So I've been tinkering with this build more, incorporating ascended gear into the mix, and with the help and feedback of others, I think I've found the optimal spec for this playstyle. It's an incredibly well rounded build now that dishes out a lot of punishment, and is versitile enough where you can play it in both PvE and WvW without really having to switch out anything.
This new build gives you 101% crit damage with a 50% crit chance. However, your health and armor are also quite decent, so your survivability is on par with most other Guardians. You also have higher condition damage than your average Guardian, which helps a lot with your DPS. Your healing is also fairly decent, so you can still offer some support to your group. We also have some good condition removal from shouts and whatnot. Oh, and this build also gives you some good Magic Find stats, so you can get some pretty good loot while you're melting faces. :-)
I don't have much time at the moment to update this full guide, but I'll give you a link to the new build so you can see how it is made:
Ultra Guardian Build
I'll see if I can write a full guide on how to use this soon. Thanks for reading!
First off, this post is going to be long. I'd like to thank you for taking the time to read it. I've been playing Guardian since launch and have tried many different builds, and I'm hoping that by posting this, the community can help me perfect it. I've been frustrated trying to find a good PvE/WvW build that allows me to dish out huge damage, yet still support my teammates as needed. I previously ran with 2 different builds, one for PvE and one for WvW, but it got really annoying having to re-build my traits and swap out armor sets every time I wanted to change things up.
After playing around in PvP for a while, I found a build I really liked and wanted to see if I could build something just like it in PvE. Unfortunately, the PvP armor in the game does not utilize the same stats as the PvE armor. I was running with a very tanky Power/Precision/Vitality build, and there is no armor that gives those three stats together in PvE, so I had to do some experimenting. What I found was not quite up to the level I had in PvP, but I tested this build out both in the Arah Dungeon in Orr and in WvW, and it performed extremely well.
Before I get into the specifics of this build, let me just say this build is absolutely BEAST MODE for damage. It's based on AOE damage and Range, with High Crits, so when you hit a mob or a player, you're hitting like a freakin' truck. Not only that, you're hitting 5 for more guys at a time. And to top it off, you have a pretty decent sized health pool, so you're not gonna die super fast. This build is very versatile, so you can use it for PvE, Events, Boss Battles, Healing/Support, Sieges, and Keep Defense, all with minimal adjustments. Plus, you can build it to be more tanky for increased survivability, or more damage, if you prefer being a glass cannon and don't care about dying constantly but wanna kill stuff super fast.
So without further ado, here's the build:
Ultramatum's Beast Mode "Ultra Guardian" Build
Let me break this down for you a bit more and share with you how I use it...
The stats of the build are this:
- Power - 1,960
- Precision - 1,697
- Toughness - 1,032
- Vitality - 1,551
- Attack - 3,071
- Crit Chance - 41% (actually, it's really between 46% and 50%, depending on your weapon set)
- Crit Damage - 70
- Armor - 2,243
- Health - 17,155
- Full Exotic Berzerker Draconic Set (Power/Precision/Crit Damage)
- 6 Superior Runes Of Divinity (+10 to all stats, +2% Crit Damage)
- Berzerker Staff w/ Sigil of Superior Accuracy
- Berzerker Scepter with Sigil of Superior Accuracy
- Berzerker Focus with Sigil of Superior Energy
- Guild Assassin Backpack with an Exquisite Ruby Jewel (You can get this with 5 gold from guild armor vendors, Jewel sold seperately)
- Amulet: Beryl Orichalcum Amulet of the Valkyrie with Beryl Jewel
- Ear 1: Beryl Orichalcum Earring of the Valkyrie, with Beryl Jewel
- Ear 2: Emerald Orichalcum Earring With A Beryl Jewel
- Ring 1: Beryl Orichalcum Ring of the Valkyrie with Beryl Jewel
- Ring 2: Beryl Orichalcum Ring of the Valkyrie with Beryl Jewel
Okay, so let's dive into this build in detail. I know a lot of players out there like to poo-poo on Staff and Scepter, and they do have some legitimate gripes. I used to think Staff was pretty worthless, and was your typical Greatsword Guardian. However, I always found Greatsword in WvW to be extremely lackluster, and in Dungeons, having a greatsword was a good way to get killed fast by boss and silver mobs if you had a very low health pool. In addition, the recent changes Anet made to Greatsword just made it less viable in my opinion. If you think about it, in WvW, your symbol of wrath isn't much good because combat has you and your enemies constantly moving. Your Whirling Wrath has a small range and tends to miss against moving targets. Your leap has a tendency to miss if you're on a different elevation from your target. And, you have to be in melee range to do damage, which is very difficult to do in WvW and stay alive (If you're a Guardian anyway).
