Class guides SWTOR Tanking

SWTOR Defense Guardian Tanking Class Guide

A guide to SWTOR Defense Guardian Tanking for PvE. Written and edited by Invinc and Vindrik of Harbinger.


The Defense Guardian class is the all-rounder of the tank classes, being relatively good at everything. They have high mitigation and damage reduction, the best defensive CDs available, and above average group utility, but below average threat control and dps. Most of their threat generation comes from high threat abilities instead of raw dps. They have some procs and buffs to maintain that make the rotation a little less balanced than Vanguards, but keeping them up is really simple and doesn’t require RNG to get an edge. They lack any ranged ability besides Saber Throw, and Focus generation could be considered worse than the other tanks’ resource management, especially when it comes to burst damage. The Guardian is also the worst off tank class other than for applying an armor reduction debuff, as a lot of their rotation and Focus management requires them to be regularly taking damage. Saber Reflect is an incredibly powerful cooldown, and the most versatile and useful CD you have access to.

Offensive Cooldowns:

  1. Combat Focus: Immediately generates 6 Focus.

Defensive Cooldowns:

  1. Enure: Increase your maximum HP by 30% for a short while. The extra HP is lost when the effect wears off
  2. Saber Ward: Increase user melee and ranged Defense chance by 50%, and reduce all Force and Tech damage taken by 25% for a short while
  3. Saber Reflect: Reflects any targeted ranged, Force or Tech abilities back at the attacker for a few seconds, and generates a high amount of threat on all nearby enemies
  4. Focused Defense: grants 10 charges of Enraged Defense for 30 seconds. Whenever you take damage, a charge is consumed, healing you for a moderate amount. Can be used while stunned, but cannot be used while above 70% max HP
  5. Warding Call: Reduces damage taken by 40% for a short while

Tricks of the Trade:

  1. Single target and AoE taunts
  2. Guardian Leap: Leap directly to a friendly target, lowering their threat and reducing their damage taken by 20% for a few seconds
  3. Awe: 6 second AoE incapacitate
  4. Force Push: Pushes an enemy backwards a significant distance


Defense (36 / 8 / 2):


Note: Points from Guard and Thrust in the Defense tree could be used in Expeditious Protector (36 / 8 / 2) to get a speed boost on certain boss fights that require constant movement and deal consistent AoE damage. Two points in Accuracy in the Vigilance tree can be placed in Perseverance for more DPS but this is up to personal preference.

1.1 Rates (1-10):

  • Single Target Dps / Threat: Dps 3 / Threat 8
  • AoE Dps / Threat : Dps 5 / Threat 7
  • Group Utility: 9
  • Rotation Difficulty: 5
  • RNG Dependant: No
  • Defensive Cooldowns: 10
  • Spikiness: 2
  • Signature Ability: Saber Reflect

1.2 Gearing & Stats Priority:

Secondary Tanking Stat Distribution

a) Author Recommended

Note: To get your total secondary stat pool, add up your shield, defense, and absorption in the character stats with a stim on.

  • Shield Rating: 30% – 39% of your total secondary stat pool. 35% = 850 Rating
  • Defense Rating: 34% – 42% of your total secondary stat pool. 37% = 900 Rating
  • Absorption Rating: 25% – 30% of your total secondary stat pool. 27% = 650 Rating

b) KeyboardNinja’s theorycrafted numbers for ideal distribution

To use these numbers, you must add up you shield, defense, and absorption in the character stats with a stim on to get your stat budget. These numbers assume you are using Reactive Warding and Fortunate Redoubt relics as they are less accurate with other relic types. Lastly these numbers are for hardmode Dread Fortress/Dread Palace averaged and may not be accurate for future operations/Nightmare mode. Read this post by KBN if you want the full run down.

Stat Budget Defense Shield Absorb Full set
1900 964 606 330  
2000 967 646 387  
2100 970 687 443  
2200 974 728 498 Augmented Arkanian (2181)
2300 979 768 552  
2400 985 809 606  
2500 991 850 659  
2600 998 891 712  
2700 1005 931 763 Dread Foraged (2721)
2800 1014 972 814  
2900 1022 1013 865  
3000 1032 1053 915  

Other Stats

  • **Must Have** Accuracy: 104% Force – 94% melee (1% from companion + 3% from talent = 0% from Gear)
  • **Must Have** Alacrity: 0%
  • **Must Have** Surge Rating: 0
  • **Must Have** Critical Rating: 0
  •  **Must Have** Power: 0 (except for that gained by augments)
  • **Must Have** Augments: Shield (Shield) / Defense (Redoubt) / Absorption (Absorb) to meet the above percentages
  • Relics: Shield Amplification, Fortunate Redoubt, Reactive Warding (dependent on the fight, you can pick whoever two you need)
  • Set Bonus: 4 piece War Leader’s
  • Soresu Form

1.3 Tanking Strategy:

The Guardian’s Defense spec could be considered the most typical tanking class in the game compared with other MMO tanks. They are built with heavy armor and strong defensive CDs, a decently difficult threat rotation and a good combination of both passive buffs and procs. Its main strength comes from Guardian Slash, which deals a significant amount of damage and triggers one of your most important buffs to maintain. Blade Storm is also very useful, thanks to its damage as well as the benefit from the Blade Barrier talent and the set bonus. Riposte is a non-GCD ability with a short CD, which can’t miss and also grants an important buff to maintain. Besides that, Sundering Strike builds Focus and applies an armor reduction debuff, Force Sweep also applies the debuff but also has higher damage and threat, Hilt Strike for high threat and Force Stasis as a filler to generate extra Focus. With a great balance between passives, procs and strong cooldowns, the Guardian is an excellent all-around tank class to play.

