Hello everyone! I’m making this guide as a resource to help newcomers to the profession to gain a general understanding of the class and possibly profits some tips to more advanced player. I’ll do my best to clearly explain each part of the class. This guide will be focused on SPvP, but it provides solid foundations for the class which could be helpful in PvE as well.
This guide is a work in progress. As you will see I am not done with it, but I felt that it was far enough along that I should post it because it is easily to work on it here. I’ll be finishing all the sections I have started. I’ll also go over my wording and make sure everything is very clear. I will try to keep everything with the most up to date information GW2 is updated.
Feel free to ask questions in this thread and I will do my best to answer them. Also, if there is a topic you would want me to go over in detail just let me know and I can add it in the future.
“Guardians are devoted fighters who protect their allies and smite their enemies by drawing from the power of their virtues. True guardians are brilliant tacticians and selfless defenders who know when to sacrifice their own defenses to empower their allies to achieve victory” Guildwars2.com
Guardians are a great class that has a lot of options. They are a heavy armor character with mostly melee weapons besides scepter, offer powerful support and damaging spells. The class can fill many roles such as support, DPS, or node control. The class is similar to the Paladin class in other games
Guardians can do some amazing things in SPvP and are well known for their AOE full heal elite. If you don’t want to quite roll a Warrior, but also don’t want to roll a cast; the Guardian is a great choice for you. We have many weapons available to us making for many interesting and fun builds for all aspects of the game. I personally love node control builds because I can tank 2 people for plenty of time until backup can arrive. It also allows me to bring great support in a team fight and the tools to easily neutralize nodes.
I hope this guide will provide some insight and tips that will help you learn more about the class even if you don’t plan on playing a Guardian.
Sword of Wrath -> Sword Arc -> Sword Wave
- This is a chain spell, once the first part of the chain hits the next part will become available. If part of the chain misses because it was blocked or you were blinded the chain will reset to the first skill. This chain is relatively standard.
- The third ability is really nice because it has slightly larger range, 300 range compared to normal 150 melee range. This means that if you your target moves slightly out of your melee range you will still be able to hit them with Sword Wave. This spell also hits three times so it is very good for procs such as Sigil of Superior Air or the trait Vigorous Precision.
- This spell has many great functions. First and foremost it is a 600 range gap closer. It will teleport your character to the target instantly and strikes them. It also does an AOE blind around your target. This can be useful for peels, causing key spells to miss, or block cc such as Shield of Absorption.
- Another very good multi-purpose spell. First off this spell has a 600 range which is nice to have a spell with some range on a melee weapon. The projectiles are a bit slow so you do want to be as close to your target when using it.
- This is sword’s high burst spell. It hits 8 times in a channeled attack. This makes for another spell which is very good for proc type abilities. It also blocks ranged attacks, so you can use it to block some key range burst skills while doing very good damage.
Hammer Swing -> Hammer Bash -> Symbol of protection
- Again this is a chain attack. It is relatively straight forward melee damage chain. Symbol of Protection has a 50 extra range over the first two attacks which make it a bit easier to land. It also places a symbol on the ground which deals damage to enemies and grants protection to yourself and allies inside of it.
- It works well with Ring of Warding because the enemy will be trapped in the ring and will be forced to take the symbol damage unless they have a teleport skill.
- This is an amazing skill. It leaps 300 range towards the target and does an AOE where you land. It is great for closing a small gap between yourself and the enemy.. It’s also a good skill to use when bursting with a Hammer as it does nice damage. It also is a blast finisher which can used in combination with combo fields for interesting effects as I will illustrate later on in the guide.
- I love this spell. It is a 1,200 range nuke and immobilize. It sends out chains from your character and will damage and immobilize any enemy it hits for two seconds. It is great for keeping people off capture points, peeling enemies, and holding people in place to burst them. It works very well with Banish because you can knock the enemy back and then root them when they land.
- This is another spell I love on Hammer. It does solid damage and knocks back your target 750 range. This is amazing for knocking people off ledges, capture points, trebuchets, and many other things.
- There are many uses for this spell. It creates a ring with a 180 radius around your character that enemies cannot pass. It can be used to block a path to a capture point to prevent enemies from reaching it. For example if an enemy is on a point such as Clock Tower on Battle of Kyhlo you can use Banish to knock them back followed by Zealot’s Embrace to immobilize them and when they finally get near you again, you can use Ring of Warding to block them for another five seconds.
