fatmushroom’s tank/buffer MOD 7/8 Swordmaster Tactician PvE Guide
Hello everyone! I am lil fatmushroom@whymushroom from The Starks of Winterfell. I have been playing the Guardian Fighter as my main character since open beta. I focus on PvE only, and love the support role of the GF. My general approach playing the GF is finding a balance between staying alive and buffing. Dealing damage myself is not a priority.
I believe the GF is an huge asset to have in a party. When all my buffs are active, my party’s damage is boosted over 170%! Also, you can be very useful even if you are a new player and don’t have the best gear.
I used to be an Iron Vanguard until Mod 6 was released. With the massive damage I sometimes received, I couldn’t stay alive in dungeons. Since then I changed to Swordmaster to slot Steel Defense. This passive is key to survive! Another import eye-opener: always point your guard towards the middle of red areas.
Hopefully, this guide will help my fellow guardians to stay alive and even be able to buff his or her party.
2. Ability Scores
3. Powers & Feats
4. Artifact Powers
9. Armor and Weapon Enchantment
10. Potions with Defense, Deflection or Recovery
11. Suggested Rotations
13. Interesting topics
These are all viable races to choose. My first pick is the Drow (best buffer), my second favorite is Human. Easiest to start with are the ‘survivor’ races.
Gives 3% extra Defense, 3 extra Heroic Feat points, +2 to any Ability Score.
5% Chance to apply Darkfire, a 10% debuff of target’s Defense, +2 to DEX and CHA or WIS.
20% Increased resistance to Knonks and Pushes, +2 to CON and STR or WIS, 10% Increased resistance to Damage over Time effects. Slow movement.
3% Increased Deflection Chance, +2 to DEX and CHA or CON, +10% resistance to Control effects.
Extra healing, +2 to any two Ability Scores, +3% Power and Critical Chance.
2 Ability Scores
STR: +1% Stamina Regen, +1% Damage, +1% DoT Resist
CON: +1% AP, +4% HP
DEX: +1 Resistance Ignored, +0.5% Deflection Chance, +1% AoE Resist
INT: +1% Recharge Speed
In short: STR>CON>DEX>INT. But it doesn’t really matter that much in my opinion.
EDIT (13 dec ’15): To cast your buffs as often as possible, we should stack INT and CON, as 3rd stat STR.
More info about the Ability Scores and possible rolls.
More info about the effect the Ability Scores has on the GF
Here is how I like to use my Ability Scores. I maxed INT instead of CON or DEX because personally, I survive quite easily. Then I like to cast my buffs as often as possible. And where every millisecond in Recharge Speed means my buffs are active faster, this is how my party’s damage is increased.
EDIT (13 dec ’15): With a new respec, I would max INT and CON. With good timing of your shield and stamina boons, I almost never run out of stamina.
3 Powers & Feats
3.1 Combat Powers
The 3 extra heroic points from the Human race would I put in Pin Down (to extend the buff from Crushing Pin a little*).
*Edit September 22nd: The duration of the buff isn’t extended, only the CC effect. I would put the extra point in in Distracting Shield. If you like to play solo too, put them in Powerful Attack
Choosing the feats, I kept in mind that we don’t need to deal more damage. Also, I think we generate enough threat, and support GFs don’t need some Temporary Hit Points.
Action Surge (5/5)
a good source of AP. AP is needed to have your Dailies ready faster. Activating Dailies procs Steal Defense; immunity to damage for 6 seconds. AP is generated by absorbing damage with your guard.
Strength Focus (3/3)
+15% Increase in effectiveness of STR.
I believe you can run most content with just 60k HP. Obtaining 90k HP from blue gear is easy, but 9% extra HP is still sweet.
Distracting Shield (1/5)
Debuffs attacker’s damage (1 point to be able to spend points in the 4th row).
Armor Specialization (3/3)
Buffs Armor Class and Defense.*
Ubiquitous Shield (5/5):
Reduce effect of Combat Advantage (CA) against you. In mod 7 CA seems to be stronger, or mobs seem to take advantage of CA more. Either way, this helps you survive better.
*Edit September 22nd: Some people claimed it’s broken. I have always played with it. Either way, other Heroic Feats aren’t helping us surviving. @grimah ran some tests earlier:
Just ran another test, armor specialisation and stand united both work, but they dont show up on the character sheet.
Plate Agility (5/5)
Extra Deflection Chance.
Shield Defense (5/5)
Gain 5 to AC. AC contributes to Damage Reduction (DR), the higher your DR is the more effect your Into the Fray encounter has on your allies. This is your biggest buff. Maximizing this buff with DR is the main objective in this guide!
