Rokuthy’s Hybrid Tanking Build for End Game PvE Content (Guardian Fighter) (updated)

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by admin on August 24, 2013
Guardian Fighter

Rokuthy’s Hybrid Tanking Build for End Game PvE Content (Guardian Fighter)


  • Added Timeless Hero optimization (updated)
  • Added Stalwart Bulwark optimization (updated).
  • Added an armory link (requires gateway login) and feats screenshot. The screenshot will always reflect what I’m currently testing, not necessarily what is written in the guide.
  • Added a quick FAQ at the bottom of the guide, removed some old information. Will update FAQ as necessary.
  • Added DPS spreadsheet (thanks to Sanctumz).
  • Added a link for Defense/Deflection number crunching


  • Add endgame gear list (dependant on drop information)

Possible updates based on interest:

  • Strategy discusion for tanking specific dungeons
  • Strategy discussion for tanking various bosses


My Armory Profile: Might not always reflect what I’m currently using, just depends on whatever gear I’m wearing when I log out.

DPS Spreadsheet: Thank you Sanctumz for the DPS spreadsheet.

Defense, Deflection, and Damage Reduction for Guardian Fighters: Good math and discussion starting to show up for Defense and Deflection. Will keep this link here as long as the thread stays updated.

Envy’s Guardian Fighter PvP Guide: For every GF interested in PvP, you’ll find a lot of good information here.

Venore’s Debuff Turtle: This is a pure tanking guide with detailed explanations of the powers and feats that go along with the build.

Stalwart Bulwark 4-piece bonus:

This is the essential set for the Hybrid Tank. The only possible upgrade to this is the Timeless Hero set, which will have uses in single target fights. For the majority of PvE content, the Stalwart set will be your best in slot setup.

Drop Locations:

Helm – Lair of the Mad Dragon
Gauntlets – Cloak Tower
Greaves – Cragmire Crypts
Armor – Throne of Idris

Stalwart Bulwark Optimization:

It’s finally time to add a BiS gear list with stat optimizations. The following information will assume that you are using the Stalwart Bulwark 4-piece set.

Stat Priorities: ArPen to 22% -> Power -> Crit/Recovery.

You will attempt to stack power as high as possible after reaching your 22% ArPen target.

When looking over the gear list, keep in mind that I’m stating the highest rank of each item (Ancient, etc), but any rank of that item will still be what you would use. For example, if you cannot find Ancient Rings of Control, then using the Minor Grand Ring’s of Control from the Drake vendor would be perfectly acceptable. You’re looking for a specific stat distribution here, it doesn’t have to be perfect to start. Just get the base items that you can afford, and then upgrade from there. Same with enchants/runes.

This guide assumes that rank 7 enchants/runes will be used. You may find that you need to add/change an enchant around here or there if you’re using higher or lower ranks. Just remember, once you hit 22% ArPen (around 2150 rating with 15 Dex), you’ll start stacking as much power as possible through the use of Radiant Enchants.


Neck: Ancient Excorcist’s Necklace of Blessings – Dark Enchantment
Rings: 2x Ancient Grand Slavemaster’s Ring of Control – Radiant Enchantment
Belt: Smiting Berseker Belt (60) – Radiant Enchantment
Shirt: Gemmed Exquisite Shirt – Dark Enchantment
Pants: Gemmed Exquisite Pants – Radiant Enchantment

Weapon (option 1): Brutal Lizardfolk Scimitar – Greater Plaguefire Enchantment and Radiant Enchantment
Weapon (option 2): Longsword of the Timeless Hero – Greater Plaguefire Enchantment and Dark Enchantment
Shield: Shield of the Timeless Hero – Radiant Enchantment

Pet (Cat):

Offense: 2x Eldritch Runestone
Defense: Eldritch Runestone

Neck: Ancient Exorcist’s Necklace of Blessings – Dark Enchantment
Belt: Piercing Occult Belt (60) – Dark Enchantment
Ring: Ancient Grand Slavemaster’s Ring of Control – Dark Enchantment

Timeless Hero Optimization:

Stat Priorities: ArPen to 22% -> Power -> Crit/Recovery.