- It is useful for trapping enemies next to you while your team bursts them down. Another great use of this spell is to block out enemies when you are reviving an allies or downing someone.
Strike -> Vengeful Strike -> Wrathful Strike
- This is a standard melee attack chain. There isn’t anything too special besides the fact that Wrathful Strike provides you with a stack of might for each target that you hit.
- This places a symbol on the ground which ticks five times to damage enemies inside of it while providing yourself and allies with retaliation. Retaliation can be quite good as it scales based off your power. This is very effective when a player is stunned or versus someone trying to melee you. It also is a light combo field.
- This is a whirl AOE attack which can be used while moving. It does slightly slow down your movement but is useful if you need to change positioning while using it. It shoots out nine projectiles
- Leap of Faith is very similar to the sword skill Flashing Blade. It is a 600 range gap closer that blinds targets around where you land for three seconds. Blinds are amazing for stopping burst and blocking CC once you get good with them. This also is a leap finisher.
- A very unique spell. This is a whirl finisher attack with 600 range that does damage over time to your targets while binding them to you. Once they are bound this opens up the second spell, pull. Pull allows you to trigger the ability once more to pull all of the enemies bound to your location.
- This spell is amazing for peeling enemies and grouping them up so your team can AOE them. It works well with the spell Ring of Warding from Hammer because you can pull them in and place the ring so they are trapped for five second while your team AOEs them down.
True Strike -> Pure Strike -> Faithful Strike
- This is a fairly straight-forward melee attack chain. The first two attacks just do damage to your foe and the third part of the chain will also heal yourself and nearby allies for a small amount. It isn’t much but will add up over a long fight.
- This spell places a symbol on the group which creates a light field. It grants allies regeneration and damages enemies. It provides nice extra healing with a short cooldown. It can be used while line of siting an enemy to get extra healing or if they try to fight you toe to toe.
- This spell roots you in place channeling a shield. When allies are hit the enemies take damage. If you are not struck during the channel you will grant protection to yourself and nearby allies. I find this ability very lacking in PvP as it roots you in place and the radius is quite small.
Orb of Wrath
- This is Guardian’s only real ranged weapon. This auto attack is fairly standard. It is a 1,200 range projectile that moves a bit slower than most projectiles. It is very nice to get in some damage before committing with a melee weapon.
- This still places a ground target AOE which has 15 ticks of damage. The damage is not across the whole AOE though as small projectiles fly across to hit targets. The radius is quite small so it can be difficult to use effectively, but it is something that is nice if someone is CC’d in place by a stun, immobilize, or knockdown.
- This spell is amazing. It immobilizes your target and applies three stacks of vulnerability. Immobilizes make it so the target is rooted in place and cannot turn around so it is great when bursting people so they cannot dodge or avoid spells. The vulnerability is a very nice bonus to increase damage the target takes. This skill can be used for peels, burst situations, or to help you keep someone off a node to neutralize it.
Wave of Wrath
- This is a basic auto attack speed. It is a 600 range cone AOE attack. It’s medium range and requires you to be close into the fight. The damage isn’t that great I mostly just use staff for swiftness.
- This spell sends a slow-moving orb at your target. It can be activated a second time in order to detonate the orb to heal nearby allies. The heal is not very strong and the damage is hard to land since it is quite slow.
- This spell is the main reason to swap to this weapon. This places a symbol on the ground that brand swiftness to allies and damages enemies. It also is a combo light field with a 1,200 range. I use this at the start of matches to help stack up swiftness or when waiting for a capture a point when I know I’ll be moving off to another location.
- This spell is a 4 second channel that grants might and heals yourself and nearby allies. This is good if you can get it off before entering combat and then switch to a different weapon.
- This spell is a nice crowd control. It is a 1,200 range wall you place down that blocks enemies from crossing it. You can use this to block off choke points while capturing a point or to trap an enemy in order to burst them down.
Ray of Judgment
- One of my favorite spells. This is amazing in a one on one situation or in group fights. It is a 1,200 range nuke that bounces four times. When it hits an enemy it will damage them and blind them and when it hits an ally it will place regeneration on them. It can be used to blind key attacks and help apply regeneration to allies. Also it is very good in a one on one fight because it will bounce back to the enemy twice, blinding them twice while giving you twice the regeneration.
- This is another great spell. It places a shield around you that will block the next three attacks and lasts four seconds. If you are hit four times with it active it will blow up doing a decent damage AOE around you that is also a blast finisher. This is great for blocking key high damage attacks.
