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Catalyst - Fresh Air Cata

The community gave this build a rating, making it top-tier: Great

Focused on: Direct damage and Mobility

Designed for: PvP Conquest

Expansions required: End of Dragons builds

Difficulty:
Normal
This build was last updated on July 03, 2024 and is up to date for the June 25, 2024 patch.

Overview

A Catalyts take on the Scepter Fresh Air archetype, this PvP Elementalist build brings the usual burst damage while adding some extra sustain and a variety of boons/auras to the mix. FA Catas aim to kite their opponents with Superspeed Superspeed and CC spam while keeping them pressured with ranged attacks.


Skill Bar

Scepter/Focus
Utility


Skill Variants

Utility

  • Armor of Earth over Signet of Air - Armor is a better defensive skill in general but it's on a longer CD. It's up to you to decide what's more important for you, a stronger defensive or more frequent access to a stun break. The Signet's Blind Blind could also be used proactively to avoid incoming attacks.
  • Arcane Wave over Lightning Flash - as a mobility/defensive tool Arcane Wave is worse than Lightning Flash, but it's better at everything else. Has multiple charges, good AoE damage, dazes enemies and even acts as a Blast finisher which is a highly valuable thing on Catalyst builds.


Heal

  • Soothing Water - worth considering when you're facing a condition-heavy comp, as condi cleansing is one of the weaker aspects of the build.


Weapons

  • Off-hand Dagger over Focus is a somewhat viable albeit more greedy option. Dagger offers better damage and mobility, but worse survivability.


Template Code

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Specializations

Variants

  • Arcane Restoration trades Vigor Vigor uptime for more healing.


Equipment

Scepter
Focus
Sigil
Sigil
Rune
Amulet
Relic

Equipment Variants

Runes

  • Rune of Warrior - higher HP, slightly lower stats overall.


Usage

Elite specialization basics

  • Catalysts gain access to Deploy Jade Sphere which drops an AoE combo field with pulsing boons depending on the attunement they were used in.
  • The Jade Sphere costs energy to deploy, you build energy by hitting enemies or swapping attunements thanks to Energized Elements.
  • Jade Spheres are instant and can be used while casting skills or sitting in a CC.


General

  • The build's all about swapping in and out of Air Attunement every few seconds, made possible by Fresh Air which recharges Air whenever you land a critical strike.
  • Swapping to Air triggers Electric Discharge which you should immediately follow up with a Lightning Strike for instant burst damage. Entering this attunement also grants you Ferocity from Fresh Air for a few seconds, which is why most of your heavy hitting skills should land in this small time frame. More on that later.
  • Recharging Air: to recharge Air you need to score a critical hit. The fastest way to do it on attunements with slower skills is to start channeling the air autoattack Arc Lightning just before leaving Air Attunement. Swapping attunements doesn't break the channeling and Arc Lightning is almost guaranteed to critically hit at least once.
    • Jade Spheres are great for this too. While their damage is insignificant, they are instant cast ranged AoEs that strike multiple times and can crit.
  • This build can self-stack Might Might by blasting the fire field created by the Fire Jade Sphere and Flamewall. Do not prioritize Might stacking, but do take advantage of the incidental opportunities which arise. Your blast finishers are:
  • Dragon's Tooth
  • Phoenix
  • Comet
  • Magnetic Wave
  • The first dodge you perform after swapping to Earth attunement
  • Gale is an excellent skill for setting up burst, use it right before swapping out of Air into another attunement.
  • Elemental Celerity's main purpose is to reset/reduce the CDs on Magnetic Wave and Obsidian Flesh for extra sustain, but if you want to get greedy it could also reset burst and CC cooldowns in other attunements.
    • With Off-hand Dagger you should use the elite in Air for mobility/evasion, Water for cleansing/healing or Fire for burst damage.
  • Gaining an aura grants you 1 stack of Stability Stability. The first combo you perform in a given attunement always grants you an aura via Elemental Epitome.
  • A common tactic is to cast Dragon's Tooth and burst enemies before it falls on them. This presents a no-win situation for many builds: they can either facetank your burst but dodge the tooth, or dodge your burst and facetank the tooth.
  • Try to aim Phoenix slightly behind your target whenever you can. This skill passes through targets while doing damage, explodes on the ground, then returns to you once again damaging targets it passes through. The goal here is to hit the target with all 3 parts of the skill, not just the explosion damage.
    • Because of the slow travel time it's also best used in melee.


Notable burst combos

These are some potential combos you can use based on the techniques outlined above. The quicker you pull these chains off, the better.

