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July 3, 2012 - 1:52pm -- Xerin
Guild Wars 2: Combo Fields and Finishers

I never once noticed a combo field before the addition of the indicator, when field meets finisher. In the midst of all the particle effects on offer in Guild Wars 2, to pick out a pair of skills working in unison was often near impossible. After the symbol, I’m constantly aware of their utility and power. 

For anyone who doesn’t know, a combo field is a specific skill that creates an area of effect, of a particular type. The type tends to be elemental and this determines the effect they cause on a finisher.  There are a total of 9 fields and 4 finishers that trigger the effects, as indicated in the wiki-table below.   You can also check out LoreChief's Combo Highlights for a full profession breakdown of their specific Combo Fields and Finishers.

Guild Wars 2: Combo Fields and Finishers

Fields come in two forms, circular or wall based.  If a player remains within a circular field any finishers they activate will trigger an effect, where wall based fields are concerned, only leaps or projectile finishers will combo but they have to pass through the field.  In the current build however, it is possible to activate some finishers with wall based fields, though I'm unsure if this is intentional.

To provide two examples: 

These two examples are specific to the Mesmer skills, but it is the use of cross-profession combo fields where things get really interesting, as not all professions have access to all combo finishers.  A Mesmer has Leap, Projectile and Whirl but doesn’t have access to Blast.

Pairing with a Warrior, for this example, a Mesmer could cast Chaos Storm (Field) and the Warrior could use Stomp (Blast Finisher) which would result in Chaos Armour being applied in the area to all team mates. 

Although some combo finishers only have a certain percentage chance of triggering, often 20% on projectiles (likely as a result of the rate of fire) some are certain, such as the Leap and Blast example I provided above. 

The potency of such cross-profession combo finishers is undeniable and offers a whole host of new approaches to the way in which certain professions and profession combinations can interact with one another. 

A specific example of where this worked wonderfully for me was during a structured PvP tournament match in the last Beta weekend.  With a thief on our team, he would use Black Powder (Field) at the beginning of the match, and then use Cluster Bomb (Blast Finisher) to area stealth our entire party.  This then allowed us to leap from the spawn point and run across the centre of Niflhel unseen, before working our way to Svanir or the Chieftain (dependent on which side we were). 

Another favourite combination of mine as a Mesmer was the use of Time Warp when paired with a Thief. Coupled with a Chaos Storm, a Thief’s Unload would not only fire ridiculously quickly, but the bullets when traveling through the Chaos Storm resulted in stack after stack of confusion, dealing massive damage and killing Niflhel’s NPC in around 3 seconds.   This spike made stealing the NPC easy, but killing it as quickly as we did often freed up precious time to rush to and hold the Keep. 

The main hurdle to overcome in using combo fields is remembering which of your skills offer the finisher, while remembering what finisher type it actually is. Almost all are sensible in design but it is worth remembering that not every single skill is a combo field. An Engineers Poison Grenade is, but an Engineers Freeze Grenade isn’t, despite them both being area of effect spells that fall into the standard combo field rules (poison and ice elements). 

I’m incredibly happy with the system in its current form thanks to the added indictor and I believe there is a great deal of tactical play yet to be discovered. The two examples I listed above show the real potential of combo fields. Many effects are obviously reliant on other players being aware of their surroundings and knowing which skills they can and can’t interact with. However, I’m confident effective use of combo fields is critical to gaining an edge over opponents.

With all that in mind, what uses have you found for combo fields; is there anything you would want to change and do you rate them as highly as I do?


Ryan's picture
Submitted by Ryan (not verified) on

Is there a full list of these combo fields anywhere? Structured PVP teams should be built around this!

Lewis B's picture
Submitted by Lewis B on

In the article there is a big link to the wiki above the big table!

ArcherAvatar's picture
Submitted by ArcherAvatar on

While playing my elementalist during the last stress test I teamed up with a warrior and engineer.  After a brief discussion to get them on the same page with me we were all throwing "blast finishers" into fire fields and stacking ridiculous amount of "might" on all of us.

I was also placing down Static Field for the lightning field effect in FRONT of mobs for the combo finishers to fire through and apply multiple stacks of vulnerability to targets.

Result: the warrior was "one-shotting" ettins with his hammer.

So, "yes" I share your high opinion of the combo effects in the game.  The life-steal from dark fields applied by my necro was instrumental in getting groups through the AC dungeon more easily.

Regarding changes: I do find it curious that engineers don't have access to a lightning field generating skill... seems like a no-brainer to me but *shrug*

sylvinstar's picture
Submitted by sylvinstar on

This is a big reason why sPvP will be more for the more hardcore pvp types than casual pvp'ers.  To get that kind of synergy and communication going in a sPvP PuG is a pretty monumental task.  I think the fields are great, and a good way to keep that small ability bar more potent, as you don't have to have 'buff' only type spells taking up valuable spots.

Kaden's picture
Submitted by Kaden on

At first the only combo I really noticed was Fire Shield because my warrior had a fondness for leaps and fire fields seemed by far the most common. I'm not sure if I was doing combos I didn't see or if I just want's doing much in the way of combos. 

After the change I did start to see more although it was still mostly the leaps and some projectiles. The projectiles are nice, and with a high rate of fire I understand not making them to powerful, but it seems like the other finishers are much more impressive. 

The icon does help me see what is going on which led me to went to look them all up, but I haven't actually done it yet. The table is nice and I hope that around release I can start to process the huge amounts of information on a more intellectual level not just relying on my instincts and what has mostly worked in the past. Sometime I'll have to track down a guildee from each profession and watch their field skills so I know when to use my finishers. 