Zealot’s Flame -> Zealot’s Flame
- This spell causes you to burn nearby enemies for three seconds. You can then trigger this spell a second time to throw your flame at the enemy doing significant damage with a 1,200 range. This causes the recharge time to be increased by 50% though. This is a nice damage ability and good for applying AOE burning around you.
- This spell is good and can be used in many situations. It causes your character to breathe a blue cone of fire with a 400 range. It will do ten ticks of damage to enemies in front of you and it also will cure condition on allies that it also hits. This is good damage and it also is very good team condition removal.
Shield of Judgment
- This spell is great. It is a cone damage attack that also provides protection to allies it hits along with yourself. Protection is an amazing boon and this spell can be very powerful. It does take good positioning to maximize its efficiency.
- This is a great spell and one of my favorite. On the spell’s first use it creates a bubble around the guardian that knocks back enemies and blocks projectiles. This can be used to peel enemies off an ally, to stop a stomp on an ally, and many more other creative uses. It also blocks outgoing projectiles as well as incoming so you can use it to prevent a thief from using infiltrators arrow to escape.
- The secondary part of this spell becomes available once you have used the first part. After the bubble is trigger you may then press the spell a second time in order to detonate it in order to heal allies around you. This is very nice as bonus as the spell is already great without it.
Spear of Light
- Again this is your fairly basic auto attack. It has a 600 range and applies vulnerability with each attack which provides a nice boost of damage on the target for yourself and your team.
- This is your burst attack. It does only have a 275 range but attacks eight times in succession so it is very good for trigger proc effects.
- This spell is a 275 range AOE blind around yourself. It also does a bit of damage. This is nice for peels, interrupting key abilities, stopping cc, and a bunch of other situations.
- This spell is really nice. It creates a wall that damages enemies if they pass through it and pushing your character back as a small disengage. This allow you to get out of AOEs very quickly and avoid attacks. You also can use this at choke points to force the enemies to take the damage coming through the wall or delay them on the other side.
- This is a really unique and fun spell. It has 600 range, does damage to your target, causes burning, and pull your target to you. This is great for pulling enemies into teammates AOEs and for setting up burst on key targets.
Light of Judgment
- This auto attack has 1,200 range and does relatively low damage. It does bounce targets and it will provides allies with a small heal if they are hit with it.
- The first part of this spell causes your character to release an orb that goes towards your target with a 1,200 range. The orb will cleanse conditions on allies that it passes through and when it reaches your target it will deal a small amount of damage and inflict burning.
- Once you have used the spell the first time, you have the option of triggering it a second time which lets you detonate the orb to AOE cleanse conditions off allies and burn enemies within the area. This is a great condition removal skill as you can sent it through someone and then detonate it to removal two conditions off that person.
- This spell has a 1,200 range and will cause a pillar of light to form at your target. It persists for five seconds and does six ticks of damage. This is the burst damage spell of this weapon.
- This ability creates a bubble similar to sanctuary or shield of absorption. It creates a large bubble around your location that lasts for seven seconds. It absorbs hostile projectiles and grants retaliation to allies within it. Abilities such as this that absorb projectiles are very strong. There are many ranged attacks in this game and this can greatly reduce incoming damage. Relation also is very nice because it makes enemies think twice about engaging because they will damage themselves.
- This is a very fun unique underwater spell. It does considerable damage to the target with a 1,200 range. It also causes the target to sink for three seconds. This is essentially a CC that will be a good time to burst down your target. It keeps them in place and slowly makes them sink over the three seconds that it lasts. Sinks are similar to immobilizes but just for underwater.
- I find this heal to be the most lackluster heal of the guardian. It has a 30 second cool-down but heals for only ~4,500 health. Both other spells heal for significantly more and have greater other benefits. Shelter has a two second block when casting the spell which can mitigate a lot of damage when focused, but I feel this does not make up for the lack of spells healing.
- This is guardian’s largest self-heal at around 8,200 healing on a 40 second cool-down. The trait Signet Master can be used which drops this heal to a 32 second cool-down. This makes it practically the same cool-down as shelter, but it will heal for around 3,500 more health. The spell’s passive effect is always very nice removing one condition every 10 seconds. This is my personal favorite.
- This is another 40 second cool-down heal that heals yourself for around 6,500 health. The benefit of this spell is that it also heals allies for around 1,800 health in a 600 range cone. This is the heal you want to pick if you are trying to support your allies by providing as much healing as possible.
