Guild Wars 2 Guardian PvP Comprehensive 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..
My nickname is Eriko and I’m part of the PvP guild Unlimited. It’s a high-tier PvP guild with a close-knit community. The guild is mostly centered on WvW and is part of the Titan Alliance, although a lot of us plan on devoting most of our time in sPvP. I’m one of these. At this point, we have only been messing around in sPvP getting to know each other and having a good time, but when release comes, we might form some core sPvP teams and push for tournaments. We don’t see ourselves competing on eSport level because of real life commitments, but we do see ourselves among the top. The main priority is having a good time, but we are all competitive players at heart as well. My main PvP experience comes from the first Guild Wars where I did a lot of GvG/HA with various guilds. Personally, I always strive for excellence within my chosen professions, and with that in mind, I made this in an attempt to help others who wish to build a deeper understanding of the guardian.
The Guardian and You
- 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!
Introducing The Guardian
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. Zealot’s Defenseis one of the strongest guardian burst skills.
Scepter: The scepter is the guardian’s only ranged option. It’s good for chasing down targets with its immobilize Chains of Light and damaging melee foes before they can get to you, but its damage output is inferior to the sword.
Mace: The mace is the guardian’s defensive weapon. The auto-attack heals for a good amount and Symbol of Faith & Protector’s Strike gives the guardian good sustainability. However, the weapon is very immobile. Good for point defense builds.
Shield: The shield is the guardian’s defensive offhand. Shield of Absorption is probably the most awesome skill in the game with its knockback and missile reflection! Shield of Judgment is a good on-demand protection buff for you and your allies.
Torch: The torch is a weapon centered around applying burning and removing conditions, however, it lacks the defense that the focus and shield provides. Useful for support builds.
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. It also works as a blast finisher. Ray of Judgment is a good skill if you find yourself out of range or need some extra survivability. The focus synergizes very well with the 1h sword.
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.
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. A good weapon for a versatile guardian build centered on damage and team support.
Staff: The staff is the guardian’s support weapon. It has multiple buffs for you and your allies and good healing as well. Line of Warding is a very good situational skill. With proper gearing you will be able to maintain permanent swiftness to your entire team through Symbol of Swiftness. The damage is generally inferior to the other weapons, but the utility the staff provides makes up for it. A good weapon for more support oriented guardians.
Healing Skills Overview
Signet of Resolve: Signet of Resolve is the strongest heal the guardian currently has with its 150 base healing on a 40s CD. The passive condition removal is good as well for relieving pressure in sustained encounters. Signet of Resolve can also benefit from the trait Signet Mastery for a 20% cooldown reduction!
Shelter: Shelter is the weakest healing skill the guardian has, however, the 2 s block makes it very good for countering burst damage. A good choice if you are running a squishy build or are not comfortable with timing your heals.
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.
Utility Skills Overview
Consecrations: Consecrations are effects that a guardian can place on the ground. Sanctuary and Wall of Reflection can be used very defensively to protect yourself and allies. 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. Purging Flames is good for applying pressure to foes in an area while relieving pressure from allies
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 offensive builds.
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:
- The 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.
- The Bow of Truth is your support spirit weapon. It removes conditions and can be activated for an AoE healing.
- The Shield of the Avenger is your defensive spirit weapon. It creates domes that reflect projectile attacks and can be activated for a Weakness attack that hits multiple foes.
Shouts: Shouts are your easy way to support your team. By going 30 into the Honor line and picking up Pure of Voice, your shouts remove conditions as well, but the condition removal won’t be able to compete with the condition removal gained through other means. Most notable are “Stand Your Ground!” that functions as the best group stability the guardian has, and “Save Yourselves!” that turns the guardian into a killing machine. Be careful of necromancers though, they can quickly turn “Save Yourselves!” against you!
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 good with the greatsword or 1h sword to land Whirling Wrath and Zealot’s Defense. Signet of Judgment is very good as well and can effectively be used to permanently keep up retaliation to your entire team with proper traiting and gearing. If you’re bringing Signet of Resolve as a healing skill, make sure to pick up Signet Mastery for a lower cooldown!
