhile, the Master’s Fortitude can grant you some extra health.
The second slot also has two decent possibilities. Swift Revenge provides some extra mobility and damage, after usage of a dual attack. It’s especially great for open-world setups. The other option – Weaver’s Prowess increases the condition damage output after attuning to a new element. Condi DPS is not the most popular Elementalist build, but it’s not terrible and it usually utilizes this trait.
The final major trait basically always is Elements of Rage. It provides extra damage when you’re only attuned to a single element and grants you an extra critical chance. It has some really powerful synergy with the Air specialization, but we’re going to talk about it later when we describe a build that uses it.
GW2 Elementalist Builds
Most Elementalist builds use this profession’s skillset to amplify their damage output in various DPS builds. They usually combine either one of the elite specializations with Fire and Air, sometimes using one of the other core specs. We're not going to talk about the WvW and other PvP setups, they're an entirely different beast and this GW2 Elementalist guide is focused on PvE. Most Elementalist damage builds excel at AoE, a single target is often also good, but it's something to keep in mind.
Every profession’s elite specializations are usually on the strong side, but it’s probably the most extreme for Elementalists. As you will see, Tempest and Weaver provide some really efficient combinations. Unfortunately, basically every core GW2 Elementalist build is currently very underwhelming and simply can't compete with meta setups that include Tempest or Weaver. Remember, these setups are just general suggestions, you can always change some traits or skills. A lot comes down to personal preference and making adjustments for different locations.
Similarly to most open-world setups, this build provides some additional survivability next to substantial damage output. The specializations that it uses are Tempest, Air, and Earth.
It utilizes the amazing synergy between Tempest overload skills and the Fresh Air trait in the Air tree. Overloads are the powerful spells that make your attunements go on longer cooldowns, while Fresh Air recharges your Air Attunement on every critical hit. The build also applies auras to allies.
This interaction lets you spam Overload Air for AoE damage, vulnerability and empowering your allies’ attacks with static charges. The remaining Air traits provide you more critical chance and critical damage. Earth tree lets you receive less damage, protect allies with auras thanks to Elemental Shielding and cleanse conditions.
The Tempest tree provides some options, depending on whether you want to increase your own damage output or provide more utility with auras. Unstable Conduit is necessary as it grants auras to your teammates when you overload an element (which you’ll be doing a lot). Invigorating Torrents is the supportive option, while Harmonious Conduit provides more damage. In the last slot, go for either Imbued Melodies or Elemental Bastion for more defensive utility.
The recommended weapon set is dagger+warhorn as it works well with the critical strike boosts from the Air tree. For the utility skills, using the shouts provided by Tempest specialization is probably the best option. “Feel the Burn!”, “Flash-Freeze!” and “Aftershock!” all provide extra auras to your team. Glyph of Elementals is a good elite option.
Overall, it’s a great all-round open-world build. It provides a great mixture of direct damage, conditions as well as defensive and offensive utility. Unfortunately, a core version of this build is impossible to achieve, since a huge portion of the DPS comes from the Tempest-exclusive overload mechanic.
Weaver Power DPS
This build is designed for more demanding, endgame content. It’s focused solely on optimizing the damage output, using Air, Fire and Weaver specializations. Once again, the Fresh Air trait plays a huge role in this setup and it’s crucial to make it work. It's important to note that Weaver builds are generally pretty hard in terms of execution. Learning the rotations with a dual-attunement mechanic can take some time, but it's definitely worth it.
One more time, the remaining Air traits enhance your critical damage. Burning Precision from the Fire tree inflicts burning when you critically strike an enemy. The remaining important traits are all in the Weaver tree. Superior Elements, Swift Revenge, and Elements of Rage all provide substantial damage boosts.
Fresh Air lets you stay attuned to Air as much as you want, while Elements of Rage increases your damage when you’re using only one attunement. Of course, you’re going to want to wield two elements at certain moments, to use some dual attacks or specific elemental spells. However, you can switch to Air only to get the +10% to your burst rotation.
This setup can be played with sword+dagger or with a staff. The first variant lets you achieve higher DPS numbers though, so we recommend using that. You should use Conjure Fiery Greatsword as your elite spell since it’s the highest damage option. Glyph of Elemental Harmony provides healing and boons, while Primordial Stance lets you inflict more conditions. You can consider replacing Arcane Blast with Conjure Lightning Hammer when you get better at using the conjuring weapons. Upon equipping, it provides really powerful damage options like Invoke Lightning.
Overall, this build deals a lot of direct damage, mostly through landing a lot of critical strikes that are further empowered by some of the traits. Extra conditions are not that important, but they further increase the total DPS. It’s not the easiest damage dealer to play, as the specific rotations sometimes get really complicated, but if you can put in enough time to master it, you’re going to deal massive amounts of DPS during fractals and raid boss encounters.
To really optimize your damage output, you have to go with the right runes and sigils. Superior Rune of the Scholar is perfect for this critical damage-based build, so we definitely recommend going with that. Superior Sigil of Force is a really safe bet for any power DPS setup, the other sigil choice is rather situational. Mighty Agony Infusion is the way to go.
Water Tempest Support Healer
As we mentioned earlier, Elementalists can be played as supports. This build utilizes Water, Arcane and Tempest as specializations. It relies on healing provided by the Water tree as well as shouts and auras from the elite spec. It’s somewhat similar to the Auramancer build, but it leans even more towards healing and team-wide utility.
Soothing Ice and Soothing Power provide constant restoration. Arcane Resurrection improves your reviving and provides extra healing. Evasive Arcana lets you heal allies with dodges if you’re attuned to Water. In the Tempest tree, Invigorating Torrents and Elemental Bastion provide even more healing. In the first slot, you can either choose an automatic stun break, endurance regeneration or extra auras. You can also replace Arcane with Earth for some additional defensive utility.
It’s a reasonable secondary support build. It provides quite powerful healing with a massive range. The biggest drawback is the relatively small amount of boons that you provide to your team. The other support has to make up for it. That’s why this build is great in tandem with a Druid. This duo can definitely work in fractal runs and maybe even some raids.
As far as the weapon skills go, you’re going to want to stay attuned to water as much as possible. For the rest of your skill bar, you can actually just take only shouts. They provide auras to the nearby allies and can inflict some conditions on the enemies. “Rebound!” is a great death-preventing elite skill. Weapons are not that important for Elementalists, but as with many other support builds, staff might just be your best bet.
Guild Wars 2 Professions
Elementalist is a great spell caster profession, but it can be a bit difficult for a starting player. Before creating your character, you can always read about other GW2 Classes. They are Mesmer, Necromancer, Warrior, Revenant, Guardian, Thief, Ranger and Engineer. You can take our guides for each one of them to get some help in deciding which class to play and how to start.
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