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Catalyst - Power Hammer Cata

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

Focused on: Strike damage and Sustain

Designed for: PvP Conquest

Expansions required: End of Dragons builds

Difficulty:
Hard
This build was last updated on June 01, 2024 and is up to date for the June 25, 2024 patch.

Overview

A high damage PvP Hammer Catalyst duelist build with great sustain, primarily made for taking 1v1s and other smaller skirmishes.


Skill Bar

Hammer
Utility


Skill Variants

Heal

  • Soothing Water - better condition cleansing.


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 to you, a stronger defensive utility or more frequent access to a stun break. The Signet's Blind Blind however should not be underestimated, as it could help you avoid important incoming attacks without having to dodge.


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Specializations

Variants

  • Arcane Restoration trades Vigor Vigor uptime for more healing.


Equipment

Hammer
Sigil
Sigil
Rune
Amulet
Relic


Equipment Changes

Amulets

  • - if you're feeling really confident in your abilities while piloting the build, this makes it harder to play the build for a bit better payoff. Take Rune of Warrior to increase your HP.

Runes

  • Rune of Scrapper - bit less tanky option with slightly higher damage.

Relics

  • Relic of Antitoxin - better cleansing, lower burst damage.


Usage

Elite specialization basics

  • Catalyst 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

  • Your role is primarily to be a sidenoder, holding the point and winning smaller skirmishes.
  • Skill #3 on each attunement is an orb skill, consider this your secondary profession mechanic. Air and Fire grant offensive bonuses while Water and Earth supply you with defensive ones. All 4 orbs also pulse damage and apply conditions around you while active:
    • Flame Wheel on Fire increases your damage.
    • Icy Coil on Water grants condition damage reduction.
    • Crescent Wind on Air increases crit chance.
    • Rocky Loop on Earth reduces direct damage.
  • Each orb has a duration of 8 seconds, but whenever you add a new orb to the mix the duration of all previous orbs is refreshed. Once you've rotated through all 4 attunements the orbs will inevitably fall off - this is when you should use the chain skill Grand Finale which shoots them at your target for damage.
    • Try to use Grand Finale in your Earth Sphere's field whenever you can to combo Poison Poison. The healing reduction could be important when fighting other bunker specs.
  • If taken Arcane Resurrection passively helps with reviving allies.
  • Because of Signet of Restoration you should almost always be casting something for the passive healing, even if it's just an autoattack that's not even hitting anything. An exception to this would be having high enough Confusion Confusion stacks in which case you'd take more damage then the signet could heal.
  • Elemental Celerity (the elite) is used mainly to reset the CD of skills 4-5 of a given attunement, usually Water or Earth for defensive purposes.


Auras

  • You gain Stability Stability and cleanse 1 condition whenever you gain an aura thanks to Staunch Auras and Smothering Auras.
  • Hammer doesn't really provide easy access to auras, comboing them via Elemental Epitome is a very important part of the build.
  • Every attunement has at least 1 combo finisher, using them in any of your Jade Spheres is going to create an aura based on your current attunement. This lets you tailor the aura more to your needs, for example using Molten End in a combo field and swapping to Air Attunement before the skill finishes its animation is going to combo a Shocking Aura instead of a fire one.
    • Aura combos like this can only happen once every 10 seconds per attunement, so while it's possible to swap attunements for a different aura keep the CD in mind! If you're going to use a combo tool on your next attunement anyway and you haven't combo'd an aura on your current one yet, you might want to wait with switching attunements in order to get more value.
  • The easiest way to get an aura is to swap to Fire Attunement for a Sunspot proc. This is instant and can even be done while casting skills or sitting in a CC, preventing enemies from piling more CCs onto you.
  • Combo finishers in the build:
    • The 5th skill of every attunement.
    • The projectiles you launch once you unleash skill #3.
    • Crashing Font on Water.
    • Your first dodge on Earth thanks to Evasive Arcana. As the Jade Sphere is instant you could even drop a combo field in the middle of your dodge.
  • Immutable Stone is a channeled block - the aura is applied after you block something. This gives you a little bit of time to swap attunements before that happens and get an aura of your choice as the aura is granted based on your current attunement.


