Guardian Fighter Mod 12 Swordmaster PVE Builds/Loadouts
Guardian Fighter Swordmaster
Hello everyone, I am Xenakis (Zen-ah-kees) from The Misfit Toys on Xbox One. This is my first build guide and I hope you enjoy it and find helpful information for your guardian fighter, I am constantly changing and updating things with my build and right now I am pretty happy with where it sits. I’m always looking out for issues/bugs with the character including powers, feats not being triggered appropriately, etc. Some of you may be new to the Guardian Fighter or tanking/supporting in general. One thing that helped me learn this class better when I started was experimenting with my character, and reading multiple builds and learning multiple viewpoints on how to play this character. While I think this guide is packed full of information, variety, and guides you to make the best decision for your play style, I also recommend checking out other builds and talking with other Guardian Fighters. At the time of writing this, the current Mod on Xbox One is Mod 12. This whole guide is going to focus on PVE tanking, with mention of general necessities for DPS and PVP. I am going to assume that people reading this guide are either new to the class, or they are using a respec token seeking advice. I will be very thorough in my information so feel free to skip around as needed!
**I will warn you, this guide is BIG. There is a ton of information, and not everyone will need all of it. I hope to include buttons soon so that readers may quickly find what they are looking for. Until then, follow the BOLD.
***Still working on integrating photos and buttons to quickly move between sections, though is not me forte. If anyone would like to explain to me how to do this, please message me on here.
What This Guide Will Accomplish:
This guide is aimed at players who use their Guardian Fighter in the traditional role, as a Tank. The reason for this is that the queuing system only recognizes the Guardian Fighter and the Oathbound Paladin as possible tanks, and so when searching for a group, the group you pick up is going to rely on you to do the job predesignated to you which is to Tank. That means this guide will stack Defense, Deflect, and Maximum Hit Points, while paying close attention to Power and Recovery, and Armor Penetration and Critical Strike will be the last things we look at. With loadouts available in Mod 11.5, it is my goal to provide a means to be even more flexible in the way that a Guardian Fighter can aid the group they are currently running with. I will outline a variety of builds; at least one for each Paragon path within the Guardian Fighter’s Swordmaster Path, as well as an Iron Vanguard Conqueror build. The Conqueror, Protector, and Tactician builds will provide you with higher DPS contribution, higher personal survival, and higher group support respectively. You can choose one of these builds and stick with it, or you can use them as ways to adapt and best support your group, and you’ll learn how to make those decisions. If your goal is to maximize your effectiveness in PVE group and solo play, then please keep reading.
With DPS Guardian Fighters being the hot new item (newer trend on console anyways), I can’t stress how important it is to have a passable tanking load out on your character, particularly if you like to play in Pick-Up Groups. You may want to be a full DPS Guardian Fighter, but you can use one of these builds to give you an extra tool to use when playing with unfamiliar groups.
You get 2 loadouts outs for free at level 70. One is the original and the second is a first load out. I am outlining more than two loadouts. For characters that have been around for a while. I recommend using one of the Conqueror builds for solo content, and the Tactician build for group content. If you would like to purchase more loadouts, they make you more flexible to aid the group you are in but are not necessary.
It is my goal to eventually update this guide to include more of a full-blown DPS build, as well as a PVP build. These are builds that I am currently using, but am not quite ready to share as I am still testing them.
Loadouts were introduced in Mod 11.5. Here is a little bit of information about what loadouts will and will not do for you. Loadouts will allow you to switch Paragon Paths and Feat tracks, including all the points spent there. You can reassign where your ability score points go but you CAN’T reroll you ability scores. For those wanting to do a little bit of everything in the game and with builds, you will want to roll a race and ability scores that are relatively universal. Loadouts will let you completely reassign power points. You can switch all gear and artifacts, but enchantments MUST stay with the gear. If you want to run a Frost enchantment in your PVE weapons, you can’t map that weapon to PVP with a fey touched enchantment. You need a separate weapon set and enchantment, or you need to spend gold to move enchantments around, Loadouts will not adjust companions or mounts and insignia bonuses. If you really wanted to get the most out of a DPS build versus tank build, those things would need to be adjusted manually like swapping enchantments or get entirely separate gear to slot in. Loadouts can only be switched at the camp fire and additional loadouts currently cost 500 Zen each.
The more I think about Race selection, I feel that the gains from each class are less noticeably the stronger your character is. Initially, Human is a great first race for the extra heroic points (great until you learn where you can lose points and which as must have for you, before race rerolling). For end game, the most important thing I see is the ability score bonuses, and occasionally the racial powers. What I’m saying is there are many options listed below that all work for this particular class, but I don’t feel like any of them is a must have. Pick the class that suits your needs/play style, and just remember that your Primary stat (as a tank) is Constitution, and Secondary stats are Dexterity and Strength. So when you pick the race and you have the option between abilities, pick ones that are meant for the class.
- Versatile Defense- This race has an extra 3% Defense stat.
- Heroic Effort- You are granted 3 additional Heroic points to use in their Heroic Feats.
- You get +2 to ANY Ability Score
The Guardian Fighter first and foremost is a Tank. When you cue for a dungeon, the server picks you up as a tank, even if you are built for DPS. Defense will be one of the first stats that you stack on your character with the goal of reaching 80% DR, which is generally accepted as the cap. Some even say 90% or more for the newest content; your DR may want to be even higher. Having 3 extra points into your heroic feats is something to make any class jealous, it’s a solid choice. More heroic feats means more initial stats on your character. The extra Defense is only to Defense stat, and not DR as the tooltip states, but if you’re going to have extra stat, it doesn’t hurt for it to be Defense.
- Stand Your Ground- You have 20% resistance to Knock back and Repel effects.
- Cast Iron Stomach- You have increased Damage Resistance to Damage over Time (DoT) effects.
- You get +2 Constitution, AND +2 Strength OR +2 Wisdom
This race has features that are desirable for a tank. My one problem with this race is that the increased stats are not defined. What I mean is that in this game, wording is everything. Sometime you get a buff that is straight forward, like 3% DR (Human). Sometimes you get a CHANCE for something like 10% AP after killing a foe. I don’t like chances, I like guarantees. I would like this option better if the game said just how much DR to DoT you get. This choice is still viable regardless, but maybe you really loved Gimli in Lord of the Rings and that inspires you, If so, be a Dwarf. This would be a great race to use if you mainly play PVP and want extra survivability.
- Nimble Reaction- Your small stature and quick movements grant 3% chance to Deflect incoming attacks.
- Bold- Your fearless nature increases your resistance to Control effects by 10%.
- You get +2 Dexterity, AND +2 Charisma OR +2 Constitution.
This class is great if you want to have higher Deflection chance. Deflection is the art of halving the damage you take when holding your shield up and you successfully block an attack. It’s a great stat to have and this character holds promise for getting it. An increase in Control resistance means that when enemies, push pull, stun, root, or freeze you, you are more resistant. A Guardian Fighter can break out of roots and other similar Control effects by holding their shield up and moving, but not complete stuns. This is another great one if you love PVP, but really any tank could benefit from Deflect and control resist.