Unshakeable Line (1/5)
Buffs your Stamina. More stamina makes it easier to keep up your guard longer. It allows you to ‘catch’ red areas to generate AP more often or longer.
Devoted Protector (4/5)
Increased Deflection Chance when blocking. If you feel you can survive easily, you can put them in Unshakeable Line.*
*Edit September 22nd: I used to play with 0/5 Unshakeable and 5/5 Devoted Protector. I changed it with all points to Unshakeable for a week. It felt a little bit weaker. I also think there are enough sources to get Stamina to keep your shield up long enough.
Fight On (5/5)
Faster encounter cooldowns!
Crushing Pin (5/5)
Your control powers (Terrifying Impact, Bull Charge, Griffon’s Wrath and Crescendo) cause the target to take 10% more damage for 3 seconds. There are more powers that procs this feat, but those powers have higher cooldowns.
Daunting Challenge (5/5)
Marked targets deal 10% less damage to allies, still full damage to you.
Rousing Speech (5/5)
Allies gain AP 5% faster.
Allies take 5% less damage. It’s good, but as you are going to mark mobs as often as possible, you’re better off putting points in Daunting Challenge.
Inspiring Leader (5/5)
Into the Fray increases the damage of party members with another 5%.
Martial Mastery (1/1)
A bit difficult to use, but great for allies that need AP. Taking damage generates AP for your team. Absorbing damage with your shield also counts as taking damage.
4 Artifact Powers
Off Hand’s ACF
Get the ACF Enchanced Mark, reducing marked targets when Enhanced Mark passive is slotted. If you struggle to survive get the ACF Shield Talent and slot that passive for extra Stamina. Note that the extra DR from the ACF Steel Defense doesn’t affect Into the Fray’s buff.
The general rule here: stack Defense first, then Deflection, then Recovery. These stats are the only stats I care about. If you can stay alive easily: stack Defense, Recovery then Deflection.
Increases your Damage Resistance (DR), more DR results in a bigger buff from Into the Fray. It also increases your ability to take damage. Note that bonus DR from feats or powers don’t count towards Into the Fray.
Increases your Action Point (AP) gain – your dailies are faster ready. This means you can procs Steel Defense earlier to be immune to damage. Also Recovery contributes to Recharge Speed Increase – your encounters are ready faster. This means you can spam your buffs more often.
Ignores a portion of incoming damage. This increases your ability to take damage.
Heals you when dealing or reflecting damage. GFs can’t deal a lot of damage, but since Regeneration doesn’t work in combat, Life Steal provides some healing.
Almost useless for the buff bot GF. It buffs your damage and healing.
Ability to penetrate armor. This is useless for the supporting guardian as we don’t deal damage.
Holding up your guard drains Stamina. Stamina regenerates slowly when your guard is down. Some powers provide Stamina like Tide of Iron (10%), Shield Slam (5%), Enforced Threat (15-30%), Into the Fray (15%), Iron Warrior (50% faster regen).
these are needed to activate your Dailies (and Dailies proc Steel Defense to be immune for damage). Your AP sources:
• Dealing damage generates AP;
• When the feat Action Surge is slotted, you also generate AP from guarding attacks.
• When Martial Mastery feat is slotted, you also gain AP from taking damage.
• Slotting the Class Feature Guarded Assault let you generate AP faster from blocking attacks.
Dark Few Warder: +400 Defense
Fey Elusiveness: +400 Deflect
Elven Haste: AP generates 3% faster
Elven Tranquility: chance to heal 20k HP when hit by a foe
Elven Resolve: 10% faster Stamina regeneration in combat
Reliquary Keeper’s Strength: +250 Power
Evoker’s Thirst: +400 Life Steal
Illusion Shimmer: +3% Deflect Chance
Enraged Regrowth: chance to heal 20k HP + 4k Defense buff
Augmented Thayan Bastion: chance reflect up to 10k damage
Weathering the Storm: +400 AoE Resist
Refreshing Chill: +400 Stamina Gain
Rapid Thaw: +400 Recovery
Cold Shoulder: chance to debuff enemy’s next attack up to 2000
Avalanche: taking damage can cause you to deal AoE damage. It’s good to spread your weapon enchantment. Other options are less useful in my opinion.
Tyranny of Dragons
Dragonheart: +1.6k HP
Dragon’s Shadow: +400 Deflection
Dragonscale Defense: +400 Defense
Dragon’s Greed: +400 Life Steal
Dragon’s Thirst (2/3): +3/4% Life Steal
Dragon’s Revival (1/3): 10% increased incoming healing
Dragon’s Grip (0/3): 10% increased Control Strength
Dragon’s Fury (0/3): 5% increased Critical Severity.