Your primary weapon in this build will be the staff and here's why. First off, it's auto-attack is an AOE damage attack, so you're going to be hitting everything in a (roughly) 45 degree cone in front of you. With your power over 3,000, your critical hits will be landing for around 1K a tick. The auto attack is pretty fast so you're hitting everything in front of you for roughly 1k damage pretty consistently. I've hit up to 10 mobs at once for 1k a hit with this build. It's pretty awesome. In WvW, if you stand behind a gate and spam this skill, you'll be hitting everyone behind the gate for massive damage! If you have a group of 5 similarly specced Guardians doing this, rams simply melt.
Top that off with Orb of Light, which crits almost all the time and hits for upwards of 2500, plus, with the two handed mastery trait, it's almost instantly ready to reuse if you don't detonate it (never detonate it, btw). This can DPS your target down very quickly. Orb of light isn't good for far away targets, but up close it is highly effective. Plus, it will hit everything in it's path for about 1200 meters, so for situations where there are large groups of enemies, it will hit everyone it touches for massive damage.
Symbol of Swiftness is a great group buff for speed. I use it all the time to travel around the map. It recharges fairly quick, but guess what? It also deals damage to bad guys! Not a lot, but every little bit helps, and it's a Damage over Time skill - as long as the symbol is up, it's ticking away at whoever is on top of it. You can drop this on groups of mobs or players and damage every one of them that stands in the symbol. It's also great for tower defense, because you can drop this symbol in front of your gate and damage everything grouped there. You can also pop it on towers and ramparts while seiging a tower and it will damage whomever it touches. The fact that it recharges so quickly means you can use it constantly.
Empower is a great support skill you can use to quickly heal and buff your allies. But it's great for giving yourself some extra "oomph." Before you run into a boss fight or a battle, you can hit this skill to get 15 stacks of might, which buffs your power stat, which makes you hit for more damage. It also makes your allies hit for more damage too! If I'm not in the thick of battle, I'll try to use this whenever it's off cooldown to keep my allies and me buffed as much as possible. Plus, if you use this, then hit a skill like Save Yourselves, you can rush into a fight and just melt anything in front of you with HUGE crits for at least 12 seconds!
Finally, Line of Warding. I don't use this much because it takes too long to channel and it's not very effective. Occasionally I'll pop it in front of a gate of a tower I'm seiging, but it's not very useful against human players since they can doge roll over it. Against NPCs, however, it can be good for choke points and the like to keep rushing mobs at bay. If this skill was instant, it would be better. But it's too easy to interrupt it just by moving, which puts in on cooldown. That, and the fact that it can be dodged over makes it the worst skill in the game IMHO.
The Scepter/Focus combo is for ranged, and if you do any WvW, you know that range is king. You need it to fight people on the towers and ramparts, and on the ground if you're defending. Plus, it's great to attack from a distance or if a target is running away. Now, scepter isn't the best ranged weapon in the game, but it's all we got, and it's not that bad.
Also, the Smite skill is great for planting on hard to reach places for some quick AOE damage. And the crits are pretty decent considering how fast it hits. Chains of light is great for chasing down escaping foes, and Ray of Judgement is good for when melee opponents get in your face. However, Shield of Wrath has many fantastic uses for the 4 seconds of block it gives you. In WvW, this is invaluable, and you'll need it to effectively use some of your utility skills. In choke-point battles, I'll pop this and run into the heat of battle to throw down my Wall of Reflection, and it is a real life-saver. You can use it when you're getting teamed up on in a 2v1 situation and it's AOE blast can shell out some mighty fine damage, so you can even use it offensively. You can also pop it before you use your heal skill to make you invulnerable in the time it takes to get the heal off. It just has a ton of uses.
Going full Berzerker armor will buff up your Power, Precision, and Crit Damage stats, making your DPS extremely high. With Berserker weapons, this goes even higher. Equipping 6 Superior Runs of divinity essentially gives you +60 to all stats (for a nice over-all buff) and +12% crit damage, which is awesome. There may be other rune combinations that are superior to this, but so far, this has suited my needs just fine.
The key here is choosing the right accessories. The Guild Assassin Backpack with a Ruby Jewel equipped gives you a great boost to your DPS stats. It's 5 gold, but it's worth it since it's the best backpiece you can get in the game. I wouldn't suggest taking any other backpiece.