3.2.1 Spirit Weapons
Hammer of Wisdom
Sword of Justice
Bow of Truth
Shield of the Avenger
Signet of Judgment
Signet of Wrath
Signet of Mercy
“Stand Your Ground!”
“Hold the Line!”
Contemplation of Purity
Wall of Reflection
Tome of Courage
- This spell is currently the best option for any build. It provides you with an AOE heal you can spam for 1,350+ healing, a condition removal, a cone regeneration and protection, a AOE four second daze, and an AOE full heal. The AOE daze and full heal are amazing and make the other elites very weak in comparison, the other spells are just icing on the cake.
Tome of Wrath
- This is solid elite. It provides you with some nice AOE damage abilities and could be good in a situation like WvW where you are on a keep trying to kill enemies. Overall though it still does not compare to Tome of Courage.
- This spell is simply sub-par to the other two options. It makes you invulnerable for three seconds and resets the cool-down of your virtues, but it does have a cast time. This can be nice when being focused to tank some damage, but it isn’t worth using.
Virtue of Justice
Virtue of Resolve
Virtue of Courage
Revenge of the Fallen
Spirit Weapon Mastery
A Fire Inside
Right Hand Strength
Strength of the Fallen
Strength in Numbers
Mace of Justice
Writ of Exaltation
Pure of Heart
Writ of Persistence
Writ of the Merciful
Pure of Voice
Improved Spirit Weapon Duration
Master of Consecration
5.1 Game Settings
Here I’ll go over some of the game settings which game an impact on gameplay in PvP. I’m not saying there is one best setup for settings as people play different ways, but I will describe what I do and my reasons behind it.
Turn on Show Skill Recharge
- Seeing the exact recharge time is really important when you are planning which ability to use next. It is nice because once the time drops below 5 second it shows fractions of a second. This also allows you to instantly see cooldowns and know how long they have with just a glance where you are just estimating with it off.
- This is mostly preference, but I feel like it is much faster once you get used to it. I agree it is harder to get used to because you don’t see the AOE circle’s radius and placement, but it is much faster. Normally you would need to hit your spell hotkey and then move your mouse to place the target circle and then click or press the hotkey again. This process takes two actions. With fast cast enabled it makes it so you will instantly cast the spell at your mouse location, taking one key press out of the equation.
- I personally don’t like having any effects effect my screen such as shaking. It can distract you from your game play and also causes some dizziness in some people.
- I turn this off because I have dodge bound to mouse4 as you will see below. This is similar to the fast cast option. For double tap to evade you must press your movement key twice for the direction you wish to dodge roll. Using a hotkey you only need to press it once and it will dodge in the direction you are moving. This is much faster and ends up being one less key press. It also lets you focus on character movement and using another key to dodge. When double-tap to evade is enabled you also can accidently dodge when strafing around targets wasting your endurance.
- I like this turned off because as you are switching targets you can accidently cause your auto attack to go off which will cause you to be stuck in an animation. This could lead to a CC being delayed because you have to wait for an auto attack animation and general is bad.
- Autotargeting is bad because it will automatically target an enemy near you if you do not have one selected when using a spell. This will make it so that if you use a leap for mobility, it could target someone behind you and leap towards them instead of leaping away from them. Turning this off allows you to have more control of your character. You can then use mobility spells without an enemy targeted to put distance between you and people chasing you.
- This option mainly has to do with melee attacks. Having this on makes it so there is collision on your target so you cannot pass through them. This forces you onto the outside of them so that they can escape more easily. Turning this off makes it so your target has no collision so that can you stay right on top of your target allowing you to stay on your target more easily instead of being forced to the edge of their collision.
There are many different key bind setups that work for people but there are a few key principles. First you much choose a movement key setup, I personally use WASD because it is how I have played forever, but some like to use ESDF. Both of these are fine, but make sure to unbind keyboard turn and rebind them to strafe as there is no reason to ever need to keyboard turn.
