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Moving on from my previous "Jack of all trades, master of none" build...

In my previous build, I stated that "The Guardian is not best suited for burst damage or ranged damage". I still stick to the "ranged damage" part of my statement, but I was soooo wrong about the "burst damage" part.

TL;DR skip to the actual build - but first a little bit of background that lead me to this build.

I was getting more and more involved with WvW battles and thought my mighty tough guardian can take any amount of punches no problemo. 'Bring it' and see what I care was my motto. Result: Downed, death, run back, charge in, downed, death, rinse and repeat. The thing is, in any 1v1 scenario, having a bunch of shields and damage mitigation is a handy trick (the sudden cling-cling, ching-ching of a thief attacking was like a fly to me - shoo fly), but when you're charging into a battle with 20 other players who most likely a more skilled player than you, your shields only help to postpone you death by a few seconds and then it's oh-so-over. All the guardian shields have a fairly long cool down, so when you're all proud of yourself for not taking any damage that first few seconds of a fight, the next few seconds is just a battle for survival to see if you can get back to your team mates. And death is very frustrating for an all powerful guardian, trust me, I've died many, many times in WvW.

So I tried the support guardian which deals very little damage, but buffs the friendlies like crazy and gaining life for every buff. Sounds great and works great in large groups. But fails in small groups and also fails my playstyle.

Quick note about my playstyle: Apparently I can't help myself from rushing headlong into any battle shouting "FREEEEDOOOOM!!!!". I've tried holding back and staying close to the numbers, but sooner or later I'm back in the thick of things, dying with a sad face.

I had to reconsider what I'm going to do about my horrible WvW situation. I got a level 80 ranger just for the sake of dealing reasonable damage from a distance, but heck, even my ranger was charging headlong into battle when my bow skills were on cool down... Back to playstyle... Then I started thinking that I should probably try and kill my apponents as fast as possible and call that damage mitigation, rather than see how big and strong I can pretend to be on the field. So I thought about an all out crit damage warrior. I played a little PvE warrior and just missed my guardian so. So I started thinking about an all out crit guardian! Thoughts at work, thoughts at home, thoughts on holiday, even thoughts in my dreams!

So back to the build:

A note first: this guy (called Uncledolan from here on) created a build that is 99% what I had in mind, and after reading his build, I adjusted mine to be 99.99% like his. So for a better build read, follow the link and forget about mine. I just feel like carrying on with my post, since it adds 1 to my post counter and I spent too much time thinking about this build not to at least try and get some credit from it.

So back to the build (again):

The crit guardian. ROTFLOL I hear you there from across the pond. No, I'm quite serious. And it throws me far off my beaten track of locking down enemies to give 'em my two scents worth of damage.


I'll list a few things that I unfortunately had to do away with.

  • No knock downs, stuns or snares.(rather unfortunately, but there are not enough skill slots available for the whole shabang). Only the greatsword "Binding Blade & Pull" remain and it's more difficult to land than a 747 on a WW2 aircraft carrier.
  • My automatic 10 points in the Virtues trait for the extra effects on virtues and added cool down of virtues. (real sad about this one).
  • No swiftness (unless roaming out of combat and equipping staff). So getting around is a bit of an issue, although in large groups swiftness is cast often by players. But I'm thinking that if I have to turn tail and run for my life, the fight is probably already lost and I might as well "/sleep".
  • Two handed mastery (two handed weapon skill recharge 20% faster). Not such an issue as I initially thought. This was another trait that existed in all my previous builds.
  • A good chunk of vitality.
  • My "can't touch this" attitude.

Things I gained:

  • A new best friend in my short sword.
  • Daaaaamaaaage!!!

Again the theory of Getting close and stying close:

Bear in mind this build is formed from a WvW point of view. Actual RL players sees you running at them with a bad attitude and have ample time to prepare for a bit of a skirmish. Now a ranged attack is ideally suited to keep your distance and apply whatever damage you can within the safety of friendly numbers. The guardian's ranged attack does not offer that luxury since the sceptre might be good for slaying rabits along the way, but for WvW you might as well be shouting insults at enemies. Sceptre (apart from the 1 sec stun) is useless in WvW.

