Heya! As someone who’s sunk an inordinate amount of time into Chronomancer, and has a pretty good understanding of the class, I figured it was about time I shared some of my knowledge. This guide will do an in-depth coverage of advanced combos you can perform with Chronomancer, more specifically combos exploiting Mimic + Continuum Split’s excellent synergy. I’ve tried to make the explanation as simple as possible and included videos and GIFs to illustrate everything. It’s hugely in-depth and detailed, so I apologise for the wall of text!
First off, I want to lay down the basics. Skip the next section if you’re familiar with all this.
Mimic and Continuum Split
To begin with, I want to talk about the skill Mimic. This is a normal Mesmer skill that gives you a ten-second buff called Echo. During these ten seconds, any utility skill you cast will have its cooldown reduced to 1 second, meaning you can cast it again almost right away (hence the name “mimic”). Hereis an example of me using Mimic with Blink.
Now, I want to talk about Continuum Split. This is the new F5 shatter skill that was introduced with the Chronomancer profession. This skill is anything but simple. When you press F5, every illusion you have will shatter, giving you 1.5 seconds of time for each illusion shattered (including yourself). So, with no illusions out, that’s 1.5 seconds, and with 3 illusions out, that’s 6 seconds. During this accumulated time period, you can do anything you want, and after it’s over (you can end it early), all your cooldowns, health, position, and endurance get reset to what they were right before you pressed F5. Think of it as rewinding time. However, any buffs/boons/conditions applied to you during Continuum Split will remain on you even after it ends. This is important!
Mimic WITH Continuum Split
This is where the synergy I mentioned comes in.
The wonderful thing about Mimic and Continuum Split is that you can cast Mimic within Continuum Split. This gives you that Echo buff I mentioned in the previous section, and then Continuum Split ends, Mimic gets reset to being off-cooldown, and you suddenly have the ability to cast an ability threetimes instead of just twice. Why? Because you have the Echo buff, AND Mimic is off cooldown thanks to Continuum Split. Therefore, you can cast an ability to use up the existing Echo buff, hit Mimic again for ANOTHER Echo buff, then use the ability another two times! With this trick you can do fancy stuff like triple blinks. More on that later!
Here is where it gets tricky though… Mimic, like all non-instant skills, has this thing called an aftercast delay. This is a small time period that takes place after you’ve cast the ability in which the ability still isn’t on cooldown. I’m sure you’ve noticed it before. The ability “blinks” a little on your skill bar after you’ve cast it before actually going on cooldown. Here‘s a GIF showing its aftercast – notice how it takes a while to go on cooldown, even after I’ve casted it and after it’s given me the Echo buff. A lot of abilities with cast times (like Mimic) have an aftercast delay, but other instant ones (like Blink,Feedback, etc) don’t have any aftercast.
It may not seem like it at first, but this is actually problematic for us. You see, we want our skills to goon cooldown while in Continuum Split. Simply casting them while in Continuum Split isn’t enough. They need to finish their aftercast delay and visibly go on cooldown in your skill bar before Continuum Split ends, or else they won’t have their cooldown reset! The problem lies in the fact that, without any illusions out, we only get 1.5 seconds inside Continuum Split before it ends, and guess what? Mimic’s aftercast doesn’t fit in those 1.5 seconds. You cannot cast Continuum Split first, then cast Mimic, and try and squeeze Mimic into those 1.5 seconds. By the time they’re up, Mimic wouldn’t have finished its aftercast, Continuum Split ends, and Mimic will, unfortunately, go on cooldown and remain on cooldown. Here‘s a GIF where I cast Continuum Split first and then Mimic a split second afterwards – note how Mimic doesn’t reset its cooldown.
All is not lost, though. There is a solution. Either you have at least one illusion out, or you try and be a bit more clever than that: Try casting Mimic first. Think about it – if you cast Mimic, and then wait a little and cast Continuum Split, then Mimic will finish its aftercast while you’re in Continuum Split and go on cooldown, and then when Continuum Split resets, Mimic will be off cooldown again! Remember: the key is to make sure Mimic finishes its aftercast and goes on cooldown after Continuum Split starts but before it ends. You can even finish Continuum Split early (by pressing F5 again) once you’re sure you see Mimic go on cooldown. It takes a bit of timing to get this right, but here‘s a GIF showing roughly how to time it. Keep an eye on the Mimic and Continuum Split icons!
So there we go; with this method we can basically cast ANY Mesmer utility skill three times in a row. Recap of the combo: <Mimic> <Continuum Split> <Continuum Shift> <Utility> <Mimic> <Utility> <Utility>
And remember, elite skills have aftercasts too, so if you want to cast two of an elite skill without any illusions out, then similarly, you’ll want to cast the elite skill first and then cast Continuum Split soon after. Below you can see an example where I cast Gravity Well with Continuum Split, keeping the aftercast in mind, allowing me to cast the well twice. Yes, that is 6 seconds of lockdown right there, and yes, it is disgustingly good for PvP.
