As usual there is one build per page, I'll keep this article short and start with a build on this page.
This is really 3 builds within 1. I won’t be doing a detailed skill core here because it’s quite simple. Pick Fire, Ice, or Lightning, and max out all spells of that element. You could also pick two elements and max out some of both. So instead, the skills I list here should be in EVERY elementalist build, regardless of the skill’s element. For example I will list Thunder Locus, which means that whether you roll fire, ice, or lightning, you should still get the skill. Capeesh?
Fire/Lightning/Ice Brand: These are just too obviously good not to mention. Once your Crit chance is up these provide free bonus damage basically. Just pick the one that matches the element of your choice. (15 skill points in appropriate element)
Prismatic Rift: Max this. As an elementalist you should not be getting hit much, but when you do, you want your enemies as far from you as possible. This passive makes it so that enemies that hit you have a chance of getting teleported backwards while taking some damage. (15 skill points)
Charge Mastery: Do NOT max this skill. It’d be wasteful in my opinion as you can probably maintain full charge with less skill points. Definitely get it, but I wouldn’t dump 15 into this unless I had no better alternatives. (as many skill points to stay in almost constant charged state)
Frozen Fate: Level this up anywhere from 6-15. It gives you a chance upon killing enemies to freeze nearby enemies. This has NO requirements. It doesn’t matter how you kill the enemy, it just works. Definitely max it out if you are going Ice, but even if you aren’t why not get this skill considering you should be killing very quickly. (6-15 skill points)
Elemental Attunement: While useful as it enables your passive Fire/Lightning/Ice Brands to proc, 15 more seconds is just overkill. I think I’d put in about 5 points to 10 points. Remember, that if it doesn’t seem enough at low levels, it will be at higher levels when your critical strike chance is higher. The more crit you have the more you refresh shocked/burning/chilled effects, making this skill less necessary. (5-10 skill points)
Staff Mastery: Consider putting at least 1 point in this, especially if playing with friends. It makes hitting enemies with your staff debuff their resistances by 6% at 1/15, going up 2% each skill point you invest. Not only does the debuff last a delicious 10 seconds, but it’s cumulative meaning that each hit keep reducing their resistances. Think about it this way, before casting at an elite boss with your friends, go up behind him and smack him with your staff a few times. This will make him take significantly more damage. It now also is applied by all skills that use staff dps. (minimum 1 out of 15)
Elemental Boon: Max this. Not only does this help your elemental resistances, at tier 2 (10/15) it increases your mana regen rate and at tier 3 (15/15) it adds casting speed. (15 skill points)
Thunder Locus: I love this so skill so much, I gave a name to the ball of lightning you summon: “Steve.” He’s just so useful. It does significantly good damage even without items supporting it, and it fires on its own. This skill is super helpful in elite because you can place it, then just kite enemies around it. I’d get this regardless of the element I end up using. (15 skill points)
Astral Ally: Invest at your discretion. While you may have more fire power than you need, having a summon acts as great damage mitigation. You want anything that gives your foes something to attack that isn’t you. If you are playing with meatshields- er, I mean, friends you need this less than you would if you want to solo elite.
Immolation Aura: Max this if you are playing on elite and find yourself being beaten up. Otherwise it’s not really all that necessary. As it tiers up it provides damage reduction. 15% less damage taken is nothing to scoff at. (15 skill points on elite)
Death’s Bounty: How many points you put into this is up to you. It makes monsters afflicted by this debuff release bolts that heal you and your allies mana and health. If you are playing hardcore elite max this, otherwise it’s up to you. (max this for hardcore, otherwise you may not desire it)
Blazing Pillar: Consider investing in this for just one reason: “Blazing Pillar is good at generating charge.” I’d put one skill point into it to at least test how much charge it gets, you can always respec your last 3 points. If it gains significant chunks of charge, put a point in.
Storm Phase: Put at least one point into this skill, at your discretion. If you aren’t going Ice Elementalist, I’d leave this at 1. It’s a great escape skill. (1-5 skill points if you aren't focusing ice, 15 if you are)
Hailstorm: Just want to note that you should max this whether you are lightning or ice. It deals ice damage but as you tier it up it makes enemies take more of both lightning and ice damage. It’s a great Debuff and with a 50% chance to stun, what’s not to love?
The way I’d make this build efficient is by NOT dispersing my stats. I’d invest in them one at a time. I think you should spend your earlier levels investing in almost nothing but Focus. The elemental damage boss, mana boost, and mana regen boost are essential so that you can keep spamming spells. As you progress further and start hitting diminishing returns for focus, switch your priority to dexterity. This will boost your critical strike chance, which will apply your elements effect to enemies, and provides dodge for survivability. Strength is something consider if diminishing returns have significantly hurt dexterity and focus, because improved critical strike damage is only useful if you have a high critical strike chance in the first place.
Staff and wands are clearly going to be your priority because they tend to have caster bonuses on them more often than other weapons. I’m going staff for staff mastery, but consider using a wand and shield for more survivability.
Item affixes you want are +% damage, +% damage to the element you picked, cast speed, and mana. Don’t underestimate stacking mana, the bigger your mana pool the faster your regen. This could turn you into a spell casting machine gun. Really try to stack +% elemental damage though.
Find Elemental Overload as soon as you can as it gives you a huge boost to elemental damage and makes any embermage amazing. I’d put Heal All and Rumble on your pet. Rumble has a chance of breaking enemy shields. I’d also give your pet 2 summons for damage mitigation. This is a build where I happily suggest using the Adventurer spell scroll which gives you improved exp and fame rates, as well as making potions more effective. This will help you make the most of mana potions and help you level quickly. *edit* I found a new scroll called Concentration that increases mana regen, this is godly.