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S/D Arcane Dynamo for AoE Destruction

elementalist arcane combo s/d damage

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#1 Myrkur

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 12:37 PM

I came to this sub-forum to see if I could find a good tanky condition damage build for my elementalist.  I haven't found what I am looking for and the first page of this sub-forum at the time of writing this is generally not helpful (lots of whining about the profession atm).  Well, instead of leaving here with nothing, I thought I'd spill the knowledge I've learned from playing my elementalist.  Here is a build that I've seen not been explained too well, a few people have started to stumble across it, but I feel a lot of people either don't know about it or do not understand the basics of how it works.  So let me do my best to explain it.

Scepter/Dagger Arcane Combo

This build takes heavy advantage of Combo Field and Combo Finishers, specifically blast finishers.  If you are unfamiliar with Combo Fields and Combo Finishers, please take a look at this wiki page.  Utilizing these combos will allow your team to output significantly greater damage, and luckily for us elementalists we don't need to rely on teammates to do massive damage with combos.

We will be focusing on the Fire Field -> Blast Finisher combo to stack might on our elementalist.  You will have the ability to stack Might (Power) with this combo, which will significantly increase the amount of damage you do.  Note: The numbers I use when talking about amount of damage and stuff will vary, and may be incredibly off because I'm just doing it off memory and trying to be conservative.

Weapon Selection

As the name suggest, this build utilizes the Scepter and Dagger as weapon.  Let me break down the skills I use most.

Fire Attunement: All skills.  Main source of Combo
Water Attunement:  Mostly only to heal/drop conditions.  Will switch in and 5/4/3 real quick.
Air Attunement: Default/Starting Attunement.  Using all skills
Earth Attunement:  Used against high toughness targets and to build our combo higher when fire grab is on cooldown.

Dragon Tooth and Fire Grab are your two biggest hitters.  But as you likely already know, they are very hard to hit with.  With positioning though we can increase our chances of these two devastating skills of hitting our target.  After the Utility section I will describe the combo.

Utility Skills

Heal: This is going to be personal preference.  I like the large heal that places a buff on you.  This build is bursty and most fights will be over before you get the benefit of the signet heal in my opinion.  I have tried both and I don't really see a clear advantage, other than the channel heal sucks for my playstyle.

Utility 1:  Mist form.  There is no arguement.  All elementalists need this skill.  If you don't have it, then thieves and warriors will destroy you over and over and is the #1 reason why some of you complain so much about Hundred Blades.  It breaks stun and makes you invulnerable.

Utility 2: Arcane Blast.  This is a high damage attack that always crits and has a short cooldown.  It also has the Combo: Projectile Finisher attribute, making it very powerful.

Utility 3: Arcane Wave.  This is a high damage AE attack that always crits and dictates how often we do our combo.  It has a Combo: Blast Finisher attribute and is the skill we use to time when to go into Fire attunement and do our combo.

Ultimate: I personally like the Glyph of Elementals.  Preferebly Air Elemental, as the RNG stun on it can help land your Dragon Tooth for you.  I want to start playing with the Fiery Greatsword as I believe that is a Blast Finisher and has some good damage output, but I am unfamiliar with the weapon skills as of this time.

The Combo

Okay, now that we got a brief overview of the skills out of the way, lets talk about "The Combo" I've been alluding too.  You are going to use Fire Field (Fire Attunement, Dagger skill #4) to place down a Combo Field.  You will then use Blast Finishers (Dragon Tooth, Pheonix, Arcane Wave, Earth Quake, Churning Earth) to build stacks of Might on you.  You can get up to 17-20, but most of the time you will be around 9-12 stacks.  The combo itself will do upwards of 12k damage, and after that Dragon Tooth's and Fire Grab will crit for 4k or so.

The base combo that we can use every time Arcane Wave is up
Fire Field -> Pheonix -> Dragon Tooth -> Arcane Wave -> Arcane Blast
Fire skill 4 -> Fire Skill 3 -> Fire Skill 2 -> Utility 3 -> Utility 2

This Combo comes out very quickly as you can cast Arcane Wave and Arcane Blast at any time, during other skills and even when you are knocked down and maybe while stunned.

