Tome of Conquest
A Comprehensive Guardian Competitive PvP Guide
- by Master Eriko -
Welcome to the Tome of Conquest! This is your first stop for information and guidance on anything related to playing a guardian in a competitive sPvP environment. In this guide I will cover roles, builds, strategies and advanced tricks you can use to impress that female elementalist from your guild. Trust me; you will have her right where you want her in no time! This guide will be updated regularly to always include updated information relevant to the current metagame of Guild Wars 2. All you have to do is sit back, grab a drink and a snack, put on some nice music and turn the pages..
- The guardian is a gentleman! So should you be. Insulting, Flamming and raging has never benefitted anyone. Think about it: A year forward, how much will it matter that your fellow necromancer forgot to revive you once in a fight?
- The guardian is a team player! So should you be. If one of your team mates is being targeted by multiple enemies, drop one of your consecrations or use your Tome of Courage to help him. This will improve both you and your team mate’s playing experience.
- The guardian is humble! So should you be. Don’t ever think that you have learned all there is to know. Innovation is the key to the Guild Wars 2 meta game. Who knows, that fellow thief running a tank build might just have found a completely revolutionary build that could potentially be the key to winning the next monthly tournament. You can always learn new things if you keep an open mind and respect everyone.
- The guardian is a beacon of hope! So should you be. Is your team behind with 200 points? The only thing that secures certain defeat is if you give up. The game is not over before ‘victory’ or ‘defeat’ appears on the screen!
The guardian is probably the most desired profession for tournament setups. Why is this? Well, it’s because we are guardians! The guardian is a very defensive and supportive profession in its nature, making it a valuable profession to bring in almost any setup. As a guardian, you have a lot of tools at your disposal that can completely flip a game upside down, turning a not-so-desirable situation into something much more manageable. However, the guardian is not limited to playing only supportive; it’s inherit defensive nature allows the guardian to build himself extremely offensively as well. Due to the guardian’s versatility, he will never become a boring profession to play, as you will never find yourself stuck in one role!
1h Sword: The 1h sword is the bread and butter in a lot of guardian builds. Its auto-attack chain is one of the hardest hitting ones currently in the game. Flashing Blade allows the guardian to quickly move around on the battlefield and can also be used to travel through obstacles and quickly move around the map.
Scepter: The scepter is the guardian’s only ranged option. Smite hits very hard, but is difficult to land properly. Chains of Light is good for chasing down kiting foes and for immobilizing them in Smite. The auto-attack Orb of Wrath has decent damage, but unfortunately the projectiles travel so slowly that opposing players can pretty easily avoid them.
Mace: The mace is the guardian’s defensive weapon. The auto-attack heals for a decent amount & Protector’s Strike allows the guardian to counter dangerous attacks like Backstab. Symbol of Faith functions as a very consistent light field, making it useful against heavy condition setups. However, the weapon lacks mobility. Good for bunker and support builds.
Shield: The shield is the guardian’s defensive offhand. Shield of Absorption is a very awesome skill with its knockback and projectile absorption. Shield of Judgment is a good on-demand protection buff for you and your allies. A strong off-hand for bunker builds and for team-fights.
Torch: The torch is a very offensive weapon with some situational support on the side. Cleansing Flames has good damage output and can also be used supportively to remove conditions from allies. Zealot’s Flame is good at maintaining burning and can be activated when its duration is almost out for some very good burst damage.
Focus: The focus is a good balance between offense and defense. Shield of Wrath can hit very hard and even give a few blocks if timed correctly. Being instant cast, it's a very useful skill for securing channels, revives and stomps. Ray of Judgment is a good skill if you need some extra survivability. If you're close to your target, it will bounce twice, cleansing 2 conditions from you and blinding the foe twice. A good offhand for 1v1 situations.
Hammer: The hammer is the best area denial weapon in the game, period. With Banish you can easily knock foes away from nodes. Who doesn’t love sending a foe flying out of the Clocktower?! Follow up with Zealot’s Embrace and a Ring of Warding once they come back and you can effectively capture and hold points. Mighty Blow is a very good blast finisher with its 5s cooldown and hits for a good amount as well. Unfortunately, the auto-attack is extremely slow for the hammer, crippling its potential as a damage weapon. Good in point defense builds.
Greatsword: The greatsword is the guardian’s AoE weapon. Binding Blade is a potential game changing skill if it lands on multiple foes, and Symbol of Wrath is good for applying AoE pressure. Whirling Wrath is a good burst skill, but it’s difficult to land properly, as you’re slowed down while using it and the projectiles are pretty random in the directions they fly. The greatsword is very good at maintaining retaliation, making it a good weapon against heavy burst setups.
Staff: The staff is the guardian’s 2h support weapon. It’s very versatile in its use, however, it’s versatility generally makes it a weak weapon choice compared to some of the other weapons. Mostly, it’s just used to provide swiftness when not in combat.
