Aura Kingdom Guardian/Duelist DPS Tank Guide
Aura Kingdom Guardian/Duelist DPS Tank Guide by draketai6
And look, I took 5 minutes to make a cool picture so this guide is totally official…right?
*Crowd goes wild*
Huzzaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah…Okay, yeah. Nobody is here for pretty pictures, fluffy stuffed animals and happy feelings. You’re in this thread because you want to know how to shill kit. So let’s get down to business. Here’s a nifty table of contents because I’m so nice.
I. Why a Guardian/Duelist?
VIII. PvP (Incomplete)
IX. Closing statement
I. Why a Guardian/Duelist?
While there are a whole slew of builds floating around, there are a handful of more popular choices that may come to mind when you think “optimal”. Guardian/Bard is often picked for their ability to self heal, and Guardian/Ravagers excel at their ability to AOE tank. Guardian/Gunslingers possess a fair amount of burst which can be quite handy for a variety of situations. Each of this options are viable in their own way. So where does the Guardian/Duelist come in? Duelist is the 2nd of two classes with combo skills available to the Guardian, the first being Ravager. The point of a G/D is damage. If you want to deal as much consistent DPS to the boss over the course of the encounter that is possible, you’re in the right place. Are you tired of feeling like you’re on the “sidelines” even though you’re right there, smack dab in front of the dang boss? A Guardian/Duelist wants to feel like they are contributing to the kill. A G/D thirsts for their own taste of the enemies blood. We may be a tank, but our sword(s) is just as mighty as the rest. Here’s some bullet points for the TLDR types…
- Unmatched consistent single target DPS once CS is ramped to x5, Guardian-wise.
- Three constantly refreshable DoTs that contribute to your damage & malice even without hitting the boss, making aggro extremely unlikely to leave you, even when you are out of range of the boss
- More consistent self healing options (and more effective) than when subbing Ravager, although obviously it pales in comparison to Bard but you aren’t here for that pansy gimpy healy sub stuff, are you?
- AOE tanking isn’t quite as easy as it is when subbing Ravager or other classes. During big pulls your best options are the Sheild Bash mastery (frontal cone damage) and Thunder Cut. Otherwise you may find yourself spamming roar.
II. Let’s talk stats…
So usually the first whine is where do I put my stat points? I’m going to make a few things crystal clear here for the lot of you, so you can ask no more! What’s more, is this can apply to a variety of Guardian builds with other subs, so if you’re experimenting with a different sub, this is always a safe bet.
Your priority attack stat is SPEED (~50%), followed by DAMAGE.
This means once your speed is capable of sitting at or very near to 50% while you are in combat (where it matters the most), then your points may be diverted in to damage. The reason you choose damage over crit is simple. You won’t hit the critical damage threshold in order for stacking crit to be more beneficial to your damage, assuming you are using defensive gear (you’re a tank, silly). In order for stacking crit to be beneficial, you need 230% Crit Damage, which is incredibly difficult to reach without bonuses like what the Ravager get (base increased crit damage). You can rack up a total of 30% crit damage from your envoy, the rest would need to come from stones/gear/cores. It’s simply not worth the investment in comparison.
Your priority defense stat is DEFENSE (~75%), followed by HP.
Defense lowers the amount of damage enemies do to you. It’s quite simple, this is a stat that you want capped, and the reason why it is advised you cap it is because as you get higher in level and your gear becomes better, capping this stat becomessignificantly easier with the help of numerous amounts of stat points, envoy path points, and of course, gear. Essentially, when you can sit at ~75% defense in combat, the remaining points not necessary to do so should be diverted in to increasing your HP.
