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GW2 Elementalist Guide: Scepter Mainhand Weapon for PvE (Part 1 of 2)
In this guide I discuss Scepter main hand weapon and the merits of each of its elemental attunements. Overall, the scepter has a few wonky spells and seems to produce a weaker damage output than other main hand alternatives such as the Dagger, but it does have one particular attunement that is a PvE standout.
Like other Elementalist weapons, the scepter has a destructive Fire attunement. All three of its spells have a damage component, and it is centered around keeping the burning condition up for most of the fight on single-target enemies. The auto-attack spell-1 Flamestrike refreshes the burning condition, while the spell-2 Dragon’s Tooth applies it as well.
Condition damage as well as power equipment should boost this attunement, though this would be useless when fighting burning immune enemies such as Destroyer Harpies in lower Kessex Hills, the zone below the Human starting areas. Make it a habit to check the descriptions of mobs to avoid burning immune or resistant foes.
Fire’s damage output is not as bursty when battling highly mobile enemies. Fortunately enough, this is mainly an issue in PvP. In PvE, most targets would run towards me to strike in melee range so the best option was to open with spammed Flamestrike then trigger the Dragon’s Tooth when it closed the distance. I often had to literally tank the melee mob to ensure it stays put and I get to damage him with the spell-2.
Since the Flamestrike is programmed to drop from where the target was located when the spell was cast, the lack of a targeting area option, and the fact that it takes around 3 seconds to trigger – an eternity in battle – all makes it a very frustrating spell to use. It’s a shame since it provides such a big boost to damage per second.
The spell-3 Phoenix deals area damage and grants vigor and cures conditions when the cast phoenix bounces back. It’s on a 20-second cooldown so in a typical fight it’s best to open with it, dodge the incoming attack and take advantage of the temporary haste on endurance regeneration.
Among the two off-hand options, I preferred using the Dagger rather than the Focus because of the spell-5 skill, Fire Grab which deals high damage on burning targets. Focus could be more useful for PvP, where multiple targets where the spell-4 Flamewall and spell-5 Fire Shield should shine against multiple targets.
As expected, the Water attunement lags in the damage department. For PvE, killing mobs takes a while and relies on stacking vulnerability through the spell-2 Shatterstone before proceeding to spam spell-1 Ice Shards. The spell-3 Water Trident provides the occasional heal, but not powerful or frequent enough to be a surefire lifesaver.
For optimal damage output, the trick is to open with a handful of spell-2 Shatterstone casts and build up the target’s vulnerability stack to 16, then spam Ice Shards and refreshing Shatterstone or casting Water Trident when it goes off cooldown. Bonus trick: When circle strafing mobs, cast Shatterstone in front of me, and run forward so that the melee mob would chase me and run straight into the exploding ice circle.
When in Water, it’s great to have the Signet of Restoration skill on passive to synergize with the fast instant cast Ice Shards. Against most enemies, it should provide a steady stream of heals per attack along with the passive heals when investing in Water traits.
I don’t recommend leveling through Water because of the significant time it takes to eliminate mobs. It is a solid attunement for tackling Veteran or Elite mobs – not solo mind you – but in a group because I could concentrate on inflicting vulnerability and ramp up the damage output of everyone else. The group heal of Water Trident also adds to its utility in group dynamic events.
The Focus off hand offers a better compliment for PvE adventuring. It inflicts daze and chilled conditions which helps buy time for me to get back up on health via passive heals. The Dagger off hand is a more defensive support style that should be reserved for group or World vs. World fights.
Part 2: Air and Earth Attunement
The part 2 of this guide tackles the air and earth attunements, one of which is what I consider to be the all-around best PvE leveling choice for Scepter users.
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.