GW2 Guardian PvE Class Guide by Bordy and Bullet Punch

GW2 Guardian PvE Class guide written by Bordy and Bullet Punch of [rT]. This is the seventh of a series of GW2 class guides written by members of [rT], a European dungeon speed clearing guild. Last Updated August 19th, 2016.


The Guardian is a heavy armor class which can protect allies by using various defensive boons and utilities and deal decent damage at the same time. It is classified as a high or moderate damage class depending on various circumstances and, combined with boosting your team’s defences, is a great class for dungeon runs.

Guardian’s special abilities are the three Virtues. They offer passive benefits to the guardian and can also be activated to temporarily boost your party. While guardian is a low health pool class like the Elementalist and the Thief, virtues are there to help endure difficult encounters.

Having a Guardian in your party will definitely makes your run easier thanks to its easy access to condition removal, projectile reflection and absorption, stability, aegis and other boons such as protection. Those are the strongest abilities of the Guardian and have to be used wisely.

This guide covers the Guardian’s gear and weapon choices, utility skills, most effective builds and general tips to improve your gameplay. The guide is aimed at players with little knowledge of class although more experienced guardians may also find some advice to get the most out of their profession.

Useful terms

General dungeons

  • Stack – all party members group together closely in order to share boons or control enemy AI
  • Aggro – known as aggression or aggravation and referred to a mob targeting you or your party
  • Mob – an enemy, foe or creature
  • LoS/Line of Sight – usually referred to the act of obstructing melee and ranged enemies that are trying to hit you (e.g. around corner, behind wall) what forces them to run towards you in order to regain line of sight
  • NPC – non-player character. Computer controlled characters. You are usually accompanied by one or more NPCs in every dungeon path
  • LFG – Looking for Group
  • Pug – pickup group. A group made of people who you do not know, usually via the in-game LFG system
  • DPS – Damage Per Second
  • AoE – Area of Effect, any skill that has more than one target
  • Pull – gaining the initial aggro of an enemy
  • Boons – also known as buffs, these give positive effects to you and your allies
  • Blast – using a blast finisher in a combo field
  • Wipe – all members of your party are dead
  • AA – Auto Attack, first skill of a any weapon
  • FGS – Fiery Greatsword
  • Hitbox – area of an enemy that you can hit with your attacks
  • Blind – blinded enemy’s next attack miss
  • Zerk – slang for berserker, a gear type
  • FGS – Fiery Greatsword – elementalist’s elite conjure

Commonly used Guardian related terms

  • SY – Shout utility skill “Save Yourselves!”
  • SyG – Shout utility skill “Stand Your Ground!”
  • WoR – Consecration utility skill Wall of Reflection
  • SotA – Spirit Weapon utility skill Shield of the Avenger
  • Aegis – Boon that blocks the next incoming attack
  • Symbol – Area of Effect skills that deal damage to enemies and apply boons to your party members
  • UC – Unscathed Contender, adept Virtues trait which makes your character deal 20% more damage under the effect of aegis
  • RHS – Right-Hand Strength, grandmaster Radiance trait which increases critical-hit chance with one-handed weapons by 15%
  • AH – Altruistic Healing, grandmaster Valor trait which heals you for each boon you apply to allies


Guardians have access to 12 weapons: mace, sword, scepter, focus, shield, torch, greatsword, longbow, hammer, staff, trident and spear. Most players make the mistake of using ranged weapons, their reasoning being this makes them more durable while fighting. This is not true. By ranging you are unable to share defensive boons with your party members. The best weapon for PvE content is arguebly the greatsword as it has the highest burst and high damage in general. The next best weapon set for burst is mace/torch which you should have on swap. Hammer is more suited for heavy and long fights as it sacrifices damage for party wide protective boons and aoe heals but if properly traited can deal high damage as well.

In general I would recomend sticking to Greatsword+Mace/Torch or focus. For Raids or in general for very long fights, especially with perma quickness, you should take Hammer instead.




The greatsword is a great burst weapon and is best used to open a fight before swapping to either scepter or hammer depending on your build.

Whirling Wrath


This is a very strong greatsword skill. Both the spin and projectiles deal damage. To hit your enemy with all of them, get inside the mob’s hitbox. To do it you have to disable the “Melee Attack Assist” option in your settings that prevents your character from moving into the hitbox of enemies and will allow you to use this skill from inside an enemy. That will result in more damage dealt to the target.

In order to disable “Melee Attack Assist” open the Options window (F11) and disable the proper box from the Combat/Movement list.


Also if you use “Feel My Wrath!” new elite shout before Whirling Wrath, more blades will hit your target, so you can deal even more damage from this skill thanks to Quickness.

Just an average quick test in PvP against Indestructible Golem gave such results:

WW without Quickness: 12 blades hit the Golem.


WW with Quickness: 16 blades hit the Golem


Leap of Faith


Leap of Faith is used both for mobility and damage. It can be used to jump over obstacles and gaps in terrain. It is part of the greatsword rotation and blinds up to 5 targets. Remember to let this skill land as it deals damage at the end of the leap.

Symbol of Wrath


Greatsword’s symbol is an AoE that deals damage and applies Retaliation. If traited with Symbolic Exposure it also applies one stack of Vulnerability per tick on foes in the area of the symbol. Use symbol as the first skill in your rotation, with Retribution you deal 10% more damage while under the effect of Retaliation and Symbolic Avenger deals additional 10% damage increase to enemies standing in your symbol. This skill has an aftercast that roots you and makes you unable to use other skills for about half a second which you can cancel by stowing your weapon as soon as the actual cast has ended.

Binding Blade


Binding Blade can be used in various situations. You can pull together groups of enemies to make it easier to kill them or, if you are fighting a boss, leave the active to deal damage over time. This is a high burst skill as the blades deal damage upon hitting the enemy and then they cause damage over time for 10 seconds.

This video shows that you can abuse the fact that you throw as many blades as there are surrounding enemies (maximum 5) because if you are inside the hitbox of a boss, all blades will hit that single target.



Even though longbow is a range weapon you should still stay close to the enemies with it to recieve buffs from your teammates.

True Shot    

True Shot was nerfed so Longbow is not really that useful in PvE anymore.

Deflecting Shot    

While the damage of Deflecting Shot isn’t that great, the casting time is really low so it’s still worth using in a DPS rotation. It also blinds and pierces which is pretty helpful when fighting harder trash mobs. You can also shoot it 360 degrees arround you which is worth mentioning. Additionally it can destroy incoming projectiles.

Symbol of Energy    

Symbol of Energy is a ground targeted symbol that does decent damage and burns on impact which is perfect to keep some of your DPS modifiers up.  Try to use it to boost the damage of True Shot and your traps with Symbolic Avenger. Just like deflecting shot you can use it anywhere arround you.

Hunter’s Ward    

While the animation of Hunter’s Ward is flashy and nice, it is pretty worthless apart from niche situation where you are desperate for the cripple/cage to slow certain mobs down. Good examples would be the oozes in Thaumanova fractal or the grawl in Volcanic fractal. Don’t ever use it for DPS as it is a big damage loss.

Mainhand Mace



After the recent sword and scepter buffs mace fell behind in terms of DPS. It’s still pretty useful in harder fights when you need the extra block.

Symbol of Faith


Symbol of Faith has lower cooldown than Symbol of Wrath and deals less damage, but it is still an important part of your rotation due to the Symbolic Avenger and Symbolic Exposure traits. It also applies Regeneration to allies standing in it, which is an additional boon to fuel the Power of the Virutous and help keep the Scholar rune bonus.

Protector’s Strike


An additional block on demand, which also deals damage when struck. Can be cancelled by autoattacking if for example the attack you wanted to block was interrupted and you don’t want to lose DPS. Grants Protection for your party when fully cast or when you block something even though the tooltip states otherwise.



Zealot’s Flame/Zealot’s Fire


This skill has two parts, the first is Zealot’s Flame, which burns nearby foes and the second one is Zealot’s Fire, which is what really makes torch an interesting offhand choice. The trick here is to always press the skill twice without any waiting so as to use Zealot’s Fire without waiting for any animations.

Cleansing Flame


The final torch skill which may be used when in need of Condition Removal (for example at the last boss in Arah P3), but the damage is so low that it should be skipped in the rotation. Unfortunately, this skill does not remove conditions from your character.

Mainhand Sword



Sword is a strong pick after the recent buffs again. The most important part about it is to not interupt your auto chain.

Symbol of Blades

This skill is a great DPS increase now that it has a symbol and if you use a sword you should use it on cooldown. It gives fury which can be useful. You can also use it for mobility on skips since it teleports you to your target even if you are out of range.

Zealot’s Defense


Zealot’s Defense deals a little bit more damage than your sword autoattack but only if all of its projectiles hit. It also blocks projectiles for 3 seconds. The only disadvantage to this skill is its very long cooldown and the fact that you are locked in place while casting it. Although it blocks projectiles you are still vulnerable to ground-targeted aoe, melee attacks and dodging during the cast will make you lose DPS.