We can argue all day about EVA if you’d really like to, but I can make the argument nice, clean, and short : EVA is ineffective for a tank. Do not waste your points. EVA completely flies in the face of the performance that any tank should desire : consistency. It is essentially, a luck based stat, whereas DEF and HP give constant benefit to your ability to be a great tank. As we progress through more content, the EVA actually weights itself far below the other stats effectively per point. Higher level mobs (than you) bypass your EVA % as well, making your already terrible luck-based stat even more terrible, where as HP and DEF remain a constant benefit, whether diminished somewhat. by higher level mobs or not. Let me make this perfectly clear…do not put points in EVA.
III. Secret Stones
This can be a mixed topic. There are a great many variations of secret stones out there and in order to know what the best ones are for you, you have to know your stats while in combat, and have a focus. I will tell you what the most optimal stone is given your focus is to be the best tank possible. First thing I want to point out is that I recommend you ignore % Cooldown reduction stones. With 50% speed, or near it even, you are getting more out of your DPS and malice by increasing your damage because at this point holding threat will be no issue (which is the whole reason speed is so valuable to us tanks). A huge chunk of our damage comes from DoTs that require no extra CD reduction in order to keep refreshed, so in essence CD reduction takes the place of a more useful stat that could be increasing your malice further. Here’s the priority order for stats you want on your stones for most general content.
This stat priority is also applicable to your gear choices.
1. +DEF% & +SPD% (Unless capped)
1b. (Only if pushing Infernal Abyss content!) Damage against Flame attribute
2. +Max HP
5. +CRIT DMG%
It’s pretty straight forward. If you have two stones, and one of those stones has as many or more stats that are higher up on this list, it is better than the other. EVA ranks lowest for reasons I’ve described, while HEAL gets bumped up to spot 6 simply because you have reliable skills that cause healing like Balisong and Sanguine Blade if you choose to take it on your envoy path. ACC isn’t exactly horrible like EVA is, but unfortunately it suffers from the same issues of being a luck based benefit. Unlike other games, your hit rate on same level mobs is already quite good, while ACC is there to essentially negate present EVA which is only there to reduce the chance your ACC will help you land a strike. The issue is that you cannot actively boost ACC through any other means aside from secret stones, which means that you can’t accumulate massive amounts of ACC to the point where it can be proactively useful in comparison to other stats that you can amass such as DMG, Crit, or SPD. ACC tends to find its place in PvP (as does EVA), because ACC scales predominantly over EVA, and so it’s helpful for hitting players who stack large amounts of EVA (almost anyone who singularly plays the game to PvP).
So you want to craft all your gear you over-achiever (JK, we’ll all have to eventually), and you’re wondering what type of cores are the best material to get the most out of the gear you’re making for yourself?
Again…another priority list. Unfortunately the most helpful advice anyone can give is in the form of priority lists, due to the way stats are so randomly distributed. You can almost never have two of the exact same item, so it’s important to know what’s giving you more bang for your buck so you know which to use. This game also has so many areas of advancement (*cough gold dumps *cough), and thus it’s doubly important that you’re aware of what you’re going for before taking the wallet dive. The first list is assuming you are not yet capped on DEF or SPD, or either.
1. Guardian Cores [+SPD%, +DEF%]
1b. Spidery Cores [+SPD%, +Max HP%] (If capped on DEF but not SPD)
1c. Spikey Cores [+DEF%, +DMG%] (If capped on SPD but not DEF)[/list]
Everything below assumes you are capped on DEF & SPD.
- Bestial Cores [+DMG%, +Max HP%]
- Noble Cores [+CRIT%, +Max HP%]
The rest of the available cores you will find carry +EVA%, which as we’ve already discussed, is worthless. Make the effort to get the proper cores. They are cheap on the AH anyhow.
This can also be a matter of opinion but there are quite a few things I feel are completely dependent on the players needs, stats, and play style. This is what you want by lvl 55 (what I had). I like fleet foot as it allows you to be just a little bit more mobile, allowing you to stay out of the red stuff just a little easier.
