Kelldenn’s Mod 10 Buff/Tank Build
Hello fellow Guardian Fighters! I’m Kelldenn of the Guild “Dawn of the Dragon’s Bane” on PS4. I’ve been playing the GF since release on the PS4 and spent a lot of time tweaking my build and playstyle to finally arrive at my “perfect” build. I must emphasise that this is a build that is shaped for my current stats and party members, so it may not be 100% perfect for you to begin with. Regardless I hope you learn something new or at least gain an insight into my choices of Feats, Stats and Powers.
Back to Basics
No matter how much information you read or absorb at any given point, nothing will beat practice and experience. What do I mean by this? Throughout your tanking career you will notice a pattern; the slow attacks usually hit the hardest, oh and red AoEs are bad. This is easily avoided by using our shield to mitigate the damage and negate the Control Effects of AoEs. Our Shield is our best friend because it allows us to survive and also generate even more threat through Aggravating Strike. Now with that being said, we can’t sit behind our Shield all day because eventually our Stamina will deplete to 0 and more importantly we need to occasionally drop our Shield for those well-appreciated buffs GFs are known for.
So, in terms of our bread-and-butter basics we have a few tools in our arsenal, specifically for generating Threat:
- Aggravating Strike (At-Will behind our Shield)
- Enforced Threat (Encounter)
- Iron Warrior (Encounter)
- Knight’s Valor (Encounter)
- Enhanced Mark (Personal)
- Mark (PS4 Default R1)
Now our job as a tank is quite simple really; keep the enemies attention on you. So let’s talk about Threat. How I see Threat is like a tug of war, we’re pulling to keep Threat towards us while our Healer and DPS are also generating their own kind of Threat. So we need to ensure we’re doing everything we can to keep the Enemies focused on us and away from our Allies. We have many ways to generate Threat and it differs between the GF as we all (hopefully) have different playstyles and favour different abilities. One of the simplest ways to generate this Threat is through Aggravating Strike while behind our Shield, and this does two things; one, it keeps us from taking the full damage Enemies are dealing to us and two it keeps those Enemies on us, leaving our party to do their thing.
Now let’s talk about Mark. We have two Marks; a Hard Mark (R1 for PS4) and a Lesser Mark (Enforced Threat). Essentially Marks will double the Threat you generate, but keep in mind that with the Lesser Mark it will be removed if you take a hit with your Shield down (and even if your Shield is up, getting hit in the back will remove it too).
Combat Advantage is up next and it’s great! Combat Advantage is both good and bad because we can gain it’s effect and so can Enemies, so do be aware of that. So what is it and how do we get it? Combat Advantage is a damage boost (15% I believe) that will show by having a sword to the right of damage dealt or received. Now the way we get this for ourselves is two ways; first our Hard Mark grants us innate CA against Enemies, and the usual method is to have an Ally on the opposite side of the Enemy (one stabbing it in the face, the other from behind). Now then, CA is also our enemy because Enemies naturally try to surround you and they will attempt to hit you in the back where your Shield is utterly useless, thus granting them the possibility of CA damage to you.
One more thing I need to discuss is “dodging” and I don’t mean Fox’s Cunning (Hunter Ranger) dodging. What I actually mean is if you can avoid taking damage then by all means do so. We’re not there to take damage all the time, even though we are designed to mitigate it but by avoiding damage you increase your own survivability. I’ll discuss this more later on.
This is something a lot of people debate about, where points go and how many it can all be confusing at times. My point distribution is entirely to balance out the stats I’m missing. I’m not going to talk about initial Stat rolls because I’ll assume you’re not making a fresh GF. Instead I’m going to list my Stat points (excluding Campfire bonus) and discuss them.
- Strength 15
- Constitution 30
- Dexterity 21
- Intelligence 13
- Wisdom 13
- Charisma 11
Now on to why I distribute them this way. First of all, Constitution is our primary stat and it is beneficial in two ways; it provides AP Gain and secondly it gives us a significant HP increase. Dexterity is my second choice because I’m lacking on Armour Penetration on my gear, so the easy choice was to boost it in my Stats. Dexterity also provides Deflect Chance and AoE Damage Resist. Finally Strength. This is a Stat that most GF prioritise and it’s something that I don’t understand completely. Yes, the damage bonus is nice but the one bonus that probably draws people in is Stamina Regeneration. Now That only applies when our Shield is down, and hopefully you can see the problem there.
