Venore’s Debuff Turtle Tanking Guide (GF)
- First published on 5/3/2013
- T2 Update on 5/10/2013 (discussion immediately below, more points added to the conclusion)
Venore’s Debuff Turtle Tanking Guide
Added 5/10/2013: Once you get into T2’s, and get to the middle/harder T2’s you absolutely need to go conqueror build. Go to Envy or Rokuthy’s guide for full lay out. I believe 100% that this guide is great for new guardian fighters, for people struggling with first getting into epic dungeons, and for solo players. There is a lot of discussion on page 5/6 of this guide, in Rokuthy and Epic’s guides, on reddit, elsewhere, and everybody’s personal experience that right now you need to put out competitive DPS as a “tank” to succeed in the last few dungeons. The guide is staying up, but this intro and a longer discussion in the conclusion will lay out why you need to transition at a certain point.
For those that have seen the other two guides, this first part is going to be familiar: it’s gratitude. Thanks and good jobs to both Rokuthy for his Hybrid Tanking build here, and Envy for his Conqueror focused buildhere. You’ll notice I copied their layout and color scheme to large extent. I think it works very well, and something about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery.
And a super special thank you to the community over at guardianfighter.com, specifically Dragonsbane, who got this guide started by sharing his at-will / encounter powers.
I wrote this because it’s extremely different from the ideas presented in the other guides, so I want other options out there for up and coming Guardian Fighters.
Right off the bat, let’s get this established: their builds are going to be significantly better for PvP. I’m much more PvE centric – I live for dungeons. Their builds are going to be more fun for people who enjoy damage. My build is going to be more fun for people who enjoy control. For me, it really comes down to trust. I work odd hours, play at different times during the day, and usually solo queue. I am risk adverse. I am very untrusting. I assume DPS isn’t going to do their jobs. I assume that heal isn’t coming. So I build my tanks around trusting myself: high threat generation, high damage mitigation, a multitude of buffs and debuffs, with a focus on maximizing my guard meter. I know I can hold aggro, I know I can block competently, and I have picked skills that augment those two things. I always assume the worst, while hoping for the best. If the DPS are good, and the cleric is good, I am pleasantly surprised and extremely happy.
There’s another aspect to my choices. Because I assume the worst, I want to put everybody else in the best possible position to succeed. More specifically: with my build, you will be at the very bottom of the damage charts, and the very top of the damage taken charts – but bosses will die with precision and control, clerics will be largely unmolested, and you will have many successful groups because your mere presence (with all the buffs and debuffs that you are giving out) will increase the performance of everybody else. You will make moderate players good, good players better, better players great, and great players walking destruction factories.
Also, I do foundry and solo content with this build, but it is a little slow. Be advised.
If I haven’t managed to scare you off yet, please read on.
What I’m going to put down here are the passives, at-will, encounter, and daily powers that I use and why. Building up to the point where you can use them should be done in whatever way your heart desires. I could spend a lot of time talking about other skills, but I’m going to focus exclusively on my powers and their reason.
Passive #1: Shield Talent; Increases your shield meter by 5/5/5%; augmented by Shieldmaster, which reduces the amount of guard meters used by 2/4/6/8/10%. Pretty self explanatory. My goal is to collect as close to all the mobs as possible, and block as close to all the damage possible. The more meter I have, and the less that gets used, the more I can do those two things.
Passive #2: Enhanced Mark; Marked targets now build threat while marked, and you generate 33/33/33% more threat when striking marked targets. This has great synergy with my first at-will. In fact, without that at-will, I would drop this passive. But as you’ll see in a moment, I have marks up on most mobs almost immediately and for large stretches of every fight. Mark without this passive already causes the enemy to have lowered damage resistance and for you to get twice as much threat generated for each attack on them. Mark does not get removed if you block their attack. Going back, again, to my strategy of blocking as close to 100% of incoming attacks as possible.
