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GW2 Elementalist Guide: Dagger Mainhand Weapon for PvE (Part 2 of 2)
In the first half we got to see the destructive potential of the Dagger weapon's fire attunement and peculiar restrictions when fighting in water attunement. Now let's see how the air and earth attunements performs in battle.
The air attunement spells have short attack ranges so it will force you to fight exclusively in melee proximity. Both spell-1 Lightning Whip and spell-2 Lightning Touch have an attack range of only 300. Most of your damage will come from auto-attacking Lightning Whip, with a small contribution from Lightning Touch, a spell which is intended more to keep potential runners from escaping your attack range through inflicting Endurance Regeneration and Fumble penalties.
The dagger off hand adds a couple of mobility enhancers that can prove very useful especially in PvP and World vs World fights. Spell-4 Ride the Lightning and spell-5 Updraft are two of the most effective escape spells of any Elementalist weapon. Ride the Lightning will allow you temporarily transform into a lightning ball and help you run away from pursuers, as well as evade attacks and get out of ranged attack distance.
With Updraft, the blowout effect can be a pinch saver when surrounded by enemies, creating an opening path to then disengage from combat. While both Dagger offhand spells are mainly used defensively, they can also be used as part of an attack rotation; Ride the Lightning serves can chase down wounded foes while Updraft can interrupt enemies and make them vulnerable to focus fire.
Basically, if you expect to travel long distances and want to avoid fights, the Dagger off hand is optimal. But if you expect to run into a lot of mobs, especially mob packs with a mix of melee and ranged foes, then using the Focus off hand is preferred.
Finally, the earth attunement provides a solid PvE damage spec. Since most mobs rarely heal conditions, the spell-1 Impale which stacks bleeding can make short work of single targets. Group mobs might be harder to finish off with the earth attunement, but the spell-2 Ring of Earth ensures that a couple of extra adds can be handled at the same time.
Still, the dagger’s earth attunement is decidedly focused on eliminating a single target as quickly as possible before moving on to the next target. Its spell-3 Magnetic Grasp prevents targets from fleeing and kiting you from a distance, since Impale and Ring of Earth have very short attack ranges like the air attunement spells.
In terms of off hand choices, both the Dagger and Focus provide unique benefits for the PvE adventurer. If you need to fend off strong missile attacks or added survivability, then choose the Focus off hand to gain access to the spell-4 Magnetic Wave which reflects projectiles back to its shooter and also the invulnerability Obsidian Flesh.
But if you want to finish fights quicker, especially group mobs, then the Dagger off hand unlocks two massive area damage spells – spell-4 Earthquake with an additional knockdown effect and spell-5 Churning Earth which cripples, bleeds and damages enemies. It is advisable to cast Churning Earth as an opener since it takes a few seconds to charge up and activate, leaving you defenseless in the meantime. So if you have a low HP and decide to cast this, a simple interrupt or burst focus fire can lead to your death.
Part 1: Fire and Water Attunements
The part 1 of this guide previously tackled the fire and water 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.