If that doesn't give you enough juicy Might Stacks for you, switch into Earth while the fire field is still up and bust out Earthquake and Churning Earth for more stacks.  So the Combo looks like
Fire Field -> Pheonix -> Dragon Tooth -> Arcane Wave -> Arcane Blast -> Earth Attunement -> Earthquake -> Churning Earth

The fire field lasts just long enough for that full combo.  If you are slow, have high latency, or are interrupted in anyway then you won't get the full combo off.  It works very well in PvE to do the entire full combo.

Tips to land the Combo

Landing this in PvE is extremely easy.  It will also kill anything in one combo so long as you keep your gear up to date (no less than 8 levels below you for any piece, keep weapons as close to your level as possible).  Landing it in PvP is a little more difficult though as you will likely protest.

Landing in PvE.  This is where Lightning Attunement becomes the Default attunement to be in, to set the combo up, and to switch back to as it's damage is entirely based off your Power attribute.

The Set up for PvP

The basic Jist for the set up is simple.  Knock them down with Updraft, and Ride the Lightning back to them quickly.  As you are riding in, switch to fire immediately and bust out the combo.  If you can, try to do the setup after they have exhausted their endurance.  If you just straight up do it right away, they are most likely going to roll out of your combo and half of the skills will get evaded.  You will still get the might stacks, so it's not a total loss but they will get out of it with most of their health intact, and if you had just waited for them to roll you would have outright killed them in the combo.

Start in Air Attunement  Blast them with Lightning Strike and Blinding Flash them whenever you think they are going to do a strong hit.  Dodge roll other strong hits and to make them remember they can dodge also to try and social engineer it out of them.  When you are ready, unleash the fury.

Now the Combo chain looks like this.
Updraft -> Ride the Lightning -> Fire Attunement -> Fire Field -> Pheonix -> Dragon Tooth -> Arcane Wave -> Arcane Blast

At this point, if all your skills landed, then they are either dead or forced to blow all defensive cooldowns.   Unfortunately Updraft has a longer cooldown than the combo, so this can only be an opener, unless the fight lasts 40+ seconds

okay, let's talk about Traits and pvp Runes

Traits

I've been running a 30/10/0/0/30 build lately.  There is some leeway here, and I've been thinking about dropping some Arcane to put into somewhere else.  I'm reluctant to put more into Air for precision because two of our skills have 100% crit rate no matter what (the Arcane skills).

Fire:  MORE POWER!!  30 points here is good.  You will notice that I don't have a trait selected in that build link, that's because it's old and doesn't have the 5% extra damage to burning targets.  The big one being getting a might stack for every fire skill we cast, just stack it up higher baby.

Air: Without 10 in air, you'd have like 0% Crit rate with the runes I use, and that's just not fun.

Arcane:  Lower cooldown on arcane skills so we can do the combo more often.  Get a might buff when we switch to fire (and more importantly a protection buff when switching to earth).  The 3rd skill you can feel free to switch around, or even drop 10 points and put somewhere else.

PvP Runes

I'm boring and despite making this guide lack creativity, so I go with Divinity.  Give us 60 to all stats so a good balance between damage and survivability.  Get the Power-Toughness-Vitality neck, without it you only will have 12k health and Warriors will down you in one Eviscerate.  For weapons, I use 5% Damage on the Scepter, and 60% Chance to remove condition on Dagger.  We only have one condition drop in Water Skill #5, so I hope that the 60% chance is good enough to drop bleed stacks off me.  Don't know if it works that well though.

Well, my attentions span is starting to wain, so I'm going to wrap it up here.  I plan to make updates later, and I plan on putting together some videos showing how the combo works and what you can expect out of it.  I will also try to update to give tips on how to fight certain professions.  Keep in mind though that I am nowhere near as good as some of the people that PvP a lot more than me, but I think my advice is still good and worth having.  It's much better than whining about how shit elementalist damage is, because that is just not true.

If you would like some advice in game, you can reach me at Myrkur.7049.  I play an Elementalist named "Jaryn Har" on Gates of Madness, so if you see me in game give me a /wave.

And one last thing.  I'm looking for a condition damage build with high toughness and vitality.  Show me what you've got, because I haven't been able to make one work nearly as well as my Arcane Dynamo.  Also, I could use tips on how to defeat Guardians (is it even possible?! GOD) and Mesmers (one beat the shit out of me last night, soooo gotta learn what the hell was going on in that matchup).

