What are Combo Fields
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 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
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||Field mainly created by|
|Dark||Black||Area Blind (3s)||Gain Dark Aura (5s)||Projectiles steal life||Necromancers and Revenants|
|Ethereal||Purple||Area Chaos Aura (3s)||Gain Chaos Aura (5s)||Projectiles inflict Confusion (5s)||Mesmers|
|Fire||Orange||Area Might (3 stacks for 20s)||Gain Fire Aura (5s)||Projectiles inflict Burning (1s)||Elementalists, Engineers, Rangers, Revenants and Warriors|
|Ice||Light blue||Area Frost Aura (effect) (3s)||Gain Frost Aura (effect) (5s)||Projectiles inflict Chill (1s)||Elementalists|
|Light||Yellow||Area cleanse condition||Gain Light Aura (5s)||Projectiles cleanse conditions||Engineers, Guardians and Mesmers|
|Lightning||White||Area Swiftness (10s)||Inflict Daze (1s)||Projectiles inflict Vulnerability (2 stacks for 5s)||Elementalists and Engineers (Scrappers)|
|Poison||Green||Area Weakness (3s)||Inflict Weakness (8s)||Projectiles inflict Poison (2s)||Necromancers and Thieves|
|Smoke||Gray||Area Stealth (3s)||Gain Stealth (3s)||Projectiles inflict Blind (3s)||Engineers and Thieves|
|Water||Blue||Area Healing||Gain Healing||Projectiles grant Regeneration (2s)||Elementalists, Engineers and Rangers (Druids)|
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, 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, 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
Using a blast finisher in a fire field grants 3 stacks of 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, open world PvE and Fractals before big engagements. It's also useful to maintain damage buffs in instanced PvE when you don't have a dedicated support providing might.
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").
Using a blast finisher in a smoke field grants 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.
Light fields are a powerful defensive tool that can cleanse conditions or provide 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.
Many professions have access to short cooldown leap finishers, especially Thief () and Holosmith (). For increased effectiveness, these skills can be combined with Stealth from a smoke field, healing from a water field, Frost Aura (effect) 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, and the combo with lightning fields can be a source of additional CC in instanced PvE.
Using a blast finisher in a lightning field grants 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: Dagger – and ; Scepter – and ; Focus – ; Sword –
- Guardian: Hammer – ; Focus – ; Shield –
- Mesmer: Torch –
- Ranger: Warhorn – ; Staff –
- Revenant: Staff –
- Thief: Shortbow –
- Warrior: Longbow – ; Warhorn – and
Engineers can blast might or stealth very effectively using their kits and tool belt skills:
- Fire fields: , or
- Smoke field: , or
- Blast finishers (examples): , , , , , , ,
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.
- 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 Aura.
- 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.
- 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.