The NEW Guardian Anchor (last updated 8-6-2013)
I. Introduction & Other Guardian Builds
Strife’s Guardian anchor build has been outdated for a long time. Why? Because Strife went back to WoW ages ago. A lot of us got very used to Strife’s build. It is fun, it feels strong and survivable. We miss Strife. He was good to us. (http://www.guildwars...guardian-build/)
When Brazil shared his newer, higher-DPS Sword build, we didn’t switch. What is this scary new weapon? I like my Greatsword and Hammer. You can’t take it away from me! (http://www.guildwars...guardian-build/) If you're here for the highest DPS Guardian build, use this.
When GuanglaiKangyi came up with a variety of stronger damage builds for Guardian, we stuck with what knew. “I don’t want to weapon swap!” we cried. (http://www.guildwars...ps-build-guide/) Guanglai has builds posted very similar to this that deal slightly more damage.
Therefore, I have ruthlessly plagiarized GuanglaiKangyi to come up with a build that will play exactly the same as Strife’s build. If you like Strife’s build, you will like this build. It is the same thing. There are multiple versions for Greatsword and one for Hammer. The Hammer build is much tanker and recommended for players who really want to feel like an Anchor.
The gear you have now? Just fine.
That Greatsword or Hammer you use for your primary weapon? Perfect.
“What’s the catch?” you ask. Well if I’m being honest, this build isn’t going to do as much damage as Brazil’s or Guanglai’s. Those builds are going to be a few percent better than this. About 5% if I'm not mistaken. But you weren’t running either of those builds. You were running Strife’s build. And this build is better than Strife's build. At an absolute minimum, these builds do 28% more damage than their Strife's guide equivalent, even if you stay with Soldier's Runes.
However, compared to Strife's builds, these builds will get you up to 30% more damage from traits and Runes. You're adding 5-8 stacks of Vulnerability for another 5-8% damage boost to your whole party. You also gain the ability to stack AoE blind and vulnerability.
III. Greatsword Builds:
If you are open-minded to new gear: http://gw2skills.net...aMlLRUtUARsAA-e
Knights: helm, chest, and legs. Maybe Greatsword. Rest Zerker. Full Zerker instead if you dare. Scholar Runes. Ruby orbs if you’re broke.
30 Honor version for Pure of Voice/Your Choice: http://gw2skills.net...aMlLRUtUARsAA-e
Sacrifices Signet cool-down reduction and 10% damage. Gains Pure of Voice and 10% damage when endurance isn't full-- probably a great trade-off for harder content like fractals where your endurance will not be full often.
With Strife's original gearing suggestions: http://gw2skills.net...aMlLRUtUARsAA-e
If you already bought your gear and runes as Strife recommended and don’t want to change them: Stick with your Soldier’s Runes, 3x Shouts unless you need Reflection, and take 20% Shout cooldown reduction trait.
With 10 virtues for Reflects in Fractals: http://gw2skills.net...aMlLRUtUARsAA-e
With 10 virtues AND Pure of Voice for Maximum Support: http://gw2skills.net...aMlLRUtUARsAA-e
This is the closest to Strife's original build, and therefore also the weakest. However, it is still a substantial improvement to run this over Strife's.
Just the essential traits. 15 points up to you:
IV. Hammer-- My Personal Favorite Strife Alternative:
3-4 more stacks of AoE Vulnerability:
5 Virtues for more Support, Might-stacking in AoE:
This Hammer build grabs Writ of the Merciful to provide healing to make up for the loss of Altruistic Healing. Unlike Zealous Blade and Altruistic Healing, this healing applies to your entire party rather than just to yourself. It also stacks with Regen.
You still provide AoE blinds and 5-8 stacks of vulnerability.
30 Honor also allows you tons of flexibility to exchange Writ of the Merciful for another trait. Grab Pure of Voice when needed. Grab Empowering Might when DPS is all that matters. In honor, the symbol enhancing traits synergize most strongly with Hammer, and the loss of two-handed mastery has minimal effect on DPS since you don't want to interrupt your Symbol of Protection unless it is to proc Retalation or Might.
You can run Purging Flames and Hallowed Ground to stack some might for your party, and to allow your party members to stack Might.
V. The Playstyle:
Do whatever you were already doing. =)
Greatsword Rotation: Whirling Wrath, Symbol of Wrath, auto attack… repeat. Press F1 everytime you get a kill to AoE blind and stack might.
