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Neko's Guide to the Dagger Dagger Elementalist in Dungeons and Fractals

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#1 JNeko

JNeko

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 12:10 AM

THIS GUIDE IS OUTDATED. PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR MY NEW GUIDE.

Here it is, my guide to the Dagger Dagger Ele in Dungeons and Fractals. Hope you all enjoy! Comment here, or message me in-game if you have comments/questions.

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So you want to take your Elementalist into dungeons, huh?


The Elementalist is an interesting class. They are one of the most versatile professions in the game, with access to 20 weapon skills at any given time. As a balancing mechanic against this versatility, however, the Elementalist has some of the lowest DPS in the game. Additionally, the Elementalist has a low HP pool along with light armor, making it one of the “squishiest” classes in the game, by default, anyway.


The Elementalist cannot support as well as a Guardian. An Elementalist cannot do the DPS of a Warrior. It does not have the Mesmer’s amazing utility. To be quite frank, in an organized group, the Elementalist really has no place, and you’re better off using one of these classes instead.

What the Elementalist excels in is if you aren’t in an organized, optimal group, and instead play with friends or guildmates who play random classes, or if you like to PUG instances rather than stay with a dedicated group. The Elementalist, despite its built-in weaknesses, is also given the tools to rather easily overcome its own weaknesses. When specced fully into the Water tree, the Elementalist has some of, if not the best, self and group healing in the game. Their ability to easily produce long lasting Fire Fields combined with a copious amount of Blast Finishers means that they are also able to build several stacks of might rather easily. A single double dagger Elementalist should be able to stack 9 stacks of might just through using Fire Attunement and Earth Attunement, combined with Evasive Arcana. The Elementalist can provide boons and self-sustain without really having to rely on anyone. In the end, the Elementalist is probably one of the best PUGing classes in the game.


The Traits


The first thing you need to know about Elementalists is that there’s basically only one good trait array. 0/10/0/30/30. It’s the same array that they use for WvW, PvP, and PvE. There are many reasons for this, but I’ll try to give you the most important ones:
  • Every Elementalist should more or less max Arcana, regardless of the build. The reason is that Elementalists maximize their utility and damage to the group when they continually swap attunements. In order to do this, you want the time it takes to change attunements to be as small as possible.
  • Evasive Arcana is the Elementalist’s strongest trait. It gives a blast finisher in Earth and a powerful heal in Water. The effects in Fire and Air are subpar, but the fact is with Evasive Arcana, your dodge rolls in Water and Earth become powerful spells as well.
  • Of the non-Arcana trait lines, Water is easily the strongest. The 25-point minor trait Bountiful Power is a multiplicative ability that increases your DPS simply for partying with others (+2% damage for each boon you have on you). Water has access to some of the best traits in the game, such as Cleansing Wave (remove a condition when you attune to water), and has incredible self-synergy. For instance, you can take Soothing Disruption (cantrips provide Vigor and Regen when you use them) and Cleansing Water (to whomever you provide Regen, you remove one condition), to make all of your cantrips condition cleansers, on top of their other effects. Vital Striking (you do 10% more damage when you’re above 90% health) is an excellent damage multiplier trait. Finally, and most importantly, Water’s 15-point minor trait, Healing Ripple, provides a substantial heal (1302 at Level 80 + Healing Power) when attuning to water. A good Elementalist realizes that their best heals actually come from just using things in Water, rather than relying on the #6 Heal skill.
  • The Fire trait line is garbage, and there’s almost nothing good in it. Earth has some decent, situationally useful traits, but falls flat when compared to other trait lines. That leaves Air, which is actually a very strong trait line, and has some of the best Adept traits out there. In particular, Bolt to the Heart (do 20% more damage against targets with less than 33% health) and Zephyr’s Boon (gain 5 seconds of fury and swiftness when you use an aura) are incredibly powerful.
There are two distinct trait specs that I would suggest for an Elementalist in dungeons:


The Condition Cleanser Cantrip Build

This build is almost completely lifted from WvW and sPvP, in particular, Daphoenix’s Guide to the Dagger Dagger Elementalist
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This build is made with an eye toward heavy survivability along with great access to condition removal (probably the best in the game). For this array, you’ll want to equip 3 cantrips (Armor of Earth, Lightning Flash, and Mist Form are best, because Cleansing Fire becomes slightly redundant since your cantrips now all remove conditions). This is a very solid trait array, giving you:
  • Zephyr’s Boon - Auras grant fury and swiftness
  • Soothing Disruption - Cantrips grant regen and vigor
  • Cantrip Mastery - Cantrips recharge 20% faster
  • Cleansing Water - Remove a condition from an ally or yourself when granting regen
  • Elemental Attunement - When you attune to Fire, you gain might. When you attune to Water, you gain regen. When you attune to Air, you gain swiftness. When you attune to Earth, you gain Protection.
  • Renewing Stamina - You gain vigor when you crit. 5 second cooldown.
  • Evasive Arcana - You burn foes when you dodge roll in Fire. You heal allies for 1302 + Healing Power and remove a condition when you dodge roll in Water. You blind foes when you dodge roll in Air. You bleed, cripple, and perform a Blast Finisher when you dodge in Earth. 9 second cooldown per attunement.
Additionally, it should be noted that due to your traits, you heal a substantial amount when you attune to Water (as well as remove a condition, since Cleansing Water plus Elemental Attunement work together), and you also gain 2 seconds of fury whenever you swap attunements. The easy Protection granted by swapping to Earth attunement gives you another substantial layer of survivability. Thus, the build encourages you to constantly switch attunements at all times.

