[Class Guide] Elementalist in Salvation Pass

Introduction

 

Although elementalist does not retain its ridiculous Spirit Vale power level in Salvation Pass, it is still a powerful class that can provide top tier DPS with a small amount of utility.

 

This guide is intended to give readers an idea of how to play Elementalist in Salvation Pass. It is assumed that the reader has a basic understanding of Elementalist and Tempest class mechanics, has basic knowledge of Guild Wars 2 game mechanics, and has at least some knowledge of the Salvation Pass encounters through either gameplay or watching raid videos.

 

At the same time, however, this guide is intended for players who are trying to learn. When selecting traits, gear, and skills there is always a tradeoff between utility and damage, and you will have to make the choice as to which will help your squad more. With that in mind, many of the suggestions in this guide are made with the goal of a successful boss kill, not a speed clear. If I recommend anything that is not the highest DPS option I give reasoning for it, because in that situation the utility of the skill has to outweigh the value of killing the boss more quickly and experiencing fewer dangers.

 

Enjoy!

 

Builds

 

There are two main Elementalist builds used in raids: Staff and Fresh Air. Each has strengths and weaknesses in the three encounters, and as such you should be able to change between the staff and fresh air builds depending on what is needed.

 

Staff

 

Staff Elementalist excels at dealing area damage at range through fire fields. Although the staff fire skills can deal a large amount of damage to a stationary target, against mobile targets the damage can be severely reduced, and so in Salvation Pass staff is used not for its boss damage but for the huge areas of effect on its skills and the range at which they can be cast. Typically it is taken against Slothasor as part of a strategy to control the buildup of slublings, and against Los Tres Bandidos to help clear trash bandits quickly, as well as to ignite keg oil. Staff Elementalist is typically not used against Matthias because he moves frequently and there are no other good targets for lava font and meteor shower.

 

Standard Staff Build

 

Weapon:

 

Sigils:

 

Utility Skills:

 

Utility Alternatives:

 

 

General DPS Rotation

  1. Start fight in Air
  2. Glyph of Storms
  3. Overload Air
  4. Fire Attunement
  5. Use skills with the following priority:
    1. Lava Font
    2. Glyph of Storms
    3. Overload Fire
    4. Meteor Shower (higher priority than Overload Fire against large hitboxes)
    5. Autoattack
    6. Flame Burst (fills gaps between skills too short for autoattack)

 

Fresh Air

 

Although I wrote earlier that fresh air and staff were the two main Elementalist builds, fresh air is actually a more vague term for a category of builds that have one thing in common: they take the grandmaster trait fresh air. These builds get most of their DPS from the ability to repeatedly use Overload Air.

 

Unlike in Spirit Vale where the best fresh air build by far was Dagger/Warhorn with Fire/Air/Tempest, in Salvation Pass a wide range of options is useful depending on the needs of your squad and your own confidence level in the encounters.

 

Standard Fresh Air Build

 

Weapon 1:

 

Weapon 2: OR

 

Sigils:

 

Trait Alternatives: Unstable Conduit if Gale Song stunbreak is not needed

 

Utility Skills:

 

Utility Alternatives:

 

General DPS Rotation

 

  1. Start fight in Air
  2. Lightning Orb (from distance, it should hit around the same time as lightning storm)
  3. Glyph of Storms
  4. Overload Air
  5. Fire Attunement
  6. Burning Speed – try to hit the boss with the blast at the end AND the fire field
  7. Wild Fire/Fire Shield – if off cooldown
  8. Air Attunement
  9. Lightning Orb, Glyph of Storms – if off cooldown
  10. Autoattack until Overload Air is available
  11. Overload Air
  12. Lightning Orb – if off cooldown
  13. Repeat from step 3
  14. Feel the Burn and Shocking Aura can be used during other skills and should be used as needed for damage, healing, or utility

 

If your party is lacking might or fury, you should also use heat sync as needed.

 

Often you will need to mix earth and water skills into your rotation as needed during fights. In these cases, it may be convenient to bypass swapping to fire attunement altogether. For example, if you needed to cleanse conditions or use magnetic aura, instead of swapping to fire you would swap to Earth and use Magnetic Wave.