When choosing key binding you want to keep your choices as close to your movement keys as possible so your hand does not have to move far to reach them. Especially in games like GW2 where there are much less necessary binds, it allows you to setup everything groups nice and close. Also I would suggest using the least amount of modifiers as possible. Although you can hit modifier key combos easily it still is slower than pressing a single key. Below are my current key binds as an example:
- Weapon Skill 1: 1
- Weapon Skill 2: 2
- Weapon Skill 3: 3
- Weapon Skill 4: 4
- Weapon Skill 5: 5
- Heal: q
- Utility 1: e
- Utility 2: r
- Utility 3: f
- Elite: c
- Class Skill 1: Shift + 1
- Class Skill 2: Shift + 2
- Class Skill 1: Shift + 3
- Class Skill 1: Shift + 4
- Weapon Stow: x
- Interact: g
- Dodge: Mouse 4
- Weapon Swap: Mouse 5
- Call Target: Shift + t
- Take Target : t
These are a few of the builds I have found to work well so far. I’ll be adding more to this section as the meta game develops after launch. I tend to make most of my builds balanced in regards of defense and offense instead of going to the extreme of one. Feel free to post the builds you enjoy and I will check them out.
- This is a solid all-around build. It can guard a node or help in team fights. It is great for starting out as it has a lot of tools and can help them team by fitting multiple roles. It has a lot of healing through mediations and lots of condition removal. It has good survivability while keeping respectable damage.
- This is a very similar build to the balanced one but focuses more on node control through the use of knockbacks and immobilizes. It also provides a bit more group support. It defends a node extremely well as you are very durable. The knockbacks from shield and hammer can be used in combination with immobilizes for great peels. Having two short cooldown immobilizes is also very nice for focusing targets as they drop fast without being able to dodge while being kept in place for AOE spells.
- This build is your standard spirit weapon DPS build. It is essentially a one trick pony, but spirit weapons do put out a lot of damage. It is good if you are trying to full a DPS role of your group while also bringing support through your elite. The spirit hammer is also nice due to it’s knockbacks along with its knockdown to be able to burst down targets.
Bunker and Support build:
- This is a very cheesy but effective build. It is built around having high healing, toughness, and condition removal. Its main purpose is to sit on the middle point which will be hit the most by the enemy team. You sit on the point and last until your roamers are free to come clear it out. It provides you with good boons through shouts and lots of healing for yourself and allies. Also with the trait Pure of Voice you will be turning conditions on yourself and teammates into boons which greatly helps your team. When Sigil of Superior Life is fully stacked you will be at 1638 healing along with 3122 toughness making you quite a tank.
Blocking Thief’s Infiltrators Arrow:
- Using a dome skill such as Shield of Absorption not only blocks incoming projectiles, but also blocks outgoing ones. This means that if your team is focusing a thief you can use Shield of Absorption around him so that he cannot shoot out an Infiltrators Arrow to escape.
- You can use instant spells while channeling other spells. This is very useful in a lot of situations. For example if you have the trait Justice is Blind and are about down an enemy Guardian, you can trigger Virtue of Justice while stomping to blind the Guardian so that the knock back misses.
Taking down doors and trebuchets fast:
- The spell smite on the scepter is great for this goal. Doors and trebuchets cannot have conditions applied to them and cannot be critically hit. This makes it so power builds generally take them down much faster then other ones. Smite hits multiple times in a small AOE. You can place the Smite AOE onto the door almost vertically so that all the hits will strike the door. This will drop the door very fast because each hit from smite is practically an auto attack from the scepter and it is a very short cool-down.
Swapping gear and spells:
- Once your character is out of combat you can change your gear and spells. This is something you don’t necessarily need to worry about when starting out, but can be very helpful in advanced play. For example say you are running Contemplation of Purity, but the enemy team has very little condition damage; You then can switch out this spell for something like “Hold the Line!” which will be more beneficial to yourself and your team. This is one of the big reasons I love my meditation and shout balanced build; I can easily switch between many good spells as needed. Switching gear is also just as important. A good example for this case is carrying around a staff. This allows you to equip the staff at the start of the match or throughout the game when you drop combat so you can cast Symbol of Swiftness to give yourself and allies a nice swiftness boost.
Blitzwing 1 – BWE3 Tournament Footage
Azshene 1: Guardian PvP – BWE2
8.26.12: Cleaned up the guide up a bit and added the spell combo chat. I’ll be working on skill next.
9.02.12: Updated my balanced and node defense build.
9.03.12: Added a few tips(I’ll add more later) and two games from today. I’m almost done with skills but ended up doing a lot of tourneys, so I’ll try to finish that up asap and get it updated.
9.04.12: Added a tip and some of the skills.
9.08.12: Added a new Bunker/support build.
9.15.12: Working on fixing the coding mistake; I removed all the BBC code and working on remaking the guide.