For your other accessories, the Beryl Jewelry is going to give you the Vitality boost you need to not die almost instantly. I equip one Emerald earring with a beryl jewel to give a little bit more boost to power/pre/toughness. But this combo will give you a health pool of 17,155, which seems to be more than enough health to survive most encounters.
I personally think Health is a MUCH more important stat than toughness in this game. The higher your health pool, the longer you can survive condition damage, which completely bypasses toughness. Anyone who's played WvW knows that you get conditioned to hell the minute a battle starts. Running with a lower armor and higher health pool has greatly increased my ability to survive encounters I've found. Ideally, I'd like a health pool around 20,000 HP, but I haven't been able to find a way to do this without sacrificing on the damage front. I'd be willing to cut power to around 2800 for an extra 3K in health, but the hit to Precision gimps the build too much.
This combo gives you a 41% crit chance, but with a superior sigil of accuracy equipped on your weapon, that's actually 46%, since for some reason those buffs aren't reflected in your Hero panel. With the 15% increase using a one-handed weapon, that goes up to around 50% when your scepter is equipped.
You can actually get your crit chance up higher if you replace one ring with an Emerald ring of the Knight, which has Power/Precision/Toughness attached to it. This will give you a 45% crit chance (effectively 50% with the accuracy sigil), which is perfect. However, your health pool takes a hit, dropping it down to 16,525 hit points. I find there's not much difference between a 46% crit chance and a 50% crit chance, so I prefer to go for the increased health pool since I can also use food buffs to up my crit chance when I need to.
Also to note, if you have a teammate with a Fury buff, make sure they cast it on you all the freakin' time. This will up your crit chance significantly.
I'll also consume a Bowl of Curry Butternut Squash Soup while in dungeons to add 100 Precision (a boost of roughly 4% increase in crit chance) and +10 crit damage for 30 minutes. You can also consume Master Maintenance Oil for a power boost of 6% of your toughness and 4% of your vitality for 30 minutes, further increasing your DPS. Sometimes I'll use these in WvW if I'm heading into what I know will be a prolonged battle or zerg.
So the core of this build is Radiance and Honor. Radiance gives you the increased Precision you need to have a close to 50% crit chance, and Honor gives you the health you need to not die constantly. Plus, Honor will also give you 300 healing power (for a total of 360 healing power in this build), which is nice for your support efforts and using Empower and Virtue of Resolve. But healing power is a "meh" stat, so I don't focus on it too much.
My build is 0/30/0/30/10 for one reason - 10 points in virtues allows me to ground target Consecrations, which is absolutely necessary for WvW play, and comes in very handy in dungeons. If you wanted, you could switch that to the Valor line and get Retributive Armor, which gives 5% of toughness as a bonus to precision to get your crit rate up, but I've found that having the ability to place Wall of Reflection anywhere I want more powerful that the small bump in crit chance that attribute gives me.
Also, with this build, Virtue of Justice is a big deal. Hitting it gives you might, which increases your damage output. Burning your target increases your DPS. Plus, it's refreshed whenever an enemy dies, so in AOE situations where you're hitting a bunch of mobs, you can start spamming VoJ the minute they start dropping. It's a beautiful thing to see your enemies burn in the flame of righteousness, lol.
Most glass cannon Guardian builds go 10/30/30/0/0, but after testing this build myself, I just don't like the lack of survivability it gives you, ESPECIALLY in dungeons and WvW. If your health is around 14,000, you're not going to last very long, especially once conditions come into play, and this can be a detriment to your group losing you constantly or having to take time to rez you every 10 seconds. The 10 points in power is basically a waste, since the only decent attribute there is Fiery Wrath, which gives you +10% damage to burning foes. In extended boss fights, and fights against other players, your only burning skill - Virtue of Justice - is gonna be on cooldown a lot, making that 10% damage increase pretty unreliable.
A full support build, such as 0/0/10/30/30 is good, but you're not gonna get any kills with that build in WvW, and you're also gonna have a rough time in solo PvE and Dungeons. Sure, you're a support God, throwing out heals and long lasting boons, etc. But you can't kill stuff. Not fun for me.
Finally, if you prefer 0/0/30/30/10 or 0/10/30/30/0 to go the Altruistic Healing/Empowering Might route, that's fine too. However, the problem with that build is that, as I said before, in most situations Toughness is inferior to Vitality, and you're trading off your crit chance increase for Toughness. Plus, in most dungeon/WvW situations, Altruistic Healing just isn't worth it. You're gonna die faster than you can heal yourself, at least this has been my experience. So the 30 points in the Valor line just don't work for me.
The attributes I've chosen for this build are:
- Signet Mastery: Signets recharge 20% faster
- Inscribed Removal: Using a signet cures a condition on you.