  • Guardian Slash is the most important ability in your rotation, as it triggers a +3% damage reduction buff that should be consistently maintained, as well as generating a high amount of threat and dealing a significant amount of damage.
  • Blade Storm is another high priority ability, particularly thanks to Blade Barrier and your set bonus, as it grants you a protective shield that will absorb some incoming damage.
  • Riposte is an ability that gains more buffs from talents than any other. It becomes usable when you defend an attack, so it’s rarely usable while off tanking, however, Lunge increases its critical chance, Guard and Thrust reduces its CD while Saber ward is active for Riposte spam and Blade Barricade increases your defense chance by 5% for 10 seconds after using it. All this utility and potential damage in a non-GCD 1 Focus cost ability with a short CD, makes Riposte a must-use ability for at all times.
  • Sundering Strike is your main Focus generation ability as well as your most important providing great group utility in the form of an armor reduction debuff. It should be used as often as possible.
  • Force Sweep serves the same purpose as Sundering Strike in giving an armor reduction debuff thanks to the Purifying Sweep talent, as well as having its cost reduced through the Courage talent’s proc. It will also give a 5% Accuracy reduction all enemies it hits, so using Force Sweep in your rotation is a must regardless of how many enemies there are.
  • Hilt Strike does exactly what it says, with little room for interpretation. It’s damage isn’t particularly impressive, but it’s free and generates a lot of threat, making it ideal for holding aggro.
  • Force Stasis could be considered a dot due to the Stasis Mastery talent, which removes the channeling time of the ability, making it a 3 second dot that generates Focus at no cost.
  • Master Strike is often confused to be a Guardian’s best ability for holding aggro because it deals the highest damage, however that doesn’t take threat multipliers into account. Using Master Strike in your opening rotation will only cause you to lose aggro, as even though it has a high damage output, its threat generation is nothing special, and it’s a long channel. Using it on for dps and as part of a burst rotation, as well as a filler once your threat is secure, utilises its strengths much more efficiently.
  • Dispatch gains nothing special from any talents, but is your hardest hitting ability once your target is below 30% HP. Using it when available as often as possible is useful, as long as it doesn’t interrupt your defensive proc abilities, and should take priority behind those.
  • Slash is your dps filler. It’s basically an ability to burn excess Focus, as it does little else except damage and a mediocre amount of threat.
  • Strike is your filler Focus generation ability. While in Soresu form, however, it will only generate 1 Focus per hit, and as such is particularly lackluster. It’s best to use only when you are low on Focus and have no other abilities to use.
  • Force Push is a free ability on a 1 minute CD, which does higher damage than Strike and costs less than Slash. You should use it any time you are short on Focus to fill an extra GCD, or just as some quick burst damage instead of a Strike.
  • Saber Throw is the only ranged ability available for the Guardian. It does some decent damage and generates Focus, and should be used in your opening rotation. In fights with multiple targets, it may be worth using Saber Throw on a distant target instead of using Strike on your own target.

1.4 Defensive Cooldowns Explanation:

  • Saber Reflect is your most powerful cooldown, as it has the ability to absorb a variety of abilities and avoid several mechanics, similar to Resilience, with the added bonus that it also works on ranged attacks, reflects damage back to the attackers and generates a great deal of AoE threat due to Daunting Presence. Using Saber Reflect early on after pulling a group of mobs is an excellent way to generate aggro, and should cause them to stay on you for a while without requiring an AoE taunt.
  • Saber Ward is your best long duration CD, and it does a little bit of everything. It gives you +50% ranged and melee Defense, as well as decreasing all incoming Force and Tech damage by 25%, and thanks to Blade Turning and your set bonus, gives you 100% ranged and melee Defense for its first 3 seconds.
  • Enure is a great short-term healing talent, since it increases your maximum HP by 30%. There are two methods of using it, either by predicting an incoming hard hitting phase and using it regardless of your HP, allowing your healers to keep you as high as possible, or as an emergency heal while at extremely low HP, which will basically heal you up 30% HP instantly. Keep in mind that after the 20 seconds run out, you will lose the buff and excess HP, meaning that if you are below 30% as it expires you will have 1 HP.
  • Warding Call is overall your worst personal CD. It lasts for a decent amount of time, and the -40% damage taken buff is good thanks to the high base damage reduction you already have, however it’s only a poor cooldown because your others are so effective.
  • Guardian Leap could be considered a CD, however it’s more a defensive CD for one of your party members rather than yourself. This is because it will reduce your target’s damage taken by 20% for 6 seconds after you leap to them, in addition to lowering their threat. In order to utilise its effects, you can use it on a dps to lower their threat while off tanking in a burst rotation, particularly to help with early initial aggro, you can use it on a dying target or someone that is about to be hit, or you can coordinate with the main tank to use it on them during a particularly heavy hitting phase to reduce their incoming damage, in conjunction with their taunt to counteract the loss of threat.
  • Focused Defense grants 10 charges of Enraged Defense for 30 seconds. Whenever you take damage, a charge is consumed, healing you for a moderate amount. Can be used while stunned, but cannot be used while above 70% max HP.