On paper, the Timeless Hero set does slightly less DPS than the Stalwart Bulwark set while under optimal conditions. What this means is assuming both sets have their 4-piece bonuses active, the Stalwart will slightly out perform the Timeless. However, conditions aren’t always optimal for the Stalwart set, particularly on certain boss fights. If you find yourself having a hard time keeping your 4-piece bonus active, then you could consider using the Timeless set full time. If that’s what you choose, then here is the optimization:

*Note – The Timeless optimization is 100% identical to the Stalwart Optimization. I’m keeping both lists here just in case individual differences exist in the future.*


Neck: Ancient Excorcist’s Necklace of Blessings – Dark Enchantment
Rings: 2x Ancient Grand Slavemaster’s Ring of Control – Radiant Enchantment
Belt: Smiting Berseker Belt (60) Radiant Enchantment
Shirt: Gemmed Exquisite Shirt – Dark Enchantment
Pants: Gemmed Exquisite Pants – Radiant Enchantment

Weapon (option 1): Brutal Lizardfolk Scimitar – Greater Plaguefire Enchantment and Radiant Enchantment
Weapon (option 2): Longsword of the Timeless Hero – Greater Plaguefire Enchantment and Dark Enchantment
Shield: Shield of the Timeless Hero – Radiant Enchantment

Pet (Cat):

Offense: 2x Eldritch Runestone
Defense: Eldritch Runestone

Neck: Ancient Exorcist’s Necklace of Blessings – Dark Enchantment
Belt: Piercing Occult Belt (60) – Dark Enchantment
Ring: Ancient Grand Slavemaster’s Ring of Control – Dark Enchantment

Rokuthy’s Hybrid Tanking Build

This build started off as a simple way to counter the expensive respec costs that exist in the game. The initial purpose of the build was to create a spec that was viable for both PvE tanking, foundry/questing solo play, and PvP. It has, in my opinion, become one of the premier Guardian Fighter specs that you can play. While it is still perfectly viable for PvP, it truly shines as one of the strongest specs out there for PvE Hybrid Tanking and DPS. This build will fulfill all tanking needs in T1 and T2 content, while also putting out extremely respectable DPS. This build nullifies any need to respec (I’ll do all the respeccing for testing purposes) in order for you to fully enjoy PvE, PvP and solo Neverwinter content on your Guardian Fighter.

Keep in mind also, that I’m constantly experimenting. Along with my main gear set, I have an additional 23 items in my inventory (fully enchanted/runed) that I can swap on for different situations (and testing). I keep this guide updated based on the things that I’m currently doing that work. If you catch me in game, I may be using different gear, or running with a different spec, etc. I’m just testing things out. Once I feel confident that it works, I’ll add it to this guide. I’ve spent around 40,000,000 AD since the game came out testing various gear and specs, so there’s no telling what I’ll be doing each day as far as my playstyle is concerned.


With this setup, you will be able to purchase every power needed for tanking and DPS, and still have a few points left over to make personal choices:

3/3 Cleave
3/3 Tide of Iron
3/3 Lunging Strike
3/3 Villain’s Menace
3/3 Shield Talent
3/3 Enforced Threat
3/3 Griffon’s Wrath
3/3 Fighter’s Recovery
3/3 Terrifying Impact
3/3 Knee Breaker
3/3 Enhanced Mark
3/3 Knight’s Challenge (Optional)
1/3 Combat Superiority
3/3 Frontline Surge
3/3 Ferocious Reaction
3/3 Trample the Fallen (Optional)
3/3 Threatening Rush
3/3 Into the Fray
3/3 Supremacy of Steel (Optional)
3/3 Bull Charge (Optional)
3/3 Indomitable Strength (Optional)

If something is listed as optional, that simply means that it’s not integral to PvE tanking or DPS. There will be 15 points leftover after all essential powers have been purchased, leaving a little bit of flexibility and personal preference for how you finish out your build. I chose my extra powers based on varying factors – PvP, experimentation, etc. It’s entirely up to you what you purchase with those 15 points, and it will have very little impact on the hybrid build overall.