At Will #1: Threatening Rush; rush to the target and slam into them, doing damage, marking that target, and marking targets around them for a short period of time (extra points do 10/10% more damage). This is an amazing power, and I use it for pretty much everything. I use it to initiate fights. I get there before my group, and make sure that every enemy starts with a mark, because they are grouped together when I get there. I use it to close the gap on enemies that are away from me. When applicable: I use it to get out of bad zones, by rushing to an add. It’s got decent enough damage, but it’s true purpose is to set the table for everything else that I do.
At Will #2: Tide of Iron; smash a target with your shield, doing moderate damage (points increase it by 10/10%), lowering their damage resistance, and regenerating 10% of your shield meter. Your most reliable, on demand shield meter regen – the debuff is icing on the cake.
Encounter #1: Into the Fray; a party wide buff that temporarily increases your party’s movement speed, action point generation, and gives everybody temporary hit points based off of your maximum HP. Extra points increase movement speed by 2/2. It also recovers guard meter. All of this on a 15 second cooldown. The usefulness of this power cannot be overstated. I use it almost entirely selfishly, and it still constitutes a spot on my bar. I use it while running up to a pack to make sure I’m the first one in, and can get my marks on everything. Meanwhile, if I need to move, it’s a little bit faster. Meanwhile, I’m generating AP towards my daily abilities at a significantly faster rate. And if you watch your guard meter, you’ll see that it’s constantly regenerating while Into the Fray is active. You can use it to make kiting easier, but that’s almost a peripheral benefit. I often get two daily abilities during one encounter. In addition to how much it does just for me, the benefits are extending to my entire group! Make sure you use it before you use any other AP generating abilities, such as Enforced Threat. Speaking of…
Encounter #2: Enforced Threat; forcibly taunt nearby foes, causing them to attack you, while also recovering guard meter – extra points increase that recovery by 5/5%. Also on a 15 second cooldown. AoE hard taunt with guard meter recovery fits in very nicely with a strategy of “collect all the adds, guard all the attacks.” You can get Brawling Warrior to increase its damage and threat by 2/4/6/8/10%. I elected not to (explanation below). I use this ability pretty much on cooldown. I try to make sure Into the Fray is active before activation.
Encounter #3: Frontline Surge; 10 foot aimed cone that does a lot of damage and knocks enemies back, leaving them prone. Extra points increase damage done by 10/10% and knockback done by 1/1 foot. Useful in so many situations. First off all, the damage done is significant. It really levels the boom. Secondly, it interrupts via knockback. Thirdly, it leaves enemies prone (not for very long, but still). It’s also a great setup for Terrifying Impact. It has a long cooldown of 20 seconds. But it gives you a ton of action points when you cast it into a crowd – even more action points when you have Into the Fray active.
Daily Power #1: Supremacy of Steel; surround yourself with two glowing swords that return damage done to you, can be used early to do AoE damage around yourself. Extra points increase the damage done by 10/10% and the buff duration by 2/2 seconds. Augmented by Overwhelming Impact, which decreases the damage resistance of affected targets by 2/4/6/8/10%. Essentially, when you have a ton of adds on you, you active Supremacy of Steel, hold it for a strong five count, and activate it again. You’ll return a percentage of damage done during that time period, hit everything in an AoE, and the debuff it.
Daily Power #2: Terrifying Impact; 4 foot cylinder with 50 foot range that does a ton of damage while tossing affected enemies into the air. Also triggers Overwhelming Impact. Extra points increase damage by 15/15%. Upheaval causes interrupt. Damage is tremendous. One slight drawback is the short casting time, which is about a second long. You can be interrupted or knocked back during that time.
Supremacy of Steel or Terrifying Impact?
Different situations call for one or the other. Because they both apply the same feat-based debuff to the enemies affected, you only have to choose which one to use based on the situation at hand.
If you have enemies clumped around you, and you will not be able to get them positioned in a straight line, Supremacy of Steel is better. If your guard meter is broken, Supremacy of Steel is better because you will be taking more damage and thus returning more damage.
If you need to interrupt an enemy, Terrifying Impact is better. If you can get a nice group of enemies in a straight line, Terrifying Impact is better. Frontline Surge is an amazing setup for Terrifying Impact.