Leap in a Symbol will proc AoE Retaliation. Whirling Wrath in a symbol will proc AoE condition removal.
Spamming 1, or 1 three times and then Mighty Blow do almost exactly the same DPS. Pure 1 spam maintains Protection/Writ of the Merciful uptime on yourself and your party. I use Mighty Blow to proc retaliation in AoE situations and as a small gap closer.
Use whatever alternate weapon you’d like. Staff for Empower before fights begin is my personal favorite. Could easily run Hammer to stack some might in fire fields with Mighty Blow. Scepter for best ranged damage.
The min/max option, for about a tiny damage boost, is sword/focus offhand and to weapon-swap to Sword because it has a stronger auto-attack than Greatsword, and to swap two-handed weapon cooldown trait to Empowering Might.... and to take 5 from Virtues to add 5 to Radiance for 15% sword crit chance. (http://www.guildwars...ps-build-guide/)
VI. Utility Skills:
- Do what Strife told you to. Wall of Reflection and Shield of the Avenger are still awesome in fractals.
- Bane signet provides a nice damage boost.
- Without Soldier’s runes or Purifying voice, Save yourselves is a great utility for condition removal from your party.
- Running with someone who does blast finishers (shortbow thieves)? Add Purging Flames and/or Hallowed Ground to stack significant might.
- Signet of Judgement reduces all incoming damage by 10%... great for when a situation proves too hard for the full Zerker gear I have tricked you into purchasing.
But Empowering Might gave my group 3-4 stacks of might.”
Empowering Might would technically be a 4-5% DPS boost to your whole group if they need the Might, whereas two-handed weapon cooldown is about a 5% DPS boost to yourself when using GS. It is not needed when using Hammer unless you need additional blast finishers.
I'm hoping that people just get smarter about fire fields so we can stop worrying so much about Might. Technically, swapping Two-handed Power (or Writ of the Merciful) to Empowering Might is a better choice in terms of full-party DPS.
However, Whirling Wrath procs good healing from Zealous Blade and is part of what allows me to call this an Anchor, and Writ of the Merciful also makes up for AH heals being lost.
“I don’t have Altruistic Healing anymore?!”
It is gone.
For Greatsword, Zealous Blade will give you far more healing than most other classes survive on and your signet heal is available 8 seconds sooner. When I was testing this build I was surprised to see that I actually barely noticed a difference, although I know mathematically that Altruistic Healing provides much larger heals-- so much of AH's healing is overhealing anyway. Whirling Wrath gives a lot of hits for a lot of small heals that add up.
For Hammer, Writ of the Merciful is surprisingly strong at about 100-150 heal per tic. With longer symbol durations and Hammer, it is nearly constantly ticking. Since this trait stacks with regeneration, it actually ends up being pretty strong-- and it heals your whole party rather than just yourself. This honestly feels less squishy than Strife's because it is far more consistent.
“Without Soldier’s runes, terrible condition monsters will murder my entire party.”
If this is really a serious concern of yours, adjust this build to add Purifying Voice. Assuming some Elusive Power uptime, it is better to swap your traits than to swap your Scholar Runes to Soldier Runes. Scholar Runes + Purifying voice means that you convert conditions into boons rather than just removing them while gaining an additional 10% damage.
"Why should I run this instead of Strife's?
Altruistic Healing, despite its name, was an inherently selfish trait that could give you strong-healing with no benefit to your group. Strife's build provides far less group utility than it is capable of.
This build, and all newer Guardian builds, provide significant vulnerability and AoE blind potential. It also does significantly more damage in the same gear, even if you're sticking to full Knight's armor. Guardians do not have to hit like a wet noodle. And with any of the builds linked in this post other than Strife's, you most certainly won't.
Comparing these builds to Strife's, you're getting 30% more damage from traits and Runes. You're adding 5-8 stacks of Vulnerability for another 5-8% damage boost to your whole party. You gain the ability to stack AoE blind and vulnerability, trivializing most AoE and trash content in the game.
Thanks for reading!
Special thanks to GuanglaiKangyi, who provided most or all of the original thought and theorycrafting behind the builds listed here.
For additional reading, check out my Guide to Min/Max Dungeon Groups With Any Class Composition:
This guide includes all your other strong options for Guardian builds.
Edited by Hamartia, 03 September 2013 - 10:05 PM.