The Aura Sharing Build

This build is almost completely lifted from Zoose’s Guide to the Dagger Dagger Elementalist.

This is an aura sharing Elementalist, with the power to grant a good deal of fury and swiftness to himself as well as his team mates. It’s the build that I personally run in dungeons, and I think it’s just a bit better than the array above for PvE, once you get used to playing the Elementalist in dungeons.

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This build is made with an eye toward granting a good deal of fury and swiftness to your allies through your auras. Additionally, you trait more toward damage, while still retaining the ability to cleanse conditions for your allies. This array gives you:
  • Zephyr’s Boon - Auras grant fury and swiftness
  • Cleansing Wave - Remove a condition from yourself and your allies when you attune to water
  • Vital Striking - Deal 10% more damage when above 90% health
  • Powerful Aura - You share auras when you use an aura skill
  • Elemental Attunement - When you attune to Fire, you gain might. When you attune to Water, you gain regen. When you attune to Air, you gain swiftness. When you attune to Earth, you gain Protection.
  • Renewing Stamina - You gain vigor when you crit. 5 second cooldown.
  • Evasive Arcana - You burn foes when you dodge roll in Fire. You heal allies for 1302 + Healing Power and remove a condition when you dodge roll in Water. You blind foes when you dodge roll in Air. You bleed, cripple, and perform a Blast Finisher when you dodge in Earth. 9 second cooldown per attunement.
As you can see, this trait array is very similar to the one posted earlier, but does a good deal more damage, while also still retaining the power to remove conditions from allies. You exchange having an insane amount of condition removal for having a simply moderate amount (still more than most other classes in the game) and gain the power to grant a good deal of fury instead. Elemental Attunement, Renewing Stamina, and Evasive Arcana are as strong as ever, and really don’t change from build to build. For utilities, I would suggest Arcane Wave and two cantrips (probably Mist Form and Lightning Flash).

So which of these should you use? It depends. I much prefer the Aura sharing build personally, and I feel that once you get a feel for the Elementalist, switching to aura sharing can be a significant boon to your allies (heh heh). However, I included the traditional Bunker-Cleansing-Water trait array because it’s the infamous one that’s been wrecking sPvP and WvW as of late. The Bunker-Cleansing-Water array is also good for tough bosses when you want to swap to staff or scepter and range something above your current personal skill level.

The Weapons

You should carry all of the Elementalist’s weapons. However, I’m going to be very frank that you should use Double Dagger most of the time.

Dagger Mainhand
This is your only melee mainhand weapon, and it’s a pretty darn good one at that. The dagger’s auto attacks are pretty subpar compared to other classes, but the #2 and #3 abilities have a ton of utility. Your strongest auto attack is Lightning Whip, which you almost certainly will miss all the time when you first start using it. I’d suggest spending a good long while just learning how to hit things with Lightning Whip, because it is your strongest spammable auto, and it will be frustrating to use at first. Don’t worry, just learn to stand back a bit, apart from your enemy, and you’ll stop missing. Drake’s Breath (Fire 2) does decent damage and you should use it when you can. Cone of Cold (Water 2) does amazing damage and heals yourself and allies for a substantial amount. Ring of Earth (Earth 2) is insanely strong and you should remember to spam this whenever it’s off cooldown, and you’re done with your other Earth rotations. Lightning Touch (Air 2) is garbage and you should never use it. Burning Speed (Fire 3) is a high damage skill-shot attack that you will also probably miss a lot when you first use it. However, once you learn to land it, you’ll find your personal DPS goes up substantially. Frozen Burst is a great spell, chilling in an AoE, and you should spam it when it’s off cooldown. Shocking Aura is borderline broken in PvP and it’s pretty darn good in PvE, so use it when you need to do more damage, since thanks to Zephyr’s Boon, it also grants you fury. Magnetic Grasp (Earth 3) is a 900 range immobilize and pretty good, and its chain attack, Magnetic Leap, is a Leap Finisher. If you have a Fire Field down, leap through your own fire field to gain a Fire Aura, giving yourself fury once more.