1.5 Group Buffs:

  • Sundering Strike: Applies an armor reduction debuff
  • Force Sweep and Cyclone Slash: 5% Accuracy reduction to all affected targets
  • Challenging Call: Damage prevention shield applied to all nearby friendly targets
  • Guardian Leap: Reduces target’s damage taken by 20% for a few seconds and reduces their threat

1.6 Ability Priority:

  1. Guardian Slash: GS
  2. Blade Storm: BS
  3. Riposte: RT
  4. Sundering Strike: SS
  5. Force Sweep
  6. Hilt Strike: HS
  7. Force Stasis: FS
  8. Master Strike: MS
  9. Dispatch
  10. Slash
  11. Strike
  12. Force Push
  13. Saber Throw: ST

Defensive Cooldown Priority:

  1. Saber Reflect
  2. Saber Ward
  3. Enure
  4. Warding Call
  5. Guardian Leap
  6. Focused Defense

1.7 Opening Rotation

Note: Taunt use is relative, depending on the fight and your ops group. Read the “How Taunt Functions” section to understand when best to use your taunts.

Pre-cast Combat Focus + ST(optional) + Force Leap + Force Sweep + GS / RT + HS + BS + FS / RT + SS + MS + Force Sweep + GS


1.8 AoE Ability Priority:

  1. Force Sweep
  2. Guardian Slash
  3. Cyclone Slash
  4. Riposte
  5. Blade Storm
  6. Saber Reflect

AoE Ability Explanation:

  1. Force Sweep is your most important AoE ability due to its incredible utility, applying both an armor reduction debuff and an accuracy debuff to all targets. It also deals decent damage and high threat to multiple targets, so it should be used on CD when AoE tanking.
  2. Guardian Slash gives you your most important buff which should be maintained all the time. It also has the ability to hit multiple targets if you hit a target affected by armor reduction, meaning that it synergises perfectly with Force Sweep. This causes it to deal high damage and high threat to multiple targets.
  3. Cyclone Slash is often overlooked and considered a weak ability when compared to other tank AoE abilities, however it’s actually more powerful than most people give it credit for, primarily due to the fact that it has no cooldown. Most of a Guardian’s Focus generation comes from taking hits, and AoE groups are excellent for that. Cyclone Slash deals relatively high damage and threat for an AoE ability with no CD, and its Focus cost is not excessive, making it a great spammable ability while AoE tanking.
  4. Riposte is an off-GCD ability with a 1 Focus cost which grants you a very important buff. It should be used on a single target within a group, though depending on the complexity of the group threat, using it on CD is relative. If you can control the group without much trouble, use Riposte on CD for a quick burst of single target damage and threat, but if you need to save Focus for Cyclone Slash spam in order to maintain aggro, use it only to keep the buff active.
  5. Blade Storm depends on the complexity of the group and threat required as to how often it will be used. For groups where you can control threat easily, using it regularly is a must to give you Blade Barrier, however replacing it with Cyclone Slash for threat is useful for holding aggro.
  6. Saber Reflect when used as a threat generation CD is incredibly powerful, since it generates high threat on all targets within 30 yds, as well as increasing your threat by reflecting incoming damage back to its source. This excellent threat generation causes Saber Reflect to be considered the clutch threat ability for AoE rotation when needed.

1.9 AoE Ability Rotation:

Note: Considering we can’t measure the amount of Focus you have beginning the phase or gained from hits, we will assume that you will have enough Focus for all the abilities listed in an ideal situation, using Combat Focus or Sundering Strike in the rotation as needed to keep up the rotation. Any group pulled from melee range would remove Force Leap from the rotation and not consider the Focus it generates.

Pulling from range, average complexity:

Force Leap + Force Sweep + GS / RT + Cyclone Slash + BS + Cyclone Slash spam while waiting for CDs to finish


Pulling from range, difficult complexity:

Force Leap+ Force Sweep + GS / RT + Cyclone Slash + Cyclone Slash + Cyclone Slash + BS + Cyclone Slash spam while waiting for CDs to finish


Pulling from range, difficult complexity, can’t afford to lose aggro:

Force Leap + Force Sweep / Saber Reflect + GS / RT + Cyclone Slash + BS + Cyclone Slash spam while waiting for CDs to finish


1.10 Tips and Tricks

  • Jedi Knight resources work differently from all of the other classes, and it’s sometimes difficult to manage well and be as efficient as you can. Make sure that you are always generating enough Focus to be able to use your more powerful abilities as they become available, instead of having to delay them because you used too much Focus too early.
  • Although Master Strike has a 3 second channel time, the damage that it deals does not actually require the full 3 seconds. One of the most important tricks for Knights is to take advantage of the fact that while the animation takes 3 seconds to complete, the final tick of damage (there are 3 hits total), happens around the 2.5-2.8 second mark. Once you see that third hit in the combat text, regardless of whether the animation is done or not, you should use your next ability. Doing this, and practicing exactly when to stop the channel based on your personal latency, is an excellent way to maximise your damage output.
  • Guardian Leap is a great ability to help during heavy incoming damage phases or to save a dps who has taken aggro. Whenever an ops member other than your second tank is about to take a significant hit, either from a mechanic or from taking aggro on the boss, it’s generally a good idea to spend that GCD using Guardian Leap to give them an extra 20% damage reduction, as this could easily be the difference in whether they survive or not.
  • Keep in mind that Challenging Call will apply a protective shield to any friendly targets in your immediate vicinity, so every time you use your AoE taunt, you should be trying to maximise its benefit. Using your Challenging Call on ranged dps and healing groups to shield them while off tanking without stealing aggro from the boss is a great way to gain as much utility from this talent as possible.