Elite Skills Overview
Tome of Courage: Tome of Courage is your sPvP elite of choice. Its 5th ability, Light of Deliverance, can completely turn around a team fight with its AoE full heal! The 4th skill, Pacifism, is also worth mentioning. The rest of the skills function as good support skills if your utility skills and weapon skills are on cooldown.
Renewed Focus: Renewed Focus is generally weak in sPvP. The invulnerability doesn’t help much as foes can simply wait out the duration and finish you. However, if you have built your guardian deep into the virtues line and picked up some of the virtues traits, this elite might be worth bringing for its virtue recharge.
Moving Around the Map
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 easily 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 are an illustration and a video illustrating how Flashing Blade can be used to travel terrain, and where it is possible to use it in the Battle of Kyhlo map:
–> Video link (YouTube) <–
Note: I will be adding the rest of the maps once I get my hands on the game again!
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.
Advanced Weapons Usage
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.
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.
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.
Weapons synergized:Sword/Focus: This is a very 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.
Sword/Shield: A 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.
Sword/Scepter: A good offensive option. Chains of Light from the scepter can be combined with Flashing Blade and Zealot’s Defense for a good initial burst. Gives you both melee and ranged damage options as well. Scepter is good for initiating encounters and chasing down kiting targets while the sword is the main damage weapon.
Scepter/Shield: A good combination as well, works well as a secondary weapon choice to sword/focus for offensive builds. It provides the defensive and ranged options that the sword/focus set lacks.
Mace/Shield: A very defensive set, works 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.
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/Staff: The hammer’s area denial and the staff’s mobility can be combined to create a back capper build capable of quickly moving to points, neutralize/capture them and defend until backup arrives.
Greatsword/Staff: A very strong combination for versatile guardians built towards team fights. The greatsword gives good offensive while the staff provides good support. With proper traiting you can permanently have giant light fields in the middle of a team fight to provide condition removal to your team and pressure to the opposing team. You will also be able to upkeep multiple boons to your whole team while still maintaining good damage output.
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.
Advanced Utilities Usage
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:
- Renewed Justice (Radiance, 15 points): Virtue of Justice is renewed when you kill and enemy.
This is a very 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.
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.
This is a good trait to pick up for more offensively built versatile guardians; however, it’s generally neglected for some of the more defensive traits in the line.
- 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 might on activation.
This trait is very good as it affects all virtues and it is very easily accessible. Definitely worth picking up.
Virtue of Resolve: Virtue of Resolve is the first of the guardian’s two defensive virtues. In passive mode, it regenerates your health. Activating it heals the guardian and all nearby allies. It should be noted that the passive healing is in fact not regeneration, but a boon exclusive to the guardian; rejuvenation. Activating it heals for a good amount (1-2k) and can be used to extend the guardian’s lifespan by a small margin if you are close to dying. It’s best to leave it on passive for the duration of the encounter though. Let us look at some of the traits associated with Virtue of Resolve:
- 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.
- Virtue of Retribution (Virtues, 15 points): See Virtue of Justice.
- Inspired Virtue (Virtues, 5 points): Virtue of Resolve now also applies regeneration on activation.
This trait is very good as it affects all virtues and it is very easily accessible. Definitely worth picking up.
Virtue of Courage: Virtue of Courage is the second of the guardian’s two defensive virtues. In passive mode, it gives an aegis every 40s. Activating it gives aegis to the guardian and all nearby allies. This is by many considered the weakest of the guardian’s virtues. The passive aegis is pretty random and usually blocks a weak attack. The activation is good in theory, but it’s unreliable as well as there is no insurance that it will block the big attacks. However, Virtue of Courage can be traited to become a very powerful defensive tool. Let us look at some of the traits associated with Virtue of Courage:
- Shielded Mind (Virtues, 30 points): Activating Courage also breaks stuns.
This is a very powerful trait that turns Virtue of Courage into a group wide stun break. This can effectively be used to prevent potential full team wipes if you get caught in a nasty situation, eg. The opposing team’s guardian manages to land Binding Blades on your entire team. Definitely worth picking up if you plan on playing a supportive guardian.
- Indomitable Courage (Virtues, 20 points): Virtue of Courage grants 3 seconds of stability. Virtue of Courage’s passive effect triggers every 30s.