Dagger Offhand
Dagger Offhand has some of the most consistently strong high cooldown abilities for Elementalist that it makes other weapon sets feel underwhelming. Ring of Fire (Fire 4) does a significant amount of damage, inflicts burning, and lays down a 6-second fire field. Fire Grab (Fire 5) does a lot of damage to burning foes but, like a lot of Elementalist abilities, you’ll miss it a lot due to the odd hit detection. Once you learn to hit with it, you’ll do a great deal of damage. Frost Aura (Water 4) is great and you should use it when you need fury, probably spamming it off cooldown like most Ele abilities. Cleansing Wave (Water 5) does a great deal of healing (1302 + Healing Power), and you should use it when you need a quick burst heal. Ride the Lightning (Air 4) is the reason Elementalists are such a pain in WvW and PvP, giving an amazing amount of distance. It’s a great way to get back to a foe, and does a good deal of damage. It’s not something you should spam off cooldown, however, but you should use it as needed, or when you need to run through trash. Make sure to turn off auto-targeting when running off-hand Dagger elementalist so that you can use this ability to run past enemies without targeting them automatically. Updraft (Air 5) is basically another dodge, as well as an AoE knockdown, as well as gives you a great deal of Swiftness. Use as needed. Earthquake (Earth 4) does a great deal of damage, knocks down in an AoE, and more importantly, is a Blast Finisher. Churning Earth (Earth 5) is your strongest damaging spell, inflicting 8 stacks of bleed, 4 stacks of cripple, a gigantic amount of damage, and is also a Blast Finisher.

Scepter
This is the first weapon Elementalists start out with, and strangely, almost all Elementalists I meet quickly abandon it as soon as they can. I never understood why, since it’s a very strong ranged damage weapon if you need one. Phoenix (Fire 3) can be awkward to land, but has some great abilities (removes all conditions and grants vigor when it returns) and Dragon’s Tooth (Fire 2) is pretty easy to land on most mobs since they often just stand around. Shatterstone (Water 2) is pretty bad and you're better off just using Water autoattack. Water Trident (Water 3) heals for a ton, and you should use it if you or an ally needs a burst heal. Lightning Strike (Air 2) and Blinding Flash (Air 3) are low-cooldown high damage abilities and should spam them off cooldown whenever you get the chance. Rock Barrier (Earth 2) is a good spell to start combat with, granting you a good bit deal of toughness, and Dust Devil (Earth 3) does a good bit of damage and blinds in an AoE. Solid and spammable off cooldown.

Focus
Highly underrated but very powerful in the right situations. Focus has a defensive skillset that you’ll use when the team needs protection from bad guys that sit back and shoot at you dangerous projectiles. Swirling Winds (Air 4) offers 6 seconds of projectile destruction. It’s very strong, especially in cases where you need projectile deflection, such as the Harpy Fractal, the Shaman Fractal final boss, and Mossman in the Swamp Fractal if you and your team are ranging him. Flamewall (Fire 4) is pretty bad but it at least provides a Fire field. Fire Shield is pretty weak as well and more or less only there to proc with Zephyr’s Boon for more fury. Freezing Gust (Water 4) is a ranged Chill and is thus quite powerful in certain situtations. Comet (Water 5) is a ranged knockdown and actually knocks down opponents long enough to land a Dragon’s Tooth (hint hint). Gale (Air 5) is another ranged knockdown. Magnetic Wave (Earth 4) reflects projectiles shot at you for 3 seconds, and Obsidian Flesh (Earth 5) grants invulnerability for 4 seconds. It’s very solid.

Staff
High skill cap to use, and pretty awkward at that. The main thing is that it can be really hard to land most of this weapon’s attacks, and the auto-attacks themselves do incredibly low damage. In most dungeons, you’re probably better off using Daggers or Scepter. There are some cases where the Staff is really nice to have (such as clearing lots of trash or lots of enemies, such as the Ascalon Fractal), but overall, especially for newer players, I’d point you in the direction of the other weapon sets first.


So which weapon set should you use? Double dagger, almost all the time. You swap to Scepter Dagger or Scepter Focus when your personal skill level is insufficient to melee the enemy in question (or if your Agony Resistance demands it, in the case of higher level fractals). Otherwise, try to force yourself to use daggers at all times, since as a Melee weapon, they do more damage.

Utility Slots and Elites

Your utilities depend a bit on what you’re trying to do. Generally, since I run aura-sharing, I like to run 2 cantrips (Lightning Flash and Mist Form) and Arcane Wave for the Blast Finisher. This is also a decent combination with the Cleansing Water build. Generally, you’ll find that as an Elementalist, your weapon set provides enough utility that all you really want are cantrips and probably Arcane Wave or Arcane Shield. Conjure Lightning Hammer does a hilarious amount of damage but locks you out of your other weapon skills and is this probably not worth it. Use Frost Bow when you need to destroy objects.

For your Heal skill (#6), I would suggest Signet of Restoration. Ether Renewal is also decent if you need more bursty heals, but I find Signet of Restoration is just much stronger in PvE.