- Furious Assault- Your Critical Severity is 5% higher.
- Swift Charge- You gain a 10% bonus to run speed for 3 seconds when you enter combat. This effect can only occur once every 20 seconds.
- You get +2 to Dexterity, AND +2 to either Constitution OR Strength.
- Dragonborn Fury- Your Power and Critical Strike are increased by 3%.
- Draconic Heritage- You receive 5% more healing from all spells and abilities.
- You get +2 to ANY TWO stats.
First, as I mentioned previously this race is not a default race, It is a PAID pack on the Zen Market. Even when it went on sale for the holidays it was almost 50 USD. If you have it, like burning a hole in your pocket, or want your character to look like an ugly lizard with legs, is actually some gain here. 5% healing is great for any class, and a tank benefits from this especially. If you are looking to do DPS, or maybe you just want the extra power and crit without having to invest it into your gear/boons/enchantments, then perhaps this race is for you. The dragon born is my personally choice for the plus 2 ability score to any two stats. The extra healing is helpful, and the power and critical strike is nice but not super noticeable.
The dragon born is my personally choice for the plus 2 ability score to any two stats. The extra healing is helpful, and the power and critical strike is nice but not super noticeable. I would probably recommend Human first and foremost, especially for beginning tanks because the extra heroic points make it easier to progress up the tree without feeling like you’re giving something up. At end game, I’m dragon born because I know which stats I must have from heroic, which ones I don’t really need but are just extra, and at that point the extra ability score bump is more valuable to me than anything else. Remember though that all the above are viable, and you should pick your race on how you want to play and what you need (if you’re rerolling and know what you need).
For the Guardian Fighter, the Primary Ability is Constitution. The Secondary Abilities are Dexterity and Strength. These are the stats you are going to want to role. Since most of you are here for a tank build, you will focus on Constitution. I had previously recommended Dexterity as the secondary stat you rank up. While it is not a bad choice by any means, I have rerolled to have Strength as my secondary stat. This is because the return on Dexterity is only .5% Deflect chance after 10 initial points, and 1% Resistance Ignored. When I’m in a group, I run the Armor Penetration boon, and rely on buffed power, and power on my gear/enchantments my damage. As such, for me and where I’m at currently, the extra damage from Strength is suiting me better. You need the Armor Penetration to a certain point to do any respectable damage that can lead to ago generation. If you can get the Armor Penetration elsewhere, then a damage booster like Strength is the way to go. Between Dexterity and Strength, pick the one that suits your needs. I’d recommend Dexterity at first or for newer characters. If you aren’t sure or want to guard against a respected token down the line. You can roll Dexterity as your second high ability score, then rank up Strength to get a lower, but more balanced Dexterity and Strength score.
Constitution: This stat increases Maximum Hit Points and Action Point Gain.
Dexterity: This stat increases your Resistance Ignored (Armor Penetration) and your Deflection Chance.
Strength: This stat increases your overall damage, Damage over Time Resistance, and Stamina/Guard Gain.
When building a character, particularly a Guardian Fighter, you want to take a look at the big picture and imagine where you get your stats from. Maximum Hit Points become hard to increase because it can be hard to get hit points from sources other than gear. Since that is the case and hit points are critical to surviving big end game Area of Effect attacks (AOEs), you will want to upgrade Constitution. The Action Point Gain is great because it will either increases your survivability or your DPS depending on which Daily Power you use. When choosing between Strength and Dexterity, I look at what I am trying to accomplish with my build. When you roll your ability score, you are going to want to roll 16, 16, 12. The 12 is the secondary stat you aren’t going to level as much. As you level your character, you get to place points in two stats every 10 levels up to level 70. I suggest that you level up two stats all the way and not split the points between your 2 secondary stats.
Depending on your race, you will get additional points to use, and some of them you get a choice. Pick Constitution, Dexterity, and Strength as your possible stats whenever possible. If you’re Human, pick Constitution. If you’re Dragonborn, Pick Constitution, and either Dexterity or Strength. I currently run Strength for the reason outlined at the beginning of this section. If you don’t need the Armor Penetration or Deflect, then go with Strength.
Swordmaster vs Iron Vanguard
As clearly outlined at the top of this guide, you will be choosing Swordmaster for this build. I’m not going to bash Iron Vanguard, but here is the reason for picking Swordmaster. Are you ready for it? Weapon Master’s Strike. This weapon swing has a HUGE AOE sword swing. It is a fast attack, it is really good at spreading your weapon enchantment, and enemies that have shields get damaged by it due to it’s “back stab” mechanic. This is a huge selling point right here. If you needed a reason to be a Swordmaster, that is it in a nut shell.
**Swordmaster is preferred in PVE, particularly when tanking because of Weapon Master Strike’s mob clearing abilities alone. If you want to run Iron Vanguard, your option for your main at-will is Cleave. Cleave has the added animation of your character taking steps forward and swingy wildly. Weapon’s Master’s Strike you sit still and swing. Cleave can be very annoying and difficult to use when trying to get hits in on many enemies quickly. Many people use Iron Vanguard for PVP, so if that’s something you’re into, that’s probably what you’d use.
The powers available to you are defined by the Paragon Path you choose at level 30 (Swordmaster), so it doesn’t matter which build you end up following, the same powers will be available as long as you selected Swordmaster. I’m going to give you power loadouts to use in different scenarios, These will be the first powers to level 4 and will be the most used. Understanding how your powers work, what kind of buffs/debuffs they do, and when to use them are what makes any class great. You can copy my loadouts and move on or read on and learn why we use these moves. Below are the powers you will want to take to 4 as soon as possible.
- RT= Weapon Master’s Strike
- LT= Tide of Iron
- Y= Enforced Threat
- X= Anvil of Doom
- X= Griffon’s Wrath
- Y= Knight’s Challenge
- Y=Bull Charge
- B= Into The Fray
*I showed where I usually map my powers, but which powers you use will depending on what build you’re in, what area you are in, and what types of enemies you will be fighting.
Knight’s Challenge is used with Griffon’s Wrath, and unless you need it to help get a boss’s attention (not the shining feature of this power), it should mainly be used in Conqueror paired with Griffon’s Wrath for potentially insane amounts of damage. I use Enforced Threat in low level areas to quickly clean trash mobs. I use Anvil of Doom, Griffon’s Wrath, and Bull Charge in harder areas depending on my needs. Bull Charge throws and prones, and both Anvil of Doom and Griffon’s Wrath are just high damage powers. Into The Fray is always slotted because the builds require temp hp to get most of their damage output, and the damage buff from fray is one of the best out there.
Group Play Mobs Powers:
- RT= Weapon Master’s Strike
- LT= Tide of Iron
- X= Knight’s Valor
- Y= Enforced Threat
- B= Into The Fray
- Commander’s Strike (Y)
If you are running a lower level dungeon, or your group is at the point where they can do without Knight’s Valor, you could play around with using Commander’s Strike instead. You’ll still want Enforced Threat as Commander’s Strike requires targets to be marked for it’s bonus.