Primordial Vitality: +400 Defense + 1600 HP
Primordial Refenesis: +400 Life Steal + 1600 HP
Drow Ambush Tactics: +10% Combat Adbantage (Regen doesn’t work in combat)
Dwarven Stamina: +5% Stamina gain
Abyssal Tenacity: 5% less damage from Demons
Focus at start on stacking Deflection (Defense is obviously more important than Recovery and Deflection). When you progress and feel stronger, then you can shift your focus from Deflection to Recovery.
7.1 Fresh to Endgame >> Deflection (Armor = 42.4 HP, 0.8k rec, 3.6k def, 1.3k defl)
Get the blue Alliance Ward set for all armor pieces at the seals vendor or running the 3-man dungeons.
7.2 Near BIS >> Deflection (Armor = 49.7k HP, 1.5k rec, 3.9k def, 3.4k defl)
Elemental Elven Ward = 9.9k HP, 885 rec, 860 def, 590 defl
Elemental Dragonflight Ward = 11k HP, 900 def, 650 deflArmor:
Elemental Alliance Ward = 17.8k HP, 1220 def, 830 deflArms:
Elemental Alliance Ward = 8.9k HP, 815 def, 800 defl
Elemental Dragonflight Ward = 11k HP, 900 def, 975 defl
Elemental Elven Ward = 9.9k HP, 590 rec, 860 def, 885 defl
Elemental Dragonflight Ward = 11k HP, 650 rec, 900 def, 975 defl
7.3 Near BIS >> Recovery (Armor = 52.7k HP, 3.2k rec, 4.0k def, 1.8k defl)
Elemental Elven Ward = 9.9k HP, 885 rec, 860 def, 590 deflArmor:
Elemental Alliance Assault = 17.8k HP, 830 rec, 1220 def
Elemental Dragonflight Ward = 21.9k HP, 1010 rec, 1355 defArms:
Elemental Burning Gladiator = 9.9k HP, 295 rec, 860 def, 445 defl, 295 LS
Elemental Elven Assault = 9.9k HP, 885 rec, 860 def
Elemental Dragonflight Raid = 11k HP, 975 rec, 900 def
Quicklist with Underdark Gear:
+ Elemental Elven Ward > high recovery
– Elemantal Drowcraft Ward > high deflectionArmor
– Elemental Alliance Ward (deflection)
– Elemental Alliance Assault (recovery)
– Dragonflight Ward Breastplate (better than the two above)
– Drowcraft Breastplate (little less reovery/HP, but lots of power)
+ Dusk Ward Breastplaste (little less recovery/HP, 2/set bonus seems good)
– Elemental Alliance Ward Gauntlets
– Elemental Dragonflight Ward (little better than Alliance)
– Elemental Burning Gladiator
– Elemental Drowcraft Ward Gauntlets (good stats)
+ Dusk Ward Gauntlets (okay stwwats + set bonus = beter)
– Elemental Elven Ward
– Elemental Dragonflight Ward
– Elemental Drowcraft Raid Sabatons (little more recovery/defense, big loss of deflection)
+ Dusk Ward
+ Dusk Raid Sabatons (less deflection, more recovery)
Best buffing set, if you can stay alive easy: Knight Captain set 4/4 (AH)
7.4 Knight Captain >> max buff, squishy (Armor = 1.2k rec, 3.1k def)
Complete the whole set to have a chance to buff your ally’s Power with 15%. Knight Valor causes this buff to procs constantly! This set is not good for low geared groups. But it shines when you run with high geared (high power) groups.
7.5 Other Gear
Alliance Ward (purple) = 2k HP, 315 delf + D slot
Dragonflight Ward = 2.1k HP 350 defl + D slot
Protecting Battlescarred Ring of Vitality (blue)* = 1k HP, 250 def + D slot
Protecting Ring of Parrying (blue)* = 310 def, 310 defl + D slot
Personalized Adamant Ring of Recovery = 400 rec + D/O slot
Rising Ring of Defense +4/+5 (NEW)** = 900++ def + D/(D) slot
Rising Ring of Recovery +4/+5 (NEW)** = 900++ rec + O/(O) slot
* When searching for blue gear on the Auction House, filter for level 65+, Rare, 1 Slot and Status: Defense.