1.11 General Tanking Strategies

  • Differently from dps cooldowns, tank CDs are not something you should be trying to use as much as possible in a boss fight, because you never know when something might happens that may cause the healers to need an extra boost in order to keep you alive. That being said, on fights that have high standard incoming damage with no mechanic potential for burst, it is generally a good idea to hold on to one cooldown in case of an emergency, but cycle through any others in order to mitigate as much damage as possible for the length of the fight.
  • A common mistake from average inexperienced Flashpoint tanks is thinking that taunt will basically keep the boss on you no matter happens, without understanding how it actually functions. The reality is that taunts do have 6 seconds where the boss will be forced to attack you, however immediately following that, if your threat is not high enough you will lose aggro again. As such, taunt’s real job is to keep you at the top of the threat meter, since a taunt will always give you aggro equal to the highest person on the threat meter, plus an extra 10%. This means that if you taunt during your initial pull, you will hold the boss for 6 seconds, but that extra 10% will be wasted, as 10% of a small amount of initial aggro is not as effective as waiting for a few seconds until your threat is higher before taunting, which will give you a higher increase and make it harder for the dps to pull off of you. Due to this functionality, you are best off opening with your high-threat abilities to hold initial aggro for the first few GCDs, and once dps start doing their highest peak of damage and threat a few seconds in, or as soon as you lose aggro, use your single taunt, as this will put you above the highest current threat by 10%, at which time the dps should use their threat drops. Good dps should know that after the first taunt is an ideal time to use their threat drop, as it maximises the threat cushion gained by the tank. This will give you enough room to hold boss for another few GCDs at least, before perhaps having to use an AoE taunt to do the same thing again. Following that, your single target taunt should be available shortly thereafter, and this method should secure you as the top threat for the remainder of the fight. If you are worried about threat in general, using taunt as it becomes available will boost your threat generation significantly, just ensure that you aren’t using it on cooldown in fights that require tank swaps, as you should always have it available when it’s needed.
  • The highest burst dps done in any boss fight is generally at the start of the fight, since everyone will have pre-cast their abilities and buffs and cooldowns, Bloodthirst | Inspiration, adrenals and relics. Because of this, asking a dps to push their damage as high as possible is essentially hamstringing your ops group, especially for fights that have tight Enrage timers. Initial tank rotations are specifically designed to generate enough threat to hold aggro off of any dps regardless of how good they are, so you should never be struggling for threat.
  • A great deal of tanks confuse the Guard tooltip’s PvE and PvP aspects, and don’t quite understand how it actually works. In PvE, Guard reduces the target’s damage taken by 5% and reduces threat generation by 25%. The 50% damage transference is only activated in PvP combat. This means that you should either be guarding the two highest dps if you are worried about losing aggro, or anyone that will be taking excessive mechanic damage as part of the fight.
  • A good tank should always be doing their best to try and make everybody else’s job as simple and easy as possible. As such, the boss should be tanked in place as often as possible, placed in a position where they are easily accessible to all members of the ops group, and never moved out of ground AoE when it’s not necessary.
  • Assisting with the group’s overall dps is always a good idea. Doing your best to deal as much damage as possible while tanking will help to push Enrage timers and burn phases, and will still generate a high amount of threat.
  • Being able to adapt quickly to emergency situations, such as an impromptu Stealth rez, is a must, and you should always be aware of ways to mitigate your own damage taken, and maximising the chance of a successful rez when this happens.
  • Adjusting your user interface to help you perform well is incredibly helpful, including enabling the target of target and focus target windows in your interface editor. Always knowing who your target is hitting and what your focus target is doing will help you to call out predictable mechanics, swap targets when necessary and be situationally aware of what is about to happen next.

1. 12 How Taunt Functions

The taunt ability has a really simple mechanic that dictates how it works. Every enemy has a threat meter, which dictates who they will attack, the highest person on their individual threat meter will always be their target. Threat is generated via dealing damage and healing, and some abilities generate threat on higher multipliers than others. Taunting a target will instantly generate threat for you equal to the highest person on the target’s threat meter, plus an extra 10%, as well as forcing the target to attack you for the next 6 seconds. As such, if you are passed on the threat meter after this 6 seconds has elapsed, the target will return back to attacking the highest person on the threat meter. Taunting while you already have aggro will simply give you an extra 10% of your own threat. Keep in mind that the extra 10% threat generation is applied upon using the taunt, and regular threat generation continues accumulating for the duration of the taunt’s effect, so although taunt will give you an edge in threat, if the highest amount of threat on the boss is only low, then the 10% extra that you will gain is not particularly substantial. Because of this, especially early on in fights and during aggro drop mechanics, taunt is not a substitute for good initial threat generation through a proper rotation.

Asking dps to slow down at the start of a fight so that you can maintain aggro is something that will significantly hold back both your group’s dps as well as your own threat. Guarding two of your best dps is generally the best course of action, as it will minimise the chances that they will be able to catch up to you after your initial taunt rotation, but asking them to slow their dps is counterintuitive, as if they are dealing less damage then you can only taunt off of yourself, and as such may actually gain less initial threat. Due to the mechanics of taunt, you should be holding your initial taunts for a few GCDs to ensure that as much threat is built up as possible before you need to use it, and should a dps pull aggro from you that would be an ideal time to taunt. Immediately following this the dps should use their threat drop, so that you gain as much threat as possible, while they lose as much as possible and therefore the gap between the two of you is significantly increased

AoE taunt functions in the same way, and affects each target individually. Because each enemy has their own individual threat meter, each threat calculation is done separately, meaning that an initial AoE taunt on a fresh group of mobs can easily still lose aggro to healers if you don’t maintain threat on each target using other AoE abilities.

About the Authors

Invinc and Vindrik are both members of <Hatred> on Harbinger, an endgame progression guild with world 3rd clear of Nightmare S&V, World 2nd clear of Nightmare TFB, world 1st speed clear (under 2 hrs) of Nightmare S&V, and numerous server firsts at the 8m level.