Signet of Resolve: Signet of Resolve is the strongest heal the guardian currently has. The passive condition removal is good for relieving pressure in sustained encounters. Signet of Resolve can also benefit from the trait Signet Mastery for a 20% cooldown reduction. Its downside is that if you get caught up in a burst, it's likely to get interupted.
Shelter: Shelter is the weakest healing skill the guardian has, however, the 2s block makes it very good for countering burst damage. A good choice if the opposing team is running a lot of burst professions like sword mesmer, greatsword warrior or thieves.
Healing Breeze: Healing Breeze is your supportive healing skill and is a good choice if you are running with 2-3 others, however, the 3 s channeling time and the fact that you have to be close to allies for them to receive the healing makes you vulnerable to AoE attacks and interupts. Inferior to the other heals in sPvP.
Consecrations: Consecrations are effects that guardians can place on the ground. Sanctuary and Wall of Reflection can be used very defensively to protect yourself and allies or even offensively to reflect projectiles or block choke points, but are generally weak in sPvP because they can be hard-countered pretty easily. Hallowed Ground gives 900 range of stability and functions as a fire field, but is generally a weak way to stability because of its rather high cooldown. It synergizes well with Tome of Courage though. Purging Flames is good for applying pressure to foes in an area, but shouldn’t be picked for its condition removal, as it currently only cures 1 condition.
Meditations: Meditations are the more egocentric utility skills in the sense that only the guardian benefits from the majority of them. MWUHAHA! They all have either an offensive or defensive nature, but can be traited to heal the guardian on use, making them valuable for both defensive and offensive builds. Smite Conditions can effectively be used to cure large bleeding stacks and hits very hard as well. Contemplation of Purity is one of the best panic buttons currently in the game with its stun-break and full condition removal. Judge’s Intervention is a good stun-break as well and can be used to reset your positioning, even during channels. Merciful Intervention is not a very good utility with its long cooldown, low healing return and non-instant cast.
Spirit Weapons: Spirit weapons are a set of utility skills very unique to the guardian profession. Each of them is very distinct from one another. Their differences makes it difficult to fit more than 2 of them in a build, and for them to be utilized on maximum potential requires heavy traiting:
- Hammer of Wisdom is your control spirit weapon. It knocks back on every 3rd hit and can be activated for an on-demand knockdown.The
- Sword of Justice is your damage spirit weapon. It can be activated for a very hard-hitting AoE attack.
- Bow of Truth is your support spirit weapon. It removes conditions and can be activated for an AoE healing.
- Shield of the Avenger is your defensive spirit weapon. It creates domes that absorbs flect projectile attacks and can be activated for a Weakness attack that hits multiple foes.
Signets: Signets are utility skills that can be activated for an effect and provide passive benefits when not recharging. The passive effects are pretty meh at the moment, Signet of Judgment being the only one worth mentioning. Signet of Mercy is very weak at the moment with its 240 s recharge timer. Bane Signet is not very good either. Signet of Wrath is good for its 3 s immobilize, which synergizes well with the greatsword or 1h sword to land Whirling Wrath and Zealot’s Defense, but generally there are other utilities. Signet of Judgment is very good with its passive 10% damage reduced and on-demand retaliation.
Tome of Courage: Tome of Courage is good support elite that allows even the most offensively built guardian to play defensively. Most notably is the 5th skill Light of Deliverance, which is a game-changing skill, healing all nearby allies to full health. It has a long cast time though, which makes it somewhat difficult to land, as you don't inherently get stability. A good elite in any guardian build if you can manage not to get bursted down.
Tome of Wrath: Tome of Wrath is a good offensive support skill, but is a weaker pick than the other elites, as the group damage increase in most cases is inferior to the damage you would be doing not using the tome.
Renewed Focus: Renewed Focus is a good choice if the opposing team is running a lot of bursty builds, as it can really save you in those tight situations. If you have invested a lot of points in Virtues, the virtue recharge can be very strong as well.
In this section, I will be going over every trait available to the guardian. I've explained every trait in detail (Some of the trait tooltips in-game are a bit lacking on information) and have included the 'missing' data on all of them. I've also included analyzis on each trait and concluded whether/when it's useful.
In this section, I will be focusing on how you can increase your mobility as a guardian. It is no secret that the guardian is not the most mobile profession in the game. However, as a guardian, you have access to two teleports that you can utilize to increase your mobility, namely Flashing Blade and Judge’s Intervention. Since these are teleports, you can use them to traverse obstacles, teleport on top of ledges and prevent you from being kited. They have a common weakness though: both of them targets an enemy, which makes them unusable out of combat. They are still very good for navigating combat though: see a ranger standing on higher terrain, shooting down on you thinking he is out of harm’s way? He should know better. Below is a video showcasing the skills in action:
Outside of combat, you only have 3 options for providing yourself swiftness; Symbol of Swiftness (staff), “Retreat!” (shout) and Tome of Wrath (elite). Tome of Wrath is not worth bringing for the swiftness alone and “Retreat!” is not a very strong utility skill. Symbol of Swiftness is good though, it has 8s of swiftness on a 15s duration. With some traiting and gearing you will be able to maintain a permanent swiftness on yourself and your team. However, the staff is only really desirable for support-oriented guardians, limiting the guardian’s viability as an offensive roamer. You could work around it though, creating a defensive roamer capable of moving between points, capturing them and defending against foes until backup arrive.