So that’s Stats out of the way, and now on to the other Stats. By now you should realise Defense is our primary focus. Having a high Damage Resistance will make your job easier. It will allow you to take the basic attacks without the need to constantly hide behind your Shield. Defense is also combined with Armour Class into our final Damage Resistance. AC is a much smaller bonus compared to Defense but it is still a bonus. You’ll notice it on your Chest Piece and Shield.
I want to talk about Deflect now because I believe it’s overlooked. Deflect is a chance to halve the damage you would have taken, meaning a 200k hit turns into a 100k instead. You’ll notice Deflect by an Arrow at a 90 degree angle when you take damage.
Recovery is an important stat yet it requires a lot of points to see a real difference in our Encounter Cooldowns. I’ll discuss this more later on. Essentially it reduces cooldowns on our Encounters and gives us bonus AP gain.
Armour Penetration is vital to maintaining Threat as it allows us to bypass the Enemies Armour and deal our optimal damage which in turn provides more Threat. You want your Resistance Ignored at 20% for starters. Lower than this you may see problems with holding Threat.
Power is somewhat ignored I think, mainly because we’re “not a DPS”. Power is what provides us with extra damage and I’ve said a few times that damage = threat. So more damage will help when you’re in a group of insanely high DPS people.
I run the same Powers for every dungeon I run, because it’s what benefits me and my team the most so this may differ from what you run or need. I’ll start off by saying that Sword Master to me at least is superior to Iron Vanguard because of Weapon Master’s Strike and Steel Grace. But it’s up to you what Paragon you choose. Use what you enjoy most.
- Weapon Master’s Strike (At-Will)
- Tide of Iron (At-Will)
- Into the Fray (Encounter)
- Enforced Threat (Encounter)
- Commander’s Strike (Encounter)
- Villain’s Menace (Daily)
- Fighter’s Recovery (Daily)
- Steel Grace (Personal)
- Combat Superiority (Personal)
Now I’ll discuss why I use these Powers specifically. To explain in detail I’ll need to talk about rotations. Now I don’t believe there is a set rotation for tanking because it’s entirely situational, but my ideal rotation would be as follows; Initiate the fight by Hard Marking the target with the most Health, activate Into the Fray followed by Commander’s Strike, then a Weapon Master’s Strike to prepare for Aggravating Strike and finally Enforced Threat. Why is Enforced Threat last? That’s because while I’m setting up my buffs and debuffs I don’t want to waste Enforced Threat while my Shield is down, which would mean I’d lose the Marks provided. WMS means Aggravating Strike deals more damage thus building more Threat and on top of that I ensure Enforced Threat is last so I can use my Shield while my Encounters are on cooldown. Villain’s Menace is my favourite Daily because it gives the benefits that the Shield offers, like CC immunity. While VM is up it allows you to forget about stuns, knockbacks and focus on getting those buffs out for my team to do their optimal DPS. With a high Damage Resistance and a good Healer you’ll only need your Shield for those big hits and Red AoEs. Tide of Iron is a good way to debuff single targets at a time and restore Stamina in the process. This should be used when you’re either low on Stamina or waiting for Encounters to come off cooldown.
My Rotation for Orcus (Castle Never) is straight forward, and it’s also one of the best bosses to practice your timing and rotation on. The rotation for Orcus is very intermittent and it requires complete focus in order to maintain buffs and my own Stamina, but in the long run it has made me a better tank. To start we skip the stupid cut scene, and immediately activate Into the Frey, followed by a Hard Mark to Orcus. At the same time of Marking him I raise my shield and await his first strike (sometimes his animation bugs and will appear as if he isn’t striking you) and upon seeing that red damage number I drop my Shield for Commander’s Strike and then raise my Shield again. After the second hit taken I drop my Shield again and activate Enforced Threat and then raise my Shield. On the Third attack taken I drop my Shield and activate Tide of Iron to replenish my Stamina and then raise my Shield. The Tide of Iron phase continues until Into the Frey is back up, then I rinse and repeat from there. I don’t really bother with Dailies or Weapon Master’s Strike for this fight as my primary goal is to hold Orcus and buff the DPS team.
I need to talk about the Mod 10 changes for a bit. What hit everyone hard was the change to Into the Frey, where it became a flat 30% damage increase (up to 35% in Tactician tree). I was so glad this got “nerfed” because people only used GFs for ITF to trivialise dungeons and go for “speed runs”. That to me is boring. Now we still have a great buff that helps massively but it doesn’t give your GWF a light saber that can one-shot Orcus. It’s still great and I will always use it.