Ray of Judgment


The first focus skill is Ray of Judgment. It bounces 4 times between foes and allies triggering Blindness and Regeneration respectively. Ray always targets an enemy first and then the highest priority is on its caster. It bounces to the next nearest valid target, regardless of whether it is a friend or foe; it can go back to the same mob as well. It is possible for the ray to bounce between four enemies without affecting any allies or bounce between three allies and affect a single initially targeted enemy.

Shield of Wrath


Shield of Wrath blocks up to three attacks, and if not destroyed deals high aoe damage. Focus should be used whenever you need those additional blocks, for example in high level Fractals of the Mists.

Also it has a blast finisher which triggers upon the activation of the skill. Take care when using Shield of Wrath to stack party stealth when skipping as the shield will explode after 4 seconds and can possibly reveal you.

This also means that you can use Shield of Wrath before you get into combat and quickly swap it out for longbow or torch depending on what you want to use.


Symbol of Punishment

With the recent buffs scepter autoattack and Smite being a symbol now Scepter is actually the highest constant DPS now. Use it in dungeons and if you already have somebody maintaining protection in raids and high level fractals aswell.


The third skill, Chains of Light, applies Immobilize and 3 stacks of Vulnerability.




As noted earlier, the Hammer is a weapon that supports defensive gameplay. The reason behind it is Symbol of Protection that spawns at the end of its autoattack chain. With the Writ of Persistence trait you can maintain permanent Protection on your party. Together with the Symbolic Avenger trait, the Hammer deals 10% more damage as your enemies will always stay in your symbols, while healing your allies and granting them protection. It’s the safest and best choice for raids if you don’t already have somebody else maintaining protection.


If using the Hammer, use only the autoattack and Mighty Blow to blast fire fields. The third skill, Zealot’s Embrace, is an Immobilize, the fourth skill, Banish, is a knockback and the last skill, Ring of Warding, is a ring that enemies cannot cross or if they are inside – cannot escape.While skipping or during dungeon/fractal runs, it is always nice to have a hammer with you just to equip it for a moment and use Might Blow for stacking boons such as might, stealth, and swiftness whenever necessary.


The damage on Staff is very low, especially on its autoattack. It has some uses e.g. open world/boss events for tagging mobs, stacking swiftness, healing nearby allies and applying might. In the PvE meta there is no place for staff when it comes to dealing damage. If there’s no other source of Might, you might want to quickly swap to staff before the fight and cast Empower, or if you lack Swiftness, use Symbol of Swiftness before skipping. Remember to swap back to your main weapons after you are done. If you insist on not using Staff at all, then you can also just use “Retreat!” for swiftness and aegis or put down a fire field (Hallowed Ground, Purging Flames) for might.


Whenever using Orb of Light, never detonate it as then it goes on 12seconds cooldown. If you let the Orb go through allies without activating the skill again, it will come off cooldown in 3 seconds.



The Shield is one of the most useless Guardian weapons in combat. It’s great for staying out of combat on skips though. Shield of Judgement gives a short duration aegis now which can be helpful.


Shield of Absorbtion is nice in situations where DPS doesn’t matter at all and you need every bit of projectile defense you can get like in the console room in the Underground Facility Fractal or while skipping in the Uncategorized Fractal. It is also useful in fight against Vale Guardian, as you can knock back Seekers.


For underwater combat, the Spear deals the most damage. You should swap to trident only if in need of support abilities or additional healing. For a spear rotation, use Zealot’s Flurry and the autoattack. Blind foes with Brilliance or pull them with Wrathful Grasp when needed.


And when you swap to Trident, remember to detonate Purify for double blast effect into proper fields.


The Guardian has a few different builds that you can use in various encounters. While Guardian builds are not as diverse as for example Elementalist builds, quite a few variations to the core build are available. Guardian traits have a few damage modifiers which you should almost always take take.

The build you want to use depends on whether you need condition removal, additional stability, or other small boosts, whether you can take a few risks to improve your DPS or want to take the easier and safer route to complete a dungeon.

The guardian has five Specializations and one Elite Specialization just as any other class:

  • Zeal is an offensive line which includes minor traits which improve the offensive use of symbols and major traits that support the use of the Greatsword, Scepter, and spirit weapons.
  • Radiance is another offensive line whose minor traits add bonuses to Virtue of Justice and conditions while major traits favor the use of one-handed weapons, the Torch, Signets and Burning.
  • Valor is a defensive line that is honestly pretty worthless in PvE as it offers you nothing but selfish survivability.
  • Honor is a supportive line which offers a mandatory trait for every PvE Hammer build, some support in form of shout cooldown and some survivability in form of vigor on crit.
  • Virtues is the last guardian trait line and focuses on utility. This trait line is considered to be the core guardian trait line and involves Consecrations as well as Virtues and is commonly used in the current dungeon meta due to the Unscathed Contender trait which increases your damage by 20% while under the effect of Aegis. It also gives Guardians very easy access to Condition Removal.
  • Dragonhunter is the first Elite Specialization the Guardian got and is one of the best lines in PvE in general. It offers a bunch of extra damage modifiers that are fairly easy to keep up, a lot of utility in form of new and (for the most part) improved virtues and more burst in form of traps.

Build and Variations for Dragonhunter

Greatsword/Sword Build

This is the remommended build for dungeons and low level fractals.

  • In Zeal you want Fiery Wrath for 7% more damage that is almost always up. As long as you are using Greatsword you definetly want Zealous Blade for a reliable 5% DPS modifier and the cooldown reduction on Greatsword. If you’re not using Greatsword, go ahead and use Kindled Zeal. In the grandmaster slot you will want to take Symbolic Avenger with pretty much any weapon.
  • In Virtues you usually take unscathed contender unless you need the extra support from Master of Concecrations. You should also take Absolute Resolution and Indomitable Courage since there really isnt much else anymore since the recent balance patch.
  • In Dragonhunter you should take Piercing Light as long as you are using a trap, if you are not using one, use Soaring Devestation as it is a DPS increase if you use it properly in your rotation. In the master slot you want to take Zealot’s Aggression most of the times. If you’re desperate for more support or you are fighting a boss that is literally immune to cripple like Lupicus you can take Bulwark instead. In the grandmaster slot we always take Big Game Hunter.


Scepter Build

This is the recommended build for solo stuff.

  • In Zeal you want Fiery Wrath for 7% more damage that is almost always up. As long as you are using Greatsword you definetly want Zealous Blade for a reliable 5% DPS modifier and the cooldown reduction on Greatsword. If you’re not using Greatsword, go ahead and use Kindled Zeal. In the grandmaster slot you will want to take Symbolic Avenger with pretty much any weapon.
  • In radiance you want to use Right-Hand Strength, Radiant Fire and Amplified Wrath in pretty much every situation
  • In Dragonhunter you should take Piercing Light as long as you are using a trap, if you are not using one, use Soaring Devestation as it is a DPS increase if you use it properly in your rotation. In the master slot you want to take Zealot’s Aggression most of the times. If you’re desperate for more support or you are fighting a boss that is literally immune to cripple like Lupicus you can take Bulwark instead. In the grandmaster slot we always take Big Game Hunter.


Hammer Build

This is the recommended build for high level fractals and raids.

For the hammer build you still want to run Dragonhunter as the DPS it gives you is just to big to give up. You basicly just replace Virtues with Honor. Just be sure to take Writ of Persistance since that is what makes Hammer useful.



Boons, Rotations & Inventory


Guardian has wide access to defensive boons. As mentioned earlier, you can easily apply Aegis to your party members using Virtue of Courage or “Retreat!”, with the Inspired Virtue trait (minor Virtues), Virtues also apply Might, Regeneration, and Protection, and – with the Virtue of Retribution trait – Retaliation as well. Hammer autoattack results in aoe permanent protection, the Focus and Mace have regeneration, and blinds on Virtue of Justice will help you avoid attacks on trash mobs.

Insofar as utility skills are concerned, as a Guardian you have access to party wide stability, protection and regeneration, “Save Yourselves!” grants multiple personal boons including Fury and Vigor. Also the “Feel My Wrath!” elite Shout grants Quickness and Fury. While using Boons in Hallowed Ground, their duration is increased by 20%.

The only thing that is missing is Might stacking. You might say that Guardian has access to 12 stacks of might using Empower on the Staff, but these stacks expire very quickly. It is much better to avoid using any light fields and focus on stacking might using blast finishers. In dungeons or fractals, keep your party composition in mind and remember to avoid using light fields before any fire field is applied, you might consider ignoring light fields at all especially with Elementalists in your party. If you want to blast a fire field, quickly swap to hammer for Mighty Blow or Focus for Shield of Wrath.

This video shows the difference between the Might applied by Empower and might stacked using blast finishers. If you stack before the fight, staff’s version is going to disappear very quickly, while Might from blasting fire fields should be enough for short encounters.