Damage

  • Try to have Flame Wheel and Crescent Wind active before beginning to unload your harder hitting skills. Start with Air Attunement if neither of these orbs are active because Air only really has 1 skill that does damage and it's a channeled one. You can simply activate Crescent Wind, cast Hurricane of Pain and immediately swap to Fire to grab Flame Wheel to cover HoP. With this you'll have both of the damage modifying orbs active for the damaging skills of all attunements.
    • Starting with Fire wouldn't be ideal as you'd have to make a choice between swapping out of Fire after 1 skill to get the orb from Air, or using multiple Fire skills without the buff from Crescent Wind.
  • Arcane Prowess grants a short duration of Fury Fury whenever you swap attunements. It's not much, but just enough to cover your next 1-2 skills so consider using some harder hitting skill right after swapping.
    • As swapping elements doesn't interrupt your casts, you could even boost your crit chance through this while casting a skill. All you need to do is swap attunement before the skill lands.
  • Most of the burst comes from Fire Attunement, every skill here deals good damage.
  • Surging Flames is a cone attack best used in melee range to make sure all 3 projectiles hit the target.
  • Triple Sear creates 3 AoEs on the ground - try to position this in a way that your opponent is in the center of this skill so they get hit by all 3.
  • Molten End is rather straightforward, just a big smash you should aim to land when the target has Burning Burning. All the other Fire skills apply Burning so that shouldn't be hard.
  • Air is mostly about CC, but skill #2 Hurricane of Pain is capable of doing high damage. Only downside is, this has a rather long cast time and you'll have a hard time landing it without proper setup. Try to CC targets beforehand and make sure to have Quickness Quickness from your Air Jade Sphere.
  • Whirling Stones and Ground Pound are also worth a mention on Earth. The latter could even set up other burst skills with the Immobilize Immobilize.


Sustain

  • All of your utility skills are defensive by nature.
  • The build only has 1 stun break in the form of Signet of Air so use it wisely. If you're good at reading your opponent this could even be used preemptively for the Blind Blind, making the incoming attack miss instead of waiting to get hit only to break the CC. If CC isn't a concern in the matchup then the same logic applies, the signet could save you from getting hit by something dangerous.
  • Conjure Earth Shield is for buying time and surviving heavy pressure. With a block, an aura, a CC and an invulnerability frame this could bridge the gap in your defenses until your other CDs come back up or help arrives.
  • Use Immutable Stone pretty much on CD for the barrier and the aura.
  • Water provides much needed healing and cleansing. Crashing Font heals you for each enemy struck with the first one healing for more. Against enemies like Mesmers try to hit as many clones as possible for bonus healing. Consider using it inside your Water Sphere to combo even more healing (and Frost Aura for further damage mitigation).
    • This is something of a mobility skill, could even be used offensively as a gap closer - or a gap builder if you need to run away from the fight. Leaping away from the target without hitting anything means you won't get any healing though, unless you use it in the Water Sphere as it's a Leap finisher.
  • Cleansing Typhoon is your best cleanse, this too scales with the number of enemies it hits.
  • Smothering Auras cleanses a condition whenever you apply an aura to yourself.
  • Evasive Arcana heals and cleanses when used on Water.
  • Jade Sphere being an instant source of boons is quite useful on Water and Earth, providing easy access to Resolution Resolution and Protection Protection. Swapping to Earth Attunement could also grant you Protection from Elemental Attunement.


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Ratings

This build has a rating of 5 stars based on 4 votes.
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5 stars
Glasstone gave this build 5 stars • June 2024
Absolute menace in the right hands, especially in a power meta where its lack of cleansing won't hold it back. I'm not even sure if I'd call it lack of cleansing since every attunement can create auras thus purging conditions, but it definitely can struggle if a condi burst lands. Taking Soothing Water is invaluable in some games. Low mobility I dont care much about as long as I'm winning most of my 1v1s. I have to say D/D is easier and feels better to play (at least for me) but I respect Hammer for what it does especially the AoE which is the best ele has. Hammer was made for Cata and you can tell it synergizes better.
5 stars
Hanz gave this build 5 stars • January 2024
Strong yet not very popular, likely due to its above average difficulty to pull off. Great damage and survivability, but a bit weak to conditions and lacks mobility.
5 stars
Necro master gave this build 5 stars • July 2022
best 1v1 side even tf no one help team value over than another class so much but u need paid alot time to learn this
4 stars
Faler gave this build 4 stars • July 2022
Lucky condi specs aren't in the meta other than harbinger because cleansing is definitely a problem here. Damage is there, sustain is a bit iffy but boon uptime helps quite a lot. Earth shield carries otherwise gets deleted easily. Cata/5, improving but still not there yet.

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