Commander’s Strike is my new favourite toy. This thing provides everyone (except ourselves) with a 30% damage bonus to the next Encounter used within 5 seconds; By the way it also affects Companions, too. I run with two Hunter Rangers who are all about Encounter use, so this thing is perfect for them. Regardless of what classes you run with, it’s still a huge damage boost in the long run.
Steel Grace is an incredible Class Feature mainly for the movement speed. To me movement is a stat that ends end being neglected, but with Steel Grace you gain Critical Chance (admittedly not that great for us), Deflection Chance and Movement Speed. So, to explain why the movement speed increase is so good I’ll talk about the second boss from Lair of Lostmauth, or The Twin Scorpions. Now, they have many “special” attacks that can all be avoiding by simply stepping to the left or right. Their red cone ability can be easily avoided by stepping to the left or right and it also gives you the opportunity to use an Encounter or Daily because they’re stuck in that animation. The same is applied for their Lava Circle that they place in front of them. This logic can be applied to almost every red AoE animation or slow/heavy hits. By standing still with your Shield up, absorbing the hit you could have spent that time dodging and using a buff instead.
Combat Superiority is a win-win. More damage dealt, less damage taken. Yes please.
Steel Defense rant: I want to get this off my chest, Steel Defense makes bad tanks. Well, a good tank can still use it but my point is Steel Defense is not the solution to any problems you may have. Giving yourself damage immunity will make things worse because eventually you’ll get used to it and rely heavily on it, thus completely forgetting you have a shield. No matter what anybody will tell you, Steel Defense is not a necessity for anything. Also Shield Talent is another one that I have a problem with, because we don’t need to hunker down behind our Shield for twelve hours at a time, we have buffing to do and aggro to hold. If you remember the 5 D’s, then you won’t need Shield Talent or Steel Defense. Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge.
Now it’s time for the build.
I’ll start with the Heroic Feats and I’ll explain why I use them. By the way, I am Human. If you’re not Human then go with 1/5 to Action Surge.
- Action Surge 4/5 – Generates AP from Aggravating Strike
- Strength Focus 3/3 – Improves the benefits of Strength
- Toughness 3/3 – Increases our Max HP
- Distracting Shield 5/5 – Debuff Enemies’ damage that hit us with our Shield up
- Powerful Attack 5/5 – Increases our At-will and Encounter damage
- Armour Specialisation 3/3 Improves Defense and AC stats
Now I shall discuss why these Feats have been chosen. I’ll work my way down the list to keep things simple. Action Surge will grant more AP to shielded attacks and this Build is all about building AP. This is good because Villain’s Menace is going to be activated a lot more. Strength Focus is there because I stack Constitution and Dexterity, so Strength gets neglected but this Feat helps out with that loss. Toughness just adds onto our HP, meaning we have a bigger window for death occurs. Distracting Shield is great because it softens the damage you take by 5% after Shielding an attack, Armour Specialisation is massively important as we want our Defense and AC as high as we can get it (until we reach 80% Damage Resistance). Powerful Attack, yet again more damage = more threat.
Now it’s time for the actual Build. I have used every tree available and have finally come to the conclusion that Tactician is king. Once you begin running with a regular group, you’ll want to focus on buffing them which is what the Tactician tree is all about.
Tactician is red and Protector is Blue, just for simplicity.
- Fight on 5/5 – 10% reduction to Encounter Cooldowns
- Daunting Challenge 5/5 – Marked Targets deal 10% less damage to Allies
- Rousing Speech 5/5 – Allies gain AP 5% faster
- United 5/5 – Allies take 5% less damage
- Inspiring Leader 5/5 – Into the Frey gains 5% more damage for everyone
- Martial Mastery 1/1 – Taking damage (with Shield down) builds AP for everyone
- Plate Agility 5/5 – 5% Deflect chance
- Shield Defense 5/5 – Gain 5 to AC
- Devoted Protector 5/5 – Gain 5% Deflect chance after Shielding an attack
This is a typical build for the Tactician tree so don’t be alarmed if you think it’s banal. The reason I use this build is because it provides my team with vital buffs that make them perform better and survive better. All of the Feats that can buff have been chosen and the three Feats in the Protector tree benefit my own Tanking and survivability.
I’ve not had the luxury or the patience to claim all of my Boons, but I do have the ones I deem useful to me. Red Boons are ones I am missing, but would recommend you to use if you have them.