 

Don’t forget that you can swap attunements while a skill is casting and it will complete its cast in the new attunement. You should swap to lightning as soon as you begin casting Wild Fire (or burning speed if Wild Fire is on cooldown) in order to recharge Overload Air faster. This also means if Lightning Orb becomes available after Overload Air, you should cast it before switching to Fire Attunement.

 

Against a moving target, try to aim Wild Fire such that when the boss moves he will continue to be inside of Wild Fire’s area of effect.

 

Lightning Orb will hit more times if cast from further away, so try to cast it at the maximum range of Lightning Whip.

 

CC Rotation

 

If you need to CC to remove a break bar, use the following skill rotation, swapping back to air as soon as the target is broken.

 

  1. Assumed to be starting in air attunement
  2. Gale/Cyclone
  3. Water Attunement
  4. Glyph of Storms (if desperate for CC, otherwise save for damage)
  5. Comet/Tidal Surge
  6. Aftershock (if available, may want to save for reflect)
  7. Frozen Burst
  8. Flash Freeze (if available)
  9. Freezing Gust (if focus)
  10. Earth Attunement
  11. Magnetic Grasp
  12. Ring of Earth
  13. Overload Earth (will have to wait a couple seconds)

 

Fresh Air Variants

 

Fresh air can also be modified to give extra squad survivability at the cost of personal DPS. These builds are good against Matthias and sloth if your group is not yet comfortable with the fight, since Matthias’ enrage timer is extremely generous and most wipes will be to boss mechanics.

 

Water Fresh Air Build

 

Weapon 1:

 

Weapon 2: OR

 

Sigils:

 

Trait Alternatives: Stop, Drop, and Roll can be taken if additional condition removal is needed against Matthias.

 

Utility Skills:

 

Utility Alternatives:

 

 

The build shown above is a more defensive version of the standard fresh air build. If your group needs more healing (generally this will be against Matthias), you can change any of your consumables, gear, sigils, and runes to be more healing focused as needed. Swapping all of these to healing options results in the standard build for what is commonly known as an auramancer.

 

Note that I would not recommend an auramancer as a primary healer (i.e. used instead of a druid). Although the healing numbers are at least as good as those of druid, auramancer has nothing comparable to Druid’s power support abilities such as Grace of the Land, Spotter, and Spirits.

 

Warhorn vs Focus

 

In general, whether you take warhorn or focus depends on whether you value damage (warhorn) or utility (focus) more in that particular fight. In Salvation Pass I believe that the utility is too good to pass up against all three bosses, and I take Focus in every fight. In Salvation Pass you are generally trying to overcome the mechanics of the fight rather than race against the clock, and every one of the eight focus skills helps with that in some way.

 

However, warhorn DPS is definitely higher and if your goal is to kill a boss as fast as possible and you trust your group to play well then warhorn is hands down better unless you are running a strategy that relies heavily on focus skills.

 

Gearing Up

 

Item Stat Combinations

 

Your goal when selecting your armor and trinket stat combinations is to achieve as close to 100% critical strike chance as possible. The best way to achieve this target while maintaining a high level of convenience in swapping between staff and fresh air builds is to use sigil of accuracy and full berserker’s gear.

 

Armor: Berserker

Weapon(s): Berserker

Trinkets: Berserker

Runes: Scholar

Food/Utility: 0 Precision

 

This will cause you to exceed 100% critical strike chance in both the staff and fresh air builds by a small amount of precision while under the effects of common raid group buffs. However, the power you gain by using sigil of accuracy instead of sigil of air outperforms the sigil of air lightning strike even without complete stat efficiency in a staff build. In Fresh Air, accuracy with arcane blast is comparable to sigil of air with signet of fire, but the flexibility of the third utility slot is generally more valuable than the marginal DPS gain which relies heavily on alacrity.

Food & Utility

 

The best food to use for DPS builds is Seaweed Salad. The 10% damage boost far outdoes the gain from any other food, even considering that skills such as meteor shower and burning speed will gain reduced or no benefit. Experimental remnant is a cheaper alternative, and dragon’s breath bun can be used in the bandit fortress.

