The Elementalist, in my opinion, is one of the more challenging and complicated classes to play in Guild Wars 2. This guide is written with a beginner Elementalist in mind. The goals of the build are to give you great burst DPS against single and group targets and sustained surviveability.
After trying out all the different variations I found scepter/dagger to be the best compromise between range, damage, and surviveability. While dagger/dagger offers some amazing DPS it really lacks in key defensive abilities and range, and while the staff has great range it is an inefficient weapon to solo with because mobs will constantly run outside the range of your ground-targeted spells.
Scepter/dagger gives you range, good AOE burst capability, and enough defensive skills to save your bacon from the fire when things go wrong.
Full list of Elementalist skills here: http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/List_of_elementalist_skills
Arcane Power: Your next 5 attacks will automatically crit. Used in conjunction with the skills in fire attunement this lets you put out massive burst AOE dps.
Signet of Earth: Grants you toughness and when activated immobilizes foes, can be used to set up fire attunement combos(optionally swap out for Armor of Earth)
Glyph of Lesser Elementals: Summoned elementals can be great support when facing multiple mobs. They do a great job of grabbing aggro and dishing out DPS.
Elite: Glyph of Elementals: Again great support when facing multiple or elite mobs.
First 10 points: Put into the Fire tree and take “Internal Fire” giving you 10% more damage while in fire attunement.
Next 10 points: Put into the Air tree and take “One with Air” moving 35% faster while in air attunement will save you a ton of time in your questing.
Next 10 points: Put into the Earth tree and take “Earth’s Embrace” giving you Armor of Earth when your health reaches 50%, this can be a lifesaver and saves a utility slot.
Next 10 points: Put into the Arcane tree – Take Final Shielding – Gaining an Arcane shield when you reach 25% and being able to absorb 3 hits can really be a lifesaver.
From here you should have a good idea of how the class plays and then you can tailor the traits more for your specific item builds. I went heavy into Earth because I found toughness and condition damage to be very useful, but maybe you’ll enjoy building out for power or precision better.
List of elementalist traits: http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/List_of_elementalist_traits
Your Skill Rotation:
Against single targets I like to start out in air attunement. Use your #2 lightning strike to start the fight off and strafe-kite to gain some distance on the mob while your #1 arc lightning skill fires off on the mob. When your #2 lightning strike recharges cast it again, then cast #3 blind and then #4 ride the lightning and #5 updraft when the mob is within melee range of you. The #5 updraft will knock the mob down. At this point you’ll want to switch to fire attunement and immediately fire off your #2 dragon’s tooth skill as you run to the mob. Activate arcane power now so that all of your fire skills will crit. When you’re within melee range of the mob use your #4 ring of fire skill to drop a fire field and then your #3 phoenix followed by your #5 fire grab.
The #4 ring of fire skill acts as a combo area, which means that when you activate other specific skills within this ring of fire you can gain “combo bonuses.” #3 phoenix will grant you three stacks of might when it lands inside this fire field(might is a “boon” or buff that increases your damage output).
Against multiple targets I’ll still start in air attunement. You’ll want to be in air attunement when moving around(for the speed buff) so you’ll find that you start off most fights in air. If you see that your engagement will involve multiple targets fire off your #2 lightning strike and #3 blind and then switch to Earth attunement and immediately cast #5 Churning Earth. If you time it correctly the skill should finish casting as the mobs reach you. From here activate #2 for extra armor and use #3 again to blind the enemy. Then use your #4 skill to knock the enemies down and switch to fire attunement. From here you’ll cast #2 dragon’s tooth and activate arcane power immediately followed by #4 ring of fire, #3 phoenix, and #5 fire grab.