Guide to playing as an elementalist

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Cleanup It has been suggested that this article should be rewritten, because: Should follow the template established in Guide to playing as a dervish.
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This page contains information about an element of Guild Wars that has changed since the original writing, and may need to be updated to reflect the current state of the game.

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The elementalist is a core profession that commands the four elemental forces: air, earth, fire, and water. The primary role of the elementalist is to deal damage to multiple foes at once. With their elemental spells they can also spike, pressure, snare or tank. Most elementalists focus on the power of a single element while some combine their elements for a larger variety of effects.

To make sure they can cast their spells, elementalists have the highest energy pool of any profession and posses a skill type unique to them, the glyph. Glyphs can increase the power of spells, decrease their casting time, reduce their energy cost or prevent them from being interrupted. Altough the elementalist has some strong defensive skills they lack both a condition removal and a hex removal.


Energy Storage (Primary Attribute)[edit]

Energy storage is the primary attribute of the elementalist and each rank increases the maximum energy of the elementalist by 3 points. The skills found in Energy Storage are mostly energy management skills. The self healing skills are also found in this attribute.

Fire Magic[edit]

Fire Magic is the most offensive attribute. Many spells found in this attribute deal fire damage to multiple foes at once and inflict burning condition. It is a simple and straightforward attribute that is easy to use for beginners. For pure damage it is the attribute of choice.

Air Magic[edit]

Air Magic is an offensive oriented attribute. The spells inside this attribute generally deal lightning damage and have an armor penetration of 25%, most of these spells deal damage to a single foe but there are some spells that can hit multiple foes. Air Magic also has spells that improve the mobility of allies and has multiple spells that can knock down enemies. Many spells found inside this attribute can inflict blind and cracked armor. Air magic is effective against high armored enemies.

Earth Magic[edit]

Earth Magic is a supportive attribute. Earth Magic spells can deal a great amount of earth damage to both a single target and multiple foes and has the most defensive skills. The attribute also possesses multiple spells that can inflicts weakness, snare and knock down foes and most of the ward spells are also found inside this attribute. Earth Magic is the most balanced attribute of the elementalist and it takes some practice to fully master this attribute.

Water Magic[edit]

Water Magic is a supportive attribute. Water Magic possesses multiple hex spells that can snare multiple foes as well as some defensive spells and spells that can both heal you and your allies. Water Magic spells deal cold damage but compared to the other elements, they deal a lower amount of damage. Water Magic spells have been designed to support your team and control the enemy instead of just killing the enemy. Because of this it is also a difficult attribute to use compared to the other elements.

Damage and Control[edit]

The primary role of the elementalist is to deal damage, with action denial as an auxiliary function. They have a large amount of spells that can hit multiple foes inside an area and even have spells that deal damage inside an area over a period of time. These aspects allows for considerable control over enemy movement on the battlefield, as it forces foes to either readjust their positioning or risk an attempt to absorb extreme damage. It is important to properly know the range your spells have and to choose the correct target.

Area of effect vs. Damage over time[edit]

Area of effect (AoE) spells are "area denial weapons", being the most likely to hit multiple foes when you target the foe that is in the epicenter of a hostile group, than against the foe that is at the edge of said group. It is also important to know wich foes you have to target. Fire Magic simply deals damage but Water Magic has spells that can disrupts skills or reduce the effectiveness of attacks, choosing the proper target for these spells is important so their effects don't go to waste.

Damage over time (DoT) spells deal damage to multiple foes over a period of time within a single cast. These spells generally deal a large amount of damage and have often a long recharge and high cost. In PvE, foes that are within the area of these spells will move outside of them after a short period. To prevent foes from moving outside of the range of your DoT spells a snare is adviced. Earthen Shackles and Deep Freeze are both very effective for this since the duration of the snare of these spells does not scale with their attributes. However, it can also be used as a defensive tactic to break an agro from foes or to scatter foes from a certain location.

Doublecast and Wards[edit]

Another aspect of area of effect the elementalist has are the doublecast spells and the ward spells. The doublecast spells are 5 elite spells that can target both an ally or a foe and affect both you or the targeted ally or the ally closest to the foe you targeted. When these spells are used on the proper targets they can become very effective, both offensively and defensively. The Ward spells activate at the location of the caster and usually have a defensive effect. Altough they are not of great importance to the play of the elementalist, for both PvE and PvP they can be very effective if used correctly.

