What are Combo Fields

Introduction

  • Have you heard your character shout "Impressive combination" without understanding why?
  • Do you know why your WvW commander keeps saying "water on tag"?
  • Do you want to learn how to instantly heal your entire group to full, stack 25 Might Might on your entire group, or stealth your entire group for 30 seconds?
Combo fields are an important but little-understood Guild Wars 2 mechanic. It's particularly important for Engineer and Elementalist players, but all classes can make use of combos effectively. This guide will explain the combo system and common combos used in different game modes.

Fields and Finishers

Fire Field Border.jpeg
A fire field.
Many skills in Guild Wars 2 leave behind combo fields with a certain elemental type. These fields show up as circles or rectangles on the ground outlined with a colored aura corresponding to the type of field they are.
Additionally, certain types of skills, called combo finishers, have extra effects when used inside a combo field. The extra effect varies depending on the type of combo field.
The tooltip of every skill explains if it creates a combo field or functions as a combo finisher. You can read the tooltips on your skills to find out what combo fields and combo finishers you have access to.
Field Type Color Blast Finisher Leap Finisher Projectile or Whirl Finisher Mainly created by
Dark Black Area Blind Blind (3s) Inflict Blind Blind (3s) Projectiles steal life Necromancers
Ethereal Purple Area Chaos Armor Chaos Armor (3s) Gain Chaos Armor Chaos Armor (5s) Projectiles inflict Confusion Confusion (5s) Mesmers
Fire Orange Area Might Might (3 stacks for 20s) Gain Fire Shield Fire Shield (5s) Projectiles inflict Burning Burning (1s) Elementalists, Engineers, Warriors, Revenants, Rangers
Ice Light blue Area Frost Aura Frost Aura (3s) Gain Frost Aura Frost Aura (5s) Projectiles inflict Chill Chill (1s) Necromancers (Reapers), Elementalists, Engineers
Light Yellow Area cleanse condition Gain Light Aura Light Aura (5s) Projectiles cleanse conditions Guardians, Engineers
Lightning White Area Swiftness Swiftness (10s) Inflict Daze Daze (1s) Projectiles inflict Vulnerability Vulnerability (2 stacks for 5s) Elementalists, Engineers (Scrappers)
Poison Green Area Weakness Weakness (3s) Inflict Weakness Weakness (8s) Projectiles inflict Poison Poison (2s) Necromancers, Rangers
Smoke Gray Area Stealth Stealth (3s) Gain Stealth Stealth (3s) Projectiles inflict Blind Blind (3s) Thieves, Engineers, Rangers
Water Blue Area Healing Gain Healing Projectiles grant Regeneration Regeneration (2s) Elementalists, Engineers, Rangers (Druids), Guardians (Firebrands)
Wiki article on combos, including a list of combo skills by profession

Using Combos Effectively

Combo fields are important because they can add powerful effects to your skills for no effort. Because there's no limit to the number of finishers that can be used in a combo field, a group of coordinated players can blast a massive amount of Might Might, healing, or stealth out of one player's combo field.
To use combos effectively, you should know which of your skills are combo fields and combo finishers, and coordinate with players around you in chat or voice:
  • Place combo fields when you know they will be needed, like a fire field at the beginning of a fight to quickly stack Might Might, or a water field when teammates are low on health.
  • Conversely, try not to place unnecessary combo fields if they will overlap and interfere with other players' important combo fields.

Common Combo Usage

Blasting Might

Using a blast finisher in a fire field grants 3 stacks of Might Might to up to 5 nearby allies for 20 seconds. A group can coordinate blast finishers to reach 25 stacks of might for a long duration.
This is used in WvW and open world PvE before big engagements. It's also useful to maintain damage buffs in instanced PvE when you don't have a dedicated support providing might.

Blasting Water

Using a blast finisher in a water field heals 5 nearby allies for 1320 health (scaling up to ~2000 with healing power). A group can coordinate blast finishers to instantly get a huge amount of burst healing on a large group.
This is used in all game modes for a bit of extra healing. It's especially important in WvW for sustaining through large-scale fights, and is usually called out in chat (i.e. "Water on tag").

Blasting Stealth

Using a blast finisher in a smoke field grants Stealth Stealth to 5 nearby allies for 3 seconds, stacking in duration. A group can coordinate blast finishers to gain a very long duration of stealth.
This is sometimes used tactically in PvP and WvW, however its main use is in instanced PvE to skip enemies. This is usually done by a Thief with and , but a Ranger can also provide a smoke field with Juvenile Smokescale Juvenile Smokescale.

Condition Cleanse

Light fields are a powerful defensive tool that can cleanse conditions or provide Light Aura Light Aura (-10% incoming condition damage). Classes with easy access to light fields and combo finishers, like Guardian and Engineer, can use them to support their team.
This is used in all game modes to counter condition damage.

Leap Finishers

Many professions have access to short cooldown leap finishers, especially Thief () and Holosmith (Holo Leap Holo Leap). For increased effectiveness, these skills can be combined with stealth from a smoke field, healing from a water field, frost aura from an ice field, light aura from a light field, or daze from a lightning field.
This is used in PvP and small scale WvW to gain an edge in fights.

Blasting Swiftness

Using a blast finisher in a lightning field grants Swiftness Swiftness to 5 nearby allies for 10 seconds, stacking in duration. A group can coordinate blast finishers to gain a very long duration of swiftness.
This is used in PvP to stack swiftness before a PvP round starts.

PvE Weapon and Skill Swaps

Coordinated PvE groups blasting might or stealth often bring extra weapons that they can swap to for combo fields or combo finishers:
  • Elementalist: Scepter (, ), Focus (, ), Dagger ()
  • Engineer: Shield ()
  • Guardian: Hammer (), Focus ()
  • Mesmer: Torch ()
  • Thief: Shortbow ()
  • Warrior: Longbow (), Warhorn (Can't find such skill "Call to Arms"! Please refer to our skill index.)
  • Ranger: Warhorn (), Torch ()
Engineers can blast might or stealth very effectively using their kits and tool belt skills:
  • Fire fields: , ,
  • Smoke field:
  • Blast finishers: , , , , ,
Rangers can swap in pets for the combo fields they provide:

Advanced: Combo Field Priority

For builds where combo usage is crucial (e.g. Reaper - Condi DPS) it's worth knowing specific details about which combo field takes priority when there are multiple combo fields.
  • Blast finishers: The oldest combo field takes priority. Hence, if a light field is placed on top of an existing fire field, will still blast area Might Might.
  • Leap finishers: The first combo field entered takes priority. If there are multiple combo fields at the start of the leap, the oldest one takes priority. Hence, using out of a fire field into a light field will grant Fire Shield Fire Shield.
  • Projectile finishers: The first combo field the projectile enters takes priority. If there are multiple combo fields at the start of the leap, the oldest one takes priority. Hence, shooting out of a fire field into a light field will grant burning bolts.
    • For 20% chance projectile finishers, the 20% chance applies to each combo field the projectile passes through. Hence, shooting out of a fire field into a poison field has a 20% chance to inflict Poison Poison; if that fails, it has a 20% chance to inflict Poison Poison.
  • Whirl finishers: The first combo field entered takes priority. If there are multiple combo fields at the start of the whirl, the oldest one takes priority. Once a field has been prioritized for the whirl finisher, it will remain prioritized until you move out of it. Hence, if you begin in an ice field, then move into a light field while still being in the ice field, you will get chilling bolts.
For combo fields that move or change in size (e.g. or ) these fields are effectively removed and re-created every time they move or change in size. Hence, they will always tend to count as the newest combo field for the purposes of combo priority.
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