- Dark Fey Warder – 400 Defense
- Fey Elusiveness – 400 Deflect
- Elven Haste – 3% AP gain
- Elven Tranquillity – chance upon being struck to heal for 20,000 HP
- Elven Resolve – 10% Stamina Regain
- Reliquary Keeper’s Strength – 250 Power and 250 Movement
- Evoker’s Thirst – 400 Life Steal
- Illusion Shimmer – 3% Deflect Chance
- Enraged Regrowth – chance to heal for 20,000 HP with 4000 Defense for 10 seconds
- Rampaging Madness – Dealing damage stacks “Madness” after 50 stacks gain 4000 Power, Life Steal and Regeneration
- Encroaching Tactics – 400 Combat Advantage
- Refreshing Chill – 400 Stamina Gain
- Rapid Thaw – 400 Recovery
- Cool Resolve – Gain up to 2000 Power based on Stamina missing
- Avalanche – Taking damage stacks “Avalanche” after 20 stacks deal 15000 damage to nearby Enemies
- Primordial Vitality – 400 Defense and 1600 HP
- Primordial Regenesis – 400 Life Steal and 1600 HP
- Drow Ambush Tactics – 10% Combat Advantage damage
- Dwarven Stamina – 5% Stamina gain
- Demon Slayer – 0-5% chance to slay Demons
Tyranny of Dragons
- Dragon’s Claws – 400 Power
- Dragon’s Shadow – 400 Deflect
- Dragonscale Defense – 400 Defense
- Dragon’s Greed – 400 Life Steal
- Dragon’s Thirst – 5% Life Steal
The Maze Engine
- Abyssal Regeneration – 400 Incoming Healing
- Demonic Influence – 400 Combat Advantage
- Demonic Swiftness – 3% Action Point gain
- Displace Fate – When below 30% health you gain a shield increasing Damage Resistance by 60% for 3 seconds
- Unassailable Tide – 300 Defense and 2000 HP
- Heart of Stone – 4% Life Steal Severity and 2000 HP
- Blazing Resilience – 400 Recovery and 2000 HP
- Wall of Wind – Chance when struck to heal for 24,000 and gain 1000 Recovery for 10 seconds
Here’s where it gets really interesting, and expensive on your Astral Diamonds. Companions combined with Bonding Runestones are a vital part of building your stat pool. I would like to add that I despise Defender Companions as the active Companion, especially when I see other tanks with them. Anyway, having an ample supply of Active Bonus Companions will benefit you greatly and will change everything for you. There are many choices of Companions both active and just for the bonus they provide, but I’m going to talk about the five I use. Names will be colour-coded for rarity.
- Intellect Devourer – (Active/Summoned) 3% Combat Advantage Bonus – 3x Bonding Runestones. This Companion is great for me because it’s the only Striker Companion that has three Defense Slots (as far as I know) which is great for boosting my Damage Resistance even higher.
- Shadow Demon – A Deflect does almost no damage, once every 30 seconds (20 with Three pieces of Dusk gear) – This thing is beyond amazing. That Deflect bonus is ridiculous and the damage this thing deals is incredible. Once my Damage Resistance hits 80% I’m switching back to this as Summoned.
- Portal Hound – 100 Deflect – Literally just here for the Deflect bonus.
- Man At Arms – 300 Defense – Super cheap on the AH for some extra Defense
- Young Yeti – On damage taken 10% chance, for you or your companion, to become blood thirsty, increasing damage dealt by 10% – You’ll be entering Blood Thirsty a lot because primarily we’re being hit all the time.
Yet another important piece of the puzzle to unlocking our full tanking potential. There are many options to choose and a lot of it will come down to what you can actually use at the time. You mainly want to slot Courage Insignias if you can.
- Gladiator’s Guile – Move faster when your Stamina is high, regen Stamina when it is low.
- Protector’s Friendship – When your Companion attacks, you gain Power & Defense.
- Survivor’s Blessing – When you Deflect, receive a Heal Over Time.
- Protector’s Friendship – When your Companion attacks, you gain Power & Defense.
- Wanderer’s Fortune – Defeating an enemy has a chance to drop a bonus award.
I’d like to think that I have all the gear I want, and I’m in the perpetual process of Refining it to death. I really don’t want to list all the stats on my gear but I will list each piece and hopefully you may already know of them.
