Guide to playing as an elementalist

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[edit] Overview

The Elementalist commands the four elemental forces: earth, air, fire, and water. With magic derived from the very foundations of nature itself, Elementalists can inflict more damage in a single strike than any other profession. There are as many types of Elementalists as there are elements and ways to combine them. Some Elementalists choose to study two or more elements to maintain broad discipline, though many prefer to focus on one unique element. Earth magic triggers quakes and volcanoes, envelopes foes in solid rock, and can add to the strength and stamina of allies. Air magic is driven by the power of storms and lightning, granting allies greater speed or targeting specific foes with a focused, high-damage attack. Fire magic is often considered the most purely destructive form, inflicting searing pain and damage on multiple enemies. The magic of Water is highly manipulative. Water magic summons ice and mist to slow enemies down and blur their vision, inflicts freezing cold damage, and even protects allies from other forms of magical attack.

[edit] Attributes

[edit] Energy Storage (Primary Attribute)

Each rank of Energy Storage increases maximum Energy by 3. Most Energy Storage skills involve Energy management and/or self-healing.

[edit] Fire Magic

Fire Magic is the most heavily offense-oriented Elementalist attribute. In addition to offensive skills, the attribute also includes several support skills, including a large number of energy management skills. Several Fire Magic skills inflict or synergize with Burning, and two Fire Magic skills, Meteor and Meteor Shower, can inflict knock down. Fire is the most effective form of elemental power for AoE (Area of Effect) damage.

[edit] Water Magic

Water Magic's nukes generally inflict less damage and take longer to recharge than their Earth Magic or Fire Magic counterparts, however, in addition to inflicting damage, they are generally also snare hexes. Water Magic also includes a number defensive and movement speed buff Enchantments, snare hexes and skills which can inflict Blind and cause knock down, as well as two Energy management spells, Water Attunement and Glowing Ice. Water Magic also includes a few powerful spike skills, such as Shatterstone and Vapor Blade.

[edit] Earth Magic

Earth Magic contains a mixture of offensive and defensive skills. Compared to their closest Fire Magic counterparts, Earth Magic nukes are generally more expensive, but many cause knock-down or inflict conditions as well and affect larger areas as well (all Earth nukes have nearby range, while most Fire nukes have adjacent range). Earth Magic also has a few armor ignoring damage spells. On the defensive side, Earth Magic has a number of ward spells, as well as several enchantment spells that protect the caster. Finally, Earth Magic includes a number of snare hexes, and Earth Magic spells can cause knock down and inflict Blind and Weakness. All these things combined make Earth Magic a very well rounded attribute that can perform well in numerous situations without really changing a build.

[edit] Air Magic

Air Magic includes a number of efficient, spammable (little/no recharge time, easy to cast in mass quantaties) single-target damage spells, many of which have 25% armor penetration, however it only has six AoE skills, Lightning Touch, Teinai's Wind and Whirlwind (which have low damage and are point blank area of effect skills), Chain Lightning and Invoke Lightning (which can only strike 3 foes and cause exhaustion), and Arc Lightning (which can strike a second target if the primary target is under the effect of a Water Magic hex). Air Magic skills can knock down foes, and inflict Blind, Cracked Armor and Weakness. Air Magic includes a number of skills which synergize with Water Magic hexes. Air Magic includes a number of movement speed buffs, including Windborne Speed, the only Elementalist movement speed buff which can target other allies.

[edit] Role of the Elementalist

[edit] Doublecast enchantments

With the addition of Doublecast Enchantments, the Elementalist can better serve their team by adding buffs while also having an additional effect at the same time.

[edit] Overcast skills

Overcast is a supplemental cost required by some elementalist skills and by some effects (usually triggered by skill usage).

[edit] Understanding the profession

[edit] PvE

In PvE, Elementalists often focus on area of effect (AoE) damage to kill as many enemies as possible. Fire magic is the most effective line for AoE damage, but Earth, Water and Air each have their own AoE spells. While they often deal less damage, they often have other useful effects such as knock-down, snaring or interrupts.

A few noteworthy "nukes" include:

  • Searing Flames - the basic deal-damage-to-target spell. With a low recharge time of 2 sec, even a single user of Searing Flames can deal considerable AOE damage, and inflict degen on top of that. The casting cost of Searing Flames requires good energy management, such as Glyph of Lesser Energy.
  • Savannah Heat - every bit as powerful as Searing Flames, this spell will cause tremendous damage over time (DoT) to any targets caught in its radius
  • Rodgort's Invocation is the epitome of nuking; tremendous damage and a sufficiently lengthy burning effect, all rather spammable with a fast recharge (if you have good energy management)
  • Meteor Shower, a spell obtained in Prophecies, combines periodic knockdown with powerful AoE damage.
  • Sandstorm - a long-lasting, large-radius Earth nuke that deals double damage to attacking foes.
  • Maelstrom - this Water nuke interrupts spellcasters every time they are hit by the spell.
  • Deep Freeze - a nuke that also slows down enemies for 10 seconds, even with 0 points in Water Magic.