For your Elite, you have two decent choices. Conjure Fiery Greatsword actually only does really great damage if you’re on a wall and you can use Fiery Whirl (Greatsword 3) to slam all hits into a target (think Subject Alpha from the Crucible of Eternity Dungeon). Fiery Greatsword is also a great choice if you’re in double dagger and need a ranged weapon, since the auto attack on Conjure Fiery Greatsword does a great deal of ranged damage. As of late, I’ve found that the Elemental from Glyph of Elementals is still probably the better choice in many situations. Summon an Earth Elemental if you need a tank, a Water Elemental if you need heals, an Air Elemental for good ground control and damage, and a Fire Elemental for pure damage. The Earth Elemental is probably the most useful one in PvE.

Gear

Now this is where things get interesting. You are a double dagger Elementalist going up into Melee with low HP and low armor. What should you equip for dungeons?

Probably full Berserker gear with Ruby Trinkets. For your runes in your armor, I’d suggest either Boon Duration Runes (Superior Rune of the Monk, Superior Rune of the Water, Major Rune of the Water) or Ruby Orbs. The former is better for support, and the latter is good for damage. I’d suggest that if you’re starting out, go with the Boon Duration runes to get the most out of your various support abilities and boons you provide (an extra few seconds on Protection from swapping to Earth Attunement and a good several extra seconds of Might from all your fire blast field finishers does wonders for your party’s survivability and DPS).

Why full Berserker on trinkets and armor though, you might ask? Because in dungeons, the most important thing, generally, is dealing damage and killing enemies as quickly as possible.

The thing is, most dungeon mechanics are about one-shot mechanics that will down most characters in one hit or so anyway. Stacking survivability is a waste, especially on a character like the Elementalist which has so little in the way of HP and Armor that you might as well not try to increase those in PvE, at all.

If you are somewhat paranoid about your own survivability, just note that unlike other classes, you have a surprising amount of self-sustain available to you. Your primary means of healing will be auto-attacking (which triggers Signet of Restoration), attuning to Water attunement (which heals about 1600 HP for you), dodge rolling in Water Attunement (which heals another 1600 HP), using Cone of Cold (which heals about 800 for you) and Cleansing Wave (which heals another 1600 HP). If you’re out of /all/ of these, then you can pop the signet. Don’t forget that, also, due to rapidly swapping attunements, you gain Protection from Earth attunement for a sizable time, which reduces the damage you take by 33%.

For your sigils, you should take Sigil of Battle in your offhand dagger, and Sigil of Perception in your mainhand dagger (gain +10 to Precision per kill). If you really want to minmax, swap out your mainhand weapon for a dagger that has Sigil of Accuracy (+5% crit chance) after you max out your perception stacks.

For consumables, Master Maintenance Oil is great (or if you’re cheap, Quality Maintenance Oil will do). Your food should be either Omnomberry Pie (or Mixed Berry Pie if you’re cheap) for survivability with lifesteal on crit, or Omnomberry Cream for 20% boon duration (and the extra Magic Find is always kinda nice). I’d suggest carrying around both and switching as needed. The Omnomberry Pie is probably the better choice though, because of the constant stream of lifesteal.

Rotations

Your most typical Starting Rotation is this:

Burning Speed (Fire 3) -> Fire Grab (Fire 5) -> Ring of Fire (Fire 4) -> Dodge Roll and swap to Earth Attunement as you do so do perform a blast finisher in your Fire Field -> Arcane Wave to perform a blast finisher in your Fire Field -> Earthquake (Earth 4) to do a blast finisher in your Fire Field -> Churning Earth (Earth 5) to do a blast finisher in your Fire Field.

This will give your allies 12 stacks of might. You’ll also get 3-9 more from Sigil of Battle as you continue to fight and change attunements.


For starting attunement, you should generally begin in the Air attunement. This gives you inherently quicker mobility thanks to Zephyr’s Speed in the Air tree, a good gap closer with Ride the Lightning, and the ability to start up Fury by popping Shocking Aura. You’ll generally engage by letting one of your allies strike the enemy in melee first, then use Shocking Aura, then quickly swap to Fire Attunement to begin your Starting Rotation.

When you need to heal or cleanse conditions, you perform a Healing Rotation:

Attune to Water [Heal for 1600] -> Dodge Roll in Water [Heal for 1600] -> Cone of Cold (Water 2) [Heal for 800] -> Cleansing Wave (Water 5) [Heal for 1600]
For a total heal of ~5600!
If you’re already maxed in health at any point in this rotation, you can stop and continue to fight normally.

As you exit the Water attunement, remember to spam Frozen Burst and Frost Aura if they’re off cooldown.

Generally, it’s pretty common for me to first use my Starting Rotation, then use my Healing Rotation because I’ll have taken a hit or two while doing all of those attacks.

When you need to engage, a great way to start is with Burning Speed (Fire 3). It does a great deal of damage, creates a Fire Field, and acts as a sort of gap closer against enemies.

