Each profession in Guild Wars 2 is given its own unique profession mechanic that helps separate the different play styles. Elementalists definitely enjoy the most variety in their abilities this all has to do with the attunements they had at their disposal.
In short, each weapon contains four sets of skills, each set aligned to one of the four specific elements, and the elementalist can switch between the four depending on what role they need to fill. It’s a bit more complicated than that, so let’s try to simplify it. The elementalist cannot switch weapons in combat; instead, they can switch between different attunements.
There are four attunements available: fire, air, water, and earth, each with their own unique playstyle. So instead of being able to switch between two weapon skill bars, the elementalist can switch between four.
The elementalist can only switch between different attunements; the general weapon theme will persist. They also only have five possible weapon sets; however, counting attunements, they have up to 20 different weapon sets, which are more than a warrior has!
A good example is that a warrior can switch between a bow for long range assaults and then switch to a shield and sword for close combat defense but an elementalist does not have this luxury.
Just like weapon switching, there is a 15 second cooldown on the previous attunement and a 1 second cooldown placed on the remaining attunements.
You can switch attunements mid-cast and while moving. The attunements are switched with the function keys, although you can remap them to your own liking. Also remember that these recharge times can be reduced by increasing your intelligence attribute.
Don’t forget to read our Elementalist Profession Guide. It will give you a good idea of what Elementalist is all about!
For more help on Guild Wars 2 Elementalist, read our Elementalist Builds Guide.
Guild Wars 2 Elementalist Attunements
Now there are four elements at elementalist disposal:
The four elements play vastly different, so it’s important to know the abilities in each weapon skill set and how they play.
We have simplified matters for your understanding in this wiki but realize that there is a lot more depth to this mechanic that you can only learn by playing. You may discover different ways to employ the different elements and build your own way of playing.
- Attunements (Trait line) Trait
Some enemies can heal over time rendering your attacks on them sometimes useless. This is where the element of air comes into play. Air deals out damage in quick huge bursts. So instead of you dealing small damage repeatedly you can dish out big chunks of damage to bypass enemies healing mechanism.
Air also contains the Swiftness boon and various stuns and knockbacks for crowd control. You will switch to the air attunement to spike/burst enemies and gain access to Swiftness / Control.
Air (Air Magic) Zephyr’s Speed
Moves ten percent faster while attuned to air.
Air (Air Magic) Electric Discharge
Strike your target with a bolt of lightning while attuned to air.
Air (Air Magic) Air Training
Deal ten percent more damage while attuned to air
Air (Air Magic) On With The Air
You move 5% faster every 10 seconds you are attuned to air. Maximum of 25% bonus movement speed
Air (Air Magic) Inscription
Grants a boon associated with your current attunement when you cast a glyph.
While attuned to air Arcana causes you and all your nearby allies to gain swiftness and also causes blindness for 5 seconds.
Fire is the way to deal damage in Guild Wars 2. When you want something dead use fire on it plain and simple. Fire deals damage per second other attunements also cause damage but not in the same quantity or quality as fire.
In Guild Wars 2, damage includes conditions (like burning) and utility, because you can control the AI by placing AoE abilities down and making them take detours (or forcing players in PvP not to take the damage and move elsewhere). Furthermore, this attunement gives access to Burning.
Fire (Fire Magic) Flame Barrier
You have a 20% chance to cause burning whenever a foe attacks you in melee. Only triggers when attuned to fire.
Fire (Fire Magic) Sun Spot
Inflict damage at your location when you attune to fire.
Fire (Fire Magic) Internal Fire
Deal 10% more damage while attuned to fire.
Fire (Fire Magic) One With Fire
Flame Barrier’s chance to burn foes goes up the longer you are attuned to fire.
Arcana cause you and all your nearby allies to gain might and also causes burning for five seconds.
While attuned to earth your elementalist becomes somewhat of a tank. GW2 doesn’t have “tanks” so you won’t gain access to taunt, but you will gain an array of defensive abilities like Rock Barrier which ups your defense and can be activated to throw rocks at your enemies or Obsidian Flesh, which grants invulnerable, perfect for running into a keep or avoiding a huge spike in PvP.
You will switch to the earth attunement to gain more defense and gain access to Bleed.
Earth (Earth Magic ) Stone Flesh
Gain 1 toughness per level while attuned to earth.
Earth (Earth Magic) Earthen Blast
Damage foes and cripple them for 3 seconds when attuning to earth.
Earth (Earth Magic) Strength Of Stone
Deal 10% more damage while attuned to earth.
Earth (Earth Magic) Rock Solid
Grant stability (2s) to nearby allies when attuning to earth.
Arcana grants you and your nearby allies protection and also immobilizes enemies for one second.
Water acts as a support build, containing healing and Regeneration, along with snares. Cleansing Wave will heal yourself and nearby allies and remove conditions while Geyser will create a short duration ground effect that heals allies inside of it.
Frozen Ground is great for control, because it applies the chilled condition which increases recharge and snares enemies.
You will switch to the water attunement to gain support / healing abilities and gain access to Regeneration.
Water (Water Magic) Soothing Mist
Regenerate health while attuned to water.
Water (Water Magic) Healing Ripple
Heal nearby allies when attuning to water.
Water (Water Magic) Cleansing Wave
Remove a condition from you and your allies when attuning to water.
Water (Water Magic) Piercing Shards
While attuned to water, your spells deal 20% more damage to vulnerable foes.
Arcana grants you the ability of regeneration and also causes chill for 3 seconds on enemies.
Remember an elementalist can switch between four roles fluidly, even building themselves out with different utility skills.
Many of the utility skills switch with the attunement. As a matter of a fact, all glyphs change based on which attunement you are in.
There are also the “arcane” skills in the utility bar that are element-less and go along with any build. Then there are element specific utility skills that can be used in any attunement.
I’m telling you all this just to make you notice that you’ll want to find a point where you can switch fluidly between the different elements in combat. Switching to air to stun an enemy, then to water to heal yourself, then back to fire to finish them off is a great and fun way to blaze your path through Tyria.
Keep this mind and you will blaze through Guild Wars 2 as an Elementalist.