Open with Sword, put down Symbol of Blades, then swap to greatsword, use Whirling Wrath and all the other skills exept Symbol of Wrath which you save for when weapon swap is ready again. When that happens, use the symbol, use whirling wrath and swap to sword again. Use Symbol of Blades and autoattack until it’s up again. From there on just repeat from step one.


Open with Greatsword, use Symbol of Wrath and Whirling Wrath, then swap to Scepter and use Symbol of Punishment and Zealots Fire on cooldown.


Just don’t interupt your auto chain. Only use other skills or weaponsets for breakbars or if you need blocks to survive or open with Greatsword like in the scepter build.



The most efficient gear for dungeon runs is Berserker’s armor with Scholar runes. To maximize your damage you also want Berserker weapons and trinkets.On the hammer build you lose the Right-Hand Strength so the most efficient thing would be replacing your Berserker earrings with Assasings, but overall Berserker is the way to go. When starting out you can get Exotic versions, but for higher Fractals Ascended gear will help you survive Agony damage thanks to infusion slots. Using Berserker’s gear is the best thing you can do as a Guardian to help your party as your inbuilt defences are enough to keep your party alive in various encounters. If you are not really familiar with the content, consider getting Rune of the Ranger or if you do not have enough money go for Rune of the Flame Legion. Rune of Scholar’s 10% damage bonus, if maintained for at least a portion of the fight, is the best choice available and is most recommended.


The weapons you want to carry are definitely Greatsword, Longbow, Mace, Torch, Scepter, Hammer and Focus. You can take Sword which is useful for skipping thanks to Flashing Blade and Staff for stacking swiftness if needed. Hammer and Focus may work as blast finishers before encounters. Shield is really not used that much but if you really want you can of course have it in your inventory.

As far as weapons sigils are concerned, for night-time dungeons use Sigil of the Night and Sigil of Force/Slaying. For day-time dungeons, use Sigil of Force with Sigil of Accuracy. Just for the torch you should use air sigil since Right-Hand Strength gives you enough crit chance already. If you are learning the class and different encounters, you might want to equip a Sigil of Energy for dodge-heavy encounters.

Food & Nourishment

You should pick your food depending on the encounter and enemies you are fighting. Good general choices are Slices of Candied Dragon Roll/Omnomberry Pies/Omnomberry Ghosts mostly due to their lifesteal buff. It has 1 second of internal cooldown but it can help you in maintaining your Scholar Rune bonus. Cheap food alternatives you might consider are Plates of Steak and Asparagus or Experimental Remnant if you take advantage of its damage modifier (which you can’t really do if you’re using Longbow since true shot roots you).

For the best food available, use Bowls of Curry Butternut Squash Soup or Plate of Truffle Steak if you are not at 100% critical chance. Otherwise choose Bowl of Seaweed Salad if you meet the 100% critical chance cap and want to increase your damage output.

Your Utility Nourishment should always be the proper dungeon potion. To know what potion you need to have and which dungeon is day or night time I have prepared a small spreadsheet below.

In Fractals of the Mists and Raids use Sharpening Stones if there are no proper slaying potions. Use Fractal potions if possible – for most damage consider Large Mist Offensive Potion.


Dungeon name Day/Night Nourishment
AC Ascalonian Catacombs Night Sharpening stone of the best quality you can afford
CM Caudecus’s Manor Day Potion of Outlaw Slaying
TA Twilight Arbor Night Potion of Nightmare Court Slaying and Potion of Slaying Scarlet’s Armies for Aetherpath
SE Sorrow’s Embrace Night Potion of Inquest Slaying for Fergg path;
Potion of Dredge Slaying for Rasolov and Koptev paths;
Destroyer of the Worlds in Koptev path counts as destroyer
HotW Honor of the Waves Day The dungeon has a mix of Icebrood and Sons of Svanir (bosses) so use Potions of Svanir Slaying
CoF Citadel of Flame Night Potion of Flame Legion Slaying
CoE Crucible of Eternity Night The dungeon has a mix of all kinds of enemies;Alpha is Undead so use Potion of Undead Slaying
Arah The Ruined City of Arah Day Potion of Undead Slaying
Fractal Name
Day/Night Nourishment
Aquatic Ruins Fractal Sharpening stone of the best quality you can afford
Swampland Fractal Night Sharpening stone of the best quality you can afford
Uncategorized Fractal Day Sharpening stone of the best quality you can afford, from Old Tom on –  Potion of Inquest Slaying
Urban Battlegrounds Fractal Day Sharpening stone of the best quality you can afford
Molten Furnace Fractal, Molten Boss Fractal, Aetherblade Fractal, Mai Trin Boss Fractal Day Potion of Slaying Scarlet’s Armies
Snowblind Fractal Night Potion of Elemental Slaying for the Source, Potion of Sons of Svanir Slaying for the boss
Cliffside Fractal Day Potion of Outlaw Slaying
Underground Facility Fractal Night Potion of Dredge Slaying for everything but the final elemental boss
Volcanic Fractal Night Potion of Grawl Slaying for the grawls and either Potion of Demon Slaying for the boss or Potion of Elemental Slaying to get rid of the adds faster
Thaumanova Reactor Fractal Day Sharpening stone of the best quality you can afford
Solid Ocean Fractal Night Sharpening stone of the best quality you can afford


In your inventory you should definitely have Berserker weapons with specific sigils as suggested in the previous part of the guide. Moreover you should have food and nourishment which you can easily use during dungeon and fractal runs. Salvage kits come in handy when your inventory gets full.

Consumables worth mentioning

You can acquire various additional consumables that can be helpful in dungeons and fractals however they are not necessary to complete any content. Using them properly makes things like skipping or avoiding combat much easier. Consumables mentioned in the list are the most useful and commonly used ones, for a comprehensive list of these items see this guide.

  • Ash Legion Spy Kit – applies 10 seconds of camouflage that is cancelled if you move on a 60 second cooldown. It is useful when leaving combat, dropping aggro or standing on pressure plates in the Underground Facility Fractal.
  • Harpy Feathers – 3 second stealth on a 6 second cooldown. You can chain Harpy Feathers stealth with other stealth consumables in order to get long durations of stealth. This is very useful when skipping past groups of enemies.
  • Order of Whispers Spy Kit – 3 second stealth on a 60 second cooldown. Chained with Harpy Feathers (Feathers -> Spy Kit -> Feathers) allows you to obtain 9 seconds of stealth.
  • Fire Elemental Powder – summons an Ember to fight for you for 5 minutes or until it dies. It has a 30 minutes cooldown. Ember has decent DPS boost and is a good source of fire fields for your group. Embers can also be used to catch phase 1->2 transition Grub at Giganticus Lupicus.
  • Ogre Pet Whistle – summons an Ogre Pet to fight for you for 5 minutes or until it dies. It also has a 30 minutes cooldown. Offers a small DPS increase but can be used to catch transition Grub at Giganticus Lupicus too. It also acts as a stun breaker when used.
  • Golem in a Box – send out a long range mini golem that explodes on impact. Useful for pulling mobs from 1600 units.
  • Pot of Hylek Poison – this potion offers 2 skills, one which gives you 10 seconds of swiftness on a 15 second cooldown, and another which will destroy the bundle and place a poisonous AoE cloud. Useful for skipping when skills that give swiftness are on cooldown.



Virtues are abilities which apply continuous passive benefits to the guardian. When activated they grant an immediate buff to all nearby allies within 600 radius. However, activating one of them will disable its passive effect until that Virtue is recharged, each of them having independent cooldown.

First I will go into the Virtues of Core Guardian as everything that is true for them is also true for the virtues of Dragon Hunter


Virtue of Justice – burn foes every few attacks. Activate: You and your allies inflict burning on the next attack. Cooldown: 25 seconds.

This Virtue is affected by a few traits and is a very powerful skill as an active and passive. Justice is Blind adds Blindness to Virtue of Justice which helps to survive during encounters. It is renewed every time you kill a foe due to the Renewed Justice trait. The Burning it applies triggers our damage modifiers (Fiery Wrath and Radiant Power and Amplified Wrath). Together with the Inspired Virtue trait, Virtue of Justice applies 3 stacks of Might to your allies. It can target up to five foes and is excellent for fighting trash mobs – not only do you blind them, but also stack Vulnerability (with Binding Jeopardy trait), Burning and give Might to your teammates while also refreshing each time you kill a mob. During long encounters or solo fights it is recommended not to activate Virtue of Justice and benefit only from its passive not to lose DPS.

Virtue of Resolve – regenerates health. Activate: Heal yourself and nearby allies. Cooldown: 50 seconds.

Virtue of Resolve is another very strong guardian ability. The passive on its own will help you stay above 90% health to keep up the Scholar rune bonus and its active can save your allies in dangerous situations. With Inspired Virtues it also gives regeneration. When traited with Absolute Resolution, Virtue of Resolve removes up to three conditions from five allies (including the Guardian) within radius and its passive regeneration is stronger by 25%. This skill is really a life saver when used wisely.