Crossing Tyria Where I spend most of my time.

Lewis B's picture
Submitted by Lewis B on

This is great LoreChief, I'll add this to the article if that's OK?

LoreChief's picture
Submitted by LoreChief (not verified) on


Terra's picture
Submitted by Terra (not verified) on

Just a little correction, blast finishers definitely work with wall based fields e.g. thief uses smoke screen  (wall smoke field) + cluster bomb (blast finisher) = aoe stealth. Link:

Personally I found to get blast finishers to work with wall fields you had to rotate 60-90 degrees so you were basically facing the field. 

Note: Anyone who watches the above video, each stealth lasted 10s and it stacked so that's why he had 40s+ stealth and then coul restack when the cd of smokescreen finished (30s cd). BUT this was a BWE2 bug and Jon Peters has said the stealth duration should have been 2s only ;(.

Lewis B's picture
Submitted by Lewis B on

Thanks for that, I noticed it too after publishing.  I expect that it's a bug however and isn't intended but I've rectified that element. :) 

Zeldain's picture
Submitted by Zeldain (not verified) on

I think with the type of play they have opted for (non-group co-op) it will be next to impossible to coordinate the use of these, making them something everyone just ignores, or looks at as a lucky proc when they happen to go off.

Cool idea for a system, but designed poorly IMO. Part of it is the problem with the way the boons & conditions engine works as well.

ArcherAvatar's picture
Submitted by ArcherAvatar on

Zeldain, are you just trolling or do you have a legitimate point to make?

"Part of it is the problem with the way the boons&conditions engine works as well." - Zeldain

Would you like to clarify that with actual, specific comments on what you think is the "problem" because I've been playing in the BWEs and it appeared to me that the boons and conditions were functioning quite well and as intended.

Also, to your first comment;  Not only do I not "ignore" the possibility of combos, I create them for myself without any assistance from another player, AND I create them for other players whether they are "aware" enough on their own to seek them out or not.

If I see a thief with pistols, or a warrior with a rifle, or a ranger with a longbow, or any of a number of other possibilities, and they are shooting at a tough "champion" mob - if I'm on my elementalist I will throw down a Static Field between them and the mob so they are shooting through it without having to do anything different than what they were already doing... now they're applying Vulnerability with those shots and reducing the champion's defense so everyone there is doing more damage... OR if I'm on my necro I roll forward to the champion and drop a Well of Suffering right in front of it and now everyone shooting through that well is getting healed because their shots are picking up life-steal from my well.

I suppose you can just leave it up to chance and good luck... or, you can demonstrate some degree of competency, knowledge, and enough freakin backbone to USE YOUR SKILLS in a way that creates and takes advantage of combos in the game.

Nuu's picture
Submitted by Nuu (not verified) on

you really should have a "website" field for those who want you to see their profile on gravatar or guru or they have a site. Anyways, great article....i didn't even think about time warp AND chaos storm....very cool

Sardu's picture
Submitted by Sardu on

Thanks for the suggestion Nuu. A hefty revamp to our commenting system is in the works, and that's one of the items on my list to address. :)

Endrosz's picture
Submitted by Endrosz on

Lewis, this article is great. This is the stuff I was hoping to get when I subbed to Hub's RSS feed.  :)

Dakan's picture
Submitted by Dakan (not verified) on

I was able to make good use of blast, leap and projectile finishers last BWE but whirl finishers seemed useless to me. I think I may have missed something so can someone enlighten me to their use?

Drake's picture
Submitted by Drake (not verified) on

Example: Warrior using Axe/Axe, using his #5 while standing in an allies' Ring of Fire. He will now shoot out bolts of fire in a large point-blank AoE that, when hitting enemies, apply Burning.

Drake's picture
Submitted by Drake (not verified) on

Another example: a Guardian wielding a Greatsword puts down his Symbol of Wrath. Then, the enemy still standing in melee range, he uses Whirling Wrath.

In addition to the damage and projectiles that Whirling Wrath already does, it will now ALSO fire out bolts of Light that cleanse conditions from nearby allies (probably also yourself, unsure).

oneeyered's picture
Submitted by oneeyered on

Is this something that is possible at any level in PvP or specific past a lvl point (ex: lvl 10+) ?

Its a simple world for complicated people



Nyth_'s picture
Submitted by Nyth_ on

It's possible at any time.

On my necromancer for example I quickly figured that, when using a staff, I could combine Chillblains (Poison Field) with Putrid Mark (Blast Finisher) for some nice extra effect.

For my ranger by using Healing Spring and shooting the mob I would get some extra heals. The same could be done by a melee ranger that leaps through his healing spring, healing both himself and his pet.

I just wonder how strong these individual things are (I remember getting healed from the healing spring + projectile combo but can't remember if it was significant); although ANet made sure that the best combinations often come from cross class combinations.

Cronck's picture
Submitted by Cronck on

Anyone else try to hover over the skills to see what they do?

When life gives you lemons, shoot them back at life at high velocity.

Ayelet's picture
Submitted by Ayelet on

Does gear affect the combo's?  For instance: My mesmer wears festering armor, drops Chaos Storm and then Illusionary Duelist; the duelist begins to shoot which applies confusion  -- would the festering affect the confusion that was placed by the Duelist's bullets?  

Great article by the way, and I'd love to see a guide on runes and sigils.

Mooshoe's picture
Submitted by Mooshoe on

mesmer actually has a blast skill... the one that comes from a torch that cloaks you has blast.