Video Guide found below:
Speed runs of various dungeons can be found on my page so you can see the build in action, more are being added every week:
I have also received feedback on what builds we use for warriors and mesmers, my recent guide regarding this subject can be found in the respective subforum:
This guide should provide you a starting point for running Guardian in an organized dungeon group that focuses on speed runs. Because of the nature of both traits and utilities, Guardian is the best "tanky" class to use as an anchor in organized dungeon runs. What this means is that typically in speed runs, you want one class that has higher toughness then the other 4 classes, and is built to survive while holding agro without giving up too much dps. This is what this build allows you to do, while giving the other party members freedom to run full berserker to focus on DPS. In my personal groups, we run 1 guard/3 war/1 mesmer as seen from my other guides and dungeon walkthroughs, while in high level fractals where reflections are key, this can be changed to 2 guard/2 war/1 mes. Below I will explain the reasoning behind my choices, and you also have the option to watch my various dungeon guides from different class perspectives to see how it all works out in a real world setting.
Build & Equipment:
Thanks to gw2buildcraft, you can now see all my gear and traits in the link above. Instead of listing everything out, I will explain why I went knights armor, berserker ascended gear, and list my full weapon choices below.
As far as gear goes, the reason you go for Berserker Ascended gear is because it has the highest crit damage ratios besides exquisite jewels, per below:
- 5 stat points - upgrade slot of trinkets and backpack
- 7 points - Ascended Back Piece
- 8.5 stat points - Ascended Rings
- 8.7 stat points - Ascended Earrings
- 9.4 stat points - Ascended Amulet
- 10 stat points- traits (not an equipment, but listed for comparison)
- 12 stat points - glove, shoulder and boots
- 12.8 stat points - 1H weapons and amulet
- 13.33 stat points - Earring
- 14 stat points - Backpack (rare version from guild armorsmith)
- 14.22 stat points - 2H weapons
- 14.4 stat points - Coat
- 16 stat points - Ring, helm and legging
Soldier Runes are one of the best runes in my opinion, by having three AoE shouts which also remove conditions, it really frees up the utility slots of the other 4 members of your group. A big part of being a successful guardian, is watching that party window and knowing when to use shouts for both condition removal and also minimizing damage. These runes are also extremely valuable when running through trash of various dungeons, especially harder runs like in TA or Arah.
The following list are the weapons I use which are statted based on the situation/combination I use them in:
Greatsword with Power/Prec/Toughness and 5% crit chance sigil
Hammer with Power/Prec/Toughness and 5% crit chance
Staff with Prec/Vit/Healing and 50% energy on swap
Scepter with Power/Prec/Tough and 50% energy on swap
Focus with Power/Prec/Crit and 5% crit chance
Shield with Power/Tough/Vit and 5% crit chance
Sword with Power/Prec/Crit and Bloodlust +10 power stacks
Mace with Power/Tough/Vit and 30% chance to heal
I don't have/use a torch.
Knights gear (Power/Prec/Toughness) can be crafted or comes from SE and Arah dungeon tokens.
Berserker gear (Power/Prec/Crit Dmg) can be crafted or comes from CoF, CoE, and Arah dungeon tokens.
The reason I took the sigils I did in the weapons I did are because of the situations and combinations I use them in.
Greatsword and Hammer with 5% crit chance are their for both increased damage from criticals, and also because crit chance synergizes well with life steal food and AH.
Staff and Scepter with Energy Sigils are so I always have that extra dodge available when I need to get out of melee range. This allows me to instantly dodge + heal in any situation, sit back and stack might stacks with staff 4 (more heals) or range dps with scepter in the rare instance I need to get out of melee range because of low health.
By keeping the 5% crit chance runes on my offhand weapons, I will always have 5% crit with my 1-hand weapons.
Now this gear isn't set in stone for this build, this is just what I've found from play experience works for me and my group. Around 3k armor allows the Guardian to maintain agro from the 4 other berserker classes who have ~2100 armor (or less in the mesmer's case). The lower your armor value falls, the harder it is to maintain agro. 3k is a good balance with the current ascended gear that allows you to draw agro and still do respectable damage as the tanky anchor role.
If you need more survivability or don't have ascended gear, you can always go more knights jewelery. If you WvW alot, then arguably P/V/T gear is better then berserker as well, where more health is key and berserker gear on a guardian isn't really ideal. It just depends on your playstyle and what you enjoy doing.
Also for any high crit % class, Omnomberry Ghosts/Pies (or even lesser versions like Mixed Berry and Blackberry) are a key component to survival. <Edit> This food now has an internal cooldown of 1s, meaning you can only heal at most, once every second, which realistically, is probably more along the lines of ~1.5s on average. It is still the best food for getting back health in a high crit build though, so I still use it on all my classes for harder encounters. For pure damage, something like the 100 power/70 precision food will be better, or other pure damage foods when you don't need healing.
First off, the actual build is a typical boon/shout build that heals. This is NOT a pure support build, it is a tanky DPS build whose primary focus is to deal moderate damage while relieving pressure from your party as the anchor. Many people don't seem to realize how valuable Altruistic Healing is in a group setting, while both allowing you to passively support through shouts, soak damage, and still deal significant amounts of damage yourself.
