A Detailed Guide To Versatile Guardian Class in Guild Wars 2, 2023
So, you've decided to take a look at the most righteous character you can find in Guild Wars 2, and you've stumbled onto the Guardian, the resident Golden Child. But you have no idea where to start. Well, that's where we are going to help you out. This is the new player's guide to the Guardian in Guild Wars 2. While the emphasis will focus on the core spec, we will briefly touch on the Dragon Hunter, the Firebrand, and the Willbender. Let's get into it.
- The Guardian's Virtues
- Trait Lines
- Weapon Choices
- Utility Skills
- Playstyle and Roles
- Quick Leveling Tips
- Stat Choices
- Elite Specializations
↖ The Guardian's Virtues
The Guardian's profession mechanic is their virtues. Each one of these virtues embodies one of the ideals of any stalwart protector: Justice, Resolve, and Courage. Or as it's supposed to be: Sound, Just, and Courageous. Each one of these offers unique combat effects:
- Justice: Burns enemies passively with every few attacks, while the active ability imbues the Guardian and their allies to burn them with the guaranteed next attack.
- Resolve: Heals passively but, when activated, can heal for a large chunk on demand.
- Courage: Passively applies a boon called Aegis, which blocks the next attack. When activated, it grants Aegis to the Guardian and their nearby allies.
Each one of these virtues can be further modified with specific trait lines and choices. But passively, on their own, they make the Guardian an incredibly durable combatant.
↖ Trait Lines
Speaking of trait lines, the Guardian has a wide variety of customization skills based on the playstyle that the Guardian is looking to accomplish. The Guardian has access to:
- Zeal: Focuses on improving strike damage and applying vulnerability, which causes targets to take more damage per stack.
- Radiance: Is oriented around the Justice virtue, providing burning, improving critical strikes, and improving resolution uptime.
- Honor: Is oriented around the Resolve virtue, focusing on healing, dodging, and protection. This can also improve your shouts.
- Valor: Is oriented around the Courage virtue, improving damage mitigation through blocking and Aegis.
The Virtues trait line improves various components of all three virtues while also providing extra sources of resolution. Inherently, the Guardian can provide some great healing and defensive abilities while also being quite an offensive powerhouse.
↖ Weapon Choices
The Guardian has a versatile set of weapons that they can utilize to combat the forces of evil and the wicked. Uniquely, each one of the main hand or any of the two-handed weapons has a symbol, and each symbol provides a unique benefit to allies or a damaging effect to enemies. Let's review:
- Greatsword: Offers powerful AOE attacks, healing, and mobility. It also provides an excellent source of crowd control in the form of a pull.
- Hammer: Is more defensively oriented, providing excellent crowd control, moderate damage, and grants protection which reduces all incoming damage by 33 percent.
- Staff: Is a supportive style of weapon, offering excellent healing and even swiftness, which improves movement speed by 33 percent.
- Mace (main hand): Is a defensive and supportive weapon, striking slowly but applying regeneration and even some crowd control.
- Sword: Is an offensive powerhouse, providing a shadow step, incredibly strong attacks, and even providing Fury, which improves critical strike chances when active.
- Scepter: Is a mid-range offensive weapon that can immobilize and smite enemies at that distance.
- Focus: Focuses light to deal damage but can also apply Aegis to block incoming attacks.
- Shield: Can activate a wave of light to apply Aegis to allies or create a protective moving dome that deflects all incoming ranged attacks.
- Torch: Burns all nearby enemies by setting the Guardian literally on fire, or it can blow fire in a cone in front of them, cleansing conditions and damaging enemies.
The elite specialization weapons are now made available across the board if you have the Weapon Master training from the Secrets of the Obscure expansion or if you own the individual expansion and their corresponding elite specializations:
- Longbow: Strikes enemies with true arrows at long distances, controlling and burning them.
- Axe (main hand): Burns and bleeds enemies while also pulling them closer into the jaws of the axe.
- Sword (offhand): Offers swift, mobile strikes that deal incredibly high damage.
↖ Utility Skills
The Guardian has some great utility skills that are typically balanced to offer both positive effects for allies and the Guardian as well as damaging effects for their enemies. They can utilize:
- Consecrations: Strong area of effects that can be put onto the ground and offer a variety of defensive and supportive capabilities.
- Meditations: Provide cleansing, mobility, and healing in a variety of ways.
- Shouts: Provide positive effects to the Guardian and their nearby allies and can even draw all conditions from them and place them onto the Guardian.
- Signets: Provide strong passive and powerful active abilities. These tend to be more defensive in focus.
- Spirit Weapons: Summon effigies of massive weapons to deal damage, control, and even heal. Possibly some of the most visually appealing skills.