Other, more advanced roles the Elementalist can perform in PvE include using wards to protect the team, applying defensive conditions on enemies, tanking (with the right build) and/or snaring foes so they can be attacked more easily by the team's melee characters. In addition, Elementalists are sometimes asked by advanced players to take on roles normally assigned to monks, such as protters (making use of Ether Renewal to provide energy for endless chaining of Protection Prayers).

[edit] PvP

In PvP, Elementalists are mostly a utility profession - basically, an Elementalist with only damage spells on his bar is ineffective. A few damage skills (preferably with high spike damage or lots of pressure potential) mixed in with more flexible skills (such as condition application or wards) is the way to go.

Some Elementalist builds focus on damage, but they don't sacrifice utility. Savannah Heat "nukers" are popular in Heroes' Ascent, because they stack high AoE damage potential with protection or speed buffs.

As is true with most professions in PvP, Elementalists usually don't bring self-heals.

[edit] Staying alive

Elementalists in traditional roles stay alive primarily with the basic tactical skills employed by all casters with an Armor Level (AL) of 60 - kiting and maintaining correct mid-line distances and positions. The profession as a whole is heavily dependent on enchantments (Aura of Restoration, Elemental Lord, various elemental attunement enchantments), so an Elementalist is vulnerable to enchantment-removal skills.

[edit] Playing in a party

  • Glyph of Lesser Energy can fuel target-other buffs (such as Great Dwarf Weapon).
  • Wards can mitigate damage party-wide.
  • Try to have a resurrection of some sort in your build.
  • Know what your party members are up to, so you are able to help them either by snaring large mobs or single targets, causing AoE damage to large mobs, casting wards, or whatever you are supposed to do with your build.

[edit] What to avoid

  • Considering Energy Storage a form of energy management. Elementalists need Energy Storage to effectively utilize Overcast skills; and they need energy management skills just as much as other caster professions.
  • Using area damage over time (ADoT) spells on moving targets.
  • Wasting AoE spells on single targets.
  • Casting spells under dangerous anti-caster Hexes, such as Backfire and Visions of Regret.
  • Staying in the frontline or not moving out of opposing ADoT spells; you will take high damage due to low armor rating, requiring healers to spend excessive energy to keep you alive.

[edit] Play styles

You have offensive and defensive styles, depending on your elemental mastery:

  • Fire Magic - Use to nuke or close-up spike using skills like Double Dragon and Starburst.
  • Earth Magic - Use defensive nukes like Stone Sheath and Unsteady Ground. Flexibility is the key, as you can both nuke and defend with the same skills.
  • Air Magic - Use armor penetrating skills like Shell Shock to undermine the target's defense. Gale is a useful utility spell that can snare and disrupt alike.
  • Water Magic - Use to heal allies while snaring enemies and deal cold damage.
  • Energy Storage - Playing a secondary monk, necromancer or ritualist to use party buff skills, e.g. Weapon spells, orders skills, or party heals.

[edit] Damage styles

[edit] Echoing and nuking

Due to the slow recharge of some very powerful nuking skills, some Elementalists choose to use the Mesmer skills Arcane Echo and the elite Echo which allows an E/Me to repeat his/her strongest spells upon a target. Using both of the echo skills, area of effect spells like Meteor Shower and Rodgort's Invocation can be cast up to three times in seconds. Using this tactic, the Elementalist can potentially triple their damage per second (DPS). The elite Elementalist skill Glyph of Renewal also allows the caster to instantly regain the skill they just cast. Either of these methods delivers high damage output in a very short amount of time, but may also drain the Elementalist's energy in a very short amount of time if proper energy management tactics are not taken.

In PvE game-play, the Elementalist can usually be found filling a heavy damage role called a "nuker". The role of a nuker is to inflict large amounts of damage over a given area in a short period of time weakening or killing whole groups of enemies, which lends this role its nickname. This is typically done using Fire Magic, but other elements are being used with the introduction of some new skills like the elite skill Sandstorm. An efficient nuker will usually remain behind a set of tanks while casting spells from a distance. In PvE, a nuker may effectively take out an entire group at once just by understanding the effects of their skills on the enemy AI. Nuking is also effective in Alliance battle due to the large amount of enemies.