Group Play Single-Target:
- RT= Weapon Master’s Strike
- LT= Tide of Iron
- X= Knight’s Valor
- Y= Commander’s Strike
- B= Into The Fray
- Enhanced Mark- This Personal Power is a go-to when tanking. Marked targets build increased threat while marked, and you generate 75% more threat when striking them. Threat is the mechanic that enables a tank to pull and hold Aggro. If a tank cannot generate enough threat, enemies will lose interest in you and back hand the crap out of your DPS (P.S. They don’t like when this happens). Leave this on and you should hardly ever have trouble. When fully upgraded, threat generation is increased by 300%.
- Guarded Assault- A great one to leave on when tanking, the Personal Power reflects 5% of your incoming damage when you block, up to 15% of your Max HP. Reflect 20% damage when fully upgraded. This a gem if you’re needing the extra survivability. This power becomes more important if you use it in combination with the weapon offhand bonus to proc Crushing Pin (more on this later).
- Steel Grace (Swordmaster only)- You become lighter on your feet in combat, increases run speed by 10%, and increase deflection chance and critical chance. 17.5% run speed, 3% Deflection and 3% Critical chance at max.
- Desperate Survival- Increases your Deflection Chance by 3%. When your Hit Points are below 35% your Stamina regenerates 30% faster. 6% Deflection and a 50% Hit Points threshold. This is my personal favorite to use, though it may not be slotted 100% of the time depending on the load out and the needs of the group. The run speed from this is just insane. No one likes a tank that’s always late to the fight as it’s harder to pull back aggro off the dps, and your group didn’t get the benefit of your buffs from the start.
- Shield Talent- If you are a lower level guardian fighter and are struggling with shield up-time then you can switch to this (probably just during boss fights) to help with your Stamina management. Guarding consumes stamina 5% slower. 20% at max.
- Combat Superiority- When a foe hits you, you deal 5% additional damage to them and they deal 5% less to you for 8 seconds. 8% Damage increase and deduction and max.
If you’re tanking, you should ALWAYS use Enhanced Mark unless you can do an insane amount of damage and maintain your threat generation in that way. If you use the offhand bonus for Enhanced Mark, you can debuff the enemies by 5%. However, this apparently doesn’t apply to the lesser mark that Enforced Threat applies, but only applies to the hard taunt. You can hard taunt everything one by one, but it’s not realistic in mobs. So this offhand is mainly for bosses or other big enemies. Guarded Assault and it’s offhand bonus proc Crushing Pin because of the slow control on the offhand. Crushing Pin’s debuff otherwise requires you to sacrifice an ideal power in your rotation, or requires you to get one of the new gear pieces from the Jungles of Chult. So my primary recommendation is to use Enhanced Mark and Guarded Assault for maximum Threat generation and debuffs, and then once you can acquire the new gear or you don’t need all the tanking powers, then I would use Steel Grace in place of Guarded Assault, as it gives us fast maneuvering in dungeons and makes it much easier to avoid unwanted aoe’s, knock back, etc. It is one of the main reasons to play a Swordmaster.
Why do we use these powers?
- Weapon Master’s Strike- This power is supposed to self buff you to make enemies more susceptible to your damage when struck with this power. I’ve heard reports that it doesn’t work properly but when buff caps are readjusted in Mod 12, this will still work. HOWEVER, it is still best because it’s AOE swing is HUGE and the damage is way better than the Cleave alternative.
- Crushing Surge- This is the go-to At-Will power for single target encounters. This move has a slight lunging animation as it stabs on the final blow. I tolerate the moving around on this move in single target as it helps keep me on the boss, and it heals you on the third hit. It can be a pain to switch At-Wills for Single Target versus AOE, but it does give a nice return.
- Tide of Iron- This is a single target shield smash that reduce their damage resistance to your attacks and it recovers 10% of your Stamina which means more shield time. I always keep this on for the debut and will use it whenever I start attacking enemies.
- Knight’s Valor- This power allows you to shield your allies, temporarily intercepting half of all damage they would have taken, which also BUILDS THREAT based on how much damage you mitigate. Most groups have come to rely on this power because it’s just that good. More importantly, it’s how you’re going to get most of your aggro.
- Into The Fray- This power gives a straight outgoing damage boost to members in your party. This is the reason everyone wants a GF in their group. Your end game goal is to have 100% ITF up time (get your recovery up).
- Enforced Threat- This is an AOE soft mark power. This power can mark a whole mob of enemies which not only helps them Aggro onto you, marking enemies helps your allies do more damage to them. This ability also recovers 30% of your Stamina over 8 seconds when fully upgraded. If you’re in really low level areas like Sharandar and Dread Ring, this power can one shot or near-one shot a whole group of enemies leaving them for a quick clean up.
- Commander’s Strike- This power is a single target debut. When used against a marked target, your allies all do bonus damage on their next encounter power use. Fully upgraded, your buff 40% bonus damage to each ally.
- Anvil of Doom- This is a hard hitting solo encounter useful for busting through dailies. This move is good in any load out where you need more damage output. I like using this one particularly because even if the game is lagging, I know I struck because you get a nice “anvil strike” sound effect.
- Villain’s Menace- This is your DPS Daily Power, it buffs your damage output, it makes you immune to disabling effects, and it gives you an additional 20% DR.
- Fighter’s Recovery- This is your self-heal Daily Power. Fully upgrade, you heal for well over half of the damage you deal. Basically just use Enforced Threat once and you’ll be at full health. This can sometimes be the only reasons a Guardian Fighter stays in the fight.
- Bull Charge- This power has great physical damage, and it send enemies flying (which is fun) and proves them. This move is nice if you need to make some space between you and say, a storm caller.
- Griffon’s Wrath- This move has three charges and on top of that it’s one of the hardest hitting encounters anyways. The charges do take a while but they pack a punch. When used with Knight’s Challenge in Conqueror it’s menacing. I use Griffon’s Wrath currently as it’s one of our attacks that proc Crushing Pin. When used in this manner, you would pace your charges so you aren’t on a terribly long cool down with no debuff uptime.
- Knight’s Challenge- This power locks you into 1v1 combat where you and the enemy deal double damage to each other. Using Griffon’s Wrath while in Knight’s Challenge deals insane damage in Conqueror. Knight’s Challenge in a tank scenario can also be used to make any boss your personal pet for a few seconds and reassert your aggro.
Make sure that you mark your enemies. as a tank it helps you build threat and keep your group safe from an unexpected clobbering. Your enforced threat is a soft mark you use to grab multiple enemies at once. Your RB (again Xbox) button is your hard mark which you use on the biggest enemy in the room. You can also use your hard mark to correct any defectors attempting to attack your group. Marking is for threat generation as well as debuffing, so you always want to be sure that the enemies you have are marked to the best of your ability.