The passive improvement is not very good, but the active improvement synergizes very well with Shielded Mind. If your team gets caught up in some AoE CC, Shielded Mind breaks the initial stun while Indomitable Courage gives your team immunity to chain CC’ing.
- 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.
Now that the virtues have been covered, it’s time to move on to some of the more unique utility skills in the guardian’s arsenal…
Sanctuary is a very interesting skill. Inherently, it is a very defensive skill that creates a protective bubble that reflects projectiles and knocks back foes. However, it is extremely versatile in its use; with it you can block choke points, deny area, secure stomps or use it to revive an ally. You can lock foes into corners, split an opposing team in two parts, counter a moa or just use it as a defense tool to support allies. Its potential uses are endless, only creativity is the limit. Below is an illustration of which choke points can be blocked in the Battle of Kyhlo map to deny area or secure an escape:
Tome of Courage:
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. 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 much more difficult to burst you down. 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:
- 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: If you picked up Judge’s Intervention and the trait Focused Mind, your meditations will be instant. 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 viable to your team however you choose to build him. 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 point defender 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 1v1 & 2v2 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. The versatile guardian is perhaps the most desired profession for tournament teams at the moment because of the inherit support he brings to the table. There are a variety of ways to build a versatile guardian, depending on whether you want to play support or offense.
In each of the maps presented so far, strong middle control is important. This includes the clocktower in Battle of Kyhlo, Keep and surrounding area in Forest of Niflhel and Sanctum in Legacy of the Foefire. For Battle of Kyhlo and Forest of Niflhel, defense guardian’s are often used to control the center points because of their sustainability. In Legacy of the Foefire, defensive guardian’s are not as useful, as the sizes of the points in that map are much bigger, which prevents defensive guardians from properly denying the opposing team the points. For Legacy of the Foefire, running a versatile guardian for better team fights is the better option. The offensive guardian is more of a ‘wild-card’ pick for tournament play. The rewards can be very high, but it comes with a risk. The offensive guardian is a very strong duelist which makes him a good pick if your team is relying on heavy split strategies.
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.
As a defensive guardian, your job is to sit on a point and hold it against foes until backup arrives. Sounds boring, eh? It’s actually extremely fun! As a point defender, you will want to build for superior area control and sustainability. The hammer is a no brainer 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 point defender, you can generally build yourself in two different directions; physical-counter and condition-counter. The physical damage counter is mostly based around stacking a lot of retaliation and various boons and buffs while the condition damage counter is based on heavy condition removal to mitigate the majority of the incoming damage. 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 so much 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 Point Defender: http://gw2skills.net…L7OOvk7sAZAyeDA
- This is a well-rounded build for when you are fighting balanced team setups and don’t want to specialize yourself too much towards countering physical damage or condition damage. 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. With the hammer you will be able to maintain permanent protection through the 3rd auto-attack Symbol of Protection with your +70 % duration on protection. With “Stand Your Ground!”, Virtue of Retribution, Vengeful and Might Blow combo on top of your light fields (Symbol of Protection, Ring of Warding & Shield of Absorption) you should be able to maintain a very consistent retaliation that will punish all physical damage dealers while you mitigate a lot of the damage through protection. The mace can be used as a variant of the sword for more sustainability.
Physical-Counter Point Defender: http://gw2skills.net…L7OOvk7sCZAyeDA
- This is a build specialized in countering heavy physical damage compositions. The build utilizes the greatsword to provide strong close-range combat and Symbol of Wrath to provide very consistent retaliation upkeep. With the traits Writ of the Merciful and Writ of Persistence you have very strong sustainability when fighting on your Symbol of Wrath and Symbol of Protection. As with the meditation point defense build, this build is capable of maintaining permanent protection through Symbol of Protection which synergizes very well with retaliation. With the traits Shielded Mind you can use your Virtue of Courage to bursts, effectively preventing any foe from spiking you down. Hammer of Wisdom works wonders against any melee opponent as well and can prevent them from chaining attacks on you with its knockback. The build only includes controllable condition removal through combos with your greatsword skills Whirling Wrath and Binding Blade, so be careful to not get yourself too stacked up. The mace can be used as a variant of the greatsword for more sustainability, but you lose out on the condition removal.