Image courtesy of Reyva’s AK Character Simulator
1. Work your way to Malicious Stance first. This takes priority.
2. Acquire all three Attack Swiftness skills.
3. Then work your path to Brute Force
After that the build is largely a matter of opinion or your play style, honestly. Though there are a handful of skills I wouldn’trecommend…
- Keep Your Cool [Damage reduced 75% for 6 seconds when stunned] – You may have read this before but stuns happen extremely rarely in most tanking encounters, and it’s even more rare that your healer is not readily prepared to have you topped off before, or during a stun. Thus, this skill sees very little activation, and as such is deemed to be quite worthless by most of the Guardian community. It’s also worth noting it doesn’t activate in PvP.
- Weak Point Analysis & Guardian Training [+CRIT] – You are going to have very low CRIT from the get go, seeing as you will neglect to put any points in to it and it’s not really a strength of your class to build it, so acquiring these skills will net you an incredibly low amount of benefit. Steer clear.
- Bob & Weave [+EVA] – EVA. ‘Nuff said.
- Quick Study & Greediness [+Exp Gained and Loot Drop Rate] – This should be obvious.
Skills I Recommend
In no particular order…
- Determination [-15% Crit Damage taken]
- Prickliness [Damage Reflect]
- Devotion [+Received Healing]
- Thick Skin [+DEF]
- Muscle Up [+Max HP]
These skills are all valid choices, completely dependent on what you’re aiming for stat or build wise. Try to spread your remaining points among these. I’m with-holding my opinions on Will to Live because I don’t think we have content available yet that makes this skill shine, but I can see it as being quite useful.
Essentially, Malicious Stance and Brute Force are the only skills I would consider as being the “Go for it” skills. I went for the combo skills simply because I enjoy the minor burst damage from Thunder Slash and the heal from Sanguine Blade, and because I wanted to experiment with them and test some things. It’s likely that I will not be taking Ice Sword on my next Envoy path reset, as it does very little damage, has too long a CD for what it does, and its effect isn’t really even that desirable from a tanking standpoint. It’s likely I may still pick up Thunder Slash and Sanguine Blade. Sanguine Blade simply because it’s on the way to Brute Force, and Thunder Slash because it’s a great burst damage CD with a DoT, which means it’s excellent for burst malice when you’re under the cuff.
I still need to experiment with tanking without Malicious Stance as it would free up points, but I very often tank with higher levels who trust me to tank, so for now I believe it best, in my situation, to keep it. If you are an extremely competent Guardian player who understands malice and has a great deal of experience in tanking (having great equipment also helps), I would consider the possibility of builds without it. If you are inexperienced, new to tanking, or other similar circumstances, I recommend you have this skill no matter your build, as it’s invaluable to you for keeping aggro where you might not otherwise if you didn’t have it. It’s extremely important you become accustomed to considering your rate of aggro as equivalent to your decency as a tank. It’s your main job. To keep aggro. If you aren’t keeping aggro, you aren’t tanking.
My specific play style entails certain specific choices in order to achieve a maximum DPS rotation. Some choices are preferential only based on stats you require or not.
- Crackling Slash – This is your first choice for single target encounters. It is one of your handy dandy DoTs that you will keep up 100% of the time, helping you dish out as much damage per second as you can.
- Booming Shield Bash – Use this for occasions where you are AOE tanking. Trust me, you’ll need it.
- Boost [SPD +3%, DMG +2%]
- Focus [SPD +5%]
- Divine Power [DMG +5%]
- Electrifying Cut – This is another one you will take and it will forever be a part of your maximum damage/malice cycle. This rounds out your circle of DoTs that you will painfully keep inflicted on your enemies to maintain maximum DPS.
- Revitalizing Wall – This skill is good so I think it deserves a mention, but it’s not the first choice. Only use if it’s necessary for an encounter where you must play as defensively as possible, or you are having trouble staying alive. This encompasses almost no encounter available currently so this skill can remain on the back burner for now as far as I’m concerned.