Build I’m Currently Testing:

Please note, this screenshot will stay updated with what I’m currently testing. It may not accurately reflect what is listed below. The feats listed below will be the build that I currently endorse that has already been tested and proven to work.

Feats (Previously Tested):

3/3 Strength Focus
3/3 Toughness
3/3 Armor Specialization
1/3 Shielded Resurgence
3/3 Potent Challenge
5/5 Powerful Attack
1/3 Grit
3/3 Weapon Mastery
1/5 Ubiquitous Shield

The first thing to take note of here is the fact that I’m human and have 3 more points to spend on my heroic feats. I recently made a slight change and went with 3/3 Weapon Mastery. I didn’t feel like the 4/5 Ubiquitous Shield was necessary. I have a point in it right now just because it’s an oddball point and it doesn’t really matter where it goes. I could have easily gone 2/3 Grit or 2/3 Shield Resurgence, but in the end, that last point is going to be of little consequence. Put it where you want. If you aren’t Human, then I’d recommend to just not worry about 3/3 Weapon Mastery. I’m not stacking crit on any of my gear, so adding the 3% isn’t going to be game breaking.


We’re going right down the Conqueror tree to start.

5/5 Take Measure
5/5 Wrathful Warrior
5/5 Cruel Cut Style
5/5 Tactical Superiority
5/5 Menacing Impact (Optional)
1/1 Reckless Attacker


5/5 Fight On

Again you will be left with an option after you pick up the main feats. With five points left over, it’ll be entirely up to you where to spend them. I personally went with 5/5 Menacing Impact, purely due to the sheer amount of times I hit Villain’s Menace during dungeon runs. However, Plate Agility is a good choice for hybrid tanking, Reinforced Surge or Improved Vigor could be solid choices for PvP, and Crushing Pin could be an option as well. It’s entirely up to you.


I’ve changed things up ever so slightly for boss fights. There are generally two different types of boss fights and strategies to use: the cleave on top of the boss with adds strat, and the straight up DPS burn strat. For the cleave strat, this is my setup:

CleaveThreatening Rush
Frontline SurgeEnforced ThreatLunging Strike
Villain’s MenaceFighter’s Recovery
Combat SuperiorityFerocious Reaction

You’ll notice that I no longer useIron Warrior. It just doesn’t fit with this new playstyle and it also isn’t needed. The cast time on the ability makes it harder to use as a clutch, life saving CD, and the extra shield block isn’t typically necessary. I’ve also replaced Shield Talent with Combat Superiority, and Enhanced Markwith Ferocious Reaction. Due to my current DPS, Enhanced Mark isn’t needed – I have less aggro issues than I ever have before simply from raw DPS, and Ferocious Reaction sort of serves as my new Iron Warrior in terms of a life saving CD. If you find yourself not needed Ferocious Reaction, feel free to replace it with anything at all that better suits your build or playstyle – could be Shield Block, Trample of the Fallen, etc. I don’t find myself blocking quite as often, instead I opt to avoid as much telegraphed damage as possible, block only when absolutely necessary, and face tank the rest. Villain’s Menace is my most used daily – it gives me the most DPS uptime possible through its resistance to disabling effects, however, I use Fighter’s Recovery anytime I know I’m going to need healing (especially if my cleric is kiting).

For the straight up DPS burn strat, this setup is assuming that nearly 100% of my focus will be on the boss. I want that boss dead as soon as possible as my cleric or the rest of my group handles the adds. In some cases, the cleric will perpetually kite all adds in the encounter until the boss dies; in other cases I’ll hold the boss away from the group while the other DPS stand on the cleric killing all adds that come to him. For this strat, I use the following setup:

CleaveTide of Iron
Bull Charge -or- Griffon’s WrathKnee BreakerLunging Strike
Villain’s MenaceFighter’s Recovery
Combat SuperiorityFerocious Reaction

This is a simple setup for pure single target DPS. It involves keeping your Tide of Iron debuff on the boss at all times, weaving the initial Griffon’s Wrath charges in with Lunging Strike and Knee Breaker, and then just continuing a rotation of using every ability on CD with 100% uptime on the Tide of Iron debuff. Straight and to the point. The other option (for bosses), is to replace Griffon’s Wrath with Bull Charge, as it has a higher DPS potential.