So I thought a lot about closing the gap between me and enemies as fast as possible without giving them time to react.

Teleport perhaps? Enter "Judge's Intervention" and short sword's "Flashing Blade"! These 2 were so far out of my mind for general PvE play, that I actually totally forgot to even think of them as being any use in WvW.


Judge's Intervention is a meditation skill that teleports 1200 range and burns nearby foes. hmmm... meditation... burn....

So I based my build around these 2.

Add Smite Condition as another meditation skill that removes a condition and damages foes.

We want to reduce cooldowns on meditations fer sure! And as Uncledolan kindly pointed out: Traited meditation skills heals you (for 2K mind). So loosing a block might not be so bad at all. Smite Condition traited has a 16sec cool down, with 2K heal and damage dealt with condition removal. A single block does not do all that! One good hit from an opponent is probably 2K worth, so replacing that 2K as a heal rather than mitigate it as a block actually sounds a whole lot better if you're dealing damage and removing a condition to boot!

1 skill left.... "STAND YOUR GROUND!" - probably the one skill always in my skill bar. In WvW stability is such a necessity, but having some retaliation along with that is is even better! And take into account that you're giving these boons to allies - nobody ever complained.

Healing skill remains Signet Of resolve traited with cool down reduction.

Elite skill is renewed focus, although I found that you have to use this not as a last resort just before dying, but

actually when your health is at 1/4 and dropping. The 3 secs invulnerability is purely from direct attacks and not any conditions you're already suffering from. Also, I found that I still get the effect when dodge rolling "out" of my stationary position when this skill is activated. I can't really say that this elite feels more elite than "Save yourselves", which I would like to have in my list of skills in place of Renewed Focus. Alas. In dungeon runs, this elite skill will be swapped for "Tome of Courage" which gives a 100% heal to all allies within range.


This is where the hurt has to step in once you ported right on top of your target.

So ordinary damage of weapon and strength is NOT the way to go in WvW at close range (and I learnt that the hard way). Since the only real condition the guardian spits out is burning, don't even rely on condition damage. We want increases in critical damage and critical percentage. Crit percentage above 45% is good, but get this above 50% and you'll be critting basically all the time. (well, half the time in theory, but it feels a lot more since we all like button mashing).


Short sword & Focus


how to maximise damage with this little feller?



Right hand Mastery adds 15% critical chance to one handed weapons

Powerful blades adds 5% damage on swords

Fiery wrath adds 10% damage to burning foes (and they will be burning if you ported on top of them with Judge's Intervention). If they stop burning, then activate virtue of justice for just a little more roasting and turn them from medium rare to well done.

Add a Sigil of force in yer sword for a reasonable 5% more damage and I think you've done about as good as you can hope for.

The focus adds a blind and regen as well as a shield. Not bad at all and I prefer this to the additional burning a torch might provide, since you're not staying on the short sword for too long before swapping to the great sword (after using the short sword teleport).

Shield is nice, but as you'll read later - you don't want to linger around cowering under a shield just postponing your inevitable death.



how to land all of yer Whirling Wrath (normally easily avoidable by little children)


(thanks to Uncledolan) insert Sigil of Hydromancy. Now when you swop weapons to yer greatsword after a whole lot of pain your short sword just dished out, this sigil freezes enemies and slows them down long enough to bask in the glory of all your whirling wrath. Watching those damage numbers fly around always gives me a nice big fat smile. In PvE this is not really such a rewarding feeling since mobs will normally just stand there until dead. WvW is all about that triumphant feeling you get when you bested a "smart" opponent.

When your weapon swap timer is close to finished, use GS-3 to get nice and close to release GS-5 for your best chance of landing it. Pull enemies close, switch to short sword and release the pain again!