Virtue of Courage – grants Aegis every forty seconds. Activate: Grant aegis to yourself and nearby allies. Cooldown: 75 seconds.

Last but not least, Virtue of Courage is one of the Guardian’s most noticeable skills thanks to its active which applies aegis to your party. If you know boss animations and can predict powerful enemy attacks, applying Aegis in time can be mean the difference between a success and wipe.

This is very true when for fights such as Giganticus Lupicus and its kick skill. Aegis it gives lasts for 25 seconds so even if one of your party members is not immediately hit with an attack, the block will still last for a large portion of the fight. Virtue of Courage can also apply protection with the Inspired Virtue trait which can help mitigate some damage and get out of dangerous situations. You can activate it while being knocked down or stunned to prevent getting hit while under a control effect. What is more, if you take the Indomitable Courage trait Virtue of Courage will apply party wide stability which is very useful for skips or situations where you need more crowd control protection.

Dragonhunter Virtues

Spear of Justice

Both the passive and the active effect of this skill greatly influence your DPS. The passive effect helps with keeping up Fiery Wrath and Zealot’s Aggression, the active one gives you another 10% damage modifier thanks to Big Game Hunter and also makes it possible for you to easily stack up to 25 vulnerability with whirling wrath and proccesion of blades. If you have somebody else in your party applying a lot of cripple you can pretty much spam it, use it before you use Whirling Wrath or True Shot if possible. If you have nobody in your party applying cripple except for you, just keep it passive.

Wings of Resolve

The passive effect is pretty whatever, it can help keeping up your Scholar buff in some situations. The active effect however is pretty powerful. Even in zerker gear it heals everybody in a 240 radius around you for almost 4k. Make sure to hit it on allies who are not full HP if you use it and possibly land it on enemies if you are using Soaring Devestation. Be aware of the 1 second cast time though.

Shield of Courage

The active effect of this skill is one of the most powerful defensive skills in the game, letting you block any blockable attack from the front for you and your allies for 5 seconds or even 7 seconds when traited. Make sure not to waste this skill as it has a huge cooldown. Also be aware that it has a tiny casttime which means that it can possibly get interupted if you’re unlucky and will even go on full cooldown in this case if you have Indomitable Courage equiped.

Elite Skills

Guardian has access to four Elite skills which include a powerful offensive Shout, a Signet that supports you during fights and can be activated as a life saver, a trap with heavy CC and last but not least a Meditation skill – Renewed Focus – which refreshes your Virtues and grants invulnerability.

“Feel My Wrath!” – a shout that grants 10 seconds of fury and 5 seconds of quickness to nearby allies on a 30 seconds cooldown. This shout replaced Tome of Wrath – an offensive tome which wasn’t really used in the Dungeon meta due to its low damage. With it’s short cooldown you can use it frequently, preferably for every encounter. Currently this is the most widely used elite skill that Guardian has to offer as it speeds up both boss and trash fights.

Renewed Focus – a 3 second channel which grants you invulnerability to all attacks and recharges your Virtues. It can be used to avoid incoming damage, powerful attacks, to keep you out of combat while skipping, or simply to recharge your Virtues. Knowing how to make the most of it will greatly improve your performance as a Guardian. Virtue of Courage benefits the most from Renewed Focus as it enables you to use one more Aegis in an encounter (Retreat -> Virtue of Courage -> Renewed Focus -> Virtue of Courage – > Retreat). It’s often used while fighting bosses to maintain a blocking rotation. Moreover, after the channel of that elite skill is finished, it will immediately apply aegis to your character (as Virtue of Courage is renewed) which can help you get out of difficult situations. It also has uses in condition-heavy locations as it will recharge your Virtue of Resolve allowing you to cleanse three more conditions from each party member. And as mentioned earlier, keep in mind that Renewed Focus will grant you total invulnerability to any attacks so don’t hesitate to use it when you are about to die. Be aware that dodging during the channel will cancel the invulnerability and your Virtues will not be recharged

Signet of Courage – a signet that periodically heals allies in the area around you while in combat and when used, heals nearby allies to 100% health. It has a long casting time (4¼) but will heal everyone to 100% health, unaffected by negative healing modifiers such as Poison and Agony. The other downside besides long casting time is that moving while casting will cancel the skill, setting the recharge to 4 seconds. Signet of Courage replaced Tome of Courage which was a tome that granted you powerful support abilities, but besides that 100% heal had little to offer. Signet of Courage is sometimes used when fighting Old Tom in the Uncategorized Fractal in higher level fractals.

Dragon’s Maw – a trap that does some decent initial damage and traps enemies after it is triggered for 6 seconds. It also slows targets inside of it. It’s handy against harder trash groups where CC is needed like high level Urban Battleground or Cliffside Fractals or on bosses when you are really desperate for CC against breakbars.

Healing Skills

The Guardian has access to four class-specific healing skills but the main one you will use in dungeons and fractals is Shelter.

Shelter – is one of the best guardian heals available thanks to its block. Although the cast time of Shelter is 1¼ seconds, the blocking effect will last for the full 2 seconds listed in its tooltip. Generally it will keep blocking for a short time even after the casting of the heal. As far as healing goes, it heals for a moderate amount of 4000-5000 which is enough as with the meta DPS guardian build and Berserker gear your maximum health should be around 11000. Healing occurs at the end of the cast. If Shelter is interrupted by an unblockable attack or by dodging, it will go on a full recharge and you won’t be healed. This skill is often used to just block powerful attacks.

Purification – has insane healing per second if traited with Piercing Light so you should consider running it if there is not much to block or sustain is more important than blocks.

Signet of Resolve – has a passive effect that removes one condition every 10 seconds from you and a very strong heal of around 8000 on activation. This is more or less 70% of your maximum health. There are few situations where it is best to actually use Signet of Resolve instead of Shelter e.g. bringing Corrupted Light to open doors in Arah: Forgotten path (see video at Merciful Intervention). Remember that you lose signet’s passive when activating heal.

Litany of Wrath – another healing skill which is also used only in specific encounters in the dungeon meta. It heals you for a small amount and then, for a brief time of 6 seconds, heals based on the percentage of all damage dealt to enemies (conditions and retaliation damage included). I’d recommend bringing Litany of Wrath when fighting Crystalline Entities in Arah: Jotun path as you will deal greatly increased damage with more stacks of green light debuff thus healing yourself for more.

Utility Skills

The Guardian has access to many very useful utility skills. Sometimes you might think that you need one more slot to actually have everything that is needed for a specific fight. The most commonly used utilities are “Retreat!”, “Stand Your Ground!” and Wall of Reflection, though the Guardian has access to many more utilities that are just as useful, if not better in certain situations. Always swap your utilities depending on the encounter in order to get through content smoother and faster.

Utility skills are divided into five types:

  • Consecrations
  • Mediations
  • Shouts
  • Signets
  • Spirit weapons


They involve placing helpful effects on the ground. Consecrations are affected by the Virtues trait line, Master of Consecration increases duration and reduces recharge.

Hallowed Ground

Hallowed Ground creates a Consecration on the ground which pulses ten times through its 10 seconds duration, granting allies inside it 2 seconds of Stability and Boon Duration increase of 20% on each pulse. It is also a fire field, one of the longest that the Guardian can use but mainly bring Hallowed Ground when stability is needed.

Purging Flames

Purging Flames creates a ring of fire that lasts for 5 seconds, burning foes and removing three conditions from allies inside. It is worth using in condition heavy encounters or if you don’t have the Absolute Resolution trait. Purging Flames is the second fire field which you can use at the beginning of the fight to help stack might at a boss.


Form a protective healing shelter for allies that foes and projectiles cannot enter. It has a very small range but is perfect for keeping mobs constantly stunned when used against a wall to protect your party when dealing damage. Very powerful guardian consecration with a long cooldown.

Wall of Reflection

This is what makes the Guardian most useful in projectile heavy encounters and is one of the most recognizable guardian skills. It protects the targeted area with a wall that reflects projectiles. Reflect damage is affected by all damage modifiers, Ferocity and Critical Chance. It lasts for only 10 seconds with a 40 second cooldown so it is recommended to take the Master of Consecrations trait when you want to make sure the wall will be off cooldown for every encounter. Although not included in the in-game tooltip, it has a ¼ delay on activation.

The following videos show the use of Wall of Reflection during the Champion Ettin and Giganticus Lupicus fights.

When reflecting Lupicus I channeled Renewed Focus to keep my aegis for Unscathed Contender’s 20% damage buff. You can also see that “Retreat!” blocked Lupi kick’s heavy damage and knockback.