Invinc is the guild leader of <Hatred> and mains an operative DPS but plays pretty much every and all classes for operations. He currently leads the parses on operative lethality DPS on multiple boss fights and dummy parses. Also known as Carlenux, Carlenix (sniper), Carlenx (Sorcerer), Pyrotec (Powertech)

Vindrik mains an operative healer and is the raid leader for group B in <Hatred> (World 5th speed clear of Nightmare S&V). He is the former raid leader of <Notorious Synergy> on Dalborra, one of the world top guilds pre-2.0 (World 4th).

While the information here are mostly written by these two players, numerous other Hatred raid members and guides were consulted. Questions, comments, concerns will be answered by Invinc, who goes by the name of Carlos Eduardo Mata in the comments section below.

By Dulfy

MMO guide writer and blogger. Currently playing and covering SWTOR, GW2, and TSW.

71 replies on “SWTOR Defense Guardian Tanking Class Guide”

The stats arent what should be your stats in % at the end, they are a percent value of your total pool of defense Stats. so Def Chance 37% out of yout stat pool means, if you count all your Defstats together, the Value of def should be around 37% of them. It doesent mean your actual Def Chance should be 37%.

Hope that clears it up.

These numbers only show a general Idea. as you can see above, theres a range of percentages for every stat, giving you an ide of whefe rhe stat should be seated in syneegy with the others. In the end its our job as tanks, to adjust these stats to our playstyle, our group and the current challenge were facing.

As invins states in other anwsers, the number should and can vary from boss to boss. there is no perfect solution.

Yeah and besides the range there is one example how to choose the combine the pool. At that example is mathematically wrong. Am i a huge smartass to harp on about it? Yes. And proud of it *g*

35+37+27= 99 you are right, but it is an average number… in reality you would never have exact 35 or exact 37… you will have 35.45 + 37+23 + 27.22= 100%, but now imagine how hard would be for you to take the 35.45% of your vase value and try to match it, thats why it is an average, i guess it might be confusing but is the easiest way to explain it without saying “use this stats because i say they are the best (like most other tank post in forums)”… if the pool would be Above 100% unobtainable then it would be a huge mistake, 99% is just reaching average to the lower number 35.45 = 35%, that make sense?

I am just wondering how you get all those to that level considering def rating diminishing returns start fairly low and many actions especially those from ops bosses can not be defended against but can be shielded against so wouldn’t it be wiser to focus more on shield and absorb?

No such thing as diminishing returns. Everything is on a curve. You’re also not getting to 37% Defense. You’re using 37% of your totaled budget.

I was confused on this front in the sin tank guide as I assumed he said 500 def was 20% when 500 defense would be 22.78%. It was 20% of a totaled 2500 budget. Then again I’d argue that’s still too high anyway, but I’m not writing this guide.

Actually there is diminishing return after you put a certain amount into def rating you will start seeing that you need twice as much def points to raise the % compared to shield and absorb which start much later then def not until 30%+ compared to def which starts in like to 20% or so.

my problem with that is considering gearing option for an “operation” or operation bosses, not sure if the trash is included in the calculations of mostly shieldable attacks… but all this would change like i said, if in nightmare patch they add 1 Defense heavy nightmare ability to each boss (why not, it would fuck up the theorycrafting lolol) suddenly everyone that spent weeks gearing up for something specific will see how they wasted their time, idk if this is the case or possible, but i prefer an average or follow in that case an average theorycrafting that is not strict to an operation… either way we are adding the theorycrafting alternative to the gearing options for the controversy. 🙂

Hello Carlos

I have a question about the Reactive Warden Relic. I never got my hand on one, but till now i didnt want to, because the tooltip says for me: It negates 1360 dmg once every 40 SEconds. So if i get a 10k hit and it proccs, its 1 8640 hit and the relic is on Cooldown for 40 Seconds. Compared to the alternatives I have, that never sounded like a good deal to me.

But since you listed it, I get the feeling I’m missing something. Could you please explain the functionallity of it?

Thank you for all the hard work you’ve put in these guides. I really enjoy reading everyone of them as the discussions in the comments. You don’t set yourself over others, i really appreciate that about you Hatred Guys 🙂


wow some positive feedback i love it thx :D, anyways i have my same doubt about the reactiev warden relic and i have not done the math, however i didnt have it lited until 131351215 people came to the comments saying “someone” made the math and its better, so in order to stop all the arguments about it, considering, it is actually a really small difference between each relic as well as dependent of fight, i added the 3rd relic as an option for personal choice.
i heard the arkanian relic of Reactive warding is bugged procing on 20 second instead of 40 so that might be why too, but i am not writing a guide to teach people how to exploit and cheese, so i wont add that.

Think of this
Reactive Warding gives you -1360dmg every 40s, on all damage types.
Now lets look at Shield Amplification. In the same 40s it will be available for 12s. To simplify it, lets say you get 5% absorb with a proc (wich you wont in full 78 gear).
5% of 5k dmg is 250 dmg or 6 shielded attacks in those 12s to be better
5% of 10k dmg is 500 dmg or 3 shielded attacks in those 12s to be better
You wont get those shielded attacks on any boss except for Nefra. Or with random luck on other bosses.

