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The Ancient Elf's Guide to the Guardian

Category: 
Classes

For quite some time I have been thinking about writing a guide to the Guardian class and since Dernthir made a most excellent guide to the Warden I though I would use his guide as a template.

There are many things to think of to be a good Guardian, especially so in raids. I have heard from time to time that Guardian is a fairly easy class to play and that is fair enough if you solo or do easy instances, the Guardian does have amazing survivability compared to many other classes.

But when it comes to the harder instances and raids what you do and how you tank can be the difference between failure and success. So with that in mind let us move on...


 

Stances

Guardian's Defence: This is the main tanking stance for the Guardian and confers a +5% to block and a small bonus to partial block mitigation and partial block chance.

Guardian's Parry: This stance confer a +5% increase to parry and a small bonus to partial parry mitigation and partial block chance. This stance is particularly useful if you want parry events in order to use the legendary trait To the King to get Fellowship manoeuvres.

Overpower: This is the Guardian's dps stance and gives you a +15% damage increase to melee damage but at the same time a 30% increase to melee power costs. The damage percentage can be raised and the power percentage cost can be lowered if you trait for overpower. There is also a legacy that can lower the power cost.

Traiting

The Fighter of Shadow (yellow): This trait line focus on survivability and if you tank very hard hitting bosses (like Durchest in Barad Guldur) this is the trait line you should use since it improves your critical defence. Some of the most useful Guardian traits can be found here.. like “Controlled Breathing”, a trait that makes the skill Catch a Breath heal you more and give you a few hundred power back.
Another trait that can be useful if you want to make sure you get reactive events is “Brave Heart”, with this trait the skill Warrior's Heart recovers 90 seconds quicker and you get to use all your reactive skills. Very handy at the start of a fight if you want to make sure you get the aggro of several mobs.

The Defender of the Free (Blue): This trait line focus a lot on increasing your threat but it can also make the skill Stamp a lot better. There are two traits in this line that improves the skill Challenge and makes it a lot better. A couple of other good traits in this line are “Quick of Foot” and “Harasser”. The first trait lowers the cooldown on the skill Stamp by 15 seconds, this trait in combination with the legacy that lowers cooldown for Stamp and the Trait set bonus of -10 seconds cooldown will get the cooldown of Stamp down to 5 seconds. With 5 seconds cooldown on your interrupt skill you are essentially as good as a champion at interrupting (I have had use of this more times than I can remember).
The second trait I mentioned was “Harasser”, this trait makes the skill Vexing Blow a frontal Area of Effect skill that can hit 3 targets. In itself this is not a very good trait but if it is combined with the legacy that increases your Area of Effect targets this skill can be very good for tanking since it can make you hit up to 8 targets that are in front of you.

The Keen Blade (red): This trait line is all about damage and in my opinion it only gets really good if you trait 4 traits or more since the damage increase from the set bonus only becomes really good (+10%) then. This trait line has two traits that should be especially mentioned, the first one is “Strong Lungs” which lowers the cooldown of the Skill Deep Breath by 7 and half minutes. The second trait is “Blocking Force”, this trait makes the skill Force Opening start a parry event if it hits. This is most useful if you want to start a Fellowship Manoeuvre with the legendary trait “To the King”.

    

 

Legendary Traits

I will not mention all the legendary traits since some of them speak for themselves, instead I will focus on 5 of them.

Guardian's Threat: This legendary trait increases your threat by 20% (28% if you have the Defender of the Free trait bonus) and is one of the most useful for a Guardian, especially so if you know you have a bit of problem holding aggro from those pesky hunters and champions ;).
It is also useful if you need to swap aggro between you and another tank, raising and lowering your threat by 20% with the click of a button.

To the King: Truly one of the best legendary traits in the game of any class. With this trait you open a Fellowship Manoeuvre on a critical hit (sometimes I have started more FMs than burglars with this trait). There is one catch though, in some instances and raids the bosses and even mobs are immune to Fellowship Manoeuvres (Barad Guldur is one such place) making this trait basically useless.