In this section, I will be focusing on how you can chain and combine your weapon skills from an individual weapon perspective and a combined weapon perspective to get the maximum benefit from them. I will not be going into offhands individually, as they don’t have much synergy between their skills but mostly work as complements to the 1h weapons.
Weapons individually:1h sword: The sword is pretty straightforward. Zealot’s Defense is rather easy to dodge if you use it at range, so make sure to use Flashing Blade to get next to your target for potentially increased damage.
Scepter: Scepter is pretty straightforward as well. Chains of Light can be used to immobilize your target in Smite and to chase down kiting targets.
Mace: Not much synergy here. Protector’s Strike is a combo finisher if you let its duration run out, but that’s an unlikely scenario if you’re in combat..
Hammer: The hammer has an attack chain you can use to deny a target a smaller capture point for more than 10s, which is plenty of time to neutralize a node and perhaps even fully capture it. The chain starts with Banish to remove your foe from the point. Quickly follow up with Zealot’s Embrace to immobilize your foe for 2s. End with Ring of Warding for another 5s of area denial. Mighty Blow is one of the best blast finishers in the game with its 5s cooldown. You can use it on top of your Ring of Warding or Symbol of Protection (3rd auto-attack) for a retaliation combo.
Greatsword: The greatsword is probably the weapons with the most synergy between its skills. For Whirling Wrath to work effectively, you will need to be in melee range. This is easily fixed by Leap of Faith and Binding Blade. Binding blade even allows you to pull multiple foes into range for even greater effect from Whirling Wrath. Symbol of Wrath also has a lot of synergy with the other skills. Both Whirling Wrath and Binding Blade being whirl finishers, you can combo them with Symbol of Wrath for condition removal. Use Leap of Faith with Symbol of Wrath for retaliation on yourself, which is useful as an engager or a follow-up to a Symbol of Wrath -> Binding Blade -> Whirling Wrath combo, as the target will most likely dodge away from Whirling Wrath.
Staff: Not much synergy between skills here.
Sword/Focus: A good weapon combination. Even though Shield of Wrath seems like a defensive skill, it’s actually best used offensively because of its huge damage. By activating it just before engagement you can land it very easily if you time it with a Flashing Blade. Ray of Judgment is a good skill to use if your foe just dodged out of melee range for some survivability, but if you are up close, auto-attacking is generally preferred. Best offensive weapon set for 1v1 situations.
Sword/Shield: Another good weapon combination as well; a more defensive option than sword/focus. Shield of Judgment gives you more survivability in melee range and Shield of Absorption is just awesome. Use Flashing Blade to teleport to an enemy standing on top of a ledge and use Shield of Absorption to knock him down from the ledge. Excels in team fights.
Sword/Scepter: A good offensive option. Gives a lot of burst options and both strong melee and mid-range combat.
Scepter/Torch: An offensive set with the potential for good burst damage. Chains of Light can be utilized with Smite and Cleansing Flames for some very high damage, but it can be difficult to land effectively. A good secondary set to sword/shield.
Mace/Shield: A very defensive set, works very well for point defense.
Hammer/Mace: A strong weapon set for point defense. The hammer provides area denial while the mace provides sustainability. It’s a very individual build though, without much support for allies.
Greatsword/Mace: A good weapon combination for bunker builds. Mace gives sustainability while the greatsword gives retaliation.
Hammer/Sword: Another good weapon choice for point defense. Not as good survivability as Hammer/Mace, but a good counter to other point defenders. Flashing Blade on the sword allows you to quickly get back on a point if you get knocked out of it. Decent damage output as well.
Hammer/Greatsword: A fun combination. Binding Blade on the greatsword can be used to pull in foes while Ring of Warding from the hammer can trap them, allowing your team to nuke them down. It's also a decent weapon combination for bunker builds, as the greatsword gives good retaliation upkeep while the hammer provides point control, but it lacks sustainability.
Greatsword/Sword: A well-rounded offensive set for those that don’t want to specialize too much. Good both in and outside of team fights.
