After reading every single build/forum post/youtube comment/random zone chat statement out there, I’ve been spending most my time experimenting with my guardian fighter on PS4. The result is a setup I myself find very functional and fun to play.
My main goal for my guardian fighter is to be able to solo PVE, group PVE and some PVP when alliance calls for it. With those goals in mind, I found that the IV covers all my requirements.
The main reasons to go for the Iron Vanguard paragon path is :
- Threatening Rush at-will for marking mobs and extreme mobility (also has a nifty double mark effect excellent for PvP)
- T Rush at-will will open up one encounter slot, so that you have more flexibility when choosing encounter powers.
- Trample the Fallen personal for added dps, this is very awesome as a defender specced GF suffer from lack of dmg in solo and PvP play
I have to warn new guardian fighters that this build wont be truly awesome before you hit itemlevel 3.500+, however I included some tips for lower itemlevel players at the end of the guide.
The only time you will see this build fail, is when someone decides to host Svardborg with a conqueror full DPS build Guardian Fighter as 2nd tank. The reason I fail when this happens is either due to the fact that the dps GF gets aggro while standing with the DPS classes on the opposite side of the boss, thus wiping the team, or the dps GF failing to stand next to me when I get the double arrow over me. When people realizes that the conqueror GFs are not tanks, this problem will sort itself. I prefer doing mSVA with a properly build tactican/protector as 2nd tank, and I think its a shame that so many high ilvl Guardian Fighters go for the DPS builds. As it is now on PS4, i know only 1 tactican I can run mSVA with, when hes not online I end up playing with a paladin (effectively removing all hint of a challenge from this endgame dungeon).
I went for Drow only for the Darkfire racial feat (5% chance to debuff mob defense by 5% on hit).
As you can see in the screenshot, Constitution, Dexterity and Intelligence are the main stats for this build.
CON is important for AP gain and Max HP, DEX is raised to 18 to hit 60% resistance ignored easily and INT for recharge speed increase. I started out with 18 CON, 15 DEX and 10 INT. All points earned during leveling are spent in CON + INT.
I currently run full protector for deflect, AC, damage resistance and reduced damage from mobs with the 5% from Iron Guard, combined with 15 points in tact for cooldown reduction, crushing pin and reduced dmg from marked mobs.
I get many questions regarding why I choose the Protector paragon path. The answer is easy ; I want to be in a defender role, not dps, so Conqueror is out of the question. As for choosing between tactician/protector, these are the reasons I find the protector the best for filling a tank role in party :
- Added deflect and DR from Devoted Protector (5% deflect on block) and Brawling Warrior (Knights Valor increases damage resistance by 5%). More deflect and defense = more gearslots for other stats
- Protector capstone easily replaces the United feat from tactician three. When running Knights Valor, all hits on party members equals hits to you, that means constant -5% damage from mobs. This is not limited by distance between yourself and allies.
- Overwhelming Impact does give Terrifying Impact a 5% DR debuff to mobs hit. +5% damage from party compared to tactican path.
- The tactician capstone Martial Mastery gets worse the better the Guardian Fighters gear get. If you decide to raise your sheild, its is 100% useless. Defender role GFs tend to raise their shields from time to time.
Note on Maze Engine and SKT missing boons in screenshots:
Last boon for SKT will ofc be 3 points in Frozen Reflection. For The Maze Engine Im going for Demonic Swiftness + Displace Fate.
Im currently using the +power SH boon, and will be using the +defense as soon as we have it built.
For party PVE :
At-Wills : Threatening Rush/Tide of Iron,TR for groups/ToI for single target) + Cleave,
Into the Fray : ALWAYS start combat with this encounter
Enforced Threat : Main damage encounter paired with owlbear cub (not used in everfrost zones, all marks applied with T Rush there)
Commanders Strike : I swap Enforced Threat for this encounter in single target fights and this is always active in everfrost zones. Used instead of Knights Valor outside of everfrost zones when party not in need of extra survivabilty.
Knights Valor : This is always active in everfrost zones. Paired with the offhand Artifact Class Feature its the most effective way to apply the crushing pin feat. Adds extreme survivability to the party.
Lunging Strike : Nice for getting into positon FAST.