When you’re waiting for things to go off cooldown and need an auto attack to spam, your best bet is Air Attunement’s Lightning Whip. If you need to “range” an enemy, swapping to Water Attunement and using Vapor Blade lets you attack from 600 range.

Your general philosophy as an Elementalist is “press all the buttons so you can press more buttons”. While other classes like the Warrior encourage you to stick to your autoattack since it’s generally the most efficient way to maximize DPS, the Elementalist is the complete opposite. You only use your autoattack if you have to - it’s pretty weak. A good guide is, when something’s off cooldown in an attunement, use it.

For a guide to better dagger dagger play, I suggest looking at Zoose’s guide to the Dagger Dagger elementalist. This video has a great deal more number of rotations explained, and expands upon all of the abilities the Dagger Dagger elementalist has (though he focuses on sPvP as opposed to PvE Dungeons).

Also, I do suggest you check Daphoenix’s guide to the Dagger Dagger Elementalist
Key Bindings:

So here’s something I think that gets a lot of newer players when they try and pick up the Elementalist. It’s a class which simply demands greater use of its Class Abilities (the F1, F2, F3, and F4 skills) than any other profession. Enough so that if you actually leave your default bindings to F1-F4, you’ll find the class clunky and difficult to play unless you’re either very agile or have large hands.

For this reason, while I won’t demand that you totally rearrange your keybindings just to play an Elementalist, I do think that you should try to find a better place to put your profession skills. One that I personally use is Ctrl-A for F1, Ctrl-E for F2, Ctrl-D for F3, and Ctrl-F for F4. This doesn’t have to be the way you bind your keys, but leaving them at default at F1-F4 can often be one of the greatest physical barriers to using the Elementalist to its fullest potential, in general.

Also, turn off auto-targeting when using Dagger Dagger elementalist if you want to be able to use Ride the Lightning (Air 4) to quickly move around the battlefield. It’s also generally a good idea to turn it off because with a weapon set like Dagger Dagger, you want great control over the direction of your attacks.

Also, I’d be surprised if you didn’t already have this, but make sure to Show Skill Recharge for all of your skills.

Turn off Melee Attack Assist. It’s a terrible setting.

General Dungeon Strategy:

One of the things you’ll find in the balance of GW2 is that ranged damage, with some exceptions, does significantly less damage than melee damage. It’s for this reason that I find the dagger dagger Elementalist is so strong in general - it’s the melee set of the Elementalist, so it manages to provide a great deal of damage while capitalizing on the Elementalist’s general utility (the power to provide boons and support from the four elements - Might from Fire, Heals and Regen from Water, Swiftness and Fury from Air, and Protection and Knockdowns from Earth).

What this means is that you’ll often find yourself up in the front lines, sort of forced to really, due to the melee range of your weapons.

The first thing to note is that as daunting as it can be to be in a PUG wearing light armor with Berserker stats while you’re up in melee while everyone else insists on ranging, it’s actually not nearly as bad as it sounds. The reason for this has to deal with the way enemy aggro works in this game. You will have such a low armor class and with nothing in your earth tree, the only classes that will have as low toughness as you will be other Berserker Light Armor classes. So if you’re in a party with all Eles, Necros, and Mesmers wearing all Berserker gear, you might be in a bit of a tough spot, but that’s fairly rare.

In truth, whoever has higher armor than you will generally draw aggro thanks to the way aggro works in this game. The trick then, as an Elementalist, to retaining your survivability, is to stay with your party, and allow them to engage first. Once they do, you can freely move up into melee distance (maybe closing the gap with Ride the Lightning) and attack your foes from behind.

Like most Elementalist builds, your cantrips are your lifeline. If you’re feeling nervous, equip 3 cantrips. If you’re feeling pretty confident, slot in Arcane Wave and Conjure Lightning Hammer and only have one cantrip. Generally, 90% of the time, I run with two cantrips (Lightning Flash and Mist Form) and Arcane Wave for the Blast Finisher in Fire Fields. Either way, Elementalist cantrips are some of the best stun breakers in the game, and each offers incredible utility, so experiment with them, and see which ones you like.

Conclusion:

I hope this guide helped you, and I’m still in the process of editing it, but I wanted to get it out there to get some feedback right away. Please leave comments in the respective thread I posted this in, and I’ll make sure to read them. I will be editing this guide over time.

The Dagger Dagger Elementalist is one of the most difficult classes to master at first, but once you manage to do so, allows you to play the game in a frenetic and action-styled way that many other classes simply can’t do. You’re constantly moving, weaving in and out of enemies, while dealing a moderate amount of damage and providing a steady stream of powerful bonuses to your allies. You can’t provide the Defensive bonuses of a Guardian or the Offensive bonuses of a Warrior, but you can provide a little bit of what both do, each, without really having to give up anything. In conclusion, for the purposes of random groups or casual groups to go out dungeoning with, the Dagger Dagger Elementalist is almost always an excellent addition to the party, because it can work with anyone, and provides a good deal of support no matter who’s in the party.