Meditations include skills with teleportation, condition removal, healing and AoE damage. Current PvE dungeon builds have other, more optimal ways to remove conditions or deal damage so the only thing I will focus on are teleportations. When traited, Meditations can grant Fury, heal and recharge faster but that offers more benefits in PvP modes. In PvE those buffs can be obtained by sharing other classes’ offensive boons.

Judge’s Intervention

Teleport to your target and burn nearby foes dealing low damage. This skill has a range of 1200 and breaks stuns when used. It can be used while out of range and will act as blink forward. Useful for mobility e.g. delivering Blood of the Ancients to the Jotun NPC in Arah after the Ancient Ooze fight.

Merciful Intervention

Teleport to a nearby ally with the lowest health and create a healing area around them. Merciful Intervention has a range of 1200 just as Judge’s Intervention but doesn’t break stuns. That teleport may also be used to cover distance while carrying a bundle e.g. bringing Corrupted Light to open doors in Arah: Forgotten path.


Shouts are skills that affect a wide area applying support bonuses to your allies. They have instant cast times and can be used during other skills.

“Hold the Line!”

Grants protection and regeneration to allies. This shout can have some uses in Fractals of the Mists but don’t bother taking it into dungeons.


Grants aegis and swiftness to up to five allies (including the caster) that last for 20 seconds. It is often used for mobility and during skipping to provide party wide blocks. Contrary to its name, in the dungeon meta, “Retreat!” is used in an offensive way to get back to the fight and continue to block enemies attacks. As mentioned in the Virtues section, you can chain blocks up to three times. Start with “Retreat!”, then Virtue of Courage, Renewed Focus, another Virtue of Courage and wait for “Retreat!” to come off cooldown.

“Save Yourselves!”

Draws conditions from nearby allies to yourself and grants multiple boons for a short duration. This skill is very useful as it acts as a stun breaker, removes all conditions from allies and gives you Fury. You can use it to get more swiftness during skips (chained with “Retreat!”).

“Stand your Ground!”

Grants 5 seconds of stability to yourself and allies. It has a very short cooldown of 30 seconds which makes the Guardian the class with the easiest access to stability.

As it is the last utility skill that provides party wide stability, this video will show how to effectively get through difficult skips when it is really needed for all party members to survive, e.g. the skip from Alphard to Brie.


Signets grant passive effects while equipped and additional benefits when activated. When the signet is recharging, you lose the benefits of its passive effects. Guardian’s signets overall are not as useful in the current dungeon meta as they mostly focus on increasing your defensive stats.

Bane Signet

This signet is really worth mentioning due to its offensive passive, and should be taken when you don’t really need any other utility skill. It boosts up your Power by 180 at level 80. You will use this skill rather often when you get more experienced with the class and dungeon encounters.

Signet of Judgment

Signet of Judgment may be used in difficult trash mobs in high level Fractals because its active applies 5 seconds of AoE Weakness to nearby foes. It has a radius of 600 which makes it nice when playing with hammer. Also acts as a stun breaker and the signet’s passive will help you endure the first strike of your enemy. Consider using it in e.g. Urban Battlegrounds Fractal.

Spirit Weapons

These are unique guardian ghostly weapons which unfortunately really need some buffing as in their current state they are most of the time useless and outperformed by other more powerful utility skills. They are summoned for a set duration to automatically attack enemies and provide various defences. They can be destroyed early by activating their own special ability. They start recharging once they disappear. You can have up to three active spirit weapons which act as any other in-game summons. List of spirit weapons includes:

  • Bow of Truth – shoots healing arrows which remove conditions from allies, provides an AoE heal when activated. Is useful in situations where you would also consider taking Signet of Courage, for example Old Tom fight.
  • Hammer of Wisdom – deals damage and knockbacks at the end of its autoattack chain, leaps to its target and knocks it down for 3 seconds when activated. Activation of Hammer of Wisdom also works as blast. Not really used as you want your enemies to stack instead of pushing them away from party and if you need to knock someone down, you can always use Bane Signet which is more reliable.
  • Sword of Justice – deals low DPS and often dies quickly, when activated strikes implying aoe damage in small radius and implying 5 stacks of Vulnerability. If you want to increase your DPS, take Bane Signet instead.
  • Shield of the Avenger – a shield follows guardian and periodically generates a field that destroys projectiles. It applies AoE Weakness when activated and works as a stun breaker as well. What’s new is that Shield of the Avenger active grants aegis. So this is another block that guardian can use during fight with projectile defense. It is actually one of the best spirit weapons and has many uses in different dungeon and fractal encounters.

Shield of the Avenger

As noted earlier it provides a shield that destroys projectiles around you. It can be chained with Wall of Reflection and even Sanctuary for longer projectile defence (Wall of Reflection -> Shield of the Avenger -> Wall of Reflection). It is mostly used in projectile heavy fights e.g. harpies in Uncategorized Fractal; Alphard, Serpent of the Waves in Arah: Mursaat path. At Alphard you can prevent the shield from being destroyed by Big Ol’ Bomb if you apply aegis to the summon. Shield of the Avenger also applies aegis to party members making it even better.

This video shows how you can effectively chain your Wall of Reflection, Shield of the Avenger, “Stand Your Ground!”, Virtue of Courage and “Retreat!” to get through the harpies in Uncategorized Fractal.


Procession of Blades

This is a very high damage utility on bosses that don’t move much. You should use it when you have a free slot for DPS and you already have Bane Signet on your bar. It has a small delay to it so always try to put it down before you use your symbols or your Spear of Justice.

Test of Faith

When bosses move a lot this trap is quite a bit stronger than Procession of Blades. It has some decent intial damage when you put it down and some good damage when enemies walk over the ring. A good example for this trap being the better choice would be Vale Guardian that is basicly constantly on the move and wouldn’t get hit by Proccession of Blades a lot. It also helps keeping up cripple for Zealot’s Aggression. On a side not it’s also unblockable which can be really useful against blocking enemies like the golems in the Aetherblade Fractal.

About the author

Bordy has been an avid Guild Wars 2 player and a diehard guardian since release. He is an officer and one of the main guardians in Retaliate [rT], a well-known EU high-end PvE guild that currently holds a number of dungeon speedclear records and is home to many skilled group and solo players. He conducts trials for guardian players willing to join the guild and, as an Aetherpath enthusiast, has taken part in its current restricted record. When it comes to records – he killed Lupicus in 2,8 seconds. In addition, he possibly holds the current record for the most money flushed down the Mystic Toilet. Any comments, suggestions and critique related to the guide are much appreciated. You can post them in the comments below or just send them via in-game mail at Bordy.3024.

  • Myself

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  • Ranique

    Some remarks:

    I agree that guards should concentrate on melee weapons. But having a ranged weapon in your secondary slot can be a lifesaver. When things go bad and all your protection ends on cooldown, being able to go ranged is very good. Despite that, the most important GS skills are on low cooldown, having more then enough dps and no need to go to the second slot.

    You didn’t list staff in the possible weapons. I would urge you to do so. Specially after some debates I took part in, it is more and more accepted. The staff is udnervalued cause due to it’s short range, it is easy to miss, and cause skill 1 is an aoe, it doesn’t say you are out of range. That means people think they deal little damage, butactually they are just out of range. The DPS is actually higher (even at single target) then scepter-focus. The speedboost and line of warding are very usefull in dungeons when skipping foes. It is also a great opportunity to explai nthe pro’s and cons of empower. This skill is often mistaken as an excellent way of stackingmight. unfortunally, it is short duration might. Due to the max of 25 stacks, you can easily override long lasting might stacks with your short lasting stacks. This is something you need be aware of and always check when using the skill. The other side is also often forgotten. It is, afaik, the best party wide direct heal. This makes the staff maybe the most difficult weapon to use, but also one of the better.

    Renewed focus: When traited with Absolute Resolution, this skill can be used to have the Virtue of resolve ready again to clean again up to 3 conditions from up to 5 allies. This basicly means you can remove a total of 30 conditions within 3 seconds time.

    Healingskill. I disagree with you that shelter is better in dungeons, the 2 second block doesn’t make up for the extra amount of healing from signet of resolve. Also the fact that it isn’t an instant heal, can be pretty nasty if you need it quick due to heavy conditions. It is a personal preference, but I would atleast put them both on par with eachother. (but personally I prefer signet of resolve).

    Shouts: in the shouts segment I think it is notable to add that with the trait pure of voice, activating a shout will transfer one condition on all allies to one specifick boon that is the opposite of the condition For example, when you are blined, and a guard with this trait uses it, it is transfered to Fury (so instead of missing you have a higher change to hit critical), This doesn’t work for savce yourselfes, cause it allready removes conditions from allies.

    All in all a great guide. on some points a bit narrow minded, but hopefully my additions help.

    • anon

      Its not undervalued due to short range, its undervalued because its damage is incredibly low – especially for single targets. Scepter/foci does far more damage as ranger weapon. The speed boost is iffy in dungeons, the symbol puts you in combat if it hits anything so you’re better off using Retreat if thats what you’re really after. He explained the limitation of staff might in his guide already. It is definitely not the best party wide direct heal.