In this section, I will be focusing on some of the more interesting skills and mechanics unique to the guardian and teach you how to get the most benefit from them. We’ll start by looking at the unique mechanic of the guardian; the virtues. The virtues are often neglected by players. Most players leave them on passive without paying much attention to whether it would be more beneficial to activate them. Let us break them down one by one:
Virtue of Justice: The Virtue of Justice is your offensive virtue. In passive mode, it deals 1s of burning every 5th attack. Activating it makes the next attack of the guardian and nearby allies apply 5s of burning. This means that (without any Willpower to reduce cooldown) you would have to hit a target 25 times or more in 30s to make the passive worthwhile. If you have an ally in range you would have to hit a target 50 times in 30s to make the passive worthwhile. Already at this point, it is probably more beneficial to activate the virtue, because hitting a target 50 times in 30s in sPvP is an unlikely scenario. Putting points into the virtues trait line only increases the benefit from activating the virtue: With 30 points put into the virtues line, the cooldown on Virtue of Justice is lowered to 21s. Let us look at the traits associated with Virtue of Justice:
- Justice is Blind (Radiance, 5 points): Activating Virtue of Justice causes blind to nearby foes.
A good trait that should be paid attention to. Use the on-demand blind to stop dangerous skills like Eviscerate.
- Renewed Justice (Radiance, 15 points): Virtue of Justice is renewed when you kill and enemy.
This is a good trait for offensive guardians. By timing the activation correctly, you can maintain a constant burning through your entire burst to benefit from traits like Firey Wrath and Radiant Power. It’s also a good trait for versatile builds for some extra pressure and a ‘free’ Virtue of Justice if you see an enemy going down. It should also be noted that this trait makes Virtue of Justice recharge on minion, spirit and clone kills, giving you a very high burn pressure against those kinds of builds.
- Permeating Wrath (Virtues, 30 points): Justice no longer burns your target, but instead burns the area around you each time it activates.
By ‘each time it activates’, Anet means every time the passive activates. This trait has limited use in PvP as it’s unlikely that multiple foes will be balling up around you. Inferior to other traits in the virtues line.
- Supreme Justice (Virtues, 20 points): Virtue of Justice causes burning every 4 attacks instead of 5. When activating Virtue of Justice, the burn duration is increased.
Not a very good trait either, since you would for the most part always want to activate your virtue. The duration increase for activating it is only 1 second, which is barely noticable.
- Virtue of Retribution (Virtues, 15 points): Gain retaliation when you activate a virtue.
Not really worth mentioning, as the guardian can pretty easily keep up a permanent retaliation, but if you plan to go 20 points in the virtues line it’s a decent little bonus.
- Inspired Virtue (Virtues, 5 points): Virtue of Justice now also applies 5s of 3 stacks of might on activation.
This trait is very good as it affects all virtues and it is very easily accessible. Definitely worth picking up. It gives 3 stacks of might.
- Battle Presence (Honor, 30 points): Nearby allies within 600 range gain your Virtue of Resolve passive.
This is a good trait to pick up if you are running a healing guardian, as the healing in team fights can be quite teriffic. It should be noted that even though you activate you Virtue of Resolve and have it on cooldown, the passive healing still applies to allies.
- Absolute Resolve (Virtues, 20 points): Activating Virtue of Resolve removes 3 conditions. Virtue of Resolve’s passive effect is stronger.
This is a very good trait to pick up as the on-demand 3 condition removal is very strong. With the 20 points invested to acquire this trait the recharge of Virtue of Resolve will have been lowered to 48s which makes it even more worthwhile. The passive bonus is 25%, which is always a welcome addition, but the bonus is only applied to yourself, not allies affected by Battle Presence.
- Virtue of Retribution (Virtues, 15 points): See Virtue of Justice.
- Inspired Virtue (Virtues, 5 points): Virtue of Resolve now also applies 5s of regeneration on activation.
This trait is very good as it affects all virtues and it is very easily accessible. Definitely worth picking up.
- Shielded Mind (Virtues, 30 points): Activating Courage also breaks stuns.
Useful if you don’t have stun break on any of your utilities. The trait is not that great though, as it comes with a 63 second cooldown.
- Indomitable Courage (Virtues, 20 points): Virtue of Courage grants 3 seconds of stability. Virtue of Courage’s passive effect triggers every 30s.
Not a very good trait, the passive increase is barely noticable on its own and the guardian has way better methods of applying stability.
- Virtue of Retribution (Virtues, 15 points): See Virtue of Justice.
- Inspired Virtues (Virtues, 5 points): Virtue of Courage now also applies protection on activation.
This trait is very good as it affects all virtues and it is very easily accessible. Definitely worth picking up.
- Courageous Return (Valor, 15 points): Virtue of Courage recharges on rally.
Not that noticable a trait, as you shouldn't expect to rally a lot of times during a match. Having an ally revive you doesn't trigger the trait. If you do have it though, it gives you an excuse to use your Virtue of Courage if you are about to go down.
- Wrathful Spirit (Honor, 10 points): Aegis gives 3s of retaliation when it ends.
A useful trait, as it makes activating Virtue of Courage a good counter against bursts if you managed to get yourself caught in CC without a stun-break. Especially useful if you have Inspired Virtues, as the protection and retaliation combined can cause bursts to hurt foes more than you.