Knee Breaker : Awesome for proccing crushing pin in single target fights
Guarded Assault and Combat superiority class features. Swapping Combat superiority for Shield Talent in some cases, master Svardborg for example.
Terrifying Impact and Villians Menace dailies. Terrifying Impact for proccing crushing pin. Villians Menace mainly for cc immunity, but the added damage is also awesome outside of everfrost zones.
For groups of mobs, start combat by marking with T Rush. Shield up to apply crushing pin, then follow up with commanders strike and enforced threat. If I play with low ilvl group, I slot KV instead of commanders strike.
For single target you either slot CS + KV or CS + Knee Breaker. This is ofc dependant on the group you play with. When fighting Orcus or dragons, I like to replace KV/Knee breaker with Lunging Strike.
In FBI and Svardborg, I use TR for marking and CS stays active the whole fight to make room for KV.
For solo PVE :
Threatening Rush + Crushing Surge, IF/ET/CS. Guarded assault + Trample the Fallen class features. Villians Menace + Terrifying impact dailies.
When playing solo I always start combat with ITF. Follow up rotation is Threatening Rush to mark mobs/gap close. When in the middle of trash, I raise my shield to ensure crushing pin debuff is applied. Once see the CP debuff icon on mob,I hit enforced threat followed by knee breaker. Make sure to keep crushing and marks on the mobs at all times. Cast Villians Menace whenever you have max action points. Use Terrifying Impact on groups of mobs to procc Trample the Fallen + Crushing Pin
For PVP :
Tnreatening Rush + Crushing Surge, Into the fray/Bull charge/Knee breaker. Combat superiority + trample the fallen class features. Villians Menace + Indomitable Strenght dailies. Hit people in the face till the stop hitting back.
On all gear i focus on Defense/Recovery/Power. Only exception is for everfrost zones, where i find the added deflect from Frostborn + Relic helps survivability a lot. I also like the 3p Frostborn bonus as its a very good bonus for the enitre party in FBI (+4000 movement).
As you can see in the screenshots, swapping companion azures to vicious will make a huge difference. Will update screenshots as soon as we have the defense boon built.
Party PVE gear :
Dusk raid head + gloves, Life silk spinneret chest, Elemental drowcraft raid boots. Lathander Neck, Constitution belt, Ring of sieging +5 (to stay at DR cap when entering combat) and brutality +4 (farming for that +5 ofc). Bloodstained shirt + Drowcraft Chausses. I use 1 +200 armpen reinforcement and 3 +200 defense reinforcement kits on gear.
Stats with 2p Dusk bonus active :
For everfrost zones I use 3p Frostborn ward + Vivified Relic ward boots for ef res and more deflect. The movement speed from 3p Frostborn is a lifesaver in FBI/mSVA imho. Reinforced +5% Greater Everfrost shirt and pants. Ring of Hellig +4 instead of Brutality.
Stats in everfrost gear :
Solo PVE gear :
Elemental Raid DF helm,gloves and boots + Lifesilk Spinneret chest. All other gear like party pve, apart from Ring of Hellig +4 instead of the Sieging +5. 1 +200 armpen reinforcement and 3 +200 defense reinforcement kits on gear.
Full prestige, jewelry same as solo PVE. (Should ofc have orcus set, but PVE is my main activity)
Artifacts in all setups :
Waters of Elah’zad, Sigil of the Guardian, Symbol of Fire and Black Ice Beholder. Considering swapping Sigil of the Guardian for Sigil of the Devoted or even the new Eye of The Giant to use as active artifact.
Blac Ice Beholder will be swapped for Sigil of the Devoted if I ever get a +4k arm pen mount. In that case, Guardian sigil will be swapped for Eye of The Giant.
I currently run with the Relic set. (-10% dmg taken 33% of time)
As soon as Mod 11 hits, I will be swapping for the new Lifeforgeds set. This set looks like a perfect match for this setup, even after it was “nerfed”.
The Stronghold set would also be an awesome alternative, even with only the tank running it for another -2% dmg debuff on mobs.
Artifact class feature : Guarded Assault now also lowers run speed of affected mobs by 5% (This applies Crushing Pin debuff, VERY important).
Equip Powers : Tide of Iron on mainhand for +stamina gain, Stamina/Guard gain on offhand.