One final note for consideration. Terrifying Impact has higher base damage. Supremacy of Steel has lower base damage, but it also will be doing more damage based on how much you get hit while it is active.
Most of the powers I selected are not directly buffed by my feat selections, which I know will cause some people to be squeamish right off the bat. So please allow me to explain. I started at the far right first. The capstone choices are: increase damage done based on guard meter left, debuff damage done when you hit targets, or increase AP generation when not blocking. If you read the introduction, you’ll realize immediately that the first and third options were no good for my strategy. This put me into the Protector Tree almost by default. Working from right to left, you will see the powers buffed by the Protector Tree:
- Shield Slam / Aggravating Strike (passive damage increase)
- Terrifying Impact / Supremacy of Steel (enemy debuff)
- Shield Talent (less guard consumed)
- Knight’s Valor / Enforced Threat (different buffs to the abilities)
- Ferocious Reaction
I skipped Knight’s Valor as a power completely because my whole purpose is to prevent enemies from damaging my party. So intercepting damage done to them shouldn’t happen. After playing around with a ton of encounter abilities, and using one of my full character respecs to test further, I couldn’t justify taking Knight’s Valor over the other powers. Therefore, I couldn’t justify spending the points in that feat, because it would only be buffing 1 power, making each point spent there slightly less effective. As far as Ferocious Reaction goes, like I said: I assume the heal isn’t coming. I’ve already used a potion before I got to the 15% point. Hanging at low health makes me nervous, so I avoid it. My only sadness here was not being able to keep Villain’s Menace, because it’s an absolutely stellar daily. But since Terrifying Impact and Supremacy of Steel have different uses, I kept both of them.
Now that you understand the end portion of my decision, let’s go to the beginning and walk through my feats…
Feats, For Real This Time
5/5 Action Surge (2/4/6/8/10% more AP from guarding attacks); get enemies, guard attacks, build AP, unleash dailies, repeat, profit.
2/3 Strength Focus (5/10% more benefit from Strength); these points were taken specifically for increasing guard meter. I would love to make this 3/3, but I put the point I dropped here into a talent later in the tree, specifically Armor Specialization. The reason is that despite my best efforts and the points I’ve put into it, at some point I will miss blocks and/or my guard meter will be broken. Passive benefits to armor and defense are always on, and guard is not. Given the choice between a point that will be used some/most of the time vs. all the time, I chose all the time.
5/5 Distracting Shield (guarding an attacks causes the enemy to do 1/2/3/4/5% less damage for a period of time); get adds, block attacks, punish them for hitting you. “Debuff Turtle”. Get it?
3/3 Armor Specialization (increases effectiveness of AC and defense by 5/10/15%); see strength focus above for the points on this.
5/5 Powerful Attack (increases damage of At-Will and Encounter abilities by 2/4/6/8/10%); just because I’m not primary focused on doing damage doesn’t mean that I avoid damage when I can get it. The vast majority of the actions you take in game are now 10% more lethal for five measly points. That’s an amazing investment.
Talents Not Taken, and Why
Toughness – flat HP is always ‘meh’ worthy
Shielded Resurgence – not better than more guard meter and more defense
Potent Challenge – extra threat not needed if you’re being active with your powers
Grit – remember what I said about assuming no heals are coming?
Pin Down – would only affect Frontline Surge, whereas points elsewhere are more universal
Weapon Mastery – crit is ‘meh’ worthy when we’re not damage focused
No Ubiquitous Shield?!
I felt this one deserved a more lengthy explanation. You’ll notice that a lot of my feats are built into passives. File and forget points that I don’t have to think about at all. There’s a very good reason for this. I spent a lot of time in dungeons worried about positioning, where my cleric is at, where adds are at, which daily power I want to use based on the situation around me, which fire I want to go put out first, etc. etc. etc. Part of that vast mental energy is put into making sure that I take as few ‘combat advantage’ shots as possible. I feel that Ubiquitous Shield is a lazy talent, by and large. The one exception is after Enforced Threat, when everything comes on you – you will be taking some shots then, through no fault of your own. Take a moment to reposition, get your back clear, and then move on with the fight. I feel that spending 5 points to either allow yourself sloppy positioning, or to mitigate a few shots that you know are coming and should be prepared for is wasteful. End rant.