Please know that when selecting points for a build, you must use a certain amount of points to progress up the trees. I left space to comment on each power even if it wasn’t selected. That way, you know if i picked/didn’t pick a power because it was good/bad or maybe I just need more points to advance to get where we needed (the top of the tree). Each build uses one tree primarily and will often use a few points in the other trees. This will be notated along the way. The Heroic Feats will largely stay the same, however I have noted where some changes could be made. These paths are all assuming you’re are going to be tanking primarily, even if you’re in Conqueror build, so we will be skipping heroic feats that give us DPS stats.
Toughness (3)- Increases your Maximum Hit Points by up to 9%. More Hit Points means you can take bigger hits. ‘Nuff said.
Strength Focus (3)- Increases the effectiveness of Strength by up to 15%. We rolled low on Strength so this will help make up for and then some.
Action Surge (4/5)- Gain up to 10% more Action Points from Guardian attacks. More AP means more Fighter’s Recovery. You definitely want this. 1/5 if you aren’t Human.
Shielded Resurgence (0)- When affected by a control power, gain up to 4% of your HP over 10 seconds. Can happen once every 30 seconds. I would like this more if it did more for us, but the cool down is too long for too little HP, but mostly there are better options for our points.
Distracting Shield (0)- When you Guard an attack, your attacker briefly deals up to 5% less damage. Honestly, I just don’t like how it says briefly. It’s a hidden number that leaves a lot to the imagination.
Armor Specialization (3)- Increases the effectiveness of Armor Class and Defense by up to 15%. Armor Class is Damage Resistance as a % on your character and Defense is a number (which simplifies to a % eventually). More static defense on your tank is about as good as it gets.
Grit (0)- Gain up to 3% of your Max HP in Temp HP when you are healed by a player power (40 second cooldown). I am currently built in Protector so I have no use for this. The Conqueror build feeds off of temp hit points for even more damage boost. This could be useful in that build but in Protector and Tactician not so much.
Powerful Attack (5)- Increases the damage of your Encounter and Atwill powers by up to 10%. We as tanks can use extra damage to help us generate threat and pull aggro. This is a nice built in damage buff for us.
Potent Challenge (0)- You generate up to 15% more threat. I used to use this power when I was lower leveled and in place of Enhanced Mark. Enhanced Mark generates more threat overall than this feat so you don’t need points here when running it.
Pin Down (0)- The Prone duration of your powers are increased by up to .3 seconds. We don’t really use prone powers (except in PVP), plus the amount of buff you get for 3 points is insignificant and insulting.
Weapon Mastery (0)- Increases your Critical Chance by up to 3%. If you are in Conqueror build and value having more critical strike you could use this. Since you won’t be DPSing either way, I suggest sticking with power stacking on your character for damage. or put a critical strike enchantment on your companion which could amount to more than 3%. If you do want to go full DPS, you could use this feat.
Ubiquitous Shield (5)- Reduce the damage effects of Combat Advantage against you by up to 25%. As a tank, you’ll often find yourself surrounded. A good tank will “reshuffle” the enemies to have them in front, but one nasty strike in the back could put you in the red. Definitely get this.
Improved Vigor (0)- When less than 50% health, gain up to 10% more Action Points.
Take Measure (5)- When you are crit, gain Temporary Hit Points equal to up to 5% of your Maximum Hit Points (50 second cooldown).
Wrathful Warrior (5)- When you have Temporary Hit Points you deal up to 15% more damage.
Stunning Flourish (0)- Flourish has up to an extra 5% chance to crit and stuns for up to 2 second on last hit.
Jagged Blades (5)- When you critically strike a foe they begin bleeding. This bleed lasts 10 seconds, and deals up to 750% of your weapon damage over its duration.
Crushing Shield (0)- Your Shield Slam and Tide of Iron powers now deal 20% more damage.
Cruel Cut Style (0)- Cleave now deals up to 15% more damage.
Staggering Challenge (5)- Gain up to 20% damage bonus to Griffon’s Wrath when the target has recently been struck by Staggering Challenge empowered Griffon’s Wrath. Additionally, your damage bonus from Knight’s Challenge is increased by up to 10%. To use this feat effectively, you need to use all 3 charges of Griffon’s Wrath quickly they fit within the Knight’s Challenge timer, and because each successive hit does even more damage. It is wise to time this with full buffs up for maximum burst damage.
Tactical Superiority (5)- You deal up to 5% more damage and Combat Superiority grants up to an additional 5% damage.
Reckless Attacker (1)- When struck in combat you gain Reckless Attacker. Reckless Attacker increases your damage by 5% and Critical chance by 2%. Reckless attacker lasts 10 seconds and stacks up to 5 times.
Plate Agility (5)- You gain up to 5% chance to Deflect an attack.
Shield Defense (5)- You gain up to 5 AC.
Crushing Pin (5)- Apply a debuff when you use a control power on enemies.
Armor of Bahamut (0)- While Stamina is below 30% of max you take up to 10% less damage from all sources.
Plate Agility (5)- You gain up to 5% chance to Deflect attacks.
Shield Defense (5)- Gain up to 5 AC.
Staying Power (0)- Weapon Master’s Strike now also reduces your targets Mitigation to your Encounter powers by 10%.
Unshakeable Line (5)- Each ally within 20’ of you increases your Stamina Regen by up to 10%.
Devoted Protector (5)- When you block an attack you gain up to 5% increased Deflection Chance for 6 seconds.
Shieldmaster (5)- Guardian drains Stamina up to 10% more slowly.
Brawling Warrior (0)- Knight’s Valor increases your Damage Resistance by up to 5% and Enforced Threat deals an up to an additional 10% damage and threat.
Balanced While Fighter (0)- Your Shield Slam and Aggravating Assault at Wills deal up to 15% additional damage.
Overwhelming Impact (0)- Supremacy of Steel and terrifying Impact now temporarily reduces Damage Resistance by up to 5% on affected targets.
Iron Guard (1)- With every melee hit on an enemy, you reduce its damage by 5%. Maximum 20% damage reduction.
Crushing Pin (5)- Apple a debuff when you use a control power on enemies.
Daunting Challenge (5)- Marked targets now deal up to 10% less damage to your allies, but still deal full damage to you.
Rousing Speech (5)- Allies within 30′ of you gain Action Points up to 5% faster.
Fight On (0)- Encounter cool downs reduced by up to 10%. Tested by Sharpedge on PC, this feat doesn’t give you a straight 10% extra Recovery like it sounds. It factors in your current recovery versus the cool down of the power. Basically, the more Recovery you have, the less you get from this feat. It’s not bad to start off but Crushing Pin has more relevance in end game content. If you want, you can take 5 points in both Fight On and Crushing Pin if you want to sacrifice guard gain in the Protector Path.
Crushing Pin (5)- Your control Powers cause the target to take up to 10% bonus damage for 3 seconds.
Daunting Challenge (5)- Marked targets now deal up to 10% less damage to your allies, but still deal full damage to you.