Tome of Courage is probably the most satisfying skill the guardian has at his disposal. The frustration among foes when they are just about to landing the finishing blow, only to see your health suddenly return to full. Yes, the 5th skill Light of Deliverance is indeed very powerful. However, it can be risky to use because of its 5s cast time. You would want to use it when your health is as low as possible. Finding that perfect balance between risk and benefit can be risky though: The 5s cast time leaves you vulnerable to being focused down if your health is too low, and you're very vulnerable to being interupted. This is where the 4th skill Pacifism comes in handy. The 3s AoE daze is excellent in cutting your vulnerability time from 5s down to 2s, which makes it more difficult to counter it. Pacifism can be dodged though, and its animation is pretty obvious to spot, so don’t always expect to land it. There are a few things you can do to increase your chances of effectively landing Light of Deliverance:
- Use stability: The inherit stability was recently removed from the elite, which means you will now need to get it from another source.
- Line of Sight: Now that you can move while using Tome of Courage, you can go around a corner to prevent opposition players from spotting your animation. An excellent example of where this is easily achieved is the Henge in Forest of Niflhel.
- Don’t be obvious: A lot of opposing players will see you use Tome of Courage and dodge because they expect to see Pacifism coming right away. Start out with a Heal Area or Purifying Ribbon to relieve yourself from conditions that still deal damage despite the daze from Pacifism. If you have been fighting with the opposing player for some time, there is a good chance that the dodge will have used up his remaining endurance, securing an easy Pacifism for you.
- Use your team: If you are playing on a competitive team, make sure to call out that you just used your Tome of Courage. Tome of Courage is probably the most game changing elite in the game with Light of Deliverance. Your allies should protect you while you are casting the ability.
Judge’s Intervention is an instant cast utility. What does this mean? It means that you can instantly activate them whenever you want, even if you are channeling another skill. This becomes very useful in certain situation, as it allows you to reset your positioning during a skill’s animation. If you started casting Zealot’s Defense or Whirling Wrath and your opponent moves out of range, you can use Judge’s Intervention to move yourself right next to your target to prevent the target from dodging the damage. It’s also very useful in conjunction with skills like Ring of Warding - you can start the cast time for Ring of Warding at range and then, just before it finishes, use Judge’s Intervention to move right next to your target. All of this applies to Merciful Intervention as well.
The guardian is very versatile in how he can build himself. His large quantity of both offensive and defensive skills and traits give him a lot of customization options. Want to play your guardian very aggressively? No problem. Want to play your guardian very defensively? No problem. Want a more balanced build? No problem. The guardian is built in such a way that you can find your own balance between offense and defense and still be a viable addition. I usually categorize him into 3 categories: the defensive guardian, the offensive guardian and the versatile guardian. A quick introduction to each of them:
- The defensive guardian is a brick wall, simply put. With an impressive amount of control and sustainability, he is an ideal bunker as he is very difficult to take down unless outnumbered. Even then, he can take quite a few hits, effectively wasting the time of multiple opponents while the points keep flowing in.
- The offensive guardian is your basic glass cannon build, except he is a little more complicated. The guardian’s inherit defensive qualities allows him to build himself extremely offensive while still maintaining good survivability. He is very potent duelist as his blinds and blocks allow him to mitigate a lot of damage from single foes while his own damage is very difficult to avoid.
- The versatile guardian is less individually built than the previous two. There are a variety of ways to build a versatile guardian, depending on whether you want to play full support or more offensively.
In this section, I will cover all the gear that you should use as a guardian. I’m only including the viable options, as I don’t think anyone is interested in hearing me rambling on about every sigil, amulet and rune choice in the game. If you feel something is missing, please let me know.
- Soldier’s Amulet is the amulet of choice if you are going for a high survivability build. It’s the only amulet that includes both vitality and toughness; however, its lack of precision makes it weak in most offensive builds if you can't compensate for it through traits/gearing. Best use in point defense builds.
- Knight’s Amulet is the amulet of choice if you are going for a safe offensive build. Its vitality allows you to take a few hits while the power and precision makes sure that you still pack quite a punch. It’s probable the most used guardian amulet. Use it in any offensive builds, perhaps with a Berserker’s Jewel.
- Berserker’s Amulet is the amulet of choice if you want to run a ‘high risk - high reward’ offensive build. With the guardian’s inherit defense, he is probably the only class in the game who can afford to bring this amulet, as he can maintain decent survivability through his skills and utilities without relying on high defensive stats. Use it in an offensive build if you know what you are doing, but consider bringing a Knight’s Amulet as backup.
- Cleric’s Amulet is the amulet of choice if you are running a healing build. The amulet includes no vitality, but your high healing power should make up for it, as long as you don’t get caught up in too many bursts. Effectively using this amulet requires very good awareness and cooldown management, as you don’t have any stats to fall back on. Use it only in defensive/supportive builds.
- Runes of Divinity is a safe bet in any offensive build.