5/5 Plate Agility (gives a 1/2/3/4/5% chance to deflect attacks); sure, why not? I’m not fan of avoidance typically, but that’s a fair trade.
5/5 Armor of Bahamut vs. 5/5 Shield Defense; Shield Defense is supposed to give 1/2/3/4/5 more AC, which would be a strong investment. Points spent there don’t currently reflect in the character sheet, and I’ve yet to see confirmation / clarification on it. Otherwise, I would put the points into Armor of the Bahamut, which gives increased damage resistance to attacks that break your guard meter. Sometimes, your guard meter breaks because you get poked down by a lot of adds, sometimes the reason your guard breaks is because you just got hit by a truck. Either way, without guard you’re significantly more vulnerable, and this mitigates it somewhat. I would prefer Shield Defense, as long as it’s functioning.
5/5 Shield Master; buffs my passive by making sure each guarded attack consumes less meter. Solid.
5/5 Balanced Shield Fighter; 3/6/9/12/15% damage increase to at-will’s when shield is raised – I use these abilities so frequently that this is a great buff for me. A word on aggravating strike – it does damage to multiple mobs with proper positioning, putting it on par with cleave. It also is a high threat move. It also does extremely respectable damage.
5/5 Overwhelming Impact; discussed at length above.
1/1 Iron Guard; capstone ability, also discussed above. Constantly debuffing enemies, while also guarding as many blocks as possible.
5/5 Fight On (tactician tree); 2/4/6/8/10% decrease in encounter ability cooldowns. Gets me to my dailies faster.
This build is (in many ways) overkill, but it was made for a very particular purpose. It is extremely durable, extremely sturdy, extremely self-reliant… while making everybody around you better. Its primary goal is to create safe, comfortable, successful dungeon runs that are built almost 100% on control and proper positioning. It is made for those who queue up for dungeons and skirmishes by themselves, and cannot be sure of the quality of their future group mates.
There are other options out there, two very good ones listed at the top of my post. This is not in any way, shape or form the definitive guide. But if you find yourself in a similar position as me, my sincere hope is that this build will serve you reliably.
T2 Transition and You
The choice between strength, armor, and toughness only comes up if you are doing the turtle build. If you are doing a DPS build, you’ll be skipping the tier 1 blocking talent, which will have you spend points in both strength and toughness. In the turtle build, HP is significantly less necessary because your shield is taking so much incoming damage. In a DPS build, you’re face tanking more damage, which would increase the need for HP. The builds and their purpose match up well when it comes to this choice.
Furthermore, I hit the point where turtle build is a liability, and have swapped to something closer to the Hybrid build. I don’t have the three extra points that Rokuthy has so it doesn’t match up completely – amongst other minor differences.
With a DPS build, your damage goes up (duh). I am working on my playstyle right now and swapping out some gear, so I’m a little behind the 8 ball in two ways. 1 – my non core armor pieces are overtuned for mitigation and lacking in damage; 2 – I am having to rehaul my playstyle, and habit changes are always fun! But back to the damage. More specifically, what the damage means:
Turtle Build, trash: all mobs on you, controlled, debuffed, standing in one spot while your DPS brings them down.
Turtle Build, boss: full mob control and boss control, everything debuffed, mostly standing in one spot while your DPS kills adds and then whittles boss.
This will be a strong build for leveling, and a strong build for T1 and early T2 content. It does reach a point, where the adds that come with the boss are too much for your mitigation or too much for your control. Then you wipe. That’s the point Rokuthy reached about 5/6 days before I did.
DPS Build, trash: trash explodes, nothing had a chance to threaten anybody in the group
DPS Build, boss: depending on the specific boss, you either burn the boss quicker or you burn the adds quicker, making it an overall safer fight
Every once in awhile, on a one big threatening mob / many trash mobs encounter (read: every boss), I need to bring shield up and stab over it for some quick “snap” like threat. By and large, I’ve been gathering everything up with Enforced Threat and cleaving my heart out. Updating guide to reflect this.