In my experience, playing a fire Elementalist is not only a viable concept, but it is actually kick-ass! You’re always told that Elementalists are versatile. While being versatile is nice, it shouldn’t be mandatory.
Today I want to look at what goes into building a successful fire Elementalist. We’ll look at the weapons, skills and traits that make us bask in our own fiery glow! Oh yes, and we will stand in the fire! I’ve always dreamed of not only standing in the fire, but of being its source!
Keep Two Weapon Sets Handy
Your fire Elementalist is going to have two modes: here and there. You need to keep the staff handy because it’s a nice all-purpose weapon to have on an Elementalist. It provides nice Area of Effect damage, utility and healing.
That said, you’ll want to spend a majority of your time with dual-daggers. D/D (as it’s become known) is a heavy-damage combination in which we focus on applying Burning. After our foes have been set aflame, we make them explode with Fire Grab. It’s really satisfying. D/D provides nice cone AoE damage while giving us some nice escape utility with Burning Speed.
Dump All Your Trait Points Into Fire, Then Earth
It should go without saying that an Elementalist wanting to stay in Fire all the time should throw points at the Fire Magic trait line like I throw money at ArenaNet for petty baubles like the aviator sunglasses. Every point (in the fire trait line) gets you extra Power and Condition duration, which really helps with our Burning applications. What trait line after that, though? There are a few options (well…4 actually), but generally speaking you’ll want to go for earth magic after fire. The Toughness helps for standing in melee range, and the Condition Damage really boosts our Burning damage.
Honestly, there are some min/max options for the actual trait perks you choose, but choose what you prefer. I would recommend traits that help deal extra Burning damage (as opposed to increasing duration) or traits that give you some survivability. Three of my favorite examples are: Ember’s Might (5% extra damage to burning foes), Internal Fire (10% extra damage while attuned to fire…Yes, please!), and Pyromancer’s Alacrity for a speedy Fire Grab cooldown. For Earth, we’re a bit more flexible: Stone Splinters (extra melee damage), Geomancer’s Freedom (reduced times for certain conditions) and Written In Stone. I love that last one; you keep getting the passive effects from signets even while they’re on cooldown!
Take Utility Skills That Help Deal Damage or Provide Escape Utility
We have quite a bit of damage from our basic attacks, so it might not be a good idea to continue dealing damage. That said, I’m a greedy bastard, and I always take Arcane Power for some burst damage. After that, I start to take the mildly-defensive skills: Cleansing Fire is a personal favorite of mine, all things considered. It removes conditions and stun while burning the enemy. That’s a nice tide-turner right there! Then there is Signet of Earth, which adds extra toughness and applies Immobilize to our target on use.
Another skill I chose frequently was Glyph of Elemental Power. Awesome extra burning on auto attacks!
Know Your Other Attunement’s Escape and Healing Spells
You’ll spend most of your time in Fire Attunement, but don’t completely waste your other attunements! You need to be aware of which attunements have specific skills that can save your life in times of terror and retreat. I won’t go into detail here, but the point is to rely on skills that slow or stop your enemy while speeding you up or making you tougher.
What do y’all think about going this specific? A large part of the community prefers to spread their talents amongst the different schools of magic. One of the best things about the Elementalist is that is it what you make it. There is a ridiculous amount of freedom of play with our profession, and I choose not to waste it!
The Fire Elementalist is a fragile, tricky thing. They’re not terribly difficult to build, but they employ a complex style of play. That’s another column though! For today, I hope that you spend some time after launch playing this fantastic beast.