Being quick and speedy is one of the ways to win in Guild Wars 2 both in combat and in world vs. world. When we talk mobility, we’re looking at two things – a build focusing on running, covering as much ground as possible and general mobility, dodging attacks and being limber in fights. We’re going to talk about both in detail to help you get places and stay out of trouble. We also discuss the finesse of kiting, which is critical to your survival as an elementalist.
As a key reminder, you can change abilities in the field rather rapidly, along with major traits, so we’ll use some unconventional skills to help stack swiftness, but when you are in a situation where you need to fight, it may be better to switch over to a more balanced or offensive build.
Running through World vs. World
Running is important because you want to be fast to be responsive. The needs of the borderlands and the eternal battleground change rapidly, but moving at walking speed is like walking at a snail’s pace. If you need to run supply, get to a sortie, or just travel quickly then you’ll want to have a good solid running build.
The first component of the build is the weapons. We only will be caring about two weapon sets: dagger / dagger and staff. Staff offers Windbourne Speed which is about 12 seconds of swiftness and it applies itself to nearby allies. This is a great, general purpose way to gain swiftness and is probably the best way to apply it for an elementalist in sPvP.
The real treat comes with the dagger off-hand. Ride the Lightning lets you dash forward extremely fast and cover an amazing amount of distance every 15 seconds. This ability will let you cover an extreme amount of distance very quickly, unless an enemy stands in your way. After you ride the lightning, you can switch to fire and use Burning Speed to “jump” forward some. Then switch back to air.
Scepter and focus don’t offer much in the way of speed boosts. So you’re best not using them for any kind of mobility build.
Ride the Lightning
This is the key mobility skill for an elementalist and there are a few things you need to know. First, it goes only in a straight line, so do not use it when there are obstacles that you can get caught on. Second, it aims for enemies and will stop when it reaches one, so make sure there are no enemies in front of you (unless you want to get face to face).
Below is a map showing the distance you can cover. You can use it to determine the distance that you’ll travel forward. It starts at the lost dot and ends where the character is currently located.
As far as I’m concerned, Ride the Lightning is the ultimate movement speed skill, but when it’s on cooldown you’ll want to stack swiftness. You can do this in a multitude of ways, but I find using a few key traits and glyphs the absolute best way to stack swiftness. Why? Glyphs can be cast while moving; some have short cooldowns, and can grant swiftness.
First in your arsenal is the simple combo of Glyph of Elemental Harmony and the trait Inscription, which grants a boon based on your attunement (in this case air, for swiftness). Add in Elemental Attunement from Arcana, to grant swiftness when switching to the air attunement, and throw in any other combo of glyphs you want and we’re looking at 24 seconds of Swiftness with 20 points in Arcana (more if you put more points into it). The glyph is on a 25 second cooldown, so you’ll be able to keep almost perma-swiftness up with it.
If you throw in another glyph, say Glyph of Elemental Power then you’ll have over 35 seconds of swiftness, enough to constantly keep it up even before you talk about switching attunements or Windbourne Speed.
Of course, that leaves you not using traits tailored to your build, but again we’re looking at ways to gain speed, not to kill enemies.
I did some thorough playtesting of this in WvW and found it to excel at getting to locations fast, especially when there aren’t waypoints up. You stay by casting your glyphs, and then ride the lightening, and while it’s on cooldown keep swiftness up with the glyphs and you’re golden.
It’s no joke, enemies can three shot you. They are not overpowered, nay; it’s that GW2 is built around evasive combat. You avoid enemies, on any profession pretty much, to avoid damage – or mitigate it through active mitigation. The only true active mitigation that elementalist have is the conjured earth shield.
To kite, you need to cripple, chill, or immobilize. This is primarily featured on the Staff with Unsteady Ground and Frozen Ground. Apply either or and then begin circling the enemy, keeping your distance. Staff air provides Gust for a knock back (returning distance between you and the enemy) and Static Field which can stun enemies walking through it. With a focus you can use Freezing Gust to chill enemies. Double daggers are designed for close quarters combat, so it’s limited on its crowd control, but does contain a knockdown.
Your goal, in each fight, is to bring distance. Snaring the enemy is a great start and you can use dodge rolls to avoid an attack and build distance while the enemy is recovering. Most weapons contain their own distance gaining ability, like Updraft and Burning Retreat that you can use to recover distance if you lose it.
Other Mobility Tips
When distance isn’t an issue, it might be smart to consider ways of getting out of situations. Cantrips excel at this, especially Mist Form which stops all physical damage and gets you out of a lot of tricky scenarios. You can use it in boss fights when giant boulders are coming and you’re out of stamina or in WvW to get into a keep.
Lightning Flash is another great cantrip, it teleports you and breaks stun, although it doesn’t break immobilize. This can get you out of some tricky situations and best used whenever a large attack is coming or if you’re surrounded.
Sadly, elementalists don’t get much in the way of endurance boosts. Vigorous Scepter recharges endurance while wielding a scepter, but that’s rather limiting. So dodge rolling is a selective thing you’ll need to take full advantage of. Burning Retreat does count as an evade, though.
Well that’s our mobility tips for the elementalist. Do you think Ride the Lightening is an awesome name or too cheesy? Let us know in the comments section below.