- Runes of Rage is an alternate to Runes of Divinity. It has better offensive, but you are vulnerable to fury being stripped, and you are missing out on some of the defensive stats from Runes of Divinity. Run this against groups that doesn’t have much boon removal.
- Rune of Water/Monk are the best support rune sets available to the guardian with their +15% boon duration. Run 3/3 if you are using a healing build.
- Rune of Mercy is a solid choice for any bunker guardian, as it allows to more safely get allies up from the downed state, which is a very useful bonus as bunker builds will almost always be the last on the target list
- Rune of Svanir is a very useful rune set to counter burst damage, as the 5s invulnerability gives you a 2nd chance and allows you to recover from bursts.
- Sigil of Superior Air is a very popular choice, as it basically gives you a free auto-attack whenever it procs, which is actually quite strong. Use with Sigil of Superior Accuracy, as the cooldown on Superior Air will negate all other ‘on-xxx’ sigils.
- Sigil of Superior Hydromancy is a very good choice as well on most weapons, as it allows you to more effectively land skills like Zealot’s Defense, Whirling Wrath and Banish. The sigil also deal some decent damage on top of the chill effect.
- Sigil of Superior Energy is a must have in any healing builds, as it allows you to trigger Selfless Daring much more often.
- Sigil of Superior Accuracy/Bloodlust/Life/Minor Accuracy are your off-hand sigils of choice, as you can currently only have one cooldown sigil in each weapon set without them overriding each other. Superior Accuracy is your safe choice while Bloodlust and Minor Accuracy are more risky. Life is your choice for healing builds.
NOTE: The builds posted are ones I have tested extensively and have found to be solid, effective builds, however, what I find works best for me might not work very well for everyone else. You are highly encouraged to switch out skills and traits to find the build that perfectly suits your own playstyle. I’ve included a few suggestions for customizations within some of the builds, but if you feel like something is missing, you are very much welcome to point it out. I've underlines the builds I use.
Defensive guardians your basic bunker builds. As a defensive guardian, your job is to sit on a point and hold it against foes until backup arrives. As a point defender, you will want to build for superior sustainability. The hammer is useful in most point defense builds with its superior area control, but the secondary weapon set can change depending on how you want to customize your build. As a general rule of thumb, a point defense guardian should always use the terrain to his advantage. Let’s use the clocktower as an example: Remember the stairs? If you knock a foe down the stairs, it will take him around 10s to get back up if he doesn’t have any mobility skills. This is very good for you, since you are basically wasting his time walking the stairs. This is what makes defensive guardians fun to play; no matter how aggressively they come at you, you can easily brush them off with the stroke of a button. You are a brick wall, a rock among water, an impenetrable fortress. Let’s break down the builds…
Meditations Bunker: http://gw2skills.net/editor/?fUAQNAS5elYgSD3GyKEm4ESmiVCBxUgRf01DIyhaIA;TwAA1CmoOyck4I7RujkHtaYAy+jJBA
- This is a basic bunker build that works as it's supposed to and is easy to play as well. The build relies on meditations to provide condition removal and healing, which is useful to relieve pressure. Sustained condition removal is gained through the heal Signet of Resolve and the trait Purity and you have an on-demand condition removal in Virtue of Resolve with the trait Absolute Resolve and Contemplation of Purity. You will be mitigating a lot of damage while forcing foes into sustained encounters, which is exactly the purpose of a bunker guardian. If you plan on running a defensive guardian in Legacy of the Foefire, you should switch out the hammer for a greatsword, as you won't be able to effectively deny points in that map because of their increased size. Runes of Mercy can be switches out for either Monk/Water or Svanir depending on personal preference.
- This is a more advanced bunker build that utilizes the cleric's amulet instead of soldier's to provide better sustainability. With altruistic healing and selfless daring, you will be maintaining a very consistent healing while mitigating damage through high toughness. Duo to the low vitality return on cleric's amulet, the build utilizes Shelter, Renewed Focus and Rune of Svanir to counter burst. The build can maintain permanent AoE retaliation, which is very good at countering low-health burst foes. Where the build lacks is condition removal, however, the build has very consistent uptime on light fields, which means your allies will need to use them to cleanse conditions. The rune can be switched for either Monk/Water or Mercy depending on personal preference. Switching out Writ of the Merciful for Superior Aria might also be a good option if you feel you need the stability.