I hope you enjoyed this guide! Please leave feedback in the thread, or message me at my GW2 username, Neko.9021.

Edited by JNeko, 30 June 2013 - 07:50 PM.

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#2 JNeko

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 07:58 AM

Reserved for future use.

Edited by JNeko, 19 May 2013 - 07:58 AM.

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#3 DrC

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 07:11 AM

It's interesting to see the direction of Ele builds and gear loadouts since release. I remember PVT armor being perceived as godlike in the beginning and giving an insane amount of survivability on top of the types of builds at the time (usually stuff like 0/10/10/30/20). Now that people are more and more familiar with dungeons and fractals, the shift towards more direct damage is almost seems inevitable.

Generally, I try to keep up on builds for my characters and you post this full zerk Elementalist with the standard 0/10/0/30/30. I did end up building that one Conjure Hammer build posted here with zerk gear and Scholar Runes, so I'll probably try running in that gear with 0/10/0/30/30 sometime. I'm pretty sure it'll work fine but my main concern with these kinds of glass builds is that they demand familiarity with content. If you've never run a dungeon before and have no idea what to expect, you're probably going to be downed a lot. On the flip side, if you know the dungeon really well, it mostly becomes a game of knowing when to dodge so it's best to stack on damage.

Overall, for new players, I'd recommend starting with a set of PVT (Power, Vitality, Toughness) armor and swapping out for Berserker (Power, Precision, Critical Damage) pieces until you get to a point where you're comfortable (this could mean going full Zerk, if you can swing it). Thanks for the post JNeko, I need to relearn new DPS rotations.
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#4 shio

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 01:33 AM

Thanks for this guide. It's really useful!
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#5 Konatitan

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 06:27 PM

Thanks for the guide, though I do have a question.

What is your thought on Celeistal jewelry instead of Berserker? According to a guy on the official forums, Celestial runs ahead of Berserker in DPS when you are using conditions, which you do as a D/D Elementalist.
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#6 JNeko

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 12:10 AM

Thanks for the guide, though I do have a question.

What is your thought on Celeistal jewelry instead of Berserker? According to a guy on the official forums, Celestial runs ahead of Berserker in DPS when you are using conditions, which you do as a D/D Elementalist.


Pretty sure they're wrong. Elementalist Condition Damage is pretty awful. If you want to maximize damage on an Elementalist, you go for Berserker gear, for sure.
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#7 greenishtea

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 12:08 AM

Can you post a video for this build?
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#8 Excentric Microwave

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 05:45 PM

Is this build adaptable to a S/D user? As in wich traits should be changed?
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#9 JNeko

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 10:49 PM

I am not as familiar with Scepter Dagger, but the trait array should work fine for the most part.

Same gear, same 0/10/0/30/30, only take the following traits instead:
Air
-VI: Bolt to the Heart
Water
-III: Soothing Disruption
-VI: Vital Striking OR IX: Cantrip Mastery
-XI: Cleansing Water
Arcana
-V: Elemental Attunement
-VI: Renewing Stamina (this is better than Vigorous Scepter for a high crit build like this)
-XI: Evasive Arcana

Utilities should be Arcane Wave and two cantrips (I prefer Mist Form and Lightning Flash), which have been traited to remove conditions thanks to Soothing Disruption and Cleansing Water's interaction.

Your general rotation is to place Dragon's Tooth (Fire 2) over an enemy, lay down a Ring of Fire (Fire 4), then use Phoenix (Fire 3) and Arcane Wave to blast finish 3 times in your Ring of Fire. You should then dodge roll in Earth attunement and try to use Earth 4 and Earth 5 to stack more blast finishers in Ring of Fire as best as much as you can.

From there I'm not entirely sure of which rotations are optimal for maximizing damage. I usually try to keep Earth 2 up and then switch to Air and spam 1-2-3- off cooldown until I can go back to might stacking with Fire and Earth again.

I hope that helps. Feel free to message me in-game if you have any questions as well. (I prefer to keep this thread to the topic of D/D Berserker Dungeon Elemenatlist.)

Edited by JNeko, 02 June 2013 - 10:50 PM.

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#10 Khadroth

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 05:52 PM

Any thoughts on the leaked patch notes Neko? The changes to Bountiful Power seem annoying.
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#11 JNeko

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 06:43 PM

The change to Bountiful Power isn't a big deal.

The change to Lightning Flash is a bit more frustrating.

The overall core of the build is still retained, however. 0/10/0/30/30 still looks like the best generic trait setup.

Given that, next week, I plan to release a new guide showing my thoughts on the dungeon Ele. In particular, I no longer believe D/D is the best setup. Focus is just too good for PvE.
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#12 Khadroth

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 06:51 PM

The change to Bountiful Power isn't a big deal.

The change to Lightning Flash is a bit more frustrating.