      Staff has okay utility but its more useful as an open world zerg / wvw weapon. This is a dungeon guide for the class. Staff ranges from niche – useless in most pve content.

      • Ranique

        The damage being extremely low is a misconception. The raw numbers are actually higher then that off the scepter/focus combi. Symbol of wrath pulses 5 times 925 aoe dps (up to 5 targets max).That is good dps in stacked dungeon fights. Staff 2, is very tricky at ranged, cause the projectile is hard to spot in fights with lot of other graphical effects. But again, at melee range, just double click to get the dps AND healing from the skill.

        Empower is the best party wide direct heal. But as said, people need to consider the price (destructing the stacks of might).

        Also, although the tooltip doesn’t say so, but the line of warding is a light field. This means that together with the symbol, it creates two lightfields covering eachother. when the right blast is used (e.g. leap of faith) this means 10 seconds of retaliation.

        I do a lot of dungeon pugs and I do switch to scepter/focus for some fights, but for general purpose, I really prefer the staff as my secondary weapon. It compliments much more with my melee weapon and when switching to it, it gives very good effects for good damage, and party healing.

        • anon

          Its not a misconception, its a fact. The single target dps of scepter AA with smite going are several times more than anything a staff could do.

          Its not the best party wide direct heal. Wrecking good might stacks just makes it worse. (in wvw with a wvw build is another thing entirely though)

          Putting down several light fields for the purpose of retal isnt something thats needed or wanted in PVE dungeons.

          Its an awful dungeon weapon for all but very niche situations. If I’m with a good group we usually wont care about carrying a staff guardian but if anything even remotely wrong happens I guarantee you’ll be insta-kicked from a group.

          I’m not saying that to be rude, but I’ve seen you post lots of disinformation before on dulfy and considering this guide is completely focus’d on dps speedruns, you’re putting out some bad information for people looking to improve.

          • Ranique

            The numbers don’t lie. Smite is good, but it is the only good skill. All together, staff is having more dps/second potential then scepter/focus. Scepter focus is better for long range, but has zero benefit in melee situations (e.g. when stacked). As the guide is saying, it is better to stay melee all the time. With scepter focus you got nothing to offer when in melee. While staff can go ranged, but still compliments a melee style a lot more.

            I made the point bout empower. It is the main reason why any good guardian guide needs the staff and needs people to explain. The numbers bout the heal of empower do not lie. Regen is better boon to heal, but from the direct group wide heals, empower is the best.

            But clearly you want to stay narrowminded and ignorant. Go ahead and play with your subpar weaponset. I know better.I had it with all the shit people are shouting. If you don’t want to try it out and just talk the same shit others are talking without actually trying things out (I bet you are one of those people who hasnt even unlocked the staff skills!).

            • Sty

              Well, clearly you two are not talking about the same numbers. Maybe you should both write the rotations you use with your weapon sets and the actual dps numbers you obtain in order to provide a true comparison and not only shady insulting arguments.

              • anon

                lol, okay. Lets assume a 30 second parse of raw weapon numbers only, since we’re using ranged weapons this wont be a fast kill.

                Staff autos assuming you’re using other damage abilities on CD = 12210
                Staff 2 assuming you use on CD, He says he uses the detonate = 1330
                Staff 3 assuming a boss we’re fighting stays in both for full dur = 7400
                Thats 20940 over 30 seconds and -1110 if he uses empower

                Scepter auto assuming using other abilities on CD = 25088
                Scepter 2 assuming boss we’re fighting stays in for full durations = 8800
                Considering I’m making the assumption boss stays in our dps fields full duration I wont even cast scepter 3, but realistically scepter would get more dps because of the practicality of having an imob
                Foci 4 will likely only bounce on enemies twice and friends twice = 302
                Foci 5 explodes = 756
                Thats 35026 over 30 seconds and not counting usefulness of blocks, cleanses, blinds, regen, or effects of blasting in a field thats actually useful (fire/water)

                Im not sure why hes talking about ‘melee situations’ either, they both do the same dps in melee or range which still benefits the scepter/foci, but then.. if you’re using either of these weapons in melee you’re doing it wrong already.

                I said it has its niche uses in PVE, but overall staff should never be a default weapon in dungeons. Its a great weapon for open world / wvw but thats not what the guide is about. Whatevs, this guy is already accusing me of not unlocking staff abilities even though I’ve stated where the weapon is actually useful, but then.. numbers and stuff >_>

  • Super Engie

    Good guide, though all builds are zerker for this PvE series. Not necessarily, all players will go with zerker stats. It really depends on playstyle.

    Waiting Engineer guide.

  • dave

    I think these guides are great if you have a very organised party with optimised builds working together, but I don’t think they would work for pick up group or casual groups (less experienced) which is probably the case for most of us 99% of the time. From my experience I think these builds would be a bit to squishy for a casual run and you might have a hard time, maybe something to consider when putting up builds. but yeah thanks for the work guys these are very interesting and good if you have a pro team.

    • Bordy

      For pugs I’d really recommend trying 2-5-0-2-5 (gs/sword) for Dungeons and 3-5-0-4-2 (hammer/gs) for Fractals. These builds work pretty well with unorganised groups.
      When playing Guardian, it’s mostly up to your experience and level of skill play rather than other players though good party members help a lot.

  • Aruthawolf

    The one point I would comment on is everyone’s dismissal of Torch as an offhand. In the past 3 months I have been using it more and have found it very powerful.
    The Focus would be superior for trash where cooldowns would not matter, but Focus skills have 25, 45 second cooldowns while Torch skills have nice 15, 15 second cooldowns matching with Zealot’s Defence.
    From personal experience recently I see that T4, T5 raw damage is only slightly below S3 and add a bit more mid range damage attacks for when you have to move out of aoes.
    This might come from my dislike of autoattcking ever, and the torch skills fill in that downtime once you swap to sword, since they are available every time you swap instead of 25 & 45 second cooldowns.

    Also one question given a boss where you need nothing, not condi removal, not reflect, not stability, what would be the optimal utilities for pure damage? (eg. end boss of cof 1)
    Personally I still use Bane Signet, Sword of Justice, Purging Flames.

    • aruthawolf

      PS. I really hope they announce that we can use utilities and virtues in tomes this feature pack.

      • Bordy

        Rework of Tomes is something I’m really looking forward, as well as being able to use utilities and virtues when they are up 😉

    • Bordy

      Hi! Thanks for comment.
      So… about torch, #4 is really nice damage boost but #5 stops your aa and results in DPS loss (especially if you miss it). Focus #4 stacks some vuln, blinds, removes conditions and #5 offers both damage and survivability, and a blast finisher. That’s why it’s that much superior.
      As far as damage is concerned, I’d really recommend autoattacking on sword. Damage is just too good.

      For end boss of cof p1 it depends if its party kill or solo. As you want pure damage these are solo utilities I would use: Bane Signet, Save Youselves, Wall of Reflection (you can reflect Shock Wave). For party consider Hallowed Ground.

      • aruthawolf

        Thank you for the reply, I guess I will have to give Focus more of a chance.
        Is Save Yourself a dps increase over something with straight damage like Sword of Justice? Considering SY is only 1/10 uptime of 1 might and fury buffs.

        • Bordy

          Torch has some uses in solo/duo scenarios when a player is experienced and knows what he wants to achieve but in general dungeoning and fractals I’d really stay with Focus.
          Save Yourselves boosts up your Wall of Reflection damage (Fury + if using Power of the Virtuous trait). Summons like Sword of Justice tend to easily die from aoe and then their dmg is lost – especially that will happen at endboss of cof p1. They also have cooldown so it’s not really like they will do constant damage through whole fight. Fury will increase your weapon damage too and just in case work as stun breaker (if e.g. you get knocked down at cof p1 endboss by crystal).

          • aruthawolf

            Thanks I think the point is always the utility will outweigh the potential tiny dps provided by other skills, well I thank you again, you know your stuff, good luck.

            • Bordy

              Made a kill of that boss so you can take a look at it. I love visual information.
              Could have been better/faster/whatever but as you can see he didn’t reset in proper spawn location and I just wanted to do the vid. Thanks and have fun in game 🙂

  • Photon

    This is a pretty good guide. The builds are a good mixture between support/offensiveness and the skill explanation and choices are well presented. I actually run 6/6/0/2/0 and have no problems in dungeons, but will switch to some of the builds above in high level fractals and arah.

    Like all previous guide, the only concern I have is with the theorycrafting behind the claims. It would be fantastic to have some math included when dealing with uptimes, proc redundancies, crit chance to power breakeven points etc.

    But overall this will be very helpful for new and seasoned players a like.

  • Barthus

    I liked some of the guides on Dulfy, but this one really falls short. It’s way too focused on DPS. Sure, the Guardian can be a DPS monster, but its support and healing are too important for a balanced group to ignore as even a possibility of being the focus. Half of this guide’s “boons” section is about might, like a good group can’t stack might without the Guardian.

