Greetings, my fellow elementalists! Whether you’re a wind witch, a wizard of water, an earthen behemoth, or a good ol’ fashioned pyromaniac, the Elementalist profession offers you a level of versatility unmatched in Guild Wars 2. While we can only use one weapon at a time, we have four times the weapon skills available to us on our chosen weapons.
All those shiny buttons can overwhelm us at first, but once you’re comfortable with your attunements and the roles they fill, you’ll be mastering the elements no matter what weapon set you choose. We’re going to break down each of our four attunements and learn how to weave them like true masters of the elements. This is not meant to be a comprehensive guide to all of the weapon skills, but rather a selection of the signature abilities you should keep in mind when you don’t know which attunement to swap to next.
Seems pretty obvious–fire is for BURNING IT TO THE GROUND! And fire certainly delivers, offering the most up-front damage on its signature abilities.
But there’s more to life than just reducing your enemies to smoldering husks (hard to believe, I know). Fire offers really strong AoE damage. All it takes is a spark–just ask Smokey the Bear. The auto-attack abilities Fireball and Dragon’s Claw on our Staff and Dagger can hit multiple targets; Flame Burst, a Staff skill, spreads the flame to nearby enemies. Lava Font on the Staff, Ring of Fire on the Dagger, and Flame Wall on the Focus offer great fire fields, as well, perfect for performing a Combo with your allies.
And the hidden star of the show is the Burning condition. Load your enemies up with Burning via one of the fire fields above or a conal attack like Drake’s Breath, then flame-punch them with Fire Grab! Cackle in maniacal delight as they crumple like so much ash! Or, just to make sure everything’s really, really dead, drop a Meteor Shower. It’s guaranteed to keep carpet-bombing the area long after the job’s done.
“Oh,” you say, “the healing attunement.” Water does offer some incredible heals and chances to apply Regeneration to yourself and allies, from the ground-targeted Geyser and Healing Rain on the Staff (which can make for some lovely combo fields) to Cone of Cold on the Dagger and Water Trident on the Scepter. But Water offers some great opportunities to apply conditions, as well. Vulnerability is my personal favorite, which you can apply with Vapor Blade on the Dagger, Ice Spike on the Staff, and Shatterstone on the Scepter. Even if your Water abilities in and of themselves don’t hit for much, a healthy stack of Vulnerability will make everything else hit harder.
Chill is another winner from Water, available on Frozen Burst on the Dagger, Frozen Ground on the Staff, and Freezing Gust on the Focus. It’s going to be more valuable in solo play and PvP, when you can’t let things chase you, than massive dynamic event fights against a single enemy, but keep it in mind.
I know what you think: Earth is boring. I thought so, too. Until I got more comfortable with it. Now Earth is nearly always my favorite way to kick off a long fight, because Earth is brutal.
My absolute favorite Earth ability is Churning Earth on the Dagger. In addition to massive, spiky damage, it drops a nice stack of Bleeding on your enemies. And this is Earth’s secret strength–Bleed application. From Ring of Earth on Dagger, Shockwave on Staff, and Stone Shards on Scepter, you can rack up some vicious damage over time with your Earth abilities.
There’s more to Earth than just bleeds, though. Cripples are invaluable in movement fights, from Unsteady Ground on Staff to Churning Earth again. The knockdown/interrupt on Earthquake on the Dagger is crucial for stopping an enemy from launching its big ability, as is Dust Devil‘s Blind on Scepter, and the projectile deflection on Magnetic Aura on the Staff or Magnetic Wave on the Focus will save your hide in a ranged battle. Earth is all about protecting you while making life miserable for your foes.
The Air attunement is something of a grab bag. All the types of abilities contained within Air make sense for this element, but are nonetheless varied. Still, there are some common themes we can focus on.
Most obvious are the movement speed bonuses: Ride the Lightning on our Dagger and Windborne Speed on our Staff. We can also control our enemy’s movement: Static Field on Staff, Gust on Staff and Updraft on Daggers for knockbacks and knockdowns, and Gale on the Focus. We can Blind them with Lightning Surge on the Staff and Blinding Flash on the Scepter, Weaken them with Lightning Touch on our Daggers, and eradicate their projectiles with the Focus’s Swirling Winds.
Whatever weapon set you choose, I hope you’ll now feel more confident weaving through the attunements at your disposal. Get comfortable with what sorts of abilities you can reliably expect from any given attunement, and cycle through them in combat. Figure out what combinations work for you. Do you like opening with a Cripple ability in Earth, then swapping to Fire to drop some big firebombs? Do you prefer to stack Vulnerability on your foe in Water, then move over to Air to zap them repeatedly? Let me know in the comments below!
And if there are any particular topics in mastering the elements that you’d like to learn more about, please tell us. We’d be happy to explore whatever subject interests you.
Until then, let the elements be your guides!