Elemental synergy[edit]

List of elemental skills that benifit from other elemental skills
Icon Name Description Overcast Energy Activation time Recharge time Attribute Campaign
Ash Blast.jpg

Ash Blast

Hex Spell. Deals 35...59...65 earth damage. Burning foes are hexed for 5 seconds and miss 20...64...75% of attacks. Also strikes adjacent. 0 055 Tango-energy.png 01.001 Tango-activation-darker.png 01515 Tango-recharge-darker.png Earth MagicZ Factions
Chilling Winds.jpg

Chilling Winds

Hex Spell. (10 seconds.) The next water hex on target foe lasts 25...85...100% longer. Initial effect: 30...54...60 cold damage. Also strikes adjacent. 0 055 Tango-energy.png 01.001 Tango-activation-darker.png 0088 Tango-recharge-darker.png Air MagicZ Nightfall
Elemental Flame.jpg

Elemental Flame

Enchantment Spell. (10...30...35 seconds.) Inflicts Burning condition (1...4...5 second[s]) whenever you apply an Elemental hex to a target. 0 1010 Tango-energy.png 01.001 Tango-activation-darker.png 03030 Tango-recharge-darker.png Fire MagicZ Nightfall
Elemental Flame (PvP).jpg

Elemental Flame (PvP)

Enchantment Spell. (5...17...20 seconds.) Inflicts Burning condition (1...2...2 second[s]) whenever you apply an Elemental hex to a target. 0 1010 Tango-energy.png 01.001 Tango-activation-darker.png 03030 Tango-recharge-darker.png Fire MagicZ Nightfall
Glyph of Swiftness.jpg

Glyph of Swiftness

Glyph. (15 seconds.) Your next 1...4...5 spell[s] recharge 25% faster and projectiles from them move 200% faster. 0 055 Tango-energy.png 01.001 Tango-activation-darker.png 01010 Tango-recharge-darker.png Air MagicZ Eye of the North
Iron Mist.jpg

Iron Mist

Enchantment Spell. (8...14...15 seconds.) Gain +15 armor. Air Magic spells that target a foe activate and recharge 25% faster, but you are Overcast by 3 points. 0 1010 Tango-energy.png 01.001 Tango-activation-darker.png 02020 Tango-recharge-darker.png Tango-quest-icon.png Earth MagicZ Prophecies
Slippery Ground (PvP).jpg

Slippery Ground (PvP)

Spell. Causes knock-down if this foe is Blind or moving. 50% failure chance unless Water Magic 5 or higher. 0 055 Tango-energy.png 01.001 Tango-activation-darker.png 02020 Tango-recharge-darker.png Water MagicZ Eye of the North


Spell. Deals 20...52...60 cold damage. Inflicts Blindness condition (5...9...10 seconds) if target foe is Burning. 0 055 Tango-energy.png 01.001 Tango-activation-darker.png 0088 Tango-recharge-darker.png Water MagicZ Nightfall
Teinai's Crystals.jpg

Teinai's Crystals

Spell. Deals 20...36...40 damage to target. Deals +20...36...40 more [sic] damage and causes Cracked Armor (5...13...15 seconds) nearby if that foe had a Water Magic hex. 0 055 Tango-energy.png 01.001 Tango-activation-darker.png 0088 Tango-recharge-darker.png Earth MagicZ Factions
Teinai's Heat.jpg

Teinai's Heat

Ward Spell. (10...14...15 seconds.) Causes -2...4...5 health [sic] degeneration. Weakened foes in the ward attack 33% slower. Disabled for 20 seconds. 0 1515 Tango-energy.png 01.001 Tango-activation-darker.png 02020 Tango-recharge-darker.png Fire MagicZ Factions
Teinai's Prison.jpg

Teinai's Prison

Hex Spell. (1...5...6 second[s].) Target foe moves 66% slower. Foes with Cracked Armor have 5...8...9 Health degeneration. 0 1010 Tango-energy.png 01.001 Tango-activation-darker.png 01515 Tango-recharge-darker.png Water MagicZ Factions
Teinai's Wind.jpg

Teinai's Wind

Spell. Deals 10...34...40 cold damage. Burning foes take +40...72...80 damage and are interrupted. Also strikes adjacent. 0 055 Tango-energy.png 01.001 Tango-activation-darker.png 0088 Tango-recharge-darker.png Air MagicZ Factions
Ward of Weakness.jpg

