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GW2 Elementalist Guide: Dagger Mainhand Weapon for PvE (Part 1 of 2)
The Dagger main hand is specialized for close combat and has a deep arsenal for fighting melee targets, whether single or in small groups. It does however lack ranged and massive area attacks, weaknesses which can sometimes be offset with the right offhand choice.
The fire attunement is very effective against melee targets, especially singles and small groups of enemies that clump together. Its three spells deal mid-range frontal damage, two of which are cast in a conal direction, so it’s very crucial to keep enemies in front of you at all times.
Spell-2 Drake’s Breath deals the highest damage of the three main hand spells, combining direct and burning damage, and should be cast it as soon as it comes off cooldown. Spell-3 Burning Speed should be used once melee enemies are neatly lined up and in close proximity; doing this ensures the maximum damage since the mobs will follow the fire wall path and receive a lot of damage.
For additional burst, equipping a dagger off hand is ideal. Spell-4 Ring of Fire adds an additional source of burning damage, while spell-5 Fire Grab is a conditional spell that hits much harder against targets with burning condition, which when attuned to Fire is almost guaranteed to be up all the time. The focus off hand also expands the burning damage suite of the Elementalist, but I feel it is more intended for group fights and PvP.
The water attunement offers one of the more control-oriented fighting styles for the Elementalist. The auto-attack spell-1 Vapor Blade deals damage and the vulnerability condition, while healing quite rapidly when you have the Signet of Restoration on passive.
A typical fight would open with Vapor Blade when the target is at a distance before I cast spell-2 Cone of Cold when the mob comes closer. Then detonate the spell-3 Frozen Burst to chill the target, move away and proceed to spam the first two spells.
The water attunement is best used in wide, spacious environments. This is because of how spell-1 Vapor Blade works. When the projectiles hit a barrier, such as a dungeon wall or a corridor, it will not roll back to you. This effectively cuts your spam damage by half. I personally switch to fire attunement when fighting in cramped dungeons and corridors, and switch back to water attunement when the map opens up.
When it comes to the off hand choice, both Focus and Dagger are effective against melee targets but have offer little advantage for ranged opponents. If I were to choose though, the Focus is a far more useful off hand choice for PvE leveling. Most mobs are melee attackers, and the additional chill effect from spell-4 Freezing Gust and daze effect from spell-5 Comet strengthens your control tools against them.
Part 2: Air and Earth Attunement
The part 2 of this guide tackles the air and earth attunements.
Michael lives for MMOs. You can catch him spamming alts in every online game imaginable from the standard-bearers like World of Warcraft to Kickstarter-funded upstarts and everything in between. He is a contributing writer at MMO Play.