10 Zeal with Fiery Wrath (+10% damage to burning foes)

30 Radiance with Signet Mastery (20% CD on signets), Powerful Blades (5% damage with swords), Right-hand Strength (15% crit chance with short sword)

30 Valor with Meditation Mastery (20% CD on meditations), Purity (loose a condition every 10 secs. But swap this out for whatever you like), Monk’s Focus (meditations heal you)


Ok this is always the big question! Is my gear good? Heaven really knows. Wear your pajamas if you feel comfortable.

Uncledolan prescibes Knights Armor.

My thought is (the same as Uncledolan) to get hold of 6 Beryl Orbs for your crit damage increase. Strip down to yer jocks but leave on yer jewellery! We don't want to be exposed to all yer au' natural glory! Jewellery is expensive so see what you can "make do" with and replace only sockets where you it would be to your real advantage.

Ok so now yer nekked, loving the breeze and wondering if you should head into battle? No, we're gonna get you dressed. We want crit % to at least 45% when equipped. So slowly add pieces of armour until you reach your goal. Keep in mind that you can buy Bowl of Curry Butternut Squash Soup for a reasonable amount (5-ish silver) and Superior Maintenance Oils also adds some precisions.

Crit % is more important than crit damage, since there's no point in doing 200% crit damage if you only land a crit 20% of the time.

Gearwise you want as much items that offer precision to get your crit chance as high as possible. But don't leave health, power and toughness out of the equation.

Get dressed with any item you already have with precision modifiers. If you have to buy items, do it on an order basis at the trading post and save yourself 50 silver a pop but then buy Knights armor pieces. I suggest getting gloves, shoulder and boots, since your chest and legging pieces offer the most modifiers to power and toughness (which you might already own).

The Beryl orbs are for adding crit damage, but if you prefer any other items that might boost crit chance or crit damage then go for it.

Crit damage has a baseline of 150%. so anything you add to that is a bonus.

+10% from Fiery Wrath

+ 5% from Powerful Blades

+ 5% from Sigil of Force

+12% from Beryl Orbs

+10% from Curry Butternut Squash Soup

+30% from the Valour trait line

That's 222% crit damage WITHOUT any modifiers from armour or jewellery A reasonable argument to give your crit chance preference? No?

Play style:

Uncledolan gives you a fairly comprehensive solo WvW approach, but mine is more of a ninja-sniper approach. You don't want to run around WvW alone all the time:) And sometimes culling just get's me into all kinds of trouble so, until that is sorted out, I am very cautious about rushing at a single red name.

WvW - the ninja-sniper:

In a group: stand, look, search, identify. Now that you have your target picked, port right on top of them and let go with sword 3. Then sword 2 to port right back on the poor flabbergasted, retreating suspect and switch to great sword to slow them right down to snail's pace and let go with GS 2. Give the sorry soul a few more flurries of some great sword goodness and watch your weapon swap timer, while making use of your virtues F2 and F3 to negate a little damage. When the timer reaches 3/4 use GS 3 to jump at your target and do a GS 5 (only once). When the weapon swop timer is ready to equip yer terrifying short sword of fury, plant a GS 4 at your feet and hit GS 5 to pull your target in again. Swop to short sword, hit F1 for some burning, and let go of another sword 3. Result = man down. At this stage you should be almost dead yourself from the enemy group

giving all they have one you alone. If you think you can plant your target to death, then shout "Stand your ground", get the job done and retreat back into the safety of your group.

PvE - the superhero:

Here you can let loose with all kinds of hurt. change you skills to whatever suits you best, because surprising an Npc is not really important, they all die fast. In zones above level 70 the teleports can be used to great effect to save your sorry dying hide, by (thanks to a tip from Uncledolan) selecting an enemy in the distance and using your 2 ports and GS jump to open up a 2400 gap.