Grim Promise (0)- Crescendo reduces the damage your target deals to you by up to 15% for 10 seconds.
Rousing Speech (5)- Allies within 30′ of you gain Action Points up to 5% faster.
United (5)- Allies within 30′ of you take up to 5% less damage. Reportedly, this actually gives 5% DR to teammates, so it’s good regardless.
Inspiring Leader (5)- Into the Fray increases the damage dealt by group members by up to 5%.
Powerful Strike (0)- Lunging Strike provides up to 20% more threat and has up to a 100% chance to interrupt your target. Line Breaker Assault now has its recharge time reduced by up to 1 second for every target hit.
Surging Tide (0)- Tide of Iron’s debuff also reduces the amount of physical damage they deal to you by up to 10%.
Terrifying Menace (0)- Anvil of Doom now has up to a 100% chance to stun the target for 1 second.
Martial Mastery (1)- Taking damage now builds Action Points for yourself and allies within 50′. You gain a bonus to this value based on your Damage Resistance.
Plate Agility (5)- You gain up to 5% chance to Deflect attacks.
Shield Defense (5)- Gain up to 5 AC.
Unshakeable Line (5)- Each ally within 20′ of you increases your Stamina Regen by up 10%.
I won’t be going into too much detail debating the boons, occasional commentary here and there. The boons are for a tank set up. If you want more DPS stats, just change from Defense to Power when you can, for example. For boons with three points at the end of the tree, while some people will argue that the points are not worth going all into one stat, I think it makes more sense for the tank. On other classes, I may spread the points out to get different pools of stats, but on the tank, only on choice was practical in the two instances this applies to.
Unassailable Tide- 300 Defense and 2,000 Maximum Hit Points.
Earth’s Renewal- You gain 400 Regeneration and 2,000 Maximum Hit Points.
Blazing Resilience- You gain 400 Recovery and 2,000 Maximum Hit Points.
Wall of Wind- When taking damage you have a chance to heal up to 24,000 Hit Points over a few seconds. After this effect ends your Recovery is increased by 1,000 for 10 seconds.
Dark Fey Wanderer- You gain 400 Defense.
Fey Elusiveness- You gain 400 Deflect.
Feywilds Fortitude- Your Max HP is increased by 1,600.
Elven Transquility- When being struck by a foe you have a chance to heal yourself for up to 20,000 Hit Points.
Elven Resolve- Your Stamina regenerates 10% faster in Combat.
Fey Thistle- When you Deflect an attack you deal up to 3,000 damage to your attacker.
**If you are Protector or Tactician, you can easily run Fey Thistle and not miss the Stamina Regen. If you’re Conqueror, you may want to consider keep Elven Resolve. Both of these are good in my opinion.
The Maze Engine:
Abyssal Regeneration- You gain 400 Incoming Healing Bonus.
You gain 400 combat Advantage Bonus.’
Demonic Endurance- Your Stamina regenerates 10% faster in Combat.
Displace Fate- When below 30% health you gain a shield increasing Damage Resistance by 60%.
Primordial Vitality- You gain 400 Defense and 1600 Maximum Hit Points.
You gain 400 Life Steal and 1,600 Maximum Hit Points.
Drow Ambush Tactics- Combat Advantage damage bonus is increased by 10%
Dwarven Stamina- You now regain Stamina 5% faster.
Abyssal Tenacity- Demon do 5% less damage to you.
Reliquary Keeper’s Strength- You gain 250 Power and 250 Movement.
Evoker’s Thirst- You gain 400 Life Steal.
Illusion Shimmer- You gain 3% Deflect Chance
Forbidden Piercing- You gain 3% Resistance Ignored (Armor Penetration)
Enraged Regrowth- When taking damage you have a chance to heal up to 20,000 Hit Points over a few seconds. After this effect ends you have 4,000 more Defense for 10 seconds.
Augmented Thayan Bastion- When taking damage you have a chance to generate a shield that absorbs up to 10,000 incoming damage and redirects that damage to a nearby foe. This shield lasts 6 seconds.
**If you are having trouble or anticipate issue gaining Armor Penetration, then go with Forbidden Piercing. I am using Deflect Chance as I have met my Armor Penetration needs.
Well of Dragons:
Dragonheart- Grants 1,600 Hit Points.
Dragon’s Shadow- Grants 400 Deflect.
Dragonscale Defense- Grants 400 Defense.
Dragon’s Greed- Grants 400 Life Steal Rating.
Dragon Revival- Grants up to 15% increased Incoming Healing.
Dragon’s Thirst- Grants up to 5% Life Steal.
**Incoming Healing Bonus is the more obvious stat to pick, so you can do 3/3 for that boon, or split with life steal. If you’re going for the Lifesteal, I’d do 2/3 with just 1 point in Incoming Healing. This is because one point gets you 10% already, so the extra point in Life Steal will make it more worth while. Tanks don’t really stack life steal in enchantments which is why I went with Incoming Healing; the chance to life steal is too low for me at this point.
***It is not an uncommon debate for people to say that control strength affects how well you can pull aggro. In my experience, powers like enforced threat won’t benefit from control strength because it does not knock, stun, prone, or root. If you want to put one point into each incoming healing, life steal, and control strength, you wouldn’t have much to lose in doing so.
Weathering The Storm- You gain 400 AOE Resist.
Refreshing Chill- You gain 400 Stamina Gain.
Rapid Thaw- You gain 400 Recovery.
Cold Shoulder- When damaged by a foe you have a chance to proc Cold Shoulder on them, which will reduce the damage of their next attack by up to 2,000.
Avalanche- When damaged by a foe chance to gain a stack of Avalanche. at 20 stacks, taking damage will clear the stacks and deal up to 15,000 damage to nearby targets.
Sea of Moving Ice:
Frosty Demeanor- You gain 2% Control Resistance and 1,000 Maximum Hit Points.
Hardy Constitution- You gain 400 Stamina Gain and 2% Everfrost Damage Resistance.
Chill Determination- You gain up to 2,000 Recovery based on how much Stamina or guard you are missing.
Glacial Strength- Your Max HP is increased by 3,200 and 2% Everfrost Damage Resistance.
Frozen Reflection (3)- When you Deflect an attack you deal 7,000 damage to your attacker.
The Cloaked Ascendancy:
Aura of Hope- When you kill an enemy you have a chance to emit an Aura of Hope that boosts AP gain for all allies within 25 feet for 10 seconds.
Healing Heat- You gain 2% Incoming Heal Bonus and 1,000 Maximum Hit Points.
Soothing Zephyr- You gain 500 Recovery and 2,000 Maximum Hit Points.
Planar Vitality- When you Deflect an attack you regain up to 8,000 Hit Points.
Guild Boons are in four categories: Offense, Defense, Utility, and PVP. I will not be discussing the PVP boons at this time.