Heart of Fire: There is a lot of talk about this skill and if it's worth traiting or not, it is the capstone trait for the Fighter of Shadow trait line and increases your critical defence and lowers the cooldown of the skill Take to Heart by 60 seconds. Most Guardian's do not really have power problems but if you do this legendary trait is worth using.

Haemorrhage: This is the Keen Blade capstone legendary trait and and it gives the skill Brutal Assault to apply a stackable bleed 50% of the time. There is some debate whether or not this is a good trait but if you are traiting for pure dps you should definitely use this one.

Shield-Smash: With this legendary trait you acquire the skill Shield-Smash which you can use if you get a block event. The good thing with Shield-Smash is that it is a skill that deal quite a lot of damage and it gives you a lot of threat if you hit with it. Starting of a block event with a Litany of Defiance, then Shield Taunt and then Shield-Smash on the mob you are assigned to tank makes sure you get several small mobs (if there are any) and your designated target on you.

Legendary Item Legacies

Guardians have many very good legacies and if you want to be the best possible guardian you can be it is essential that you get the good legacies for your weapon and belt. For weapons I personally think the three following legacies are a must:
-Area of Effect melee targets (makes skills like traited Vexing Blow and Sweeping Cut a lot better.)
-Targeted Melee skill range (in my opinion one of the best legacies you can have, tanking is so much easier in so many ways when you can hit targets 4,5 metres away instead of 2,5 metres.)
-Stamp Cooldown (in combination with above mentioned factors you can get the cooldown of stamp down to 5 seconds.)

For belts there are so many good legacies it gets very hard to choose which ones to use:
-Catch a breath cooldown (a 15 seconds cooldown on Catch a Breath helps a lot with morale and power issues.)
-Skill threat up
-Cry resist chance
(reduces the chance of your cries like Challenge and Fray the Edge is resisted.)
-Shield damage (an increase of shield damage by 25% isn't bad at all.)
-Challenge targets
-Shield Wall range (makes shield walling healers in Ettenmoors so much easier.)

              

 

Guardians in PvE

As you all know Guardians are first and foremost tanks, this is what we do best and do very well, no other class has the same sheer survivability. Granted Wardens have their self-heals but they only have medium armour. When it comes to hard hitting mobs and bosses the Guardians is in a class of its own.
Holding aggro can be a bit of a problem though, some classes (like hunters and champions) can sometimes quite easily out dps you and take aggro. Your best way to avoid this is to get as many block events as possible and spam Vexing Blow and Shield-blow. Contrary to popular belief using Challenge as soon as and as often as you can is not really the best way to hold aggro and with Challenge you often get temporary aggro of mobs you might not be supposed to tank. Personally I prefer to only use challenge in emergencies and instead I rely on a good rotation on my shield skills.
One thing I unfortunately see too many Guardians do is to use their melee AoE skills when there are mezzed, riddled or stunned targets in the vicinity. Be very mindful of your melee AoE skills when you use them, your cry AoE skills (like Litany of Defiance and Shield Taunt) works just as well and do not break mezzes, riddles or stuns.
Another important thing is to constantly survey your surroundings when in a fight, make sure the mob/mobs you are tanking is not facing the rest of the group/raid. If there is something mezzed, riddled or stunned and, you know it will soon awake, shout at it with Fray the Edge a few times and it will hopefully come to you instead of a healer. And above all keep those healers alive, if they die it's most likely your fault as the tank.

       
Guardians in PvMP

The Ettenmoors is an... interesting place for Guardians, usually we are rather low on the creeps to-kill-list since we have useless ranged dps and our survivability makes us a bit annoying to kill. For guardians in Ettenmoors there are two ways you can play, either you use your shield and shield-wall healers or you trait for full out dps.
Healers are usually quite grateful if you Shield-Wall them since damage no longer interrupts their inductions and if you i.e. have 8000 morale the healer has 4000 you essentially give the healer 12000 morale. Further more if you use Guardian's Pledge you more or less make the healer invincible for 15 seconds (or even 30 seconds if you use Deep Breath to do it again).     

 
 
                  

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