Offensive guardian:Tired of being a team player? You should try playing as an offensive guardian! Offensive guardians are very strong duelists and are incredible difficult to deal with for some professions. I will just quote Lowell’s Thief Guide:
Due to the guardian’s defensive nature, he can afford to build himself extremely offensively while still maintaining good survivability through his meditations. The offensive guardian is a very aggressive build in the sense that you will always want to be up in your targets face, hitting him with your sword. Because the guardian packs so many blinds and blocks, the target will have a hard time effectively chaining attacks on the guardian. Offensive guardians usually use sword/shield with scepter/torch as a secondary set, but sword/focus can sometimes be the better option if you plan on doing a lot of 1v1s. As an offensive guardian, you are not the best choice for team fights, as you are giving up on a lot of support, but your offensive capabilities more than make up for that. Let’s break down the builds…
Any glass cannon guardian that runs a triple Mediation build, will be pretty much impossible to defeat 1 on 1
Double Meditations Offensive Guardian: http://gw2skills.net/editor/?fUAQRAsd7flYgSDHHyKEm4Eh1DCGQ/hVAjXPgYEbIA;TwAA2CnoqxUjoGbNuak1soYQxmgJBA
- This is your standard offensive guardian build. This build gives the highest possible damage output while still meeting the required defensive stats. With the trait Monk’s Focus, each of your meditations heal for 1950 instant cast, which allows the guardian to play very aggressively. The sword’s auto-attack is one of the hardest hitting in the game and allows the guardian to maintain a very good sustained damage output, while the scepter/torch set has good burst potential. By timing your activation on Virtue of Justice (it recharges on kill thanks to Renewed Justice), you should be able to maintain a pretty consistent burning, which synergizes very well with Radiant Power for some heavy damage increase. If you're fighting against a heavy condition pressure team, using Contemplation of Purity instead of "Stand Your Ground!" might be a good idea. If you do this, put 5 points out of Honor and put them in Virtues instead for Inspired Virtues. The shield is also a solid variant to the focus if you plan on doing more 2v2 or larger than 1v1. If you want a more ‘high-reward, high-risk’ build, you could switch your Knight’s Amulet for a Berserker’s Amulet for higher damage output but less survivability. You can also use Soldier's Amulet if you want high survivability, but you will be losing out on some of your offensive capabilities. Other alternatives include bringing Superior Runes of Rage (6) for a much higher critical strike chance. This leaves you more vulnerable to condition removal though, and doesn’t include as much versatility as Superior Rune of Divinity (6).
Versatile guardian:The versatile guardian mixes the best of both offense and defense to create a very adaptable fighter. There is a variety of ways that you can build your versatile guardian. Depending on your team’s setup, you can choose to build him either offensively or more to the supportive side. Whatever you end up with, you should be a solid addition to your team. Let’s break down the builds…
Offensive Versatile Guardian: http://gw2skills.net/editor/?fUAQNAseRlYgqC3GyIEmIFRuArHEMg+DnBGh/VBHC;TsAA2CnoqxUjoGbNuak1sAZQxkAA
- This is your basic offensively built versatile guardian. The build is very similar to the offensive guardian build, except that instead of focusing on meditations, you are spending your trait points to increase offensive capabilities while using more supportive utility skills. The build also utilizes the greatsword for a more team fight oriented build with more AoE pressure. If you are playing against a condition-control necromancer, swapping out "Save Yourselves!" for "Hold the Line!" or Contemplation of Purity would be prefered. You can also replace Signet of Judgment with one of the shouts. If you feel your damage is lacking you could go with a berserker’s amulet. Another variant is using Runes of the Monk(2)/Water(2) for increased boon duration on your boons, which is very useful if you are not running with Contemplation of Purity.
- This is your support build of choice. The build pushes the guardian’s healing capabilities to its full potential, while also maintaining a variety of useful boons to the team. With 1373 healing power, Selfless Daring heals for 1502, Virtue of Resolve (passive) heals for 166/tick (208 to yourself), regeneration heals for 302 and the mace 3rd hit on the auto-attack heals for 582. All of this is AoE. The build uses Sigils of Superior Energy to allow as much dodge-healing as possible, so make sure to constantly swap between weapon sets. On top of the healing and consistent regeneration, the build also maintains stability with 33% uptime, protection with 50% uptime and retaliation with 100% uptime, not to mention the 30 seconds duration Tome of Courage that has very strong support potential. The build also functions as a strong point defender. If you plan on using it more as a bunker role, switch Writ of Exaltation for Writ of the Merciful.
This section includes various tips on how to play your guardian more competitively. At this point I will just add a few useful guidelines, but I might make some videos later.
- Use your blinds and blocks effectively! Don’t use them all at once, spread them out to mitigate as much damage as possible.
- Pay attention to your application of boons! Be careful when fighting heavy condition control professions like the Necromancer; he might turn your boons against you.
- Always pay attention to when someone goes down! Effectively stomping and reviving is the key to winning team fights.
Due to the defensive and supportive nature of the guardian, you will always want to position yourself where it’s hottest; the center of the fight. This allows you to always be in range of allies that need support and put down your light fields where they are most beneficial and easiest accessible. Be careful though, as a guardian you don’t have a huge life pool like our fellow soldier profession, the warrior, so you need to follow the flow of battle to make that you don’t suddenly find yourself surrounded by the opposing team.