For a Guardian Fighter tank, I don’t really like putting stacks like armor penetration on my companion. Armor penetration will determine how effective you power and damage are to enemies shields. The current cap is 60% for content before the Jungles of Chult. The Resistance Ignored for the new area is 75% in the zone and 85% in the dungeon. I don’t need the Armor Penetration boon in solo play because I have a separate companion for “DPS,” and I’d recommend power over armor pen when playing by yourself unless you set up a separate companion. The main point here is that if you aren’t dealing enough damage to generate threat in group content, you should run armor penetration.
I would use either Defense or Hit Points. Defense is likely what’s available in most guilds, so that will be your go-to boon. If you have the option of using the Hit Points boon, you can get a Maximum of 36,000 HP when fully upgraded. I would want to keep my guardian fighter above 200,000 hp out of party at the minimum for end game. I am currently around 280,000 out of party with the HP boon on, and close to 330,000 when in a party with all VIP members and potions consumed. I would use the Defense boon until your HP boon at least 20,000+ HP. Also, if you switch to HP and your damage resistance is below 50%, I would consider still running the Defense boon. It will all depend on how far along your companion is and if your companion dies often. If your companion is death prone, I wouldn’t trust having a base 50% DR.
Honestly, this is preference but here are my opinions. For those that have access, consider using the Revive Sickness Boon. This can be super helpful in activities like MSVA if you happen to go down. When fully ranked up, revive sickness only lasts 30 seconds. This can be a make or break for you since everyone’s survival depends on you being on your feat and taking the hits. I only use that boon in activities where going down is commonplace. Otherwise, I like using EXP because I haven’t maxed my Power Points yet and I’m determined to not craft them through the Sharandar campaign. I don’t need the points that bad and it’s not a good use of my resources. If you don’t need the power points, or don’t think the chance at AD is good enough, I’d use Gold Bonus. If you’re donating regularly to your Guild, you may be crafting donation vouchers through your campaign windows. It costs me 5 gold every day to craft just one voucher. I get about 5 gold on average across my characters daily but the boon will help make sure you stay positive and are always refilling what you spend.
As far as gear is concerned, work with what you have available to you, but here are three gear sets that can assist you at different points with your character. If all you can get your hands on is Drowcraft at first, that is totally fine. All Dragonflight is not a bad set either, just because it’s base stats are all higher than Drowcraft and Dusk. Just look for stats that you need. If you’re surviving alright, go ahead and look for Power, but I’ll almost always pick an armor piece with Defense. The more end game your gear gets, some stats such as Armor Pen become less popular. Keep an eye on your Armor Pen as you are switching gear around. Again, I use my Guild Armor Pen Boon to make up the deficit, but you may need to get it from enchantments or another source as the gear likely won’t have it. If you want to look at these pieces of gear in depth and see all of the stats, you can view the under the Collections tab after selecting start.
*If you are not in a guild (join one), but if you aren’t your first set of gear can be alliance gear or elven gear. Honestly, it doesn’t matter too much. Pick Defensive stats when choosing which set. Neither of the gear sets are ones that you’ll likely keep for long enough to make a big deal about it.
For Mod 12:
You can now buy unrestored relic gear from the Mod 10 content with Protector Seals in Protector’s Enclave. You can also buy all the materials needed to restore the gear EXCEPT voninblood. So…if you don’t have access to Bryan Shander, you aren’t in a guild, and you don’t have trade bars then your only option for gear is to farm an easier dungeon like Lostmauth because the alliance gear still drops there. Alliance and Elven gear can be bought for trade bars now as well as all the older legacy gear. If you have the trade bars, you have many options for starting off your Guardian Fighter. If not, you’ll be stuck farming dungeons or will need to rely on a guild with a high enough Marketplace to buy the Company or Dragonflight gear. You may be able to buy some of the new Jungles of Chult armor off of the auction house, but the cost isn’t exactly cheap.
This is an ideal beginning set, unless you don’t have access to a guild as this armor is bought with guild marks.
Company Raid Helm
Company Raid Chest
Company Ward Arms
Company Ward Boots
While this gear is more accessible because it only takes guild marks and not successful dragonflight runs, this set may be appealing. However, the downside is that this armor has no set bonus. This is why this set is sub par to the dragonflight gear; however it is a great starter set.
Dusk Ward Helm (Tarmalune Trade House)
Dragonflight Ward Chest (Stronghold)
Dusk Ward Arms (Tarmalune Trade House)
Dragonflight Ward Boots (Stronghold)
Dragonflight doesn’t have a set bonus worth having past 2-set, and Dusk has a great 2-set bonus so a great compromise is splitting the set. With 2-set Dusk, you gain 5,000 Max HP, 1,000 Power, and 1,000 Defense when in a group. For lower level tanks, this bonus is great and is the set I am currently running. All pieces of gear give you Defense and Deflection which was the purpose for these get choices. If you don’t have access to Dusk gear (trade bars), then a full set of Dragonflight gear is viable, and still an upgrade from Company gear. If you go all Dragonflight at some point, use the Raid Helm and Ward Arms.
Vivified Raid Helm (FBI/MSP)
Vivified Raid Chest (FBI/MSP)
Vivified Ward Arms (FBI/MSP)
Vivified Ward Boots (Bryn Shander T3 Heroics)
For some, this gear set may be BiS. The Ward Helm and Ward Chest in this set have regeneration instead of deflection which I don’t like, so if you run a full Vivified set, I would favor using Ward Arms and Ward Boots for Defense and Deflection, and Raid Helm and Raid Chest for the large amount of Power and Critical Strike it offers. Regardless of build, I’d take the Power-Crit-Defense from the two raid pieces over Crit-Defense-Regeneration.
The Blackthorn (Malabog’s Castle)
Vivified Ward Arms (FBI/Spellplague)
Deepknight’s Brigandine (Throne of the Dwarves Gods)
Vivified Ward Boots (Bryn Shander Heroic)
To me, this is the best available set of gear prior to Mod 12. Depending on how your character is going into Mod 12, you may want to keep at least the Deepknight’s Brigandine, but all of the higher end gear available from the Jungles of Chult is going to have more total stats, so moving away from this set may be worth it for the right gear though this gear set works just fine right now even in Mod 12.
Mod 12 Armor Coming Soon.
For armor kits, know that they are cheaper to craft yourself (100,000 Ad plus resources) and will often cost much more on the Auction House. Since kits can get expensive, I’d only use them on gear you think you will keep (for a while at least) and I would spring for the Major kits which grant 200 for all stats except Max HP (800). I would run Defense unless you’re at max DR, then I would run Max HP. If you really aren’t buying into stacking HP at this point, you could stack Deflect. Even if you’re Conqueror, I wouldn’t do Power because your group can always buff your Power. Invest in the stats that don’t share. If you’re trying to add kits to a dedicated Conqueror build, I would suggest Critical Strike or Armor Penetration kits.