** You can wear only one of these items
Alliance Ward (blue) = 1.7k HP, 285 rec + O slot
Protecting Amulet of Parrying = 310 def, 310 defl + O slot
(Greater) Lathander’s Cloak (BIS)** = x AC, x rec, x def + O slot
Alliance Ward (blue) = 1.1k HP, 425 defl + O slot
(Greater) Lathander’s Belt (BIS)*** = +x Ability Score, x rec, x def + D slot
*** Complete the Lathander set (3/3)! This set bonus grants you immunity to any sickness. It also provides almost 100% of your HP when you get revived, or when your soulforged enchant pops. This set bonus is huge! This way you can survive damage that extends your HP pool – surviving hits >200k+
Defender’s High-Quality Exquisite Elemental (lower budget)
Defender’s Gemmed Exquisite Elemental = .9k HP, 230 def, 230 defl + O slot
Defender’s High-Quality Exquisite Elemental (lower budget)
Defender’s Gemmed Exquisite Elemental = .9k HP, 230 def, 115 defl + D slot
Warrior’s Gemmed Exquisite Elemental = 115 rec, 230 def + D slot
Drowcraft Chausses = 1.1k HP, 190 rec, 210 def + D slot
Loyal Defender**** = 870 def + O/D slot)
augmented pets only.
Elemental Fire Longsword/Shield: 2,525 defense, 0 recovery
Twisted Spathe/Aspis: 982 defense, 0 recovery
Set bonus: +160 when truck, + 160 power when you hit (up to 24 stacks). Problem is you want to hit as often as possible to stack all your buffs. I havent tested it, but it’s not looking appealing to me.
Stronghold Lance/Shield: 982 defense, 0 recovery
Set bonus: +2% Outgoing Damage (stacks with every party member carrying this set)
Good buffing set, but ridiculously expensive to obtain.
Burning Longsword/Shield: 982 defense, 0 recovery
Set bonus: chance to restore 25% of your AP after using daily.
If you can cap your Damage Reduction (80%) with just one stack of Companion’s Gift or less , then this is very interesting.
Crit, ArPen and CA Bonus. Bad stats, but awesome burst damage buff! Easy to obtain.Eye of Lathander
Defense, Life Steal and Incoming Healing Bonus. Good stats, also needed to complete the awesome set bonus. You get this with an Adamantine Gauntlet from the Arcane Coffers in the Dread Ring Lairs. Drops are low, but keep trying as often as possible.Sigil of the Guardian
Defense, Deflection and AoE Resist. Good stats, easy to obtain.
Sigil of the Devoted
Power, Defense and Incoming Healing Bonus. Okay stats, but I wish I could change Power to something else. This artifact is useful in all classes. Leveling a DC just for the sigil takes some time, but it’s a cheap way to get your artifacts.
Sigil of the Oathbound Paladin
Hit Points, Power and AoE Resist. Meh stats, but the primary power is good for weak groups (increased DR and healing).
Heart of the White Dragon
Hit Points, Defense and AoE Resist. Good tanky stats.
Bloodcrystal Raven Skull
Recovery, Regeneration and Stamina. It lacks Defense, but the primary power is good for the weaker GF.
Waters of Elah’zad
Recovery, Defense and Regeneration. Almost perfect stats, only if Regen would work in combat too. But they nerfed that. Recovery and Defense is still good! Easy to obtain.
Hit Points, Power and Life Steal. Okay powers, but lacks Defense. The primary power is a nice buff for your team. Lathern’s buff better.
Symbol of Fire
Power, recovery and defense; good stats
BIS (max buff, defense and recovery):
Primary: Lathern of Revelations
Secondary: Eye of thandar, Waters of Elah’zad and Symbol or Fire
(Coastal) Fail Snail: “Using a Daily grants 25% of your total Action Points over 10 seconds”
11 Suggested Rotations
Step one: mark your target!
Step two: mark your target again!
But seriously, too often I see GFs forgetting to mark targets. You need to spam this! It’s a huge boost for your team.
11.1 Situation: Bigger Group of Mobs (Standard)
This will be your standard setup.
1. Enhanced Mark:
This goes hand-in-hand with the same Artifact Class Feature (debuff). If you feel weak, slot Shield Talent instead of Enhanced Mark.
2. Steel Defense:
Grants you immunity after using a daily. You can replace this once with Guarded Assault when you feel strong to generate more AP for the team.
1. Fighter’s Recovery:
Strong healing power.
2. Terrifying Impact:
Stun multiple targets, procs Crushing Pin, and procs your Weapon Enchantment.
1. Enforced Threat:
It marks multiple enemies (party buff), generates threat, and recovers your Stamina. It also procs your Weapon Enchantment.