But wait! There’s more. Remember when I said that you can’t fit all of Mimic inside a 1.5-second Continuum Split, which is why we had to cast Mimic first? Well, I lied. There IS a way. It turns out that quickness shortens the aftercast delay. What does that mean for us? It means that, under the effects of quickness, we can squeeze a whole Mimic inside those precious 1.5 seconds. AND, it just so happens to be that Chronomancer has a trait that gives quickness on shatter – Seize the Moment. Since Continuum Split is a shatter, we can exploit this to give ourselves quickness, allowing us to cast Continuum Split, and then land Mimic successfully in those 1.5 seconds. As always, here‘s a GIF showing this, where I cast Continuum Split first and then cast Mimic a split second after. Remember, this only works with the Seize the Moment trait active, since we need that quickness.
Big deal, you might say? Yes, big deal indeed. Now we can fit Mimic inside the 1.5-second Continuum Split, AND fit in another skill! You probably know where I’m going with this: 4x Mesmer utilities. That’s right. We can cast a single utility skill four times using this trait. All we need to do is fit a utility followed by Mimic inside the 1.5 seconds, and then, when Continuum Split resets, we’d have both the utility and Mimic off cooldown again, which means another three casts of that utility.
The implications of this can be huge. 4x Well of Precognition = 12 seconds of party-wide invulnerability. 4x Decoy = 12 seconds of stealth (18 seconds with Prismatic Understanding). 4xFeedback = a hell of a lot of purple, to say the least. It’s limited only by your imagination.
Remember, though, to keep aftercasts and cast times in mind. You can get away with casting Continuum Split and then squeezing in an instant-cast utility skill (like Decoy) with Mimic inside the 1.5 seconds, but for abilities with cast times / aftercasts like wells, you’re going to want to cast the well first, and then cast Continuum Split + Mimic right before the well’s aftercast ends. This is because, even with quickness, you’re going to be hard-pressed fitting TWO abilities with cast times inside just 1.5 seconds.
Here are two examples. The first example is for a skill with a cast time: Well of Precognition.
- Combo: <Well of Precognition> <Continuum Split> <Mimic> <Continuum Shift> <Well of Precognition> <Mimic> <Well of Precognition> <Well of Precognition>
- Video: 4x Well of Precognition
The second is for a skill which is instant cast and has no aftercast: Decoy.
- Combo: <Continuum Split> <Decoy> <Mimic> <Continuum Shift> <Decoy> <Mimic> <Decoy> <Decoy>
- Video: 4x Decoy
Once again, the above is only possible thanks to the quickness of the Seize the Moment trait. You’ll screw them up embarrassingly without it.
Phew! That’s a lot to take in. I understand that it might be confusing, even with GIFs and videos, so I urge you to open up GW2 and give these combos a try for yourself. Remember that the order of skills isn’t the only important thing in those combos, but the timing is crucial, and nothing short of dedicated practice can get you accustomed to how to time it all. The golden rules we need to take out of this, or a TL;DR, if you will:
- Mimic allows you to cast any utility skill twice.
- Mimic and Continuum Split allows you to cast any utility skill three times.
- Mimic, Continuum Split, and Seize the Moment allows you to cast any utility skill four times.
- Abilities only get their cooldown reset if they visibly go on cooldown while in Continuum Split.
- Leading from the above point, abilities with cast times have aftercast delays before they go on cooldown, so you typically would want to cast these first and THEN cast Continuum Split.
- The exception to the above is if you have quickness, which Seize the Moment ever so conveniently gives you.
Thanks to all this, us Chronomancers can pull off some pretty intricate combos. And don’t forget that ALL of what I said applies when you don’t have illusions out. If you have illusions out, you’ll have more than just 1.5 seconds to cast abilities. I encourage you to milk your time in Continuum Split as much as you can, especially in PvP. You’ve already seen how to make the most of just 1.5 seconds… imagine how much more powerful our combos can be with 3, 4.5, or even 6 seconds.
As a closing note, I urge you to check out L4in’s videos. Over there he covers a bunch of cool Chronomancer stuff, including things I mentioned in this guide and even fun stuff you can do with portals.
Anyway, that’ll do for now. If you’ve got any questions or have any cool combos you’ve figured out, feel free to comment. Any feedback/criticism is of course also appreciated :). And if you’re on EU and would like me to help you out with any of these combos (and more) in-game, then my IGN is Step.1285! Thanks very much for reading.