With the introduction of Mod 12 came Ostorian Rings in the Protector’s Seal vendor. I would recommend picking up two rings of Stein as your first long-term rings. You can use those until you net yourself a legendary Stein, under dark Defense, deflect, or Charging Bull legendary, or until you can get some of the new Jungles of Chult rings. In general, the new Chult rings like the Primal rings have MUCH higher stats than the Ostorian rings. If it has tank stats, like HP, Defense, Deflect, Recovery, really you can’t go wrong at all. You could get the ring with armor penetration and be fine as well. The downside to say, the Primal rings is they don’t drop in double defense/offense slot varieties.
*The one ring that I would grind out no matter how you play or where your stats are, is a Ring of the Curse Bringer. This ring has a bonus on it that will paralyze foes. This ring procs our Crushing Pin feat all by itself. So if you like having a constant debuff on the enemies without being boxed into certain powers and passive powers/offhand bonuses, then I highly recommend this ring. You can get this ring by farming the Hunts in Chult.
Drowcraft clothes will likely be your first set of shirt and pants. The second set that is popular to acquire was the Gemmed Exquisite shirt and pants because it has enchantment slots and the IL is higher. The third set to consider currently is the Frostborn shirt and pants available from the Storm King Thunder campaign store. The reason for this is that even though the ever frost resist is a stat that is situational, the difference in stats and numbers between shirts and pants is very small, so you may as well use the frost set and get the extra protection. You can reinforce any shirt and pants with the greater ever frost resistance kits and get an extra 10% resistance total. The Frostborn set has a bonus that grants you deflect damage when your deflect stat is higher than life steal, so you can’t go wrong with that.
What artifacts I run depend on the build I am running. Since I have had time to refine extra artifacts, it gave me the opportunity to really help customize my stats for each loadout.
Forgehammer of Gond (active)
Oghma’s Token of Free Movement
Sigil of the Guardian (Gond is expensive so this can be active if needed)
Waters of Elah’Zad or Aurora’s Whole Realm Catalogue (depending on your stats) (swap for Horn if running that set)
I use this set because my Protector build is for two instances: you’re knew to the class and need extra help since your stats aren’t where they need to be yet or, you got stuck running MSVA with a really bad group, and maybe there is no Anointed Army, or someone keeps standing in the ice DoTs with Knight’s Valor on them, or the manticores glitch and they’re nailing you at the same time Storvald is (believe me it’s all happened). These artifacts provide more protection in stats and in active bonus than any of my other artifact configurations, and if you’re not confident running in Tactician which has less protection in feats, then these artifacts will help you feel very comfortable in Protector.
Champion’s Banner (active)
Heart of the White Dragon
Waters of Elah’Zad (or Whole Realm’s Catalogue)
Wheel of Elements
I use the artifacts because they all (except the set bonus artifacts) have one thing in common: Maximum Hit Points. You can use the Protector artifacts as well with no problem, however it’s be a goal of sorts to me to try and reach 300,000 hit points. These artifacts help you do it because you get 12,000 from the three artifacts, plus 10,000 from the greater set bonus. Whether or not you’re in Tactician or Protector, you should use more Defense artifacts until you hit Max DR easily. This is my go-to now because i’m at end game with my stats. Feel free to mix and match artifacts but this is what my load outs use.
Wheel of Elements (active)
Thayan Book of the Dead
Shard of Orcus Wand
Lantern of Revelation
I went with this configuration not to pose so much as DPS, but when I’m doing dailies I can get almost half of my armor penetration from artifacts and ability score, then get the other half from my con artist. This saves me from using the armor penetration boon which puts me WAY over on resistance ignored. I use the Orcus set as I am still testing a full DPS build. However, recommendation to you when using Conqueror as a support for dungeon groups with low damage output would be to run the greater set since the lantern will get you the 10,000 HP, and the use the Sigil of the Guardian or Oghma’s Token in place of Shard of Orcus Wand to help give you more survivability. If you have the means to complete the Orcus set, you can take full advantage of it without sacrificing tankability as long as you still use your tank companion and you’re still booned and geared defensively.
There are 3 options to consider here.
1. Don’t use a set, and instead pick the artifacts you like best, use the Greater Lathander’s Cloak (Neck) and the Greater Plated Band of Constitution (Belt).
2. Horn of Valhalla Set-
3. Mod 11.5 Cragmire Set
I used to use the Valhalla set until Mod 11.5 came, and that’s where I switched to the Cragmire set. The Valhalla and the Cragmire set are both fairly affordable, but I prefer the Cragmire set because of the straight stats set bonus, and also because the valhalla set is almost irrelevant in PVE when you’re at the max DR. Theoretically, your enemies will still hit you lighter as pre-mitigated (before defense and deflect) damage, but I now see this set more as something you’d use in PVP to get the upper hand on your opponent. You can do a broken set which honestly, your best bet is going to go 2/3 Cragmire set and just skipping the artifacts. The Greater Plated Band of Constitution is the absolute best, and the Cloak of the Protector is at least one of our best option for neck gear, so at least running those two will get you a set bonus netting you 500 extra Defense, and then you can use the four artifacts that work set for you without working around a set bonus.
There are many end game weapons out now, but many of them may be inaccessible for a while. My recommendation, especially if you are new is to still use the weapon set you get from elemental evil, and you can refine that up because eventually you’ll dump it into your new weapons. You can also craft the drowned set in Weaponsmithing Rank 25 which is more appropriate for the Guardian Fighter if that’s available. Skip the Twisted Set because we aren’t DPS and there are better weapons available. Mod 10.5, there is the Relic Weapon Set and the 4 Cloaked Ascendancy Weapons. Mod 11.5 introduced the newly leveled Stronghold Weapons as well. There are lots of options here based on what you want to grind and what you can afford. The River District offers the Lifeforge set which has a nice set bonus for tanked, or if you like having a more damage output-type weapon, you can do the Aboleth set. Aboleth is designed for DPS but purposefully designed to be inferior to the Relic Weapon Set. Getting end game weapons is the new game and it’s super grindy, expensive, and at times it may not seem worth it. The Stronghold sets will be very good, but the allure to those sets only realizes itself when multiple people have the weapons. The more people in the group that have the weapons, the better the effects. Since the Stronghold Weapons include PVP, they will be THE hardest set to acquire for most, so for that reason it’s not really accessible.
For a PVE tank, you will obviously start with your first set which is the elemental set. From that point I recommend the following:
Use the Drowned set until you are strong enough to clear the River District dailies.
Farm the River District for the Lifeforged weapons. You could use Fey as well for more dailies but I think Lifeforged is more appropriate.
I actually use the Relic Weapons as they have the potential to be consistently great whether I’m trying to to more damage in dailies in dungeons, or get more defense. This weapon set has an offense and defense bonus but it takes practice and skill to pop the correct bonus at the correct time. For me this was the whole reason for using the set, but for others this would not only be a nuisance getting the power bonus when you need defense for example, but this set still costs tons of AD or lots of farming to restore, and you can’t get them to legendary easily because marks are still super rare in MSVA. I did it but would recommend the River District weapons as a great AND hassle free alternative.