Ward of Weakness

Ward Spell. (5...17...20 seconds). Inflicts Weakened condition (5...17...20 seconds) to any foes that take elemental damage in this ward. 0 1010 Tango-energy.png 01.001 Tango-activation-darker.png 02020 Tango-recharge-darker.png Earth MagicZ Eye of the North

Overcast and Energy Management[edit]

Main articles: Overcast and Energy Management

The spells of the elementalist generally have a high cost and can deplete your energy quite fast. To make sure you can continue to cast your spells a form of energy management is needed. Most commonly used for this are Glyph of Lesser Energy and the 4 attunements, Fire Attunement, Air Attunement, Earth Attunement and Water Attunement. These 4 spells return 30% +1 of the energy cost of the spells from their attribute. The attunements are always covered by Aura of Restoration wich serves as healing and gives 1 energy whenever you cast a spell. The attunement also have an elite version Elemental Attunement that returns an even greater amount of energy, it can effectively be combined with the non-elite versions, this form of energy management is commonly referred to as Dual Attunement. Dual Attunement combined with Aura of Restoration gives a full energy return of spell with the cost of 5 energy and 10 energy of their respective elemental attribute. This is a popular combination for a strong form of energy management because these skills can be found in all campaigns.

Overcast is a negative effect that reduces your maximum energy. It is shown as a grey section on your energy bar, like deep wound is shown on your health bar. Overcast is a stackable effect and can put a great amount of pressure on your energy if you accumulate too many of it so be careful when using overcast skills. Overcast dissipates by 1 point every 3 seconds and the only way to counter overcast is the elite skill Glyph of Energy. The elementalist also possesses multiple skills that benefit from overcast. Skills that cause overcast have a grey icon Overcast before their energy cost icon. Be careful you don't stack up on overcast or deplete your energy, an elementalist without energy is useless.

Strategies and Tactics[edit]


Frequently the domain of Fire Magic spells. They are heavy focused on Area of Effect (AoE) and Damage Over Time (DOT) and have the ability to inflict burning.

These builds focus mostly around the 2 elite skills Searing Flames for the AoE type build and Savannah Heat for the DoT build.

Although the focus lies on the elite skills Searing Flames and Savannah Heat, Fire Magic offers plenty of skills that allow you to nuke without relying on those 2 elite skills.


Frequently the domain of Air Magic spells. They deal the highest average Damage per Second (DPS) against single target(s) and have the ability to inflict cracked armor. Popular skills for this are Lightning Hammer, Invoke Lightning, Lightning Strike and Lightning Orb. Shock Arrow is used for additional energy management.


This can be done in different ways. Fire Magic can pressure foes by continuously inflicting burning condition to foes with skills such as Mind Burn or Immolate. Air Magic can pressure foes by blinding foes with Blinding Flash, Blinding Surge or Glimmering Mark or causing knock downs with Lightning Surge or Gale. Earth Magic can pressure trough knock down with the combination of Ebon Hawk, Stoning and Glowstone. Earth Magic also possesses some DoT spells that have conditional effects wich can pressure foes.


This is a PvP tactic that makes use of Earth Magic and Water Magic. Earth Magic makes use of point blank spells Grasping Earth and Ward Against Foes while Water Magic makes use of ranged spells. Water Magic has a large amount of hex spells that reduce movement of foes by 66%. The elite spells Mind Freeze and Icy Shackles can reduce movement speed up to 90% if the conditions are met and Water Trident can continuously knock down up to 3 moving foes. Ice Spikes, Deep Freeze and Mirror of Ice can be used to snare multiple foes at once. Air Magic spell Chilling Winds can be used to extend the duration of your Water Magic hexes.


This is a PvE build that uses the defensive spells of Earth Magic and requires the Mesmer as a secondary profession. It uses the elite skill Obsidian Flesh to counter spells and for damage reduction uses Stoneflesh Aura and the combination of Stone Striker and Mantra of Earth for energy management. Glyph of Swiftness is used to maintain Obsidian Flesh and Stoneflesh Aura. The remaining skills are mostly used for additional defensive abilities such as Ward of Stability or Armor of Earth.


This is a PvE support build that requires the necromancer as a secondary profession. It combined the elite skill Ether Renewal and Aura of Restoration with the necromancer enchantments Order of Pain and Dark Fury to assist martial characters with damage and adrenaline gain. It allows a fairly large range of utility of Blood Magic spells such as Strip Enchantment, Blood Ritual or Well of Blood.

