In my effort to bring you interesting skills, it is time to take a look at a weapon skill again. So far I have not featured an off-hand dagger skill and Earth Magic seems to be a bit under represented - so I picked: Churning Earth.
Current GW2wiki description (December, 2012) :
Make the earth churn, crippling nearby foes before unleashing a seismic wave that damages and bleeds them.
4 Crippled: 1 s
8 Bleeding: 8 s
Combo Finisher: Blast
Traits affecting the skill
- Geomancer's Alacrity: All your earth weapon skills recharge 20% faster.
- Obsidian Focus:Gain toughness while using a channeled skill.
- Salt Stone: Deal 5% more damage to bleeding foes.
- Stone Splinters: Deal 5% more damage when you are within melee range of your target.
- Serrated Stones: Bleeds you apply last 20% longer.
- Strength of Stone: Deal 10% more damage while attuned to earth.
Change-log (since March 2012)
- The base damage output varied a lot during the beta events in 2012, changing between twice the number that it is today and 2/3 of that damage.
- The bleed stacks had been increased from 5 to 8 in the last beta event in August 2012.
- The radius had been "normalized" to 360 (from 348) in the last beta event in August 2012.
- The "hold and release" message in the skill description was removed Nov. 15th, 2012.
- The Blast Finisher effect from the Evasive Arcana version was removed Nov. 15th, 2012.
- This skill is a channeling skill (3.25 seconds), which prevents you from moving during casting (movement cancels the skill execution). It is possible to use "no-casting-time" skills like Arcane & Cantrip utility skills during the channeling. Starting the skill and using "Lightning Flash" to teleport into a foe, is a popular usage of that combo.
- The Blast Finisher effect takes place at the end of the casting and not at the beginning (GW2wiki is wrong here).
- The version of Churning Earth that gets created by the "Evasive Arcana" trait no longer has a Blast Finisher effect (removed Nov 15th, 2012).
- The re-applying of the Cripple effect differs, depending on how far you are away from the epicentre of the blast.
- The radius of 360 is quite large, so you can affect a great area and multiple foes. It is even possible to blast melee foes while not being in their melee range of attack.
- The direct damage the skill does is not too bad, but the majority of the damage done comes from the massive bleed stacks it applies. (Wooden Potatoes uses the damage with a special trait/Arcane Power/Lightning Flash combo to kill foes - see "20k spike build" video on the forums)
- The 30 second recharge is quite long (24 seconds with Alacrity), so going after a single target, a series of "Impale"+"Ring of Earth" will be as good and not lock you down in one place. RoE will apply Cripple and Impales can stack up to 6 Bleeding stacks.
- Churning Earth is used best, when you (or an ally) have gathered a big group of foes around you & you have left them unable to hit you (e.g. KD with Earthquake, Blinded with "Glyph of Storms" or "Signet of Air"). Due to the cripple effect, you can often drop another delayed attack on them, if they are not already dead (Dragon's Tooth comes to mind for users of scepters).