PvXwiki Examples - Savannah Heat Echo - Searing Flames Nuker

[edit] Dealing pressure and spike damage

A pressure build is designed to deal consistent amounts of damage over a long period of time, with the intention of causing enemy healers to eventually run out of energy, leading to their team's collapse. Typical Elementalist pressure builds include highly damaging spells, such as Rodgort's Invocation coupled with powerful Energy management skills, like Mind Blast, to keep the spells coming, not giving enemies rest time.
Spiking is the art of focusing a lot of damage on a single target during a very short period. For example, an Elementalist who uses Air Magic spells (that commonly offer 25% armor penetration) to deal a quick and large amount of damage to a single target, usually in coordination with other party member(s).

[edit] Support styles

[edit] Healing and Battery

Elementalists with secondary professions such as the Monk or Ritualist can support party healers by firing off powerful anti-spike heals like Infuse Health or party heals like Protective Was Kaolai, the costs of which can be mitigated by Ether Renewal, Glyph of Lesser Energy and other energy management skills.

PvX Examples - Protector - Ether Renewal Infuser

[edit] Control styles

[edit] Snaring and warding

Snaring the enemy is a strategy often used by Elementalists in PvP for defense and to immobilize the enemy for spikes. Water magic is extremely effective at slowing the enemies' movements with hexes. Skills such as Ice Spikes can apply a speed reduction to multiple foes at the same time. This allows teammates ample time to get out of the way, or to spike the ensnared foes.

PvX Examples - Earth Warder

[edit] Shutdown and utility

Shutdown elementalists are prevalent in PvP, and work to disable foes in a way they cannot do their intended job. Elementalists' strongest shutdown options are to constantly Blind or cause Weakness on physical professions, such as Warriors, greatly reducing their damage or making them miss attacks completely. Spells that cause blindness include Blinding Surge, Blinding Flash, Steam and Ash Blast. Weakness-causing spells include Enervating Charge and Ebon Hawk. The Water Magic hex Blurred Vision is also a reliable option to shutdown physical foes.

[edit] Farming and tanking

Frequently referred to as Enchanted Tank or Terra Tank, these elementalists use earth magic to reduce damage with the help of Stone Striker, Mantra of Earth and Obsidian Flesh, which makes the elementalist immune to magic and highly resistant to physical damage.

PvX Examples - Obsidian Flesh

[edit] Energy management

Energy management is the way an Elementalist tries to prevent their energy dropping to the point where they do not have enough energy to cast the spells they need to in the time they need to (in most cases, below 20 or so). It is important to note that Energy Storage is not, in and of itself, energy management; managing one's energy is more than simply being able to cast spells for longer. Proper energy management will thwart minor energy denial and leave the Elementalist enough energy to cast a big, expensive support skill (such as Rodgort's Invocation or Deep Freeze) when his team needs it.

Different methods of Energy Management:

  • The primary method by which an Elementalist manages his energy is via a combination of an elemental attunement (Earth, Fire, Air, or Water Attunement) and Glyph of Lesser Energy. The attunements greatly reduce the cost of the Elementalist's otherwise expensive spells, but make the Elementalist vulnerable to enchantment removal. Conversely, Glyph of Lesser Energy is a powerful, unstrippable skill with the downside of a very obvious casting symbol (which may draw attention to the Elementalist as a prime target for interrupts).
  • The Necromancer skills Blood Ritual and Blood is Power can be used by allies to increase energy regeneration for a period of time.
  • Some Elementalist skills like Glowing Gaze, Glowing Ice, Glowstone, Shock Arrow and Mind Blast can return energy to the caster depending on certain conditions.
  • An Elementalist can combine Aura of Restoration or Elemental Lord (or both) with Elemental Attunement and his elemental attunement to gain back 100% of the energy used to cast the spell (over 100% in some low energy spells if using both Aura of Restoration and Elemental Lord) and thus never run out of energy. This allows the Elementalist to spam even high energy cost but short recharging spells to deal huge amounts of damage to foes or a group of foes in the case of AoE spells. However, this Elementalist is even more reliant on his enchantments than others and will be severely crippled if they are removed early.
  • Ether Renewal gives energy return on spell use. Combined with multiple enchantments, energy is gained on use of spells instead of using energy.

[edit] Choice of secondary professions

Monk, Ritualist or Paragon is often used to provide a reusable Resurrection skill.

Guides for all Professions
Core: Warrior WarriorRanger RangerMonk MonkNecromancer NecromancerMesmer MesmerElementalist Elementalist
Factions: Assassin AssassinRitualist Ritualist        Nightfall: Paragon ParagonDervish Dervish
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