↖ Playstyle and Roles
The playstyle of the Guardian can fit many different roles in various forms of content. In the open world, they typically are not as durable as, say, the Warrior with their toughness or vitality, but they make up for it with their various forms of Aegis and passive healing. Even some of their skills can heal on demand, so despite the lower defensive stats, they are more than capable of handling quite a bit of end game content.
Speaking of endgame group content, Guardians are unmatched due to their supportive passive capabilities baseline, and even offensively, they can't help but make a positive impact on their nearby allies. The Guardian, also being mostly melee, the Aegis boon generation and the bounce damage mitigation will make you an absolute beast.
↖ Quick Leveling Tips
Here are some quick leveling tips to get you started with your Guardian:
- Master the Block: Remember that your main defenses are being able to block often, watching your enemies' attacks, and knowing when to take the hit to use Aegis or even Dodge roll. This will vastly improve your survivability.
- Keep Symbols Up: Don't forget symbols provide powerful boons while you stand in them. Always try to make sure that you are keeping those up as long as possible.
- Group Up: Mostly, the Guardian can be self-sufficient but absolutely thrives in group settings or with other players. Don't forget to make some friends.
↖ Stat Choices
Regardless of what type of build you're looking for, the Guardian is an excellent hybrid class providing healing, strike damage, condition damage, as well as crazy supportive boons. Honestly, the celestial stat line is always a solid choice for a simple, straightforward focus on handling Tyria more offensively oriented.
Safer strike damage personally, we like The Grieving stat line or even the simple Berserkers, while condition Vipers is always a great choice for supportive capabilities. Anything that applies healing and concentration is going to be your best friend. Harrier is honestly always a good go-to, but being versatile and honestly hybrid-focused, you can't really go wrong.
↖ Elite Specializations
Let's take a look at the elite specializations:
↖ Dragon Hunter
The Dragon Hunter is the Heart of Thorns elite specialization for the Guardian and takes hunting very seriously. Originally released with their featured weapon, the Longbow, they ensnare enemies and pull them into vicious traps to obliterate them. Their profession mechanic changes the way they function to be more range-oriented, going with Spear of Justice, Wings of Resolve, and Shield of Courage. Spear of Justice tethers the Guardian to an enemy and, when reactivated, pulls the target to the Dragon Hunter.
Wings of Resolve provides a short-range leap that allows you to heal when you land. The Shield of Courage creates a projectile-blocking barrier in front of the Guardian that moves with them. Their new skills are traps, which deal immense damage to those who cross their thresholds. Specifically, even their elite trap skill, Dragon's Maw, prevents escape once the enemy has fallen victim. The Dragon Hunter is a vicious and cunning combatant.
The Firebrand is essentially a spiritual prophet tied to the Path of Fire expansion. The Firebrand is an excellent multi-focused specialization by offering not only incredible condition damage but some of the best supportive capabilities. The Firebrand originally was released with the axe to burn and bleed enemies while also being able to control them. The virtues turn into tomes, which are new weapon sets that function on a charge system. These charges are used each time the Firebrand utilizes a skill within any of the tomes. When used, they go on a short cooldown before they can be accessed again.
- Tome of Justice: Offers crowd control and immense burning.
- Tome of Resolve: Offers fantastic healing and condition cleansing while also providing some great boons.
- Tome of Courage: Provides amazing defensive boons and effects, such as stability, protection, and even being able to taunt enemies to attack the Firebrand. Their new skills are mantras, which take a few seconds to charge but then can be used in quick succession with a growing effect for each cast. The Firebrand is one of the most notable sources of a boon called quickness, which greatly improves casting speed and is one of the main requirements in any type of group content.
Lastly, we have the Willbender, the elite specialization from the End of Dragons expansion. The Willbender is a fast and mobile combatant that looks to deal immense melee damage with kicks and forceful punches to overwhelm enemies quickly. Originally released with the offhand sword, the virtues become mobility-based, each offering a short-range dash depending on which one is utilized. Rushing Justice dashes towards an enemy, burning them and applying Willbender Flames.
Flowing Resolve evades attacks and cleanses conditions while moving forward and also applies Willbender Flames. Crashing Courage is a short-range shadow step that applies stability and Aegis. Their new skills are physical skills, which provide extra mobility, strikes, and powerful hard-hitting crowd control abilities. Paired with the Guardian's baseline defensive capabilities, the Willbender is a fast and deadly assassin across any battlefield.
Regardless of the focus, the Guardian is an exceedingly versatile class and has a spot in every form of endgame content. They also have some of the best aesthetics across the board. Without a doubt, the Guardian is the true defender of Tyria.
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