- Dusk Raid Helm
- Drowcraft Breastplate
- Dusk Raid Gauntlets
- Twisted Spathe
- Twisted Aspis
- Dusk Raid Sabatons
- Greater Lathander’s Cloak
- Ring of Sudden Defense +4
- Ring of Brutality +4
- Greater Plated Band of Constitution
- Warrior’s Gemmed Exquisite Elemental Chainmail
- Warrior’s Gemmed Exquisite Elemental Chausses
- Sigil of the Guardian
- Sigil of the Controller
- Waters of Elah’zad
- Bruenor’s Helm
The pattern is every piece of gear provides me with Defense. Some of it comes with Power, Recovery and Armour Penetration which are some of our primary stats. I didn’t go for a Artifact 3 piece set because I found them to be underwhelming for my class, instead the Greater Lathander’s Cloak has incredible benefits and the same goes for the Greater Plated Band of Constitution. The gear you will use depends on what you can get your hands on and what you have already. And to reiterate, always look at your stats. If your Armour Penetration is low, then switch to some Dark Enchantments or switch a piece of Gear out. Just keep it simple and keep it cheap because your gear will change a lot to begin with.
I use the Greater Shadowclad Enchantment and the Plague Fire Enchantment. Shadowclad allows me to focus more on Power, Recovery and Armour Penetration than Deflect because of it’s innate Deflect chance upon being hit. After testing and watching back some footage of dungeon runs I was deflecting on average every 3-4 hits taken. That to me is superior to the Negation Enchantment, which to me is wasted because we’re already building up Damage Resistance as a primary goal.
The Plague Fire Enchantment is great as a debuffing tool and also as a separate Threat generator. I’ve tested this without Plague Fire on and holding Threat was a little more tricky than with it on. Essentially this removes Defense from the target meaning they take more damage.
PSA: don’t trust a tank that uses Soulforged.
Enchantment wise, I use Azures in every Defense slot and a Silvery in my Offense.
Armour Kits I would suggest are the Major Defense kits, but it’s really you’re choice depending on what stats you need. I use Major Action Point Jewels on the Neck, Rings and Waist. I am unsure if Stamina Gain affects the amount of Stamina incoming from ITF or EF.
On my Twisted set I use Iron Tide to increase the amount of Stamina Tide of Iron provides. And on my Shield I use the Action Point Gain and the Combat Superiority feature. Enhanced Mark‘s feature seems useful but I only have Combat Superiority unlocked at the moment, and I doubt I’ll switch anytime soon.
Tips and Tricks and Other Stuff
As part of my updating process I will be checking up on this guide and tweaking the information when needed. Hopefully this is more of an informational guide than an actual build, because copying a set of Feats and Powers won’t help you unless you truly understand what’s going on when you spend these points and when you use these Powers in combat. The whole point of this guide was to add my own knowledge on to the vast number of Guides/Builds and videos out there. I must say that tanking isn’t for everyone and I would rather help people who truly want to tank and to improve their skills by reading as much information and watching as many videos as they can to help them become a better tank and ultimately to enjoy the role and responsibility of being a tank. Tanking Orcus for the first time for me, was a disaster. My timing was off and I was getting destroyed by lag balls of death but I kept on trying and watched every mistake I made and learned from it. I watched the frequency of his attacks, I counted the time between each Encounter I could use and eventually we killed him. And each time you die in a fight it’s just another opportunity to look back and think about how it happened and what you can do to avoid it.
Now for some actual “Tips and Tricks”. One thing you’ll need to get used to is a thing called “animation cancelling” and what that is, is where you activate an Encounter or Daily or whatever and as soon as the cooldown appears you raise your Shield. So what ends up happening is you Cut the excess animation time out and continue Blocking the attacks afterwards. Another thing I do during Trash Mob clearing is a little “shuffle” and what I mean is when the Enemies stack up in front of you, they eventually spread out to the sides and can usually get behind you. In order to stop that I “shuffle” a tiny bit left or right to reposition them. If you plan on using Villain’s Menace a lot, then I’d suggest using it just before you initiate a fight to prevent any sudden knockbacks or stuns occurring. If you ever find a single Mob wanders off and attacks the Healer or DPS, use Hard Mark to grab their attention and then immediately generate the Threat back on to them.
So in summary I have discussed my choices of Feats, Powers, rotations and all that lovely stuff for all of you to indulge in. I do hope you’ve enjoyed the read through and I really really hope you’ve learned something new. I you want to ask me any questions feel free to leave a comment as I check this daily. If I left anything out or you feel I didn’t explain something adequately then please mention it, as I want this to be as helpful as possible.