From Fire:

  1. Drop your Fire Jade Sphere to passively begin stacking Might Might.
  2. Dragon's Tooth
  3. Fire Shield Transmute Fire for more Might (it also does good damage in melee). Both the transmute and Dragon's Tooth have a delay, your goal is to get into Air by the time these go off
  4. Phoenix - optional: Lightning Flash right at your target before you finish casting Phoenix to make it near instant. You don't have to do that if you were already in melee.
  5. Air Attunement - swap to this while casting Phoenix
  6. Lightning Strike
  7. Blinding Flash to avoid taking damage in melee, but it's not required


From Earth:

  1. Rock Barrier
  2. Optional: if you're in melee range of an enemy you may throw in a Magnetic Wave which can proc Relic of Fireworks if it hits something.
  3. Stone Shards + Hurl then swap to Air Attunement during the channeling to make the projectiles land in the right attunement. Hurl is a guaranteed projectile finisher which has synergy with your Spheres, consider dropping one before doing this combo. Any Sphere except Water will result in a damage boost.
  4. Lightning Strike


From Water:

  1. Shatterstone
  2. Water Trident - the trident does more damage to Chilled enemies which is important. Shatterstone should secure that but Freezing Gust can do the trick too.
  3. Swap to Air Attunement while casting Water Trident, preferably even before the 2nd strike of Shatterstone goes off so that it may benefit from Air's damage modifiers.
  4. Lightning Strike


Survival

  • Swapping to Air is just as important for defense as it is for offense. Even when you're running away you should try to get some Fresh Air procs just so you can abuse blinds and superspeed.
  • One with Air makes it easy to kite most specs via Superspeed Superspeed. Avoid melee range whenever possible! Don't stay in melee unless the target is blinded, CC'd or you're about to burst them.
  • Blinding Flash is great at avoiding crucial skills by blinding enemies, and it also shuts down Power-based specs in general with the Weakness. Being an instant cast skill this can also be used while CC'd. Signet of Air fills a similar purpose, so does Dust Devil although that one has a cast time.
  • Shatterstone is a source of spammable Chill Chill which you can even place behind your back while running away. Chill is great at building distance and the damage could recharge Air, and swapping to Air gives you Superspeed Superspeed which makes it even easier to run away.
    • Swapping to Water, dodging for healing/cleansing then dropping Shatterstone on top of your target and using its damage to go back to Air is a common defensive rotation.
  • Needless to say other CCs can also be used for shaking off pursuers.
  • Fortified Earth is one of your most powerful reactive skills for defense. It's a low CD block that can be used in any attunement, don't hesitate to use it the moment you're getting focused by an enemy, especially if your current attunement isn't defensive enough. It's great for stalling a bit and giving you some time to figure out your next move.
  • Magnetic Wave and Swirling Winds provide excellent protection against enemies who use projectiles. These however do not work against unblockable projectiles, and some ranged builds - such as this one - are mostly unaffected by projectile reflects and blocks.
  • Magnetic Wave is the build's best condition cleanse which can also be used while stunned.
  • Obsidian Flesh offers protection against all kinds of pressure.
  • The first strike of Dust Devil Blinds enemies while the snare is useful for keeping distance.


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Ratings

This build has a rating of 5 stars based on 9 votes.
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5 stars
Glasstone gave this build 5 stars • April 2024
I play GW2 on and off and it's been my go to build since EoD. It's fun, effective, has depth but isn't overwhelming to play. I'm just glad Anet hasn't gutted it yet, to my surprise they even buffed it in the last patch. In previous metas I would've recommended the Cata heal over the signet but right now it's not needed. Dagger offhand is even more fun because of the extra nuke and mobility but in this burst meta Focus might be non negotiable.
4 stars
BlobTheBob gave this build 4 stars • March 2024
Still the go-to ele build for roaming/dueling. Good burst, good defences, ok mobility. It can deal with most classes and builds pretty well, though it struggles a bit vs heavy condi pressure. Decent in teamfights as it brings ranged burst and some nice group boons and combo fields.
5 stars
Hanz gave this build 5 stars • January 2024
Still one of the better builds to play in ranked and one of the strongest options for Ele in PvP. Great burst damage with very little downtime, several strong sustain options with moderate group utility. Conditions can be problematic sometimes, but it's possible to pack more cleansing into the build mostly by swapping out the healing skill.
5 stars
Velkix gave this build 5 stars • April 2023
Old King still shines in the new trend. Good to see this build needs more teamwork to maximize the value. The damage is in the right position right now. The only issue is that Fortified Earth is too perfect for ele. 3s Block in utility and 30s(or even 20s) CD.
5 stars
Vex gave this build 5 stars • March 2023
Even repeated nerfs couldn't kill it.. unfortunately. Still feels unkillable on a bunch of classes and the damage is still crazy. Nerfing the elite was a step in the right direction but it's not enough, the build is cracked. Fresh air never should've become a competitive build.
5 stars
Gkhougaz gave this build 5 stars • January 2023
The French Worms won the EU MAT with five of these today. The NA winner had two. Take that as you will. (Nerf it for the love of God).
5 stars
Rhubarbpie gave this build 5 stars • January 2023
Extremely overpowered build. The only thing it requires is that you can press buttons fast to swap between attunements. You basically just spam 2 of each element with air in between and do RIDICULOUS damage. Earth 2 3 Air 2 3 Fire 2 3 Air 2 3 Water 2 3 Air 2 3
5 stars
Necro master gave this build 5 stars • January 2023
even a pvp noob can ez play to p2 meta build but big nerf soon . cuz Very Low Investment but Super High Return .
5 stars
Goon gave this build 5 stars • January 2023
This build has a strong mix of sustain, damage and mobility if dagger off-hand is taken. Definitely can provide prescence in ranked as a roamer/duelist hybrid.

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