As of right now:
1. Arkanian Reactive Warding (because its bugged to 20s CD)
2. Dread Forged Fortunate Redoubt
3. Dread Forged Reactive Warding
4. Dread Forged Shield Amplification (It switches placed with Dread Forged Reactive Warding on Nefra)

this is an interesting way of looking at it, however it doesnt take into account for example dots, multiple mechanics and mobs as that 42% shield chance.

right now my jug with 24% def (with proc) gets up to 30% exactly 6% from defense, 19 goes to 25 too without retaliation.

now shield 42% my absorb being 33% goes to 46% with relic proc.

now in 12 seconds, getting hit just once per sec (which is low) ill shield 5 hits…. 13% of 5k = 650 * 12 = 7800… 13% from avg 3k DTPS for 12 sec = 4680.
this is if you taking 1 hit per sec for 3 dtps from 1 mob, now consider being swarmed by 2-3 adds, getting hit 2-3 times per second can be even more.

now this is all relative numbers, when it comes for “ideal” numbers, make sense a shield would be > than RNG, since it is never wasted, while 13% or 6% can be 10k mitigated as 0, so it would make sense in theory warding being better, however that is not always the case and you can take you risk with RNG or not :D.

That’s not entirely correct, the problem with Shield amplification is
that it suffers from diminishing returns, so as your gear gets better the
amount the relic absorbs gets less.

Nice guide. Too bad I didn’t get anything new from it but I guess it’s good cuz that means I know the class pretty well.

I have one question, doubt though. Is the accuracy boost is really more worth it then 6% strength? That’s the only difference I have with your build. Does anyone did some math about it?

it is better than a 6% str. heres why, 6% from what? idk lets say 3k = 180 / 5 = 36 Bonus dmg, this is a real small advantage, considering if you “miss” an attack you already lose 2K plus dmg, but beside that is not necessary for that either, extra dmg is a smal buff to threat/crit and dmg output throughout the fight, but missing 1 attack on your opener, missing scream or missing Crushing blow or smash is devastating, of course you will miss, but 3% would always help you miss less and your priority rotation will be more stable

it is better than a 6% str. heres why, 6% from what? idk lets say 3k =
180 / 5 = 36 Bonus dmg, this is a real small advantage, considering if
you “miss” an attack you already lose 2K plus dmg, but beside that is
not necessary for that either, extra dmg is a smal buff to threat/crit
and dmg output throughout the fight, but missing 1 attack on your
opener, missing scream or missing Crushing blow or smash is devastating,
of course you will miss, but 3% would always help you miss less and
your priority rotation will be more stable.

Good guilde, just as a thought tanks don’t need accuracy. So I spec into perseverance and take the 6% to main stat and put the last point in insight in the focus tree for a bit higher crit.

it is better than a 6% str. heres why, 6% from what? idk lets say 3k =
180 / 5 = 36 Bonus dmg, this is a real small advantage, considering if
you “miss” an attack you already lose 2K plus dmg, but beside that is
not necessary for that either, extra dmg is a smal buff to threat/crit
and dmg output throughout the fight, but missing 1 attack on your
opener, missing scream or missing Crushing blow or smash is devastating,
of course you will miss, but 3% would always help you miss less and
your priority rotation will be more stable..

The 6% str talent is a mitigation boosting talent, due to blade barrier. The question isn’t choosing between a small threat boost and a smaller threat boost, it’s choosing between a small threat boost and a small mitigation boost that comes with a little bonus threat.

i understand that but we would have to do the math, the str buff + buff on the scream is very very small, now, we would ahve to do the math on how many times would you miss a force scream on target vs the increase of barrier, because 1 missed scream = 0 barrier, ill take a risk here and say teh same for smash / Sundering and C.blow for keeping up buffs and armor reduction, if u happen to miss Sundering + smash u will lose the armor reduction debuff on the boss and eventually hurt the group dps, so the str is good, but i like to keep the RNG factor of the rotation decreased with extra accuracy, not sure if you agree on that.

I don’t worry about missing for mitigation, because all your mitigation except the accuracy debuff from sweep is applied even if the attack misses, and you can also apply the acc debuff with cyclone slash if sweep happens to miss. You still get your blade barrier buff and your guardian slash buff if the damage misses, and riposte can’t miss. Granted, the str buff only gives ~30 extra absorbed damage on barrier, but since threat is essentially a nonissue in current content due to not needing to save taunts, I prefer to take any mitigation I can get from talents instead of what I see as wasted threat. I can see where people who do take it for threat are coming from, though, and I’ve played around with it before.

that is actually interesting information, ill give it proper test tomorrow and add the alternative for it if it works like you say thanks!, atm i dont have my brother near to tell me about this stuff i am asking so, i ill have to test myself thx for the help!.

on debuffs you were right, i did the calc in full bis 178 gear for sonic barrier, it is not affected by dmg/crit or armor reduction, only apparently by str.

without talent = 1598 per shield
with talent = 1624 per shield…. 25 difference, small but in a long fight could be from 600-1k absorbed overall that is… something, that is worth noting, however like u said the difference is so minimal that is hardly noticeable as i prefer at least in my mind, to think the 2% acc actually helps me eventually more on critic moments when “missing” doesnt help, for example Pushback on nim styrak 🙁 lol

I indeed also have very little trouble maintaining agro (non at all actually) with less accuracy and prefer both an overal DPS boost + small extra mitigation.

Combat Focus BEFORE ST and Leap seems like you’ll be way over max focus. Wouldn’t it be better to save CF for after you use up the initial focus you gain from ST and Leap?

Saber Reflect ONLY works on ranged attacks, it does not ALSO work on ranged attacks. Also it is a fantastic offensive cooldown as well.