Thanks guys, and check back later for Videos of the combo in practice.  Also ask me anything I guess.

Edited by Myrkur, 04 September 2012 - 12:43 PM.


#2 planemo

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 09:57 PM

This looks like a lot of useful information, and close to what I normally do. I'll give the spec and playstyle execution a try. Thanks!
I play an Elementalist.

#3 Getcapefly

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 10:52 PM

I used this while leveling from 1-80 quite foolishly. Perhaps just my skill though, but i died much more than i did while leveling a thief, and i struggled taking on too many mobs and veterans. I sometimes found myself using the lesser elemental skill, not hitting mobs with Dragon Tooth, and i also i struggled to pull off switching to earth and keeping might stacked so i used arcane wave and blast much more. It got me there, but not sure i would recommend to someone else.
Edit; I believe i actually went with 30 Fire 20 Air 20 Arcane, so maybe that explains why i struggled to pull of switching to earth and keeping might up.

Edited by Getcapefly, 04 October 2012 - 10:54 PM.


#4 Takenover83

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 02:03 AM

I have been having alot of fun with this build. I never realized how powerful "Stacks" were till I started paying attention to it. Maybe a little more info on equipment type to look out for? Power? Toughness? Vitality? Crit Damage? etc... I am only level 38 and hopefully see its full potential once I unlock more trait points.

#5 CepaCepa

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 06:23 AM

View PostMyrkur, on 04 September 2012 - 12:37 PM, said:

And one last thing.  I'm looking for a condition damage build with high toughness and vitality.  Show me what you've got, because I haven't been able to make one work nearly as well as my Arcane Dynamo.  Also, I could use tips on how to defeat Guardians (is it even possible?! GOD) and Mesmers (one beat the shit out of me last night, soooo gotta learn what the hell was going on in that matchup).

Thanks guys, and check back later for Videos of the combo in practice.  Also ask me anything I guess.

Guardians rely heavily on two things to mitigate damage: blind and aegis. Both can be wore off by using fast hitting attacks, such as scepter lightning 1 and scepter earth 1. As a guardian, I pray for my elementalist opponent to try to cast off a big hitter, because I can easly block off that one attack, or simply blind him before the cast is over. Note though that any projectile runs the risk of getting blocked/reflected by the Guardian, so... Yeah.

Guardians, depending on spec, may or may not have a tons of condition removal. Especially if he isn't using a torch. You've got to quickly make judgement upon seeing the guardian to estimate his build --- Is he using exclusively 1 hand weapon? Does he drop symbols everywhere he goes? Does he shout a lot? Does he use signets a lot? Once you know that, you can decide to load him up with burn/bleed or just burst away. Guardians and Eles have the lowest tier of health in the game, and health is the only thing that mitigates against condition damage (so to speak) other than a condition removal. This means, if this guardian doesn't have ENOUGH condition removal, he'd get eaten away fast due to lower health pool. We eles know how it is. :) Regardless of spec however, all guardians have blind and aegis. Fast small attacks never goes wrong versus a guardian.

Based on this, an air-focused scepter/dagger build almost always works against Guardians, I've yet to lose to one in 1 v 1 using this build. Alternatively you can run condition and hope that the Guardian you're going up against isn't using a shout build or holding a torch + have 2/3 utility slots filled up with condition removal. Or you can run basically any build, and as long as you switch to air when a Guardian starts harping on you, you can effectively waste away his most treasured profession mechanism.

Now mesmers, always put aoe on the ground, clones and phantasms are not that smart they don't move out of it, and they die quickly to it. Again, depends on whether if that is a chaos armor chaining mesmer or a glass cannon mesmer, you'd like to 1) Use burst on him to nullify chaos shield (because chaos shield only gives him a buff upon each time taken damage, so it's best to hit big and hit few), or 2) Dodge for your life and load up burn/bleed on him (because a glass cannon mesmers dies like a butterfly and stings like a bee, pardon the pun). If it's a staff mesmer, he himself does pathetic damage while his phantasms hit like trucks, kill those phantasms ASAP. And if he uses sword primarily, for all intent and purposes he is a thief so you should treat him like one. If he uses greatsword a lot, then try to get into melee ASAP (won't be that easy as staff ele) and layer down aoe on top of him. You don't want to be caught with a few iBerserker spinning cripple onto you at range while a feedback bubble is sitting on top of it all. And since a good mesmer would switch between his weapons often, you'd really be quick to adjust your strategies every time something changes in the fight --- Be ready to get in and out of melee, be ready to switch between attunements, be ready to switch target, and be ready to stop casting (confusion and feedback). It's hard if a mesmer knows what he's doing, but I guess the same can be applied to every profession.