Important skills

Already mentioned in "Overcast and Energy Management" the attunements are very important for the energy management of an elementalist. Make sure you have the attunement of the element you are using on your skill bar and keep it covered with Aura of Restoration. Since the builds the elementalist uses require the investment of only 1 secondary attribute it allows you to take a large range of utility skills from your secondary profession. Since the elementalist lacks condition and hex removal you can use your secondary profession to take either a condition removal or a hex removal. You can also act as a toolbox and take skills that assists the strategy of your party.

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 damage over time spells on moving targets.
  • Wasting AoE spells on single targets.
  • Staying in the frontline or not moving out of opposing DoT spells; you will take high damage due to low armor rating, requiring healers to spend excessive energy to keep you alive.

Experiment and adjust your build but don't overhaul your build over and over. Stick to the build that works for you and you alone like best, not what other people like, but do listen to any given advice. Adjust your build when the situation demands it to make it work better while keeping to the builds that works for you. Trying out something different for change or for fun never hurts either; be creative with your builds.

For all of the elementalist skills see the list of elementalist skills.


Cleanup This article needs to be cleaned up, see this needs very serious clean-up for details.


The maximum armor rating of the elementalist armor is 60 and has the inherent effects of a maximum energy increase of +10 and an energy regeneration increase of +2. Like any armor set a player can equip, these can be upgraded with insignias (prefix) and runes (suffix). The armor is composed out of a Aura (head), Robes (chest), Gloves (arms), Leggings (legs) and Shoes (feet).

General example

These are the ideal armor upgrades for a elementalist:

  • Hood (<elemental> magic or energy storage): Blessed, of Superior <elemental> Magic (x4) + of Superior Energy Storage
  • Robes: Blessed, of Superior Vigor
  • Vambraces: Blessed, of Minor Earth Magic + Blessed, of Minor Fire Magic + Blessed, of Minor Air Magic + Blessed, of Minor Water Magic
  • Leggings: Blessed, of Vitae
  • Shoes: Blessed, of Minor <elemental> Magic (x4) + of Minor Energy Storage (depending on the rune currently equipped on the hood)

Since you need to invest in between 1-4 Elemental Magics and Energy Storage, it is most advised to have a hood of either of these 5 attributes and upgrade them with a rune of the same attribute. The second rune is best equipped on the chest. It does not matter which of the 5 attributes is used for the hood because of how the attributes are invested. Also since you will be swapping your skills between either Earth/Fire/Air/Water to best suit your current needs, it is advised to have 4 vambraces; each upgraded with an "of Minor <Earth/Fire/Air/Water> Magic" rune.

Most spellcasting professions also use a Rune of Attunement for extra energy, and/or Rune of Recovery to reduce the duration of the Dazed and Deep Wound conditions by 20%.


The ideal insignia(s) for a elementaist are:

Staffs, wands, and foci[edit]

The staff, wand, and foci are Caster weapons with a damage range of 11-22, an attack speed of 1.75 seconds, an attack range of 1.2 danger zone radius, and deals Cold damage, Earth damage, Fire damage or Lightning damage (dependent on the linked attribute). It can be upgraded with a Staff Head (prefix), a Focus Core, Staff Wrapping or Wand Wrapping (suffix) and an inscription. You can carry up to 4 different weapon sets that you can swap with F1, F2, F3 and F4. For the elementalist it is important to have multiple staffs and/or wands ready for use as well as a longbow for pulling monsters to prevent an overaggro. These are the upgrades most ideal for the staffs or wands and foci.

Staff Head (prefix)
  • #1
  • #2
  • #3
Staff Wrapping (suffix)
  • #1
  • #2
  • #3

Each type of build requires a different type of staff or wand/foci. and here are the sets of prefix and inscriptions that are most ideal

  • "Earth build":
  • "Fire build":
  • "Air build":
  • "Water build":

For the suffix upgrades you can often choose either of .


Summing up the 4 weapons you are best to have for your 4 weapon slots.

Elementalist Heroes[edit]

Heroes cannot play the elementalist as effectively as players.

For defense it is best to keep it limited to Aura of Restoration and conditions that reduce the effectiveness of enemies. The elite skills that are most advised for heroes are Ether Renewal, Elemental Attunement, Sandstorm, Searing Flames, Blinding Surge, and Shatterstone.

For further information about hero AI see: Hero behavior

Choice of secondary professions[edit]

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

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