One final note, you don’t have to follow everything I use to the letter. If something works for you, then by all means, use it. Know how it works, and then share it. Fill us in on what you’re doing. Also, think outside of the box. Speed clearing an instance to rush delves? Into the Fray sounds perfect for that – mash it on cool down as you’re moving through the instance for increased run speed, AP gain for dailies, etc. Playing with a group that can’t seem to avoid standing in stuff? Give Knight’s Valor a shot. Your control wizard not controlling anything? Save your Frontline Surge for interrupts on healers/casters/other trash. You don’t always have to be using a particular set of skills from start to finish in an instance. If you’re quick enough, you can swap on the fly in combat – just know you’ll be put on a 10 second lockout from using the ability, but I honestly do it all of the time. Keep things interesting, experiment.


1. What is the best race for the Guardian Fighter?

Race is entirely a personal preference. I personally chose human, but I would have probably chosen human regardless of any racial or stat bonuses. It’s just what I prefer to play. So pick something you’ll enjoy, something you want to look at, etc. It doesn’t matter that much in the end.

2. What initial attributes did you choose? What attributes should I pick?

For the most part, Strength and Constitution are the two attributes you’re going to want to stack for DPS (and hybrid tanking – for tanking period, in my opinion). Some people argue for Dexterity, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s just not what I went with. As for what I’d recommend, I’d go with str/con. I personally chose 16/16/12 (str/con/dex) and then put 2 points in con (human bonus), for a total of 16/18/12. At level 60, this gives me 22/24/14 unbuffed, and 23/25/15 with a camp fire buff.

3. What kind gear do you wear?

I currently use the Stalwart Bulwark 4 piece. 5% of HP is converted to power upon taking damage, stacks up to 5 times for a total of 25% of HP to power. For my jewelry, I recently swapped from defense/deflect jewelry to power/crit/recovery jewelry. Yes, this means I forgo the max HP (which means a litle bit of power from HP), in order to gain straight power and recovery, while crit is just a bonus of the gear. The best items of choice here: Neck – Revolt, Rings – Control, Belt – Control. Also, keep your eyes open for certain blue items – belts in particular can have outstanding stats with a gem slot. As usual, my advice is to always balance your stats for whatever goal you wish to achieve. I use the Timeless Hero shield, and am currently farming the Timeless Hero weapon. I’m undecided if I will be using the Castle Never weapon set (sword/shield).

4. What is the best pet for the Guardian Fighter?

I’ve seen arguments for the Stone, but I prefer the Cat. It rarely dies and it transfers 100% of its stats to you. Its natural stat bonuses are recovery (our best stat), and crit (a good stat). It has a neck, ring and belt slot, along with 2 offense and 1 defense rune slots. All stats put in these slots transfer 100% to you as long as the pet is summoned.

5. What are the best stats to be stacking?

This is currently up for debate as more and more theorycrafting is becoming available. This is the DPS Spreadsheet I’m currently using for my stat weights and gear choices. Currently, I’m aiming for around 25% recharge speed increase (this is a little over 3,000 recovery), and then stacking as much power as possible. Now, the Stalwart Bulwark 4 piece really helps here – with it, we can hit power levels that normally wouldn’t be possible. After power, I choose crit. Most of my crit will come from control items (power/crit/recovery), and I will end up with about 20% unbuffed crit in my final gear set. So to recap: Recovery to 25% recharge -or- 3200 -> Power (as much as possible) -> Crit -> Defense -> Deflect. I have a link to a nice discussion concerning defense and deflect at the top of this guide that you can read over. In my opinion, once you hit about 4,000 defense, the added benefits really begin to diminish and it becomes less valuable to stack. Currently with 3800 defense and 31 AC, I have 45.4% damage reduction. When I stack defense to 4900, I have 47.5% damage reduction. Therefore I decided that 45% damage reduction (for the time being) is a good stopping place so that I can begin stacking more offensive stats (recovery, power and crit).