2. Into the Fray:
Your bread-and-butter! Your allies gain run speed, AP, and massive damage buff. Also recovers your Stamina.
3. Knight Valor:
Saves your allies. Reflected damage procs your Weapon Enchantment on original attacker.
Weak AoE damage, but its casting time is way shorter than WMS. This means you can activate your buffs faster than when Weapon’s Master Strike is slotted. The main reason to use Cleave is to proc your Weapons Enchantment. WMS does that too, but better for solo play as it deals more damage.
2. Tide of Iron:
Don’t forget this debuff on the mobs that stay alive a little longer.
11.2 Situation: Single Target, Max Buff (Squishy)
I like to use this setup for end boss VT and MC. Also this is the most effective set up for dragon runs in Well of Dragons and Stronghold.
Change Steel Defense to Guarded Assault. This provides a little extra AP gain, also for your allies.
Slot Crescendo instead of Terrifying Impact (Crushing Pin). They both proc Crushing Pin, but Crescendo’s cooldown is shorter. Also, you can abort the Crescendo casting if you block (need to block only a split second), but it still triggers Crushing Pin.
Bull Charge (shortest cool down of control powers) Griffon’s Wrath instead of Knight Valor to proc Crushing Pin. When wearing the Knight Captain set, it can happen the set bonus isn’t active all the time. Still, I think it’s worth slotting Griffon’s Wrath here. Currently I’m trying out Griffon’s Wrath. But I’m still not sure I like it. I will come back at it later. Griffon’s Wrath is better than Bull Charge to active Crushing Pin.
Standard (Crushing Surge deals a little more damage, but is slower to cast).
11.3 Situation: Kiting a Group of Mobs
I use this in the cleric phase in the Temple of Tiamat.
Slot Villain’s Menace instead of Terrifying Impact. This Daily is best to hit as many mobs around you as possible, generating agro.
Slot Iron Warrior instead of Knight Valor (when you are in a party) or Into the Fray (when nobody like to be in a party with you). You will have massive agro now. You should be able to save a cleric easily with just you and a dps class!
11.4 Situation: Solo
Change Steel Defense for Combat Superiority (gives to extra damage)
Slot Lunging Strike instead of Knight Valor; great AoE power.
Weapon Master’s Strike is way more powerful than Cleave. Downside is the slow casting.
12.1 There are four main things that help you survive
• Immunity from Steel Defense that procs from Dailies. So, obtaining AP helps you survive.
• Blocking damage with your guard. Stamina is needed to keep your shield up longer. Also point towards the center of red areas.
• Heal yourself fully with Fighter’s Recovery.
• Soulforged Enchantment in combination with the Lathander’s set.
Others: Hit Points, Deflection, Damage Reduction, DoT resist, AoE resist, Combat Advantage resist and Life Steal. The Lathander set bonus
For Iron Vanguard players, I think maxing HP and Life Steal are key to survive. But again, this doesn’t work that well for me. I hope other GFs can show us a little insight how to survive as an Iron Vanguard.
12.2 Your main buffing abilities
1. Into the Fray:
The guardian’s biggest buff (50-80%)! Stack AC and Defense to make this buff more potent. Stack Recovery to spam this buff as often as possible. This goes hand-in-hand with the Inspiring Leader feat.
You may never forget to mark targets, and keep them marked! Spam your [TAB] and Enforced Threat. Different marks stack, making buffs more effective. This your second most important buff. 5% Or 10% buff per mark. It also activates Combat Advantage 360 degrees on target; 25+% damage buff.
3. Weapon Enchant:
Using a Terror (4%) or Plague Fire(3×3%) is another big buff! To proc this on as many enemies as possible use Cleave and Enforced Threat. Also the reflecting damage from Knight’s Valor and some Companions help to spread this buff.
4. Crushing Pin: each time you use a control power, buff attacker’s damage with 10% on affected target.
5. Dark Fire (damage)
6. Rousing Speech (AP gain)
7. Martial Mastery (AP gain)
8. Tide of Iron (damage)
9. Knight Captain set (damage)
10. Primary Artifacts:
a. Lantern of Revelation (damage): my favorite
b. Vanguard’s Banner (damage): seems okay
c. Wheel of Elements (damage/heal): too random for me/hard to use. Also loses effectiveness when more people use it.
d. Sigil of the Oathbound Paladin (survive): Increased DR and healing for your allies. Good for low geared groups.
13 Interesting Topics
Buffs and Power/Recovery
Pets and Companion’s Gift
Plague vs. Terror
Approach to Tiamat’s Temple
I will edit the layout later to make it better readable.
Enjoy and comment!