Condition-Counter Point Defender: http://gw2skills.net…IrROjkGtCZAyeDA
- This is a build specialized in countering heavy condition compositions. The build utilizes the Bow of Truth, Signets through Inscribed Removal, Purity and greatsword combo finishers Whirling Wrath and Binding Blade for heavy sustained condition removal while Virtue of Resolve with Absolute Resolve and Contemplation of Purity gives heavy on-demand condition removal. Since stacking boons isn’t that effective against condition based classes, the build uses Superior Runes of Melandru (6) to reduce incoming conditions’ duration by 25%. By utilizing your condition removal, you can mitigate most of the damage from condition-based classes.
Supportive Point Defense: http://gw2skills.net…LrXOvkdt2YAyeDA
- This is a more supportive variant of a point defender. The build utilizes the staff’s Symbol of Swiftness to give the guardian more mobility which allows him to more quickly move between points. This makes him more flexible, as he is not limited to staying near one point, but can instead move between points and effectively fill a ‘defensive back capper’ role. By utilizing his staff and shouts he is also a very good support player for larger encounters. With 60% increase in boon duration and 525 compassion, he can maintain various useful boons while also throwing out some decent heals with Orb of Light, Empower and his elite Tome of Courage.
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: Any glass cannon guardian that runs a triple Mediation build, will be pretty much impossible to defeat 1 on 1
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/focus with scepter/shield as a secondary set, but some prefer to run a greatsword as an alternative to the scepter set. 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…
Triple Meditation Offensive Guardian: http://gw2skills.net…Nuak1suYQxOkJBA
- 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 roughly 2k 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. 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 the traits Firey Wrath and Radiant Power for some heavy damage increase. 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. 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). If you choose to bring Superior Rune of Rage (6) you should consider bringing Soldier’s Amulet instead of Knight’s for increased survivability, as the precision from Knight’s is not as mandatory.
Greatsword Secondary Set Variant: http://gw2skills.net…Nuak1sAZQxOkJBA
- This is a variant that includes a little more versatility and support. Utilizing the greatsword built-in condition removal, you can afford to switch out Contemplation of Purity with “Stand Your Ground!” for more support and chain-CC countering. The traits Inspired Virtue and Vigorous Precision give you more support and survivability at the cost of the increased damage from Firey Wrath.
The versatile guardian is extremely good in almost any setup. He 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 slightly offensively or slightly more to the supportive side. Whatever you end up with, you will always be a solid addition to your team. Simply put; everyone loves versatile guardians. Since there are so many ways you can build a versatile guardian, I’ll just include the basic offensive and supportive versatile guardian builds. Let’s break down the build…
Offensive Versatile Guardian: http://gw2skills.net…to6y4lwLbQuukBB
- This is your standard offensively built versatile guardian. The build utilizes the trait Right Handed Strenght to drastically increase the procs from Vigorous Precision and Empowering Might. The vigor gained from Vigorous Precision allows for some active dodging which is vital because of the build’s low toughness. Empowering Might is a very good offensive support trait duo to your 70% increase in might duration. The build is good at stacking group wide retaliation through Signet of Judgment and “Stand Your Ground!” and the greatsword gives good pressure as well through Symbol of Wrath and its other skills. If you are confident that you can handle the opposing team’s condition pressure with the greatsword alone, you should consider swapping out Absolute Resolve for Supreme Justice for more pressure.
Supportive Versatile Guardian: http://gw2skills.net…LbXuuketAZsxmAA
- This is your standard supportively built versatile guardian. The build uses a Cleric’s Amulet, Superior Runes of Monk/Water and a maxed Honor line for a total of 1200 healing. This increases the healing from Orb of Light, Empower, the regeneration from “Hold the Line!”, the rejuvenation from Virtue of Resolve (which is shared to your allies thanks to Battle Presence and buffed through Absolute Resolve), the regeneration from activating Virtue of Resolve (thanks to Inspired Virtue), the healing from you symbols (thanks to Writ of the Merciful) and the various heals included in the Tome of Courage. The build also throws out some consistent boons with 60% increase to boon duration. With Signet of Judgement, “Stand Your Ground!”, Symbol of Wrath and Virtue of Retribution you should be able to maintain a very consistent retaliation to your entire group. Symbol of Swiftness allows you to maintain an almost permanent swiftness to your entire group as well.
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 have 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.
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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.
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