    • RabidCoqui

      Because DPS is what’s needed in the game if you’re going for fast dungeons runs. Every player in the group has to build first and foremost for DPS and then maybe have a few tone it down a notch for some survival if you think too squishy as a group. Keep in mind what these guides are. They’re based on speed runs. They’re not saying that it’s this or the highway, but if looking for fastest runs then this is pretty much what you go with.

    • Bordy

      Healing that Guardian can provide is really low, the sources are mace and staff that have little to offer thus mostly Virtue of Resolve acts as lifesaver if you want to heal someone. All heals scale horribly with Healing Power so if your party will get hit for 6k instead of healing it, you should try to BLOCK that powerful attack the next time it strikes. That is what Guardian is supposed to be.
      If you really need some support, your team should focus on blasting Water Fields to create AoE healing or you might consider getting Tome of Courage for full party wide heal, although I’d recommend (especially for new guardian players) sticking to Renewed Focus.
      I wanted to really point it out that the defences Guardian has, are enough for having smooth and quick runs. There is really no need to go into stats such as Toughness, Vitality or Healing Power in PvE.
      If Guardian was a ‘holy-trinity’ monk type I’d really consider creating ‘support and healing’ section but other classes like Ele (simply with water attunament on staff) or Ranger (just by using Healing Spring) can provide much more healing, including condition removal and water fields.

      • Barthus

        Let me start by saying that the title of this article is:

        GW2 Guardian PvE Class Guide by Bordy

        What you actually wrote, however, is a guide to speed-running Dungeons. Change the title and there’s no problem.

        I never argued that blocking wasn’t important, but the Guardian has so many opportunities to heal without sacrificing too much DPS (Selfless Daring, Virtue of Resolve, various symbols, etc.). Think of it also as another regen — a way to guard against spike damage by keeping. Otherwise, you miss out on the fundamental truth that DPS (or healing per second) is usually considered an average instead of peaks and troughs.

        For (a simplified) example of burst healing vs healing over time:

        A player has a total HP is 15000. This player is being attacked by an enemy doing 3000 DPS. The player also has an ally guardian healing them.

        Scenario 1, constant DPS being done to character. Each second is separated by a “+”. d=damage h=healing. Average healing (HPS) is 1000, but in spike healing.

        (3000d) = 12000hp
        + (3000d) = 9000hp
        + (3000d) 6000h = 12000hp
        + (3000d) =9000hp
        + (3000d) =6000hp
        + (3000d) =3000hp
        + (3000d) Downed in 7 seconds

        Scenario 2, constant DPS. Average healing (HPS) is 1000, over time.

        (3000d) 1000h =13000hp
        + (3000d) 1000h =11000hp
        + (3000d) 1000h =9000hp
        + (3000d) 1000h =7000hp
        + (3000d) 1000h =5000hp
        + (3000d) 1000h =3000hp
        + (3000d) 1000h =1000hp
        + (3000d) Downed in 8 seconds

        Now, I know this example doesn’t nearly cover the real math, and I don’t assume that most people can’t grasp this already, but on average, healing over time is superior. That extra second of being alive could be enough time to kill an enemy, or have one’s own healing skill off cooldown. Guardians have many ways of doing bits of healing here and there. Not to mention, full healing Elementalists aren’t very good in dungeons, and Rangers’ Healing Spring is an immobile field casted by a class that (in many situations) isn’t attacking at the same distance as a Guardian. There aren’t many water fields in the game at all, really!

        Your response also suggests that you misunderstand that when I said support, I didn’t mean just healing. You suggest water fields for AoE healing or Tome of Courage for full party wide heals. What about boons? Your entire guide doesn’t even mention Pure of Voice, which affects all shouts by having conditions converted to boons. This is MASSIVE support, especially with 3 shouts (good source of stun breaks) and Superior Aura (Reduce recharge rates on shouts by 20%). If those shouts give boons as well (and of course they do), that’s a steady stream of Altruistic Healing, should a Guardian have that as well. Whether or not AH itself is a “crutch”, Might of the Protector and a healthy amount of Toughness (how much DPS can you do if you’re dead?) and Ferocity are welcomed if someone wants a more survivable build.

        All in all, your guide is wonderful for running dungeons in highly specialized groups. Most people who play PvE, however, hardly find themselves in a speed-running dungeon group. PvE players are sometimes solo, sometimes in huge zergs.

        Not everybody reads guides (or if they do, they don’t want to completely change their playing style). They don’t put a ton of thought into their build, but they still want to play dungeons. That won’t change. Most PvE players also like to play WvW sometimes without changing all their stats. I could go on.

        It’s good to put your ideal builds, but it’s not a thorough PvE guide. The Guardian has many viable builds with different viable play-styles. That said, what you already have is very good! I just encourage you to expand upon it.

        • aruthawolf

          “This is the seventh of a series of GW2 class guides written by members of [rT], a European dungeon speed clearing guild”
          I know this doesn’t state that the guide will be for speed running things only but if you looked at any of the others you would have known what sort of content to expect here.
          As I said in a comment above, full dps guardians nearly never get guides to themselves and while your stratagy might be optimal for PUGs and wider ranges of content again these people were given the tast of writing what they know, which is speed running dungeons.

          • Barthus

            If a dungeon speed clearing guild wants to write guides on speed clearing dungeons, they should say so. What if some people wanted to make real comprehensive PvE guides for Dulfy? It would be confusing. Were they “given” the task, or did they offer to do it? I don’t think they’re employed by dulfy.

            As for dps Guardian guides… I’ve seen plenty of them out there, just google “GW2 Guardian DPS”

      • Fashion Mage

        Off the top of my head (not using healing power or Runes of the Monk):
        – Healing Breeze by itself is capable of outhealing around 5 water blasts
        – Every Orb of Light detonation is about as strong as a water blast
        – Empower is like 1 or 2 water blasts
        – Bow of Truth’s activation is about 1~ water blast (4 blasts with high healing power).
        – And then there’s Tome of Courage which provides an enormous amount of healing just with Heal Area.

        With high healing power, those heals are about 2x or 1.5x stronger. Having high healing power isn’t too much of an offensive stat loss either, with the use of zealot gear.

        Mace healing is terrible so I’m not even going to include it. Point is, a guardian’s healing is pretty good, even if said guardian just takes Healing Breeze or Tome of Courage. In fact guardian healing is by far the most powerful in the game if one specs for it, assuming tons of people don’t blow all their blast finishers on a water field. This healing also comes coupled with the guardian’s strong non-healing defensive abilities.

        Personally I’d rather use a bunch of blast finishers on fire fields than waste them all on water fields anyway.

        Ultimately however, the guardian’s raw protective abilities are usually enough in most dungeons. I take Healing Breeze anyway though. It’s a very underrated heal.

    • Jon

      U are wrong. If u wanna an healer, you can take an elementalist or a necromancer. They heal powerful then guardian. GUARDIAN HAVE TO PROTECT, but this work dont need an altruistic armor.

  • Tenchu

    I find your lack of an Altruistic Healing build… Disturbing.

    • Ars Valde

      Altruistic healing is a crutch for new players. Just like any class, you start with a lot of survivability tools and once you grow accustom to the game you discard them in favor of moving faster and playing more efficient as a progression of your skill with the class.

      • Tiki

        ‘For new players.’ My ass. 2 years of gw2 and i’ve tried lots of builds on my guardian, but none, i repeat, _none_ of them are as good as a full supporter. 🙂 Just go back to playing your warrior and keep your silly opinions about the best class in game to yourself. Ty. <3

        • Ars Valde

          Should I hold a mirror up for you? The reason full support is not necessary is because you can support AND DPS at the same time. I bring nearly as good of support as you, but the kicker is that for coordinated groups they don’t -need- that extra support. In a perfect world every class is viable in every style of play, but for minmaxing most players know the fight. They know when to dodge and how to keep themselves up. When you hit that point that support becomes redundant and the only logical conclusion is to turn it into more damage. That’s why you see such a strong focus on ‘learning your class’ before transitioning to full zerks. I’ve been playing Zerks guardian for 2 years and would -never- go back to full support. A waste of a slot for any group that has half a clue.

          So please. Keep your opinions to yourself 🙂

    • Bordy

      This is guide how to effectively play Guardian in current PvE meta, mostly dungeons & fractals and is (as every guide) for people that would rather like learn and improve. There is no place for AH.

      • Tenchu

        Really, because I use an off-tank AH build and do all of the high level dungeons, fractals quite fast without sacrificing survivability and team utility. The skill synergy mixed with the inherent features of the class lend to strengthening it as a generalist build which means I can use any weapon set on the fly without having to screw around with my traits. It also transitions to both WvW and sPvP quite effectively.

        The strength of the Guardian lies in empowering your allies and being able to maintain damage without worrying about everyone dying randomly. Adaptation is also one of those sweet class features.