These are taken from my own experience playing quite a bit on both sides --- Or all three sides I should say. Hope it is of help. :)

And, I shouldn't really have wrote up this much about it since it's a PvE forum... But it caught my attention! :(

Edited by CepaCepa, 18 October 2012 - 06:34 AM.


#6 jktstance

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 06:50 PM

Bumping this.  One of the better guides here because it goes into detail on how to play the build.  S/D combo is a really nice one for rapid PvE destruction and it looks cool, to boot.  My skill rotation, for right now, is Fire 4, 2, 3, Arcane Wave, Fire 5 (if it's off cd).  Most things are dead by now.  If not, then attune to earth, and go earth 4, 5.  Not only does this do massive damage with some knockdown, it also gives over a dozen stacks of might to yourself and nearby allies.  The skills all have very short cooldowns, too.

I use Air for general PvE movement.  It's also good for opening a fight with.  Air 4, 5, 3 into the standard combo is nice and fast.  For longer fights, go into Water and use 5 and 3 for healing.  If there are allies around, I generally spam Water 2 for AoE vulnerability.  If you're alone and things are still alive, I find that Air has the best autoattack damage between 1 and 2 until your combo skills are off cd. The Arc Lightning autoattack bug is EXTREMELY annoying, though.

I need to get in the habit of using Earth 2 and 3, though.  Earth 1 autoattack is also very very nice.

#7 The Great Al

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 07:01 PM

I used a very similar build for most of PvE leveling but just wasn't happy with this in the 80 zones. Found myself dying way too much.  I think at the end of the day, this requires you to always be within melee range of your target, which isn't always ideal.

#8 Murmer

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 08:50 PM

View PostThe Great Al, on 22 October 2012 - 07:01 PM, said:

I used a very similar build for most of PvE leveling but just wasn't happy with this in the 80 zones. Found myself dying way too much.  I think at the end of the day, this requires you to always be within melee range of your target, which isn't always ideal.

I think what you are meaning to say is that it isn't worth being in melee range of your target while the target can still hit you for damage while it takes you longer then say, a burst build, to kill things.

#9 The Great Al

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 02:37 PM

View PostMurmer, on 22 October 2012 - 08:50 PM, said:



I think what you are meaning to say is that it isn't worth being in melee range of your target while the target can still hit you for damage while it takes you longer then say, a burst build, to kill things.

Yeah, this is basically it. I've found better success focusing on fury rather than might.

#10 Vayra86

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 11:54 AM

Nice guide. Have played S/D after dying at lower levels when using D/D. And did it mostly the same, too.

But once you get a solid hang of the Elementalist and frequently swapping attunement becomes second nature, I personally could not resist going back to D/D and its superior movement speed, condition damage, and certainty of hitting enemies compared to the shifty, positioning-dependant S/D fire combo's. Also, in S/D it is rather easy to get stuck when you miss a fire combo sequence, because stuff is on cooldown and all your alternatives actually do kinda suck in terms of damage.

S/D is in fact the more bursty version of an Elementalist's AoE repertoire. D/D is the condition damage/spelldancer version that is alot faster to use but does damage more gradually and less bursty. Staff on the other hand is the AoE that combines the two and does so at range - but again depends heavily on enemy positioning and actually requires less mobile enemies or larger, densely packed groups.

This ties in as well with the above two posts regarding distance to enemies. With S/D you simply can not keep up being in melee range any longer than absolutely necessary, because after that there is nothing that will compensate your loss of HP versus the damage output you need to kill a mob, until your fire cooldowns are back up. With D/D you have such an immense amount of escapes (two aura's, Magnetic grasp, Earthquake, Ride the lightning, updraft, etc.) and you can combine the escapes with fast re-entry (Burning Speed, again ride the lightning, magnetic grasp) which results in mobs not even getting to bring their axe down on you before you're gone again.

Edited by Vayra86, 25 October 2012 - 12:00 PM.





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