Guild Wars 2 Elementalist Builds Guide – Dungeons, PvE, PvP and WvW

By   /   Aug 27, 2012

The Elementalist is a powerful profession in Guild Wars 2 that relies on elemental attunements to do damage.

In this guide we’ll see a few different builds for different game types that you might want to consider when playing as the Elementalist. We’ll be using the Luna-Atra build calculator for this guide because it has a good display of the available skills of the different attunements.

Note that gear, sigils and amulets are NOT included in this build – the builds focus on the weapons, utility skills, and traits only. For more help on Guild Wars 2, read our Character Progression, Currency and Attunements Guide.

Elementalist Dungeon Builds

Fiery Daggers

As the case with the Elementalist, you get 4 attunements with 5 sets of skill each, giving you a total of 20 skills to play around with in the battlefield. Because of this unique attribute of the Elementalist, the profession is played mainly as a pure damage dealer in normal games.

In this build, we’re dual-wielding daggers to get some nice set of offensive and defensive skills from the 4 attunements. The primary objective should be to use these abilities in conjunction with the two conjuration skills i.e. Conjure Flame Axe and Conjure Lightning Hammer.

Though conjurations are useful, it’s best not to over-use them; instead, focus on maintaining a comfortable style of play, and then use them during specific on-demand occasions.

The Elementalist generally has a difficult learning curve because of the ample choices available to the profession, and since it uses Light Armor, the melee aspect of dual-wielding daggers is somewhat difficult to manage for inexperienced players. For the veterans, this may well be the most rewarding way to play this potentially powerful profession.

For traits, we’ll max out Fire and Earth Magic, while investing 10 points in Arcane. Fire Magic’s traits focus on amplifying the effectiveness of Conjurations and Fire attunement skills, while Earth traits give boost to Signets, some additional defense, and some added advantage to the duel-dagger aspect of the build.

DoT Lord

This is another dagger-dagger build for the Elementalist, this time relying on DoT damage instead of conjurations and AoE.

The Earth attunement gives a large amount of CC and DoT damage skills to the profession, and because of that it will be maxed out. The main focus of this build is to utilize the AoE and ‘burning’ aspect of Fire-based skills and the control aspect of the Earth-based ones.

The idea here is to stack the duration of Burn, and then to switch to Earth attunement for Bleeds and CC. This will keep parallel conditions on the enemy that will do constant DoT, allowing for some pretty intense harassment and constant damage output.

For trait-lines, we’ve maxed out Earth because it seems to offer some good utility that increases the effectiveness of Bleeds, Signets and the close-range aspect of the build.

Arcane Prowess

This is an experimental build that sways away from the conventional 4 Elemental attunements to the more Utility based part: Arcane abilities. The objective of this build is to maximizing critical chance and dish out critical damage whenever possible, and to acquire some durability with the Water skills.

We’re taking the Staff, because it fits so well with a slightly defensive type of Elementalist. Plus, it comes with a good mix of CC, defensive, and condition-based abilities that can be mixed up to give just about the right amount of damage.

Normally, an Elementalist without the Fire trait-line being fed with points is considered a failure. This build makes up for that with survivability and the Utility skills. Mist Form is there for the character to evade attacks for a brief period of time; it can be both an a useful skill to initiate or to take evasive action with.

The two central damage abilities of this build are Arcane Wave and Arcane Power, along with the Elite skill Glyph of Elementals.

For traits, we’re taking as much help from the Arcane Power trait as possible, while utilizing damage and utility buffs from the Water Magic tree.

Elementalist PvE Builds

DPS Elementalist

This is the typical way of playing the Elementalist. The key here is to initiate by a closing distance, and primarily use fire damage to burn enemies and build Might. For these set of reasons, the Scepter and Focus seem to work well, because they allow good initiation from a reasonable distance.

The Fiery Sword Elite skill seems to work well in conjunction with the fire-attuned skills and the Signet of Fire. It should give you additional chance to burn your foes.

The skills chosen in the Fire trait-line are quite obvious; the focus is to minimize the cooldowns of your fire attunement skills, and to increase overall damage through the trait VI and XII.

Air attunement traits are more utility based, for the times when you need speed for either evasion or initiation, and also give a boon when you cast a glyph.

The purpose of Arcane Wave here is also to grant you additional Might alongside the Fire trait, and to make your Fire Grab as lethal as possible.

Burned and Buried

This build is uses Scepters and Focus to inflict fire based damage and bleeding from the Earth attunement. Additionally, it also utilizes the defensive skills that you attain from the Earth attunement, making your Elementalist much more durable.

The primary aspect is to burn your foes, and for that we’ve taken the Focus, because it gives two offensive-defense abilities that burn your foes. Additionally, the bleed condition from Stone Shards is also particularly useful, and the two are the central aspect of the build.

The Utility and Elite skills are quite self-explanatory. You might wish to switch to Fiery Sword for some extra burning damage, but really, the Utility skills already grant you with 3 burn abilities, another one would be practically useless.

For traits, we’re maxing out Fire and Earth. The Fire trait-line s adding to the burn aspect of the build, while also reducing cool-downs. The Earth traits are adding some utility to the signets, and also enhancing the bleed effects.

Do note that this is a relatively difficult build to play with because of the required mobility and attunement awareness. Thus, it is recommended for more advanced Elementalist users.

Critically Slain

Though fire damage seems to be the most preferred choice by Elementalist players, they often tend to forget the high single-target damage of the Air attunement of the profession.