Saber Reflect works on Ranged, Tech and Force Attacks. The “also” was written cause of the compairson to Resilience.
But I think it should be stated that Saber Reflect (different then Resilience) only works on single target atracks, so no AoEs

that is a bit tricky, even when the tooltip says so, it does work on AoE attacks, that are targeted single target on you, for example a missile droped on you that would generate a reticle around you, or trasher Nightmare Scream when you get punted up also gets reflected, so that is not exactly accurate :S

Exactly. Could you please elaborate moer about it. From what you’re saying I should be able to Reflect Titan’s granade, correct? Or Kephess’s jump (TFB)?

it is actually, but to be honest you have really low problem on rage when main tanking as well as really few things to use them for, so adding Cfocus before the pool, will also work for a juggernaut that is starting on off tank that way they can drop smash + SA + CB + ravage (as off tank) and be fine, because while not taking dmg the rage generated is minimal

Have you ever played a Guardian Tank? Cause this statement is so wrong that I have to question the expertise of the guys who have written this guide:

“Keep in mind that after the 20 seconds run out, you will lose the buff
and excess HP, meaning that if you are below 30% as it expires you will
have 1 HP.”

You will just lose the exceeded HP on your tank and not 30% of your HP at the end of the ability. I mean, if it was like this who would ever use it? Gain 30% and at the end lose it again? 😀

So, to explain it better: Let’s say your Tank has 30.000 HP. You use Enure and you will have 39.000 HP. You can now lose 39k before you will be defeated. If you end up with more than 30k HP after the ability runs out, that HP will be lost. For example, the buff runs out when you have 31k HP, that means you will lose 1k HP and you end up again with your 30k. If you were below 30k when the buff runs out you will just stay at the same HP. For example, the buff runs out when you have 28k HP > You will stay at 28k and not lose 9k which you gained before.

Before someone asks if I have the expertise, yes: I am maintanking with a Guardian and have completed all Content.

Just wanted to make this clear. 🙂

You do lose the HP at the end. You use it because it gives your healers time to top you off, not because it’s a 10k+ heal.

yup what he says, you do lose the hp, all the heal you get is a plus, when you lose it if u are under your max hp you will lose as much as u gained, if u won 15k and you are at 10k hp, you will drop to 1 hp, happens quite often :).

I’m not so sure I agree with the opening rotation. If you take even a single hit from the boss, you’ll end up over Focus cap if you open with Combat Focus. It’s minor, but it helps a bit with Focus management and threat right off the bat. I’m surprised you didn’t include Saber Reflect in the opener considering it’s off the global cooldown and generates as much threat as a Shadow’s Force Pull. Additionally, in terms of threat per ability, Master Strike is far better than Force Stasis and should be prioritized over Force Stasis at all times. So in my opinion, a better opener would be as follows

Saber Throw > Force Leap > Saber Reflect on landing + Force Sweep > Guardian Slash + Riposte > Hilt Strike > Blade Storm > (Riposte if procced) Master Strike > Force Stasis > Sundering Strike > Force Sweep > Guardian Slash

This would give the same resource generation while providing higher threat. Aside from that, I prefer a bit higher as far as Defense goes and a touch less Absorb, but at those levels, there’s a bit of personal preference.

Anyway, nitpicking aside, great guide. Keep up the good work!

Forgot to mention, only use Saber Reflect in the opener if you don’t need it in the first minute of the pull.

yeap that is good, so therefor it can be in my opening rotatoin, i gave a rotation used all around on any case, teh explanation in the saber reflect explains the threat increase so people should be able to understand the ues of it. as far as ravage / master strike it is put there because usually with that opening rotation you will have a taunt right before that master strike if done right to further buff / maintain your threat during the taunt debuff, otherwise you will have few seconds of really low threat generation and might make you lose aggro afterwards

I agree with Borachev here – never open with Combat Focus if you can avoid it. If you get over the focus cap then you’ve wasted a powerful CD that you may need at a moments notice.

If a new Guardian tank player is having trouble with their opening rotation then I would recommend that they head to one of the daily areas and just practice opening up on the mobs. Because we don’t start with the high threat moves until a few GCDs into the fight, we are disadvantaged compared to the likes of the Shadow’s opening move of force potency/project/slow time so new players should practice until they can open up in different ways without thinking about it.

As a lot of dps tend to open in ‘full retard’ (gotta love that movie) it’s also essential that Guardian tanks know how to open up heavy without shooting themselves in the foot so that they can alter their rotation to meet the requirements of the fight. Having their combat focus in reserve is the easiest way of staying flexible, which brings us back to Borachev’s point of never using it as the opening move (unless of cause you get ambushed like in Kaon Under Seige or Explosive Conflict)

I highly recommend skipping saber throw in your opener. If your dps are willing to give you a free GCD at the start without attacking it’s fine, but opening with a low threat move just to generate focus you don’t really need makes you risk losing aggro to any class with a bursty opener if they’re starting on the pull. Your opener should still work the same without throw, but you’re using all your high threat moves a GCD earlier.

that is a good tip, as you can see anakyn doesnt use it either on his jump, i added it as i thought he missed it, but seems like you are right.

depends on the fight. if you use saber throw to draw threat on a ranged trash mob and leap to another + saber reflect you organize threat a little easier. it has it’s uses but neglecting it for the most part seems proper.

Thats right mate, whem im tanking i never use st on my opener, because my dpsers steal my aggro, and when im playing DPS with my sentinel combat, most o fthe time i give tanks some seconds, because if i use my opener correctly with relics, adreanls, etc, etc i steal the aggro from them. Around many raids on the game, i see tanks giving guard to dpsers, so they don´t steal their aggro.