You should always keep attention to when one of your allies or one of your enemies go down. A lot of people don’t fully understand this yet, but the downed mechanic is one of the most important mechanics in Gw2 sPvP. When someone enters downed state, you can almost say that the fight enters a new ‘phase’. Duo to the low attrition in sPvP, in a 5v5 encounter (assuming they can’t run away), you will either defeat them all with 4-5 people remaining, or the opposite. The key to team fights is securing that your allies are not stomped, and that the opposing players are. As a guardian, you are one of the strongest revivers/executioners and have quite a few tools at your disposal that can help you accomplish this. I will use Sanctuary as an example: see an ally who is low on health? Position yourself close to him so you can quickly put up a sanctuary around him if he goes into downed mode. See an opposing player who is low on health? Position yourself close to him so you can quickly use sanctuary to secure the stomp. In a 4v4 or similar, securing the first stomp will give the opposing team a hard time recovering, most likely securing your team the victory.
- Thief: Thieves are pretty easy to deal with as a guardian as long as you avoid their burst damage. When they go into stealth, if he is running dagger, make it as difficult for him to hit you in the back as possible and make sure to not stop attacking around you. Even though the thief is in stealth, he will still take damage if you hit him. A good trick is to time a dodge right when his stealth is about to break (usually after 3-4s) to avoid his Backstab. Most glass-cannon thieves can also be hard countered by using retaliation, which will very quickly force them into playing defensively. If a thief uses his elite Thieves’ Guild, make sure to make the thief NPCs your main priority, as they will deal a ton of damage if left unharmed.
- Ranger: Rangers can be pretty difficult to deal with with some builds, as they can pretty quickly and very consistently apply a ton of bleeding. Make sure they are not allowed to hit you in the back, as that’s when they are most dangerous. Try to spread out you condition removal so you are only removing stacks of 15+ bleeding, as you can pretty easily get overwhelmed if you don’t. For the most part you should focus the ranger and not his pet, but if he uses Rampage as One, it’s likely that his pet will pretty quickly gain upwards to 20 stacks of might, which can be pretty devasting. Retaliation is a nice way to counter rangers, as they usually rely on quick, soft-hitting attacks.
- Warrior: Warriors are pretty easy to deal with, as long as you don’t let yourself get caught in their burst too much. If you see a warrior popping frenzy, that’s your cue to dodge out of the way. I can recommend this video for an introduction to the animations you need to watch out for:
- Elementalist: Elementalists are pretty difficult to deal with as a guardian. With their high mobility and lockdown, it's very difficult to properly maintain pressure to outdamage their healing. For the most part, your best choice is to call in an ally, as they can pretty easily be bursted down with proper CC. If he's running dagger, make sure to dodge his Burning Speed, which can be pretty easily read by him running away from you. If he is running a fully defensive build, don't even bother trying to solely take him down. They don't have a very high damage output or CC, which means they're not much of a threat unless they already control the point you're fighting on.
- Guardian: Guardians are pretty similar to elementalists. If he is running an offensive build, the easiest way to beat him is through retaliation, as that will deal a lot of damage to him. Apart from that, you should watch out for his burst skills and avoid them as best as possible, as those are what is going to determine who will be the winner in the end. If he is running a defensive build, your best choice is to call for support, as those fights can otherwise draw out for quite some time.
- Necromancer: Necromancers can be dealt with pretty easily depending on what build you are running. As an offensive guardian, the key is to apply a consistent pressure on him and take him down before his bleeds will take you down. They can be difficult to deal with as defensive guardians, as you don’t have the pressure required to take him down, retaliation won’t really work on his condition damage and his poison can drastically reduce your healing. Something that applies to all guardian builds is that you should be careful on how you use your boons, as necromancers can pretty quickly turn them against you with Corrupt Boon.
- Engineer: Engineers can be pretty difficult to deal with if you let him play on his own terms. Make sure he isn’t allowed to kite you around, spamming conditions and throwing grenades/detonating mines on you while you are not able to land a single blow on him. The key is proper positioning. Also, watch out for his Big Ol’ Bomb, as it will knock you away from him, making it even easier for him to kite you.
- Mesmer: Mesmers can be very difficult to deal with as a guardian. We lack the AoE to effectively take down the mesmer’s illusions, and it’s very difficult for us to properly apply pressure on mesmers, as they have a lot of stealth and invulnerability. Mesmer damage/pressure usually comes in a mix of direct damage and conditions, which makes it difficult to hard-counter them. Your best bet is to target the Mesmer whenever you can, and if he is out of reach, focus down his phantasms.
When the game releases, I will constantly be putting out content on my YouTube video channel which can be found on the link below. Subscribe before your neighbour!
- Credits to Ocirne for assistance.
- Credits to WayTyler for creating the designs.
I hope that by reading this guide, you have learned some new and interesting things that you can implement into your playing to compete on a higher level. Keep in mind that this will constantly be a WIP, so if you feel something is missing in the guide or have some criticism, don’t be afraid to let me know! If you have any questions feel free to leave a reply, private message or hit me up in-game.
Edited by Master Eriko, 10 November 2012 - 06:30 PM.