 

The best utilities are either toxic sharpening stone or toxic maintenance oil, depending on whether you need the precision to cap your crit chance (if you are using the stat/rune/sigil combination suggested in this guide, you will want sharpening stones). However, any sharpening stone or maintenance oil that gives only 100 stat points is only extremely marginally worse for a fraction of the cost, and so those are recommended unless you are going for a speed clear.

 

Boss Encounters

 

Slothasor

 

General

 

Elementalists need to be extremely careful about positioning in this fight. Damage can build up quickly if reflects are dropped or if you get the volatile poison. You should be able to avoid almost all of the sloth’s damage by simply moving out of the way or dodging. If you take too much damage you may die when you get a poison, which could cause a wipe.

 

As Staff

 

Staff Elementalist is sometimes brought to the sloth fight to help control the buildup of slublings. While you do not have to be constantly focusing on clearing slublings, you should check periodically to see if there are enough of them bunched up to make a lava font or meteor shower worth it. Using your skills on a lone slubling generally isn’t worth your time, with the exception that clearing any number of slublings is always helpful during the break phase because otherwise you would be doing nothing.

 

Staff fire skills have 1200 range and large areas of effect, so you should not move from the stack to clear slublings. Stay within the safety of your squad’s reflects and heals.

 

Realistically, you will likely not be able to kill every single slubling, as they will often be spread out and some may be left behind across the arena. Your goal is to keep the slubling numbers down enough that your team can manage to close out the fight. Once the evolved slublings start spawning, it is critical that your team pulls them together so that you can kill them efficiently. Your range is long enough that the pulls don’t have to be close to the boss, they just have to group as many slublings together as possible. If your group’s pulls are lacking, then you need to address the issue because otherwise the entire reason for bringing the staff elementalist is lost.

 

If you are fixated, you can use magnetic aura (earth 3) as you move away from your group. This will give your teammates some extra time to drop reflects ahead of the Slothasor.

 

As Fresh Air

 

Fresh air elementalist is brought to this fight for damage and swirling winds. Therefore you will typically want to run a focus offhand in this fight, though warhorn is acceptable if you are only looking for DPS.

 

Dagger/Focus brings several other useful abilities to the fight. You should be helping with every break phase by using Gale (air 5) and then Comet (water 5). If your group does not have slick shoes available then you should use the full break rotation as listed above.

 

Swirling winds has a large radius and a low cooldown. Use it whenever you see a gap in your team’s reflects, especially while moving sloth as your primary reflectors may have just dropped their projectile destruction somewhere else. You can use Aftershock in the same way.

 

If you are not confident in your ability to avoid shake damage, you can bring arcane shield as your third utility skill and alternate using that and obsidian flesh to avoid damage from the shakes. However, you should not take this as an excuse to avoid learning to dodge the spore shake. Sometimes you will need to bring another utility over arcane shield, and in general it is good to avoid using Obsidian Flesh to prevent shake damage.It is valuable as a tool to resurrect a teammate downed in a dangerous location, or to drop poison where you otherwise could not.

 

Obsidian Flesh can be used to block the spores from the shake attack from spawning, in the same way it can stop husks from spawning in the Triple Trouble event. However, the positioning required is very strict and your squad should not rely upon this strategy unless you are extremely confident with it.

 

If you group is using Fresh Air elementalists to clear slublings rather than necromancers with epidemic, then it is important to ensure that you hit as many slublings as possible with overload air, and try to end your overload such that both the slothasor and the slublings are in its lightning field. You can also try to aim your lightning orb such that it will pass through far away slublings, as its range is much longer than its ground targeting icon implies.

 

Los Tres Bandidos

 

General

 

This encounter is fairly easy, so what you bring is less important than how you play the fight. Personal single target DPS is relatively unimportant here, and so you should be bringing exclusively aoe damage, reflects, and mobility skills.

 

If you have the fire traitline, you can ignite the keg oil with any skill since Burning Precision can ignite on critical strike.