- Right Hand Strength: Critical Hit chance with a one-handed weapon is improved by 15%
- Superior Aria: Shouts Recharge 20% faster
- Two Handed Mastery: 2 Handed Weapon Skills recharge 20% faster
- Pure of Voice: Allies affected by shouts convert 1 condition into a boon
- Consecrated Ground: Consecrations skills use ground targeting
Right handed strength is for increasing your crit chance when you equip your scepter.
Superior Aria and Pure of Voice helps with supporting your team. Using "Retreat" and "Save Yourselves" can cure a ton of conditions on your allies, while granting you and them some nice buffs. Plus, having them recharge faster is absolutely necessary if you like to use shouts.
Two Handed Mastery is essential for max DPS. With this skill, Orb of Light is basically spammable within 2 seconds of casting, and Symbol of Swiftness is almost always available. Plus, Empower recharges quicker, allowing you to heal and buff more. Yay!
Finally, Consecrated Ground allows you to target where you want to put your Wall of Reflection, an absolute MUST in WvW and a lifesaver in Dungeons when used at the right time.
I tend to swap out utility skills depending on the situation. In my build I list the ones I tend to use the most:
- Signet of Resolve
- Signet of Judgement
- Wall of Reflection
- Tome of Wrath
Signet of Judgement has a great passive - 10% less damage, to make us just a bit more tanky. It's also a decent buff when activated, and oh yeah - it's a condition remover. If you want more DPS, swap this out for Bane Signet, which increases your power, and knocks down and damages your target, allowing you to own their corpse. (Oh yeah, that also removes a condition!) This is good for when you have a foe who is slippery or running away.
Wall of Reflection - never leave home without it. This is always on my bar, and IMHO, the best utility skill the Guardian has. I can't tell you how many times I've popped this sucker down in front of a gate that's being assaulted in WvW and laughed maniacally as I saw a litany of damage numbers scroll across my screen as all the ranged assaulters had their attacks shot right back at them. With a team of 5 Guardians specced properly, you can hold a gate against a siege indefinitely using just this skill. Plus, a condition is cured on you when an enemy's attack is reflected, and if you have allies shooting through it, they get a condition cured, so it's a fantastic group buff and condition remover as well. Specced into Consecrated Ground, you can target it anywhere you want. I'll often pop my Shield of Wrath, run up to a keep I'm assaulting, and pop Wall of Reflection on the ramparts where the defenders are firing at us, reflecting their attacks back on them. In dungeons, it is incredible support as well for those pesky, hard-hitting archers and turrets.
One time, there was a choke point battle I was participating in on the Eternal Battlegrounds map. Our enemy had taken one of our supply camps and had Ballistas covering the entrance. Each side was blasting away at each other through the narrow opening into the supply camp. Normally, I'd just throw Wall of Reflection at the choke point to send our attacker's projectiles back at them, but this time I switched out my shout for Judge's Intervention, targeted an enemy player at the front of the group, teleported in, dropped wall of reflection, and hit my staff auto attack. Wall of Reflection shielded me from all the projectiles, damaging them, and my AOE auto attack was critting like mad on everyone in front of me, sending the group scattering. They literally didn't know what hit them. Of course, I still died really quickly, but I took a lot of those bastards with me! lol. That just shows how powerful Wall of Reflection can be with this build.
It's also a great escape skill. If you're running away from a group in WvW, they're gonna be shooting at you. I'll pop this skill behind me while I make my getaway to ensure I can't be crippled.
When it comes to shouts, I really only like 2 of them - Retreat and Save Yourselves. Stand Your Ground is a bit too situational, and the retaliation from Hold The Line isn't gonna do you much good from hard-hitting bosses or a zerg in WvW.
I normally stick with Retreat because it's great for travelling the map, but also it's good for speed buffing your allies and granting aegis, which blocks an attack. When Virtue of Courage is down, I'll pop this sucker. And when you're outnumbered and want to get away, this shout can't be beat. Plus, with Pure of Voice traited, you convert a condition to a boon - perfect for when you're crippled and wanna run away, lol. This and Symbol of Swiftness gives you a lot of mobility and group utility.
Don't make the mistake of thinking "Retreat" is only for running away. The fact that it grants Aegis and removes a condition makes it a healing skill. Granting up to 5 allies a free block and a condition removal is huge. Use this whenever you can in conjunction with Virtue of Courage. The speed buff also helps in chasing down fleeing enemies.