        If you wanted a damage class play a class where control and utility aren’t the underlying themes. Just because you can put damage on anything doesnt mean it compliments the features of the class in the best way.

        I mean you can bank on your allies having a flawless understanding of the mechanics in the game, but ultimately you’re going to encounter more players that are lacking than not and being able to make up for that is better than the party wiping out.

        Altruistic Healing Offensive Tank fills any role better because it compliments any team composition. I agree in general that healing ratios are trash and that a pure healing build is useless, but middle ground generalist builds are the way to go on this type of class.

        That being said your guide does a good job of outlining how to effectively maximize damage on a Guardian, but ultimately the class is better at utility and control which is pretty useful. If you wanted to go balls deep into damage, there are better classes for that.

        Metas change and develop as the game sees change and adjustment, but eventually developers like myself will get bored of players reciprocating the same idiotic boring habits to overcome obstacles in games using cheesy lame methods and assessing a long term strategy is often times better then trying to stick with the “now”

        Yes stacking your heavy damage in a dungeon works and I too have a warrior/thief with all the deeps they could ever want so that I can pull those out and play with the impatient, whiny, and stupid meta-hounds that are common enough in dungeons so that I can sit in emotionless awkward silence for 7-15 minutes while we speed rush the dungeon.

        Though I tend to avoid those more than enjoy them because its like a 5 person marriage where no one is getting laid. You know those parties the ones where if one thing goes wrong someone has an aneurysm.

        Anyway, I liked your weapon section it does a good job explaining the strengths of each weapon, you covered a lot of detailed features of the class in a manner that was clear to players who might not be experienced with the Guardian, but covering more bases is better than leaving them out and not giving them the credit they are due.

        I’ll sink another 2,000 hours into my Guardian and let you know if my build feels any different. You know other than overpoweringly awesome.



        • aruthawolf

          The thing you need to see is that all of these guides are written solely for speed runners, I am sure you would have more sucess with AH or vitality build when going into a pug as can be seen by this quote “During long encounters it is recommended not to activate Virtue of Justice and benefit only from its passive not to lose DPS,” which would get you booted out of a pug.
          And I would say that utility builds are far more common out in the internet and are considered the standard, and those of us that love the feel of guardians but still want to dps on them should not be shunned and this guide does explain it perfectly and is a precious resource for the rare dpsguard.

          • Tenchu

            Never been booted for not spamming Virtue of Justice, ever.

            Then maybe the title should reflect the subject matter more accurately.

            No one should be shunned on their build. Saying there is no place in PvE for Altruistic Healing is just that.

        • Tiki

          Amen. <3

        • You can “tank” a hit and heal up, but this is just a huge waste of time and require you to spec for it. On the other side, you can blind, block, reflect, dodge while doing damage, and doesn’t require you to spec for it, so you can focus on damage.

          AH build are very selfish, the heal from shout are only for you, and most shout buffs are useless or very situational (Stand your ground)

          Tankier build may be ok for newer player or WvW/PvP, but if you are still using AH after 2,000 hours, you are probably just being lazy and don’t want to bother learning encounters/how to mitigate.

  • Jon

    This guide is not for good players. usually sc build get the assassin’s armor. And the build too seems so basic.

  • Tiki

    Suprise, all builds are more or less dps.. -_- for tryhard speedrunners. Thanks and no thanks.

    • Tsar CUBE

      It’s a guide of how to play a guardian in PvE efficiently. In PvE the ONLY thing that matters is dps, everything else is a waste of your own and everyone else’s time. If you just want to role play a tank or a healer then I don’t see what the point of looking up a guide is in the first place.

  • Jon

    Can we have alternative links to the Skill Builder since is offline?

    • Bordy

      It’s working again.

  • Noob

    Good guide.
    What you guys from rT really should ad to your guides is a sub point where you explain why you do not need clerics, soldier gear or whatever for being “supportive”, why the best support does not scale at all with gear (blocks, blinds etc.) etc. It may help to destroy this illusion, that player are helpful for their group with heal stuff?

    And I question: I heard/thought that scepter can actually be the highest dps-weapon again things with huge hit boxes. Is this right?

    • Archi

      If you look at the section on scepter, they actually talk about (2) Smite being some of the highest DPS, especially against enemies with a giant hitbox

    • Bordy

      Well, even with calculations people prefer to heal on demand than mitigate damage. I guess it’s their habit from previous mmos with holy trinity.
      Yes, scepter is the highest dps-weapon against things with huge hit boxes e.g. Giganticus Lupicus thanks to Smite (2).
      Thanks for feedback.

  • bzeeb

    Thought this might be worth mentioning although pretty niche-specific. Tomb of Courage’s 4 can be activated 2x if you spam 4 when you activate and when it’s CD is completed.

    • Bordy

      You lose damage when you wait for the recharge.

  • Trinket

    This was very helpful for me. I’ve just come back to the game after being gone for quite a while and I decided to get into Guardian. I hope to see an Engineer guide soon! I know they’re not a favorite class, but I’d like to see what people are doing with them these days.

    • Archi

      Agreed. I feel I could learn the most from an Engineer guide. Out of all the classes, I understand it the least.

    • Bordy

      It’s really nice that this guide helped you somehow. Have fun.
      btw. I think Engineer guide is coming soon.

  • Archi

    Bordy, is there any chance you might add some dungeon/path specifics in a separate section? You know, the way some of the other guides are presented. (warrior comes to mind)
    I actually came to read this hoping for path-specific tips, which I find incredibly useful.

    • Bordy

      Hello, for now I will focus on changes done through Feature Pack but nothing is off the table. It’s something I have considered but haven’t got much time to think about. I might add it in the future, thank you for your feedback. For specific encounters I recommend

  • Godzilla

    Very skeptical… AH is the way to go! Then I saw your guide… Then I said let me switch to all zerker + AH just to try it out… Bit of an adjustment but I was surviving… I liked the DPS… Then I said, was AH just a comfort zone?… Tried your build for GS / Sword + Focus… I struggled… died… but then I started combining skills like I was supposed to mitigate damage… I’m currently enjoying it. Thank you for getting me out of the AH comfort zone ^^.

  • wing

    Is the Guide updated?

    • Bordy

      It’s going to be updated.

  • commentor

    Let me update the spirit weapons after patch: After patch, they still suck, as Anet failed to see the main reason is not such of the mediocre effects, but the fact that they made the spirit weapon mortal.

  • Forhekse

    Thx for all the work and experience u put in this guide.

    However, I’d join with those who says this guide centers the dungeons, not general PVE.
    In PVE we have 2 nice bosses, though often overviewed: it’s Teq and Wurm [I really hope there will be more]. They are absolutely PVE, and there you don’t use zerk gear. And stats. On Teq, u definitely DON’T, except for 8-13 ppl on defences. I’m a member of TXS alliance, special teq&wurm killing guild, and we keep world record for Teq now, so I know how this works, how it should work and how should not, seeing some pug ppl teq fails. Guardian with a skill for using WoR is vital for Teq kill in melee, and HR is must have there. There is certain work Guard can do at Jormy, for example — even a lone Guard can prevent a stack of icewall-breakers from running away in fear.

  • Aredhelrim

    Shield ?

  • alexd

    Can we get some updates on these builds? are they still viable ?

  • Daryl Lim

    Will this guide be updated with the new trait system?

    • Yes I believe someone is working on updating the guide, should be done soon 🙂

  • Samari Prime

    Hi love is this current with the game now?

  • Samari Prime

    Ok something wrong with skill editor it’s not displaying well 🙁

  • Hemmer van Ukzahn

    Quick aside for the weapon dps comparison: I have no idea how much damage MH Sword actually does, but the guide may be a bit too dismissive of it. It’s incredibly good for burnguard-specs which are finally a real thing in PvE.

  • JLambyG

    Awesome guide!
    I am a gaming Noob and yet, I understood most of it. 😉

  • piixiedust

    Is this guide updated? And is it really a bad choice going for lb+gs? Tks in advance

  • Hoono

    Something didnt make sense to me, should I use great sword/sword or great sword/mace+torch?

  • Edwin

    what’s the recommended build without the HOT expansion ?

  • Anzac

    Need to put Symbols next to the skills your explaining about players relate by the Skills Symbols which are on there screen rather than names.:

  • Rodney Blalock

    the build is nice if u lvl 80 or whatever the highest lvl is in GW2 . im a newbie to GW2 and made a guardian i was looking for info for starting out and what to get and type gear to get for strating out a s a Guardian

  • MartynaKochanowic

    Guardian is one of the tanky, overwhelming defensive layer callings. The name of this class and the imaginative plan propose an intensely cautious range of abilities, concentrated on retaining harm and securing partners. With an appropriate arrangement, Guardians can exceed expectations at that, however indeed, the vast majority of the meta GW2 Guardian manufactures adjust this calling to a DPS job that gives them a chance to destroy adversaries.

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