6. Is your gear also the best gear for PvP?

While I feel my gear is strong for PvP, I think it has a few disadvantages. The Stalwart Bulwark set requires a build up period – you don’t always get (nor want) that build up time in PvP. I also value crit far more in PvP than I do currently for PvE. Burst is king where as sustained damage isn’t quite as important. It can be nice, don’t get me wrong, but you really want burst to drop targets as soon as possible. So for PvP, I think going with a higher base power, high crit build is more advantageous than the Stalwart set. I’d refer you to Envy’s guide for more PvP discussion. While I have an extensive PvP background in other games, the purpose of my guide is PvE Hybrid DPS/Tanking.

7. What runes and enchants should I use?

This boils down to your current stats and what your goals are. First, for your Cat (if you’re using one), you don’t want to stack any HP there – HP doesn’t transfer to your character. So you want to be using pure stats. So for offensive slots on the cat, you’d either go recovery, power or crit. Defensive slots on the cat, I went with defense – defense slots on my gear, I go pure HP. Offense slots on my gear, once again, will be based on what stat I currently need – either recovery, power or crit (I doubt I’d ever gem for crit). Currently though, I’m using Tenebrous enchants, but it’s just an experiment at the moment. The jury is still out on whether or not they’re best in slot. For utility, it doesn’t matter, I just toss movement in there. For my weapon enchant, I use the Greater Plaguefire (45% defense reduction), and for my armor enchant, I use the Soulforged (2 second immunity when hit below 25% health).

Original Post.

Leave a reply
  • DraGunaN
    June 4, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Hello Man i am a Tank 60 and i am use from Dungeon’s and PvP Grand Reagent’s Set’s is good from pve and pvp and me weapon is ancient shield and sword its good ?? from you Recomender?

  • alex
    June 10, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    hey boy, why r u using combat sup on both strats but just have 1/3 skilled out?

  • Barukh
    June 26, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Thanks for the great guide! However i have one qualm and thats with the colors used x) is it possible to change the yellow for something … darker? xD

  • Ponyu
    July 9, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Nice build overall, but one thing is awfully wrong and made me rating it 7 out of 10, the HEROIC FEATS are displayed for HUMANS ONLY, if you are not human, you are screwed, because you dont have the extra 3 feats.
    And the author dont specify where he spent his 3 extra human feats points… So yea, race might be a “personnal preference” but I think that a guide must be a global guide or you could have specified “Human hybrid tanking guide” :).

    I post here only as a warning for future GF who are following this guide and could be screwed if they are not human !

    But keep up the good work !

  • J.E. Russell
    August 26, 2013 at 3:36 am

    Excellent build! switched to a close version of this from a pure tank build and the difference is night and day. changed a few things but the overall theme helped tremendously thank you!!

  • Khebeln
    November 27, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    I might be wrong but is the Defense: Eldritch Runestone on cat wrong in the defensive slot ? You dont get extra hp from that runestone on your cat.

  • Forge04
    November 29, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    I’m following your build, but what about the Sharandar boons?

  • chris
    December 6, 2013 at 2:09 am

    Hi im a bit confusee. On top it seems youre saying to stats prioritization is arpen – power – crit but on your faq you say recovery power then crit. Is it arpen or recovery? Anyone may else. Thanksfor the help!

  • chris
    December 6, 2013 at 2:09 am

    * anyone may answer. Sorry auto spell on tablet

  • Zes
    February 6, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Hello, I am wondering a bit about the Sharandar and Dread Ring boons? How did you put those?

  • eran
    February 9, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    If you want power from the start wouldn’t it make sense to go with the grand regent 4 set with its always on 20% of defense as power?

  • carlos
    August 26, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    is this guide updated?

  • mrwily
    October 27, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Race is real and it matters.

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