Seeing a lot of misconception in regards to the "new" chrono in my lfg squads, here's a few pointers and a "short" guide. Mind you, as with all my guide posts in this forum, the content is geared towards CASUAL raiding. Speedclear strategies are not relevant in my threads. Yes, I know them. Yes, I can execute them. No, I dont want to discuss them here. Please respect this, thank you.
The most important part of playing chrono passably well, is being able to 1-clone continuum split. Its a mouthful, but I guarantee you, with a bit of training and well thought out keybinding, you will shine at this with little effort.
The thing with 1-clone continuum splits is, having your continuum split key bound to a key easily reached is already half the effort. I personally use a mouse keybind for this, but everything works, as long as you can reach it fast with your hand on mouse/keyboard. Id strongly advise against mouseclicking it, but I know some players pull that off as well... just makes your life a lot harder to do that.
The other half of it, is being able to sweet spot that moment to press continuum split. You always want to start that continuum split in the last 1/3 of a long'ish cast. Continuum split is an instant cast, so start whatever skill you want to continuum split, watch your castbar and when the castbar is over 2/3 full, hit that continuum split key and queue up the next skill.
That way you can get way more casts into your continuum split, which is really the basic mechanic of chronomancer.
This takes practice. Summon yourself the biggest golem in the trainingsarena, give yourself quickness and alacrity from the buff console - dont bother with anything else.
And then just rinse and repeat that opener rotation. In the past you had to respawn the golem for that, but nowadays you can reset your cooldowns in fight... so just make sure to destroy all your clones before re-trying.
I promise you, for one thing it will be worth the effort, because as a good chrono you will always be put on friendslists of squadcommanders... and easily find a weekly fullclear squad. As a bad chrono, you end up on blocked lists, which will make raiding so much more difficult for you.
And for the other thing, it wont take much effort. I usually can teach new chronos until "raid ready opener" in less than 1 hour. Considering what you gain from this, thats one hour of your life well spent. 1-clone splits arent only good for raids, they will help you a lot in openworld as well. Or pvp. Or WvW.
So, what skill to start your opener rotation on? Thats something that can change quite often. For a long time it was shield5, but nowadays its mostly either Signet of Inspiration, or one of the wells. If you arent into total tryharding - then it really doesnt matter.
Im a really lazy chrono myself, since it isnt my main anymore Im not willing to learn different openers, thats why Im opening my continuum split with Shield 5. That opener works for both types of chrono builds - mimic and double well.
(Not relevant for most LFG squads, but you can start with a shield4 on a lot of bosses for extra protection uptime. Every boss that runs to you like Sloth, or you run towards like Gorseval or Matthias allows you for a bit of precasting shenanigans like that)
1. Summon 1 clone (sword 3)
2. Start casting Shield 5
3. If your castbar is over 2/3 full, then use continuum split
4. Signet of Inspiration
5. Cast Timewarp - if you have it
6. Well of Action/Recall (whichever you need more off, with last patch I use Recall nearly exclusively)
7. Continuum split end
Thats it. Thats your core rotation. After that its mostly only holding everything on cooldown and keeping track of your shield5 when on the other weapon set. Which you can quite easily do if you arrange your well of recall/action to be cast at the same time, they have roughly the same cooldown so you'll know when you have to switch back to shield offhand.
In terms of raw potential, mimic wins against double well builds hands down. The big drawback of mimic builds however is that you absolutely need a good 2nd chrono in your squad. If your other chrono isnt using his Signet of Inspirations on cooldown, you are done for.
Since you dont really have ways to predict how good the other chrono is, Id just always default to double wells builds. They are more reliable, easier to play and the dps loss is negligible - remember, LFG raids arent speedclears !
No reason to panic, an alacrity renegade (alacrigade) will definitely make your life as a chrono so much easier. First thing to do: drop your well of recall. No need to bring that, the alacrigade will provide a big chunk of alacrity. Instead bring Mimic and maybe Time Warp.
Your minimum boon duration for that setup really depends a lot on what else you've got.
Boon durations ->
First off, ask him if he is bringing the quickness mantra and quickness trait. Without those two, he's either a dps firebrand, or a pure healer firebrand and you can just ignore him.
If however, you are so lucky and get a quickness firebrand (quickbrand) in your group, you can do the same as with the alacrigade, just... for alacrity.
Bring Mimic and no need for Time Warp.
Boon durations ->
Yes, I admit it freely, Im not a big fan of it ;p But still... its very useful for LFG raiding.
As mentioned above, you want to just run 2x double well chronos. Only bother with mimic if you realize after the first boss, that the other chrono is actually pretty decent, or if you join with your chrono buddie for some mimic-fun.
Boon durations ->
If you dont care much about optimizing according to team compositions and just want that one build to play everywhere, then straight up go with 80% boon duration and Improved Alacrity. The reason is quite simple. You need roughly 75% for only barely 100% uptime on your own group without any help from a second chrono. With that covered, you can then switch to Danger Time trait everytime you get a decent 2nd chrono or an alacrigade/quickbrand in your squad.
As for which well to put into continuum split, if theres no alacrigade, then always put Well of Recall in continuum split now.
So, lets hope there arent too many errors in my testing... halfway through my bufftarget fell asleep So, Im sorry if theres mistakes with the boon duration numbers. Feel free to correct them.
/edit: Fixed opener mix-up, sorry, was really late when I wrote that.