My opening rotation usually is ST > FL > FS > GS + Ri (by this time I’ve usually been hit at least once for 1 focus plus 3 from ST and 3 from Leap, so I end up at 0 focus here) > HS > SS … going from here.

I will have done most of my high threat abilities in the opening of the first 7,5s of the fight (FS, GS, HS). If the situation requires/enables it I could have thrown in SR as well, as it’s off the GCD. SR is especially nice if you have adds that shoot at you as the damage reflected also generates agro on them.

Also, I personally prefer to have the 6% str from Perseverence and don’t have trouble holding agro at all without the extra points in Accuracy. Generally I find little use in having 2p in Guard and Thrust for a few more Ripostes every 2,5m which I could spend otherwise in having, say, Expitious Protector. Especially is one considers that you most likely won’t get the max amount of ripostes off in the time SW is up due to, amongst things, RNG, target not using melee/ranged attacks, not having enough fingers to press so many buttons or simply because you may be focus starved otherwise. 😀

Just wanted to ask if anybody with full 78-gear tried the spec without Guard Stance. I have full 72-gear and without Guard Stance i get up to about 9.700 armor rating, a friend with 69-gear has about 9400 armor rating. Armor rating seems to have a cap of 10.000. Would be nice to know if i could have a “bonus point” with full 78-gear 😉 (sorry for my english, i know it´s not the best^^)

hmm, ok, thx. I thought that i allready had 10.000 armor rating with 2 69 pieces… have to confirm that with older pieces

”Expeditious Protector (38 / 8 / 2) to get a speed boost on certain boss fights that require constant movement and deal consistent AoE damage.” Under the Skill tree should be corrected in (38 / 8 / 0) as the other is (36 / 8 / 2) *sorry bad english*

I have issues with your opening rotation as well as your priority list. Sundering Strike should never be above Master Strike or Hilt Strike and Force sweep should be near the top of your priority list. So for an EX:

1) GS
2) BS
3) RT
4) HS
5) Force Sweep
6) Master Strike
7) Sundering Strike
8) Force Stasis

With this in mind your opener will have better threat generation. Which comes out to….
ST->Force Leap->Force Sweep->(pop Combat Focus around here)GS->BS/RT->HS->Force Stasis->Master Strike->then you might need Sundering strike.

The biggest thing is to use GS, BS, HS, RT, and Force Sweep as soon as they come off CD. And if you are spec correctly then Force Sweep will keep up the Armor Debuff which makes Sundering strike only useful when you drop below 6 rage.

Sundering Strike reduces armor rating and makes your Guardian Strikes be AOE. Hence its rather on top of the list, while Master Strike does not generate that much agro. Save Master Strike for a filler.

Guardian slash also procs riposte – I think it’s something they changed in 2.5 (possibly earlier, not sure). So right before I hit Guardian Slash – I hit riposte (if it’s up) so that riposte is available again as soon as the cooldown on it’s finished. May want to add it to the guide under riposte/guardian slash.

My Guardian is a DPS from the start with very good HM level gear, but recently I had some extra comms so bought him his tank set. Pretty standard stuff you can buy with comms from the vendor. Mostly 168 rating with some 180 in the mix.
The thing is, I ended up with less then 15% Defense. The guide says Defense should be 34% – 42%. But the vendor gear is Shield & Absorb heavy.
Now I will start augmenting the gear but even if I use 14x Defense augments, I don’t think I can reach anywhere near those numbers. So how is it possible to get to 34% Defense? Help? (currently shield is 33,53% and absorb is 30,36% (this without any augments, and still missing 1x implant))

In: 1.2 Gearing & Stats Priority section B it’s explained on how to min-max gear for different stat-budgets and what the stat-budget would be with full X-Gear (e.g. Arkanian) I highly recommend giving that another look on how to balance out your stats with the tools you’ve got. (If your total statbudget isn’t in their table, click the link for KBN’s thread) As for why there’s such a difference; token-gear is endurance heavy, meaning your stat budget is a lot lower than full Arkanian or Dread Forged.

The 34-42% is not the defense chance you see on your character sheet. It is how much of your total defensive stat budget should be allocated to defense rating. You find your defensive stat budget by totalling your ratings for defense, shield and absorption (you can find these numbers by mousing over the percentages on your character sheet). I have finetuned my Guardian and Juggenaut tanks using the numbers in this guide, and with all the bells and whistles (buff/stims, 4 set bonus, mostly purple augments) the about 34-42% of my defensive stat pool works out to about 17-18% defense chance (I sit at around 36-37% of defensive stat pool). I hope this explanation helps, the numbers can be confusing.

*edited because so many typos >.< *

1.8 AoE Ability Priority:

Guardian Slash – Crushing Blow

The Guardian Slash ability you call Crushing Blow in the “AoE Ability Explanation” part of the guild. It is sort of confusing, might be worth changing it?

**Must Have** Accuracy: 104% Force – 94% melee (1% from companion + 3% from talent = 0% from Gear)
Not sure, but how do you get 104% Force without gear?
I am no expert, just an honest question…

The answer is in the brackets. 100% is your base, you can get up to 3% from the above discussed talent called “Accuracy”, and another 1% is obtainable by finishing all conversations with a melee tank companion on any character you have in your legacy.

Focused Defense description updated to 2.7 in 1.4 Defensive Cooldowns, but still has old description in the overview

Just a typo in the stat table you have Dread Forged labeled as “Dread Foraged” 🙂 great guide D!

Hello.As i was looking on swtor forum i saw something about a Hybrid build for guardian tanks but the post was from 2012.i was wondering if its still valid and if some1 could post the talent build.

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