The first thing you want is enough health to survive conditions and large spikes, but not spec too much health where it dimishes your effective hp from healing. In PvE vitality on gear isn't required, because of the lower amount of conditions in most instances and the fact that most large damage moves can be avoided through dodging. The toughness from all gear slots really helps to increase your e-hp because of the huge amount of heals the guardian has making toughness more valuable once you get an adequate hp pool. In addition, you have a large amount of power for direct damage and retaliation damage, plus precision (and bonus from the major trait) to push your crit chance up to levels where you will apply might stacks and life steal procs from crit a good amount of the time.
As far as Greatsword vs Hammer is concerned, they are good for different reasons. If you know you won't need ranged weapons at all, then having both on swap is ideal. In high level fractals if you run 2 guardians, you always want one with Hammer and one with GS, with Scepter/Focus or Shield on your offhand.
Greatsword's strength comes from it's AoE pull, the blind/leap, and the burst heal from Whirling Wrath coupled with Life Steal food.
Hammer's strength comes from near 100% protection uptime, more sustained healing from the symbol ticking on a 5 melee group, and Ring of Warding for certain pulls to interrupt groups of mobs.
Learning when each weapon is valuable is just something that comes from playing Guardian and getting your own experience. I will say that I primarily use Greatsword, Hammer, Staff, and Scepter/Focus and don't really touch the other weapons that often.
The main focus of this build is Altruistic Healing in the Valor Line. This coupled with the more crit based traits in the Honor line, and a high crit chance/toughness build, allows you to be the anchor for your group so that the other 4 members can focus on DPS.
With Altruistic healing your base heal per boon with this build is 72 for each boon per person (including yourself). In addition, all symbols which continuously proc 1 sec boons will heal at every tick and might stacks act as individual boons meaning 5 might stacks = 5x72.
Virtue of resolve = 102 per tick
Regeneration buff = 168 per tick
Dodge Roll Heal = 429 heal per roll in AoE
As you can see, we have a large amount of ways to keep sustained healing. If you are able to time your dodge rolls (also why I use superior sigil of energy on certain weapons) you can "tank" for a good portion of time, including protection boons.
The Honor line focuses more on cooldowns and utilizing crits through Empowering Might and Vigorous precision. You also have the option to run Pure of Voice which stacks with runes of the soldier in the rare case you need even more condition removal.
The main reason you put your last 10 points in virtues is for the excellent options that it gives you for reflects, which are key in a few named dungeons and a variety of fractals, especially at 30+. The added benefit is that all your virtues proc boons on your group, which is nice with AH as well.
Shouts will be the primary utility skills that you will be using. They synergize with AH to give you heals, provide valuable defensive boons for the entire party, and remove conditions with Soldier Runes.
The two shouts you will have on most of the time are 'Hold the Line' and 'Stand Your Ground'. These are both low cooldown to utilize condition removal, and 'Stand Your Ground' especially is valuable for a variety of boss and trash run encounters to prevent yourself from being knocked down or stunned.
Your third utility slot will be situational with either reflects, or 'Retreat'/'Save Yourselves'. Retreat should be used for trash running and for any fight where an extra Aegis would be extremely useful, like the Destroyer in CoE 3. 'Save Yourselves' is great for taking multiple conditions from your party, as a 2nd stun breaker, or for any fights where you really don't need an extra Aegis for the group and you find yourself holding more agro where the boon uptime would be more beneficial.
As far as reflects go, your primary options are either Wall of Reflection or Shield of the Avenger (Spirit Shield). In general, you will be using Wall of Reflection most of the time, because it actually reflects damage and has a shorter cooldown. On a few fractals, you will want both wall and shield up, which is most prevalent in the Harpy fractal. 100% reflection uptime from 2 guardians makes fractals like the harpy and shaman fractal extremely easy, which is one huge benefit of guardians in your group. Because Spirit Shield can now take damage and be destroyed, you do need to be smarter in it's placement so it will still absorb projectiles but not be hit by melee attacks.
The dungeons where I generally use reflects include:
- CM dungeon
- Certain bosses in TA
- Certain bosses in SE
- Magg Defend in CoF
- Certain bosses in HotW
- Certain bosses in Arah
- All of Harpy Fractal
- All of Dredge Fractal
- Both bosses in Shaman Fractal
- Both bosses in Swamp Fractal
- Situationally in Ascalon Fractal
- At the Ice Elemental in Snow Fractal
- Situationally in Colossus Fractal
There could be some areas I'm forgetting, but for the most part, those are the key areas where reflects are valuable. Part of learning the Guardian class is just knowing when you will need to swap skills for certain situations, which really applies to all classes.
This is obviously not the only way to play guardian, and for many people may not even be the "best." There are many other viable guardian builds based on a situation or playstyle. From my personal experience though, I believe this is the "best" build for me. It is highly flexible, does good damage, provides excellent support for a speed run group running 4 berserker classes, and can be used for a variety of settings.
Hopefully this will help some other guardians out, especially for running some of the harder dungeons in the game.