Save Yourselves is really great for boss battles and 1v1 or 2v1. It gives you every boon known to man for 12 seconds, which is FOREVER in a fight. The added Fury and Might means you can melt faces with this build, and stack the might buffs from Empower on top of that, and you are in true BEAST MODE. It also removes conditions from your allies who are affected by it (that includes you). I try to use this whenever it's off cooldown.
Of course, with this build, all shouts are viable, so if you prefer one over the other, any can be used. But in my experience, these are the two I'll ever really need.
I like Tome of Wrath when I'm defending a keep or tower, or in a boss battle in a dungeon. Pop Shield of Wrath before you activate it and you're protected for the start of your #5 ultimate. This is good to use in choke point battles as well. I'll switch this out for Tome of Courage when I need to. Usually choke point battles are where the Tome of Courage's healing is the most useful, or when your team agros a bunch of mobs. I find Renewed Focus is a pretty underwhelming Elite skill and never use it. It offers no real utility to your allies, and it roots you while you use it. Not my cup o' tea.
Okay guys, that's my "Ultra Guardian" build for you. Please please PLEEEEAAAASSSSEEEE offer suggestions to improve and fine tune it. I'm having a blast playing this build and would love for the community to participate with feedback. Thanks for reading my massive wall of text. I hope it was time well spent. :-)
Edit/Changes to build as of 10/21/12:
After more testing, we've come up with some interesting changes to the build that are worth trying out.
1. Swap out "Right Handed Strength" with "Perfect Inscriptions" for the 30 pt Radiance Grandmaster trait. Though you lose the 15% boost to crit rate for scepter, this improves the passive affects of your Signets dramatically. With signet of Judgement, you'll take 20% less damage, and with Bane Signet, you'll add +200 power to your attacks. This is a good idea if you are not equipping a one handed weapon in this build.
2. Change Pure of Voice in the 30 pt. line of Honor to Writ of the Merciful. This gives you a pretty reliable heal-over-time when using Symbol of Swiftness. Plus, if you choose to use a Greatsword instead of the Scepter/Shield combo, Symbol of Wrath also gets the Heal-Over-Time ability. This will give us a self-heal and helps give those who liked the Empowering Might + Altruistic Healing builds a source of self-healing and increased survivability. It is far superior to the Pure of Voice trait in my testing.
3. Swapping out the 6/6 Runes of Divinity for 6/6 Runes of the Pack seems to work well, because that will give you a boost in both power and Precision, upping your attack damage and crit rate. However, you do lose some health and crit damage in doing this. The bright side is that runes of the pack are much cheaper, and you get increased swiftness duration (which is useful with symbol of swiftness, especially in WvW). Plus, you get a 5% chance to buff yourself and your teammates while attacking, so you add a bit extra utility to the build.
4. To dramatically increase your Crit Rate, you'll want to work a Sigil of Perception into your weapons set for an increase in 10% crit chance with a full 25 stack. The best way I've found to do this is to apply a Sigil of Superior Accuracy to your Staff and Scepter, and a Sigil of Superior Perception to your focus. If you're using a greatsword instead of the scepter/focus combo, put the Perception Sigil on the weapon you use less, and the Accuracy sigil on the weapon you use more.
5. For more fine-tuning of your armor and stats, you can forego runes and use Orbs to upgrade your armor. This is a far cheaper solution to runes, plus it allows you to fine tune what stats you get more, however you miss out on bonuses and don't get as high of a stat bump on certain areas as you would with runes.
I found that applying 5 Emerald Orbs will give you 100 Precision, 70 Toughness, and 70 Power. For the 6th armor piece, you'll want to apply a Beryl Orb, which gives you +20 Power, +2% crit damage, and +14 Vitality.
This will bring you to a base crit of 41%, but an enhanced crit rate of 56% with the sigils of Perception and Accuracy applied. This also ups your armor to 2,197, and increases your health to a comfortable 17,095 HP.
If you want to increase crit and crit damage, you can also use Ruby Orbs in the mix. I think the key with this combination is you get to that magic "17K" Hp number which seems to be the sweet spot for Guardian Survivability, while also getting a dramatic boost to crit chance.
6. After a great deal of testing (and Gold), I've found the optimal upgrade combination for your armor stats for this build. The sweet spot seems to be with 3 Superior Runes of Divinity + 3 Emerald Orbs. This gives you the best all-around stat increase without affecting your crit chance. This does not give you any boons/bonuses, but it does pad all your stats to the maximum effective level for what we are striving for in this build (High DPS + Good Survivability). For more of the breakdown on the testing for this, please read my post on page 2 of this thread.
Edited by Ultramatum, 06 May 2013 - 03:53 PM.