The overall core of the build is still retained, however. 0/10/0/30/30 still looks like the best generic trait setup.

Given that, next week, I plan to release a new guide showing my thoughts on the dungeon Ele. In particular, I no longer believe D/D is the best setup. Focus is just too good for PvE.


Oh really, I'd be interested to hear what made you change your mind. I'm not really cut and dry on any particular weapon loadout myself, as I think they each have their fights where they're best utilized. D/D just happens to be what I fall into the most often.
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#13 XRay

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 08:31 AM

The change to Bountiful Power isn't a big deal.

The change to Lightning Flash is a bit more frustrating.

The overall core of the build is still retained, however. 0/10/0/30/30 still looks like the best generic trait setup.

Given that, next week, I plan to release a new guide showing my thoughts on the dungeon Ele. In particular, I no longer believe D/D is the best setup. Focus is just too good for PvE.


focus? I'd love to see the reasoning for that :o looking forward to the new build :P
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#14 draxynnic

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 10:55 AM

I would imagine the reasoning goes somewhat like this:

The main things you get out of offhand dagger are:
Fire field, from Ring of Fire
Two Blast finishers, from Earthquake and Churning Earth
An aura, from Frost Aura
A heal/condition removal, from Cleansing Wave
Mobility, from Ride the Lightning

Focus gives:
Fire field, from Flamewall
Two Blast finishers, from Magnetic Wave and Comet - in different attunements, but also on substantially shorter recharges
An aura, from Fire Shield - more offensively oriented than Frost Aura.
Condition removal, from Magnetic Wave
Three damage prevention options - Obsidian Flesh for everything, Swirling Aura and, if correctly times, Magnetic Wave for projectiles.

So for the first three points, the focus and offhand dagger come out about even. With the nerf to RtL, it's less useful as a mobility tool except on a charge, and thus it's questionable whether it's worth taking the dagger for RtL alone, especially when you've got Burning Speed on a 15s cooldown. That leaves Cleansing Wave, and while that's nice, Evasive Arcana will potentially give you four in the time the dagger gives you one, and in GW2, well-timed hit prevention is generally much more useful than a little bit of healing.

Thus, the focus probably is providing more utility. You probably lose out a bit on damage compared to the OH dagger, but on the other hand, most damaging effects from the OH dagger have long cooldowns or channeling times, so while you lose spiking ability you may not actually be losing that much in terms of sustained DPS.
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#15 ObscureThreat

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 11:16 AM

If indeed focus is better in the new patch, is dagger mainhand still necessary or will scepter be better?
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#16 JNeko

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 02:34 PM

Scepter lacks Mainhand Dagger's sustained damage, by a longshot. Simply using Lightning Whip will give you better damage over time than what the Scepter can do.
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#17 Khadroth

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 03:19 PM

I would imagine the reasoning goes somewhat like this:

The main things you get out of offhand dagger are:
Fire field, from Ring of Fire
Two Blast finishers, from Earthquake and Churning Earth
An aura, from Frost Aura
A heal/condition removal, from Cleansing Wave
Mobility, from Ride the Lightning

Focus gives:
Fire field, from Flamewall
Two Blast finishers, from Magnetic Wave and Comet - in different attunements, but also on substantially shorter recharges
An aura, from Fire Shield - more offensively oriented than Frost Aura.
Condition removal, from Magnetic Wave
Three damage prevention options - Obsidian Flesh for everything, Swirling Aura and, if correctly times, Magnetic Wave for projectiles.

So for the first three points, the focus and offhand dagger come out about even. With the nerf to RtL, it's less useful as a mobility tool except on a charge, and thus it's questionable whether it's worth taking the dagger for RtL alone, especially when you've got Burning Speed on a 15s cooldown. That leaves Cleansing Wave, and while that's nice, Evasive Arcana will potentially give you four in the time the dagger gives you one, and in GW2, well-timed hit prevention is generally much more useful than a little bit of healing.

Thus, the focus probably is providing more utility. You probably lose out a bit on damage compared to the OH dagger, but on the other hand, most damaging effects from the OH dagger have long cooldowns or channeling times, so while you lose spiking ability you may not actually be losing that much in terms of sustained DPS.


I can't say its that clear cut though. You have flame grab which is very heavy hitter (albeit on a stupidly long cooldown). Also the aoe knock downs of updraft and earthquake which can be used on quite a few bosses if done right. The fact that not all fields are the same. Ring of fire is a giant, set it and forget it aoe field, with the problem of it requiring skill to land the ring on a boss, but makes it easy to combo. This is compared to flamewall though which can be clunky, deals more dmg, but is much harder for a group to combo with and can be easily overridden by a larger combo field. You also can't really compare dagger healing against evasive arcana, since daggers can (and definitely should) take it as well, meaning you're just giving yourself more healing by taking daggers (kudos though on the dmg prevention point).