 

As Staff

 

Your goal in this fight is clear as much bandit trash as you possibly can. In addition to Fire Signet and Glyph of Storms you can bring either Aftershock, Ice Bow, or Lightning Flash, depending on your preference. Don’t forget that Lightning Flash can move you up to the higher levels of the fortress in certain areas, allowing you to quickly kill snipers or kill a mortar dude.

 

As Fresh Air

 

Since personal DPS matters little in this fight, the water traitline is a reasonable alternative to fire since it allows you to share magnetic aura with your teammates, as well as provide more group healing during the Narella fight. In general, you job is to kill as many bandits as possible while helping keep reflects up. You can ignite keg oil from distance with Flame Wall (Focus Fire 4), which has 900 range.

 

Matthias Gabrel

 

General (Fresh Air)

 

You should be running Fresh Air in this fight. It deals better damage and has better utility and survivability.

 

It very important to understand that the Matthias fight will rarely end due to his enrage. The timer is extremely generous and there is little reason to spec for maximum damage if you are not comfortable staying alive during the fight. I typically run Flash Freeze over Glyph of Storms because I consider the group frost aura and chill more valuable than the glyph of storms damage (Matthias also moves around a lot and has an invulnerable phase so Glyph of Storms is less useful that it would normally be). Don’t be afraid to take the Water traitline if you are not confident in your ability to stay up during the fight, because you will increase your party’s DPS overall if your teammates don’t have to constantly resurrect you. As you get more experienced with the fight you can transition back to the typical Fire/Air/Tempest build.

 

Matthias’ skills hit extremely hard. You need to be proficient at damage avoidance and at positioning, because in the abomination phase you will get killed in one hit by the hadouken and the jump attack, in addition of course to the walking spirit. After every split phase you need to quickly make your way to the stack in order to have your conditions removed and get healed, because even the damage of a single split phase will kill you if you do not prevent any damage or heal.

 

I typically take Lightning Flash as my thrid skill in this fight. On its surface it is a DPS loss, but it brings a huge amount of utility for the fight. It has the following uses:

  1. Blink to a fountain to remove corruption
  2. Blink to the side of the arena to drop a well
  3. Blink while inside a fire tornado
  4. Blink away after getting knocked down by the downpour
  5. Resurrect during the timed bomb attack and then blink away at the last second
  6. General mobility (avoid surrenders, get to downed ally faster, etc)

 

One of your primary duties is clearing out ice patches. You should try to lose as little DPS as possible while doing so. Unless it is vital, wait until the reflect phase to clear out distant ice patches, since you cannot deal damage then anyway. Flame Wall is great for clearing out ice patches while sacrificing little DPS, since it is a poor skill against Matthias himself but has 900 range, a low cooldown, and a decent length that lets you clear out two ice patches at once. You can also clip the edge of an ice patch with Burning Speed to remove it without being knocked down, and can of course use Feel the Burn to clear out large groups of ice or just to clear one that is near Matthias while still going through your DPS rotation.

 

Shocking Aura is not removed when a player is being sacrificed. If you are about to be sacrificed, do not use Shocking Aura (Dagger Air 3) and do not complete Overload Air if you have the Unstable Conduit trait. Also be mindful of the fact that you will be sharing these auras with your teammates if you have taken the Water traitline.

 

It is useful save Obsidian Flesh to resurrect an ally who is downed in a dangerous location, but don’t be shy about using it just to stay alive, even if you’re just walking to a fountain or dropping off a well.

 

You can reflect in an emergency by using either Magnetic Blast (Focus Earth 4) or Sand Squall (Warhorn Earth 4) and then standing inside of Matthias’ character model. However, it is unlikely you will be able to clear all of his invulnerability stacks in this time.

 

Don’t forget that your overloads are all stunbreaks. This can be extremely useful during the downpour phase. If you are near 10 stacks of downpour you can continue moving to stun yourself intentionally and remove the stacks, and then immediately use Overload Air to get back up.

During the abomination phase, if your health is low during the split attack, you can quickly swap to water and then use overload water when it is available (unless you have the water traitline, then save the attunement swap for after the damage to clear poison and heal). This will help you stay alive long enough to make it back to your team. You can also use Flash Freeze to mitigate some damage for you and your team.