I use azure (R11 atm) in all defensive slots and R12 cruels in all offensive slots. In weapon I have transendent feytouched and PURE shadowclad in armor (Do NOT use R12 shadowclad, as it will ruin the whole build when you go invisible). Darks in utility slots.
When it comes to companions, I use a legendary dancing shield as summoned at all times. 3xR12 bonding, stacking power+recovery in Persinalized Aberrant belts of Recovery. Azures in defensive slots. As soon as our gh is high enough to unlock our 3rd boon (defense) im swapping azures for vicious to gain a massive boost to deflect+lifesteal. Ty to @rjc9000 for pointing that out for me.
Active companions are :
Rust monster : 25% chance to inflict a 5% damage debuff on attacker. Stacks up to 3 times
Shadow Demon : A deflection does almost no damage and does 6000 damage to the source of the deflected attack once every 30 sec
Chicken : +40% movement speed and a -10% damage debuff on your attacker if you take damage greater tha 25% Maximum Hit Points in a single blow
Owlbear Cub : If you fail to critically hit, do an additional hit for damage equal to 50% of your Power (This companion is the key to dps when running this build solo)
The cub stays at home for everfrost zones, swapped for Air Cultist (% chance for 5% dmg debuff on attacker) or Celeste/Bulette pup to make up for missing drowned set bonus.
Using the owlbear cub adds a ton of dmg when I solo, and it seems to work very well with enforced threat (hitting 3 enemies for about 30k each pr use when buffed in party)
Mounts and Insignia bonuses
Insignia bonuses :
Shepherds Devotion : A really good party buff, and a very good reason to stack Power on a gf that is spamming dailies.
Protectors Camaraderie : More defense = more power = more party buff
Assasins Covenant : At my current itemlevel, Im already over defense cap. Again swapping out the azures on companions will be a major boost. More power = more party buff.
Victims Preservation : Lifesaver in svardborg. If I ever get a legendary mount, this will be swapped for Cavalry’s Warning (+10% pwr, rec,arp,crit,def,defl,regen and ls on mount combat power use)
Gladiators Guile : This bonus is all the +movement speed you will ever need.
When I play solo, I tend to change the Shepherds Devotion to Wanderer’s Fortune. (I forget to do it more then I actually do it tho,lol)
The cheapest and easiest mounts for these bonuses would be ; Sabino Destrier, Arkaiun Courser, Apparatus of Gond, Savage Polar Bear and Black Stallion.
Im currently using insignias to keep my armor penetration at 60%, if I ever get a +4k armpen legendary mount, all armpen insignias will be swapped for +power ones. In that case, all insignias would be a mix of Mastery, Leeching and Dominance.
Combat Powers/Equip Powers :
Im currently using the White Tiger for the +2000 armor penetration equip power.
A combination of the 2 legendary mounts Armored Axe Beak (+4000 armor penetration) and Swift Golden Lion (shield combat power) would be PERFECT for this build. I currently use the lion combat power, and its a really good help when stuff hits the fan and I get hit with shield down 🙂
Note for lower itemlevel Guardian Fighters / New Players
First off all, this build will be crap for solo play and dps contribution in party all the way up to around itemlevel 3500.
To get started playing this specc you need the following :
Drowned weapon set for selfhealing.
Dusk Raid gloves+boots, Lifesilk spinneret chest (drops in Epic Temple of Spider), Elemental Alliance Assault Helm (ETOS or Tiamat)
Use only azures in defensive slots, silveries in offensive. Dont start stacking power+recovery (Cruels) before you can afford R11 or higher enchants.
Stack defense untill you reach 95% damage resistance, Armor penetration till u reach 60% resistance ignored. Recovery should be 15k+ when buffed by companions gift.
Use negation instead of shadowclad until you get 95% damage resistance buffed. I used a r10 negation all the way up to 4000 itemlevel.
Farm Throne of the Dwarven Gods for the Ring of Sieging and the Ring of Charging Bull. Both should be atleast +4.
Buy the dancing shield as soon as you can afford it. This is the only companion you need to upgrade to legendary.
All the gear I use outside of everfrost zones is easily obtained, all you have to do I to get the grind on your mind till you can get those R12 Cruels in offensive slots.
Invaluable sources of information for Guardian FIghters
Everyone reading this guide should also read the links in this section. I would not have been able to “perfect” my own setup without these awesome contributions from the community.