Dungeons - the 5th party member:

Something I should really pay more attention to. In early dungeon runs I tried my best to play the "role" of the guardian and get as many buffs to my party while trying to take the bulk of the damage. Later on I've come to appreciate that the need to stay alive out weighs the need to buff party members. So treat your uber damage dealing guardian with respect in dungeons. Go in, do damage, take a few hits for the team, but stay alive! Retreat and cower around the corner if you have to. The 10 seconds you are out of battle with 4 party members still in full battle is better than the 10 seconds spent for one of 'em to rez you and only 3 are in battle and the one rezzing you taking damage rather than avoiding damage.

Granted, I only did one FoM run with this build so far but I came to appreciate that the damage output is still astounding by my guardian and I finally feel that I'm the 5th party member and not the 5th wheel at times.

Damage = :P in any RPG. This build has a ton of hurt goin out. I had a 10K hit combo on a WvW Keep Lord and I think that's pretty good. Lot's of other better skilled players than me do probably double that, but for me that was a first and I felt pretty proud (well my chest was touching the desk).

I'm yet to do a full analysis of my current gear with Max's tool, but that will come in a day or two...

And here we go with the stats (no under water stats...)


Edited by Scleameth
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I really enjoyed reading more about your new build! We played together a couple times during the past few days, and I must say your build looked fun.

I can't wait to see your gear when you'll get to put it in the tool.

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I'm a sucker for any build with damage in it's title. This is a great read Scleameth, you've still got a great touch with putting in a hook with your game data. I like you describing how you came about realization of survival being so important and pumped up the pain.


Dang, u make me want to play this!





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I'm suddenly rethinking my approach to "Stand you Ground!" being one of my default skills in WvW. I should really be recording my game play and do more analysis on where/when I'm using this skill to it's best effect. But I find myself using it mostly to bypass the tons and tons of stuns/knock downs when trying to enter a keep/tower that is under siege. OR I'm using it as a means to escape the hurt I just got myself into by porting into an enemy group swords ablaze. These two scenarios are not really using the Area of Effect stability to any useful effect and though the 3 sec retaliation is nice, it's not really my main reason for using the skill.

So what am I trying to say here... Well, since I'm now on the path of dealing high damage and actually defeating opponents rather than scratch them a little, I also find myself in a lot if serious 1v1 and 1v2 battles. Especially mesmers and thieves. these guys like to linger after huge battles and can easily rake in one or two more deaths which can even often swing the battle back in the opponent's favour if a 10v10 is turned into a 8v10. Although these thieves and mesmers don't cause a ton of damage to you as a guardian, they are still insanely difficult to get off your back! Then you run around behind the carrot on the stick with SYG and not needing it. Most of these guys don't have any lockdown skills and at that stage you're thinking that if only you could get MORE damage done FASTER, perhaps the battle will swing back into your direction.

Even more damage = retaliation. But wait, you're getting that with SYG I hear you say. True, but what else are you getting? Stability?

Reliable retaliation for the guardian comes in 4 forms:

  • Stand Your Ground! = 5 secs, but it's got a 30 second cool down and stability is not required in these fights
  • Symbol of Wrath (GS4) = 1sec retaliation (but actually continuous as long as you stand inside the circle). Good argument to use this one because this build does use the great sword! But you have to ask yourself if you really want to stand in one place and let the mesmer toy with you?
  • Signet of Judgment = 3sec, but you also apply 5secs weakness. And since we have signets traited, the cool down is reduced from 20secs to 16secs. Also SoJ passively reduces incoming damage.
  • Save Yourselves! = 10secs of retaliation. With a ton of other boons, including regeneration (1300 health) and fury (+20% crit chance). The negative effects are that you draw conditions from friendlies to yourself, so using this in a large group can be suicide. The cool down is 60secs, so you have enough time for a sarmy and a bit of coffee before hitting that skill again.

So you've got to think about the situation.

Use Stand Your Ground! when:

  • To run past the enemy zerg into your keep.
  • To keep your guys on the cats while under counter cat fire.
  • Taking an enemy camp with a few friendlies and the champ swinging the hammer is getting the better of the 3 of you.