I'm not saying dagger is better, just that this is far more complex than focus > OH dagger. It all depends on group comp, player skill, and of course the current boss/path/instance. Some fights inately call for a more defensive loadout, while others don't need the dmg prevention at all.
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#18 draxynnic

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 01:24 AM

No, it's not clearcut. Most of the elementalist player base, however, has the idea that it is clearcut... the other way, being that you should always take OH dagger. Since it's the accepted option, I concentrated on my thoughts on why the OH dagger might not actually be objectively the best choice in every circumstance.

On the control side of things - I didn't consider that in my analysis because control is often 'just don't bother even trying' in most of the hard fights, but focus gives you Gale and Comet in that regard, which on a single target leads to overall more control.
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#19 Khadroth

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 08:13 PM

I actually agree with you. Ele's in general have a hard time embracing all the weapon options instead of pigeon holing themselves in to one setup.

One thing I'm not keen on though is the idea of the dagger/focus combination. Like how you touched on the "don't bother" point for control, I've always felt that if the fight is dangerous enough for me to be throwing on a focus, I'm probably not wanting to melee it anyways. Meanwhile if I don't need the focus then I might as well go all out and slot D/D (assuming I'm wanting to melee otherwise). Of the possible weapon load outs D/F is easily the one combo I've used the least, due to the contradictory nature of each.
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#20 JNeko

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 10:25 PM

I'm busy playing around with the patch and such. I will post more later on my thoughts on the Dungeon Ele.

In the mean time, just try offhand focus with Dagger, and go 0/20/0/20/30 (Air I IX, Water V VI, Arcana V VI XI). The key spell in your arsenal with Focus is Swirling Winds. Any time there's projectiles to be blocked, you can now block them. It's easy for you to open a fight with Swirling Winds because when traited, it's a nice big projectile block for a pretty low CD. Earth 4 blocks projectiles aimed at you and Earth 5 is just in general very useful when you need to stop damage. These spells alone make Focus much more worthwhile to me than offhand dagger for PvE.

A friend of mine has been testing it here, and found that while offhand dagger has slightly better dps, it's not really all that much more:


Edited by JNeko, 25 June 2013 - 10:26 PM.

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#21 Blorg

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 02:22 AM

If anything, ANET does the pigeonholing for us, we just adapt to whatever they put on the tool tip. IE. bye bye Lightning Flash this patch. Focus has it uses in certain Fractals etc with the reflect and anyone calling themselves a pro-player should have one in the bag just in case. OH dagger is just better in most scenarios.
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#22 Hamartia

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 04:18 PM

Scepter lacks Mainhand Dagger's sustained damage, by a longshot. Simply using Lightning Whip will give you better damage over time than what the Scepter can do.


I don't believe this is the case. Talking about PVE, where Dragon's Tooth is a useful move, S/d eles with CD reductions should never be hitting a 1 move.
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#23 XRay

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 04:55 PM

well, to be frank, with this patch scepter did officially kick dagger mh's ass~
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#24 JNeko

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 06:31 PM

Dragon's Tooth is deceptive. It takes a while for it to cast, and still has a CD while waiting. I have played Scepter Ele with CD traits and I cannot reach a point where I "never" need to autoattack. I would use Scepter if it did more damage, for sure, but even when I do the Fire 2 4 3 Wave Earth Dodge 4 5 or if I sit in fire and try to spam 2 3 4 5 off cooldown, I eventually need to start auto-attacking, or I'm not doing anything to contribute to group DPS.

Even if you go 30 for Fresh Air you're still better off with Dagger because you still need to spend some time autoattacking.

Why don't you talk to me about it in-game. I'm not actually trying to fight, because IF I can see Scepter doing more damage, I'd gladly use it. My username is Neko.9021. I'd like to observe your never-auto-attack rotation and see if it out DPSes Dagger. And if it does I'll change up my guide and such.
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#25 XRay

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 07:35 PM

erm, tbh it's no longer really a question of dps difference, it's about utility aswell. as of yesterday in one scepter dagger rotation with sigil of battle within one circle of fire you'll get 22 stacks of might, few less for the group and 50 seconds of fury. which is something that u can't get with d/d due to the difference in the amount of blast finishers and fire field durations.

Edited by XRay, 26 June 2013 - 07:36 PM.

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#26 JNeko

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 07:40 PM

You can still run 30 in fire with Dagger MH and grant 40 seconds of Fury while offering much better DPS.
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#27 XRay

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 07:44 PM

initial fury yes, but aside arcane wave your other blast finishers are on a fairly high cd, while u can spam dragon's tooth and phoenix almost every time circle of fire is off cd enabling you to maintain perma fury and might stacks.
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#28 JNeko

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 10:50 PM

Scepter Ele has indeed gained a nice buff in this patch. And if the fight only lasts for a few seconds, it definitely has the advantage.

But the moment you run out of CDs, your DPS will go down significantly.

Basically, I think at this point, they're somewhat comparable, but Scepter lags behind if the fight goes on for a bit.
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