- Vigor [Max HP +5%]
- Iron Wall [DEF +5%]
- Courage [Max HP +3%, Damage taken -2%]
- Break Defense – It’s the only offensive choice in this pool of masteries, and not only increases your output but your parties as well.
- Sanguine Fang – Adds a DoT to your Sanguine Blade, useful for racking up more damage and malice, but not nearly as much damage as Lightning Rod. I recommend this one the most as it basically adds another DoT to your arsenal. Especially take this if Thunder Slash is not part of your build and Sanguine Blade is.
- Lightning Rod – Powers up the massive DoT attached to Thunder Slash. This is a great combo skill that already does a lot of damage, the addition of a 20% boost on the DoT makes it abnormally stronk. Amazing for burst threat. Take this if Sanguine Blade is not part of your build and Thunder Slash is.
- Omniscience – The skill is overall the safest choice. Compared to the alternatives it gives a constant, non-CD based benefit of certain significance that you can use to hit your SPD cap easier.
Alright so here’s the meat and potatoes of the guide. This is how you strip your foes down to their bones all the while tanking them like a boss, and all the while never having to worry about aggro or malice or any of that stupid stuff (lol). I would like to call this a basic malice cycle. This cycle is assumed 50% SPD, or at least close to it. It’s after much experimentation and theorem using basic logic to determine the most optimal order in which to use the skills, while utilizing and up-keeping the most possible beneficial buffs (and debuffs), giving you the most amount of possible benefit in any given combat situation. There’s no power resource in Aura Kingdom, you’re only limited by CD, which brings skill usage in this game down to, you guessed it, priority. There’s a priority on offense, given that’s what this build is based on…making you a dirty mean monster DPS tank.
Skills that should be activated 100% of the time when available
- Mirrored Shield
- Purple Lightning*
- Deadly Wink*
1* If there is an important burst phase during a boss fight, I would recommend Purple Lightning be saved for such an occasion, as there are no fights resembling such an occasion, it’s most beneficial to your threat to simply use it at any point during the encounter where you will use it for its full duration. I generally like to pop it in the very beginning, simply because bosses die so quickly, and it’s nice to get a huge head start on malice.
2* Deadly Wink should be used on CD whenever available only when Purple Lightning is active. With ~50% speed you can stack this to 3 before PL wears off, which equates to more DPS than any other skill used in its place.
Now here’s your basic cycle…
1. Cross Slash – DoT (10s)
2. Slash Cut – DoT (10s), Defense Debuff (10s)
3. Thunder Cut – DoT (10s)
4. Shield Bash – Stun (3s)
5. Sword Slash – Reduced damage taken (6s)
Stack Cross Slash to x5, and maintain it as best as you possibly can. Keeping this stacked at x5 almost guarantees you will never lose aggro. If you use the skills in this order you will maintain all 3 DoT’s, while keeping a good consistent cycle that utilizes your stun and Sword Slash buff. Keeping Cross Slash to x5 gets easier as you get closer to 50%, but at first while leveling in the 40s it can sometimes seem like you’re cutting it close, and an unlucky miss and pretty much have your stack falling off, in which case, get it back on as quickly as possible. This cycle is created with CDs in mind. You should be able to spam this rotation continuously without hitting any CD bumps.
IX. Closing Statements
Well it’s been a long ride and I’ve divulged as much as I can think to part with. I saw that this forum was lacking guidance for those who wished to pursue the mastery of the DPS tank (although Guardianslinger does sound pretty fun!). Harness your swords, Guardians, and unleash the flurry of your rabid poisons all over the bosses you fight. Experience what it’s like to take your kill. Get out there and practice, is all I can really say. Once you’ve done a few dungeons with very confident DPSers who think they own the place, and you hold aggro from them the entire time…or even better, you get in a group with another Guardian and they just can’t manage to pull it off of you even when they are spamming Terrifying Roar…you’ll learn to love playing the role of the Ninja-like, swashbuckling tank. I sure as heck do. Have fun!