We’re taking Scepter and Dagger for utmost aggression. The build will give you overall balanced power and decent critical hit damage. The latter should be your primary concern; try to maximize your critical hit chance with equipment to make this build work best.

We’re taking more-or-less Fire oriented Utility Skills, except for Lightning Flash which should give you some added mobility.

For traits, the focus is to maximize the potency of the Air and Fire attunements, and for that we’re taking obvious CD reduction traits, increase damage trait for both attunements, and some utility skills as well.

If you mix up some good critical hit based equipment, such as Superior Rune of Divinity, Berserker Amulets, Berserker Jewels, your crit chance will increase rapidly, and that should work out very well with the single-target hitting abilities of the Air attunement.

PvP Builds

A Song of Earth and Fire

This build is almost exactly to the “Burned and Buried” PvE build mentioned above. Please refer to that to get some ideas of how it works. The only difference here is the Utility skills, which are more defense-based. We’re using Signet of Water to prevent conditions from destroying you, and Signet of Earth for the all-round defenses.


This is a Fire-based build that relies on dagger-dagger combo skills. Because of the risky and aggressive nature of this build, it is best played by more experienced Elementalists. Furthermore, it requires a more refined team setup, as the build relies heavily on boon providers like the Guardian and Warrior and healers that could keep you going.

Basically, this is a PvP version of an aggressive DPS Elementalist. We’re taking Mist Form because it can be quite useful if you find yourself trapped in between multiple enemies without an ally nearby. Apart from that, the rest of the build is almost entirely damage oriented.

Arcane Power should allow you to chip in some heavily spiked damage for small, vital durations, but make sure that you use it only in the most required situation. This can work particularly well against tanky foes (like the Warrior) that tend to remain difficult to put down even when low on health. The Bolt to the Heart trait in the Air tree should really help you deal with such foes, along with the mentioned Arcane Power ability.

We’re taking the usual traits in the Fire attunement in the trait-lines, and a mix of offensive and utility traits in the rest.

A Storm Is Coming

Strange as it may seem, this build shuns off the much-loved Fire attunement altogether, and instead utilizes the powerful critical based potency of the Air attunement, along with some defense from Water and additional bonuses from the Arcane trait-line.

Of the many different things about this build, perhaps the one that would seem the strangest would be the Utility Skills. The skills have been chosen to give a mix of evasion options, critical damage, and the usual healing and conjuration.

If you feel the Mist Form is practically useful for you, you may opt for something like Arcane Wave instead. This should give you a large amount of guaranteed critical hit options.

For traits, we’re maxing out the Air tree, with Utility buffs and situational damage buffs. Water traits apply some debuffs to foes, and also add some defenses to the build, while the Arcane trait-lines enhance the critical hit utilization along with reduced CD.

WvW Builds

Staff Master

WvW games require all kinds of varieties of a profession. The Elementalist seems to work well with most weapons, but only the Staff seems to give a generous amount of range to the profession. This build focuses on using the Staff to inflict burning and Fire damage on enemies.

We’re once again using the typical Fire trait-lines, and reasonable Utility skills to improve the burning aspect of the build and to get some guaranteed critical chance.

The focus of this build is also to bring out various types of elementals to fight. However, if you feel that the Glyph of Lesser Elementals is not good enough, you might want to switch it for something more active (perhaps Arcane Blast or Cleansing Fire).

The rest of the invested trait points are being more or less equally divided into the Air, Earth, and Arcane Power trees. We’re looking for some team-based play with the Arcane trait called Elemental Attunement, and increasing the AoE of the Staff attacks.

With air, we’re simply reducing the CD of the many glyphs at use, and Earth has a simple condition-based damage buff.

Elemental Support

The support aspect of the Elementalist comes into play when the profession’s Water attunement is given some importance. This build does exactly that; we’re not going after Fire AoE or single-target critical Air stuff, but instead looking for a supportive Elementalist.

The Elementalist is in general a great support if played as one because of the Water skills that it has. Furthermore, the Staff seems to give the best set of skills to evenly balance things between aggression and defense when using the Water skills.

Healing Rain and Geyser should be your main healing skills, while Water Blast should be the bread-and-butter defensive-offense skill.

For Utility skill, we’re taking all Glyphs. This is where the Elementalist’s Support part becomes a little tricky. You have to be wise in managing and using your glyphs. Try to be situational about them, and don’t overuse the conjurations.

For traits, the only reason we’re investing in Air Magic is to reduce the CD of the glyphs, and to grant a boon. Water trait-line is being maxed out for increasing the effectiveness of the support aspect of the build and reducing CD of water skills.

Arcane traits are, once again, improving the usage of the Staff and adding attunement that should prove very useful with Water skills (granting regeneration).

Burn the World

The title of this build doesn’t depict the misanthropic nature of the author, but the WvW and fire-based aspect of the build itself.

Once again, we’re back to good old fire, which seems to work so well in WvW games. Though Air seems to be ideal in PvP and PvE games, it doesn’t quite work well in a colossal-scaled mode like WvW.

We’re taking the Staff once again for the increased range and the useful set of skills that come with it. The traits being taken are the obvious ones for increasing the Fire damage and reducing CD.

When playing this build, you want to be in the center of all the action, nuking the most threatening ally. If things get a bit too haywire, you can conjure your sword which should deal sufficient damage. With a good support by your side, you should be able to deal lots of damage.

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