Use Save Yourselves! when:

  • You are on the prowl and want to maximise your initial burst.
  • You are following the carrot from a thief or mesmer encounter. Hit this baby, port on top of them and hurt, reflect, regen, crit, chase - get the job done.
  • 10 sec swiftness boost to get away from a potential mess. I say potential, since you're not getting away once already trapped in a mess. If so, then "/sleep".
  • That single, unbeatable ele is still there at the centaur camp and he beat you twice already while not ever dipping below 50% health. See if you can get him to 20% health this time and feel all proud of yourself there face down on the floor... beaten for the 3rd time.

Use Signet Of Resolve when:

  • You generally want that 3rd skill to swing battles in your direction.
  • You want to take less damage in fights before hitting this skill for the retaliation.
  • You see a 1v2 battle comin your way (normally after taking a keep and franticly chasing around the straggling mesmers and thieves). You can apply weakness to them every 11secs and have retaliation up every 13secs.
  • You want thieves and mesmers to turn and run rather than seeing if they can capitalize on the weak and gain 2 more kills.

I reiterate that I should be recording my gameplay to see which works out better - Signet of Resolve or Save Yourselves!, but I'm pretty sure that Stand Your Ground! will, after a long and loving relationship, be removed from my skill bar in WvW.

Save Yourselves just gives so many booooons!!!! If it was not for the insanely long cool down, it would be the obvious choice.


PS. another new favourite party trick of mine since the revelation of Judge's Intervention struck me: Equip yer hammer, hit Hammer 5 (Ring of Warding) and immediately port on top of your target. This forms a nice little arena for the two of you to settle yer differences. Since your opponent runs right into the wall and falls over 90% of the time, this is a good time to take out the driver and hit them into the wall (again) with Hammer 4 (Banish). I'm actually looking forward to doing this with Save Yourselves! running, since I'd be critting every blow in our comfortable ring I just created for the 2 of us.

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Here is a good argument from against trying to focus on defence in WvW as a guardian:

https://forum-en.guildwars2.com/forum/pvp/wuvwuv/Incoming-Area of Effect-nerf-and-rezzing-in-WvW/1230452


So far my glass cannon build gets a ton of kills and unless I'm doing something real stupid, I even think I'm lasting longer in fights and falling back to group more regularly. This is probably because I'm paying a lot more attention to the conditions on me and how much damage I'm taking.

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  • 2 weeks later...

1st dungeon run in Arah = not so good :( With the lower survivability I got stuck facing the grashoppers eye-eye waaay sooner than I was able to react to. But I don't think there are many builds or characters that can survive stun locking in some nasty boss AoEs...

Granted I was stuck with a bad connection and ol' Murphy was just not on my side that day. I'm going to give this 'core' build one more chance in dungeons and call a final verdict.

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My gear is not 100%, but just about there. I'd say about 98% of what I want.... I could perhaps add a little more toughness and health. I'm going to change my major traits for the next run a little. I don't think the added 70 toughness I added to the party really counted for much. I'm going to drop the great sword and go with staff for dungeons as well as choosing major trait Altruistic Healing for a little more health income.

I'll get there - I just need to be a little more careful with my actions in dungeons, but I don't want to be "the guardian at the back" neither... need to find the happy medium.

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  • 4 weeks later...

You did well on the TA run yesterday. I think some of the difficulty before was that your build is a little too much of a glass cannon to really thrive with four ranged characters. That puts you as the only one in melee range and things can get really hot there. Replace one of those ranged characters with a heavy support tank, and things turn out very differently.

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Heh, glass canon indeed. More so than I would actually like, and cooldowns are my worst enemy. With the nerf of Curry Omnom Pies not proccing health regen per hit so much anymore, this build need some serious attention. But it's still fun to play but with a little more caution (and learning caution is a real hard thing for me to do :) )

Edited by Scleameth
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