You can also go for the Mastercraft 2.0 Titansteel weapons, but their cost is pretty high still and the bonus is only better if at least 3/5 party members are running the weapons. I think they’re still viable in place of the River District, or Relic weapons but you won’t get the most out of them if other group members don’t have the weapons. The Jungles of Chult weapons really aren’t great, even though they are newer. So on a budget choose Lifeforged in end game, or go for Relic or Mastercraft as the best options. These weapons choices are all about price versus gain, and what you value and need.
Whatever stats you cannot get from your boons, artifacts, weapons, gear, and your mount you will need to supplement with enchantments. A few things about enchantments are that there are single, double, and triple stat enchantments. It is difficult to advise one on which enchantments are best for their character is it is all fine tuning. Because enchantments are expensive to refine or purchase, I suggest the following.
Eventually, you will probably want Cruel enchantments in all of your offense slots. My character has a 4,000 Recovery mount bonus but if I didn’t have it I’d be low on Recovery. I currently use all Radiants in my offense but am slowly upgrading to Cruels. However, it may be easier for you to use Silveries for Recovery and then fill the rest of your offense with Power once you’re satisfied with the recovery you have. I have almost 8,000 Recovery and I’m fairly pleased with that amount. I have (what appears to be) 100% Fray up time which is the goal. I will have to test and edit to see just how much recharge bonus is needed for that.
In Defense, you will want azures until your character and companion are stronger, and you’re at around 60% DR out of combat. at that point you can put Silveries into your character. Once you are getting lots of Defense and Deflect off of your companion, you can do two things: you can run all Cruels in Defense for Defense and Deflection, or you can run Radiants for Max HP. Another option is the Wicked Enchantment which is HP and Deflect since you Defense will be maxed way before your Deflection will be. Once you feel you’ve outgrown single stat enchantments, you’ll just have to inspect your character and see what change would be the most beneficial, which all depend on what gear you’ve had available to you. I currently am running mostly silveries, but will likely switch to Wicked down the road as I afford the upgrades.
Utility: I like to use one Quarter Master and one Fey Blessing in utility and the rest is Dark for movement speed. The speed bonus from movement stat actually, in comparison to Gladiator’s Guile or Steel Grace, is almost unnoticeable, but it’s a useable stat as opposed to refinement. If you need the refinement, use those enchantments and if not, use Darks.
I am currently using the Frost enchantment because it currently stacks well in party with other Frost enchantments. This is a safe option that will likely be “in style” for a while. Plaguefire is ok too, however I feel like many clerics still use it and it doesn’t really stack so it’s not a safe bet. Other options are the Lightning enchantment if you’re having trouble pulling groups of mobs and holding aggro (though this enchantment doesn’t do much in boss fights). You could also use the Feytouched enchantment. It has a nice debuff and helps you deal more damage. I bought one for PVP and have been also testing it in dungeons and MSVA and I know in MSVA, Storvald stayed locked onto me much more consistently than with Frost. My top two choices would be Frost and Feytouched, I think either would work here. More specifically, Frost is my preference for mobs and Feytouched is my preference for single target.
I recommend using a progression of enchantments depending on where your character is developmentally. I would use a negation from the very beginning. When your character is around 50%-60% without a companion, you’re at the point where negation is doing less for you than it’s worth in AD, so at the point I would move on to a Shadowclad. Run the Shadowclad until you can start investing in some defection on your character. Some people will say you only need about 30% deflection in most cases, however I would crank the stat as high as it goes because each time you deflect that’s half the damage you could’ve taken. Once you get over 50% WITH your companion (deflection out of combat isn’t as important) then you could probably retire your Shadowclad. At this point you’re probably close to end game and you have options. None of them are perfect, just because there isn’t much an armor enchantment can do for you when you’re tanking with the best of them. If your character gets this far, you could invest in either an Elven Battle mainly for the Stamina boost or the Thunderhead for it’s debuff. The Briartwine only reflects a percentage of the damage you actually lose off of your hit points, not the damage that was actually dealt pre-mitigation and deflection. So I don’t recommend it for this build. I am currently using a Thunderhead since I don’t need the extra defensive boost.
When you are building your companion team, there are some basics to know.
1. Bonding runestones are what can make a low level character very effective, and a great character BiS. They share stats from your companion and add them to your own stats. There’s no better runestone in the game for any class or build.
2. Some stats share from your companion to you, and some don’t. Power, Crit, Armor Pen, Recovery, Defense, and Deflection DO share. Maximum Hit Points and Regeneration DO NOT share.
3. You get 5 active companion, one of which is summoned. Only one of them NEEDS to have gear, enchantments, bonding runestones. The summoned companion is the only one that shares stats in combat, ALL active companion share their active bonus at all times.
4. Mod 11.5 gives you gear score for the gear, enchantments, and runestones equipped on your summoned companion, as well as a gear score for the quality of each active companion. This means thats all your companions should be at least Epic quality. Legendary quality should be reserved for the summoned companion only until you have an indispensable income of AD to blow on upgrading each companion to Legendary. Legendary only gives you stats when summoned, and a companion’s active only upgrade to Epic quality, so upgrading all your actives to Legendary will grant and additional 400 gear score, but it comes with no stat gain. Legendary quality grants a bonus much like bonding runestones do, so basically it’s more stat share stacked on top of your bonding stones.
5. The Legendary quality bonus now applies for each Legendary companion you have active. You get 16% of the stats off of the first one, and then each legendary active after that gives you an additional 8%, 4%, 2%, and 1% for a total of 31% stat gain off or your companion.
6. Which companions you choose for your actives will really come down to personal preference and how you like to play your character. I will provide my own companion team as well as many alternative suggestions. The summoned companion is a little more cut and dry. You need a good companion that can stay alive, activate bonding stones, and hopefully have some useful powers for combat.
The active companion that you choose should have a couple of features.
1. Great active bonus.
2. 3 Defense rune slots (until you hit max defense, if you’re way over when your bonding stones go off, then you may go 2 D slots and 1 O slot. It becomes personal preference since you’re three equipment slots and their enchantments will cover a lot of stats.
3. Preferably, an attack that can benefit the team. Some companions have terrible damage output and no buffs/debuffs to assist the team. They are an ally in combat that can heal you or fight for you. Checking the powers on your companion is always wise to do if you’re planning on using it as a summoned companion.
I will list the companions that I use, why I use them, and a list of some other options should you fall into a nice loot drop or desire different actives to suit your needs. When listing active bonuses, I always list the buff at Epic quality, as that is the highest the active bonus can be.
1. Dancing Shield (Summoned)- This companion grants 2% Deflect Chance. It’s stat is very desirable for tanks, and it’s single target debuff power is quite nice.
2. Bulette Pup- If you take damage of more than 25% of your Max HP in a single blow, you Heal for 25% of Maximum HP over the next 5 seconds. This effect may only occur once every 60 seconds. This active is great for end game content.
3. Rust Monster- On damage taken, 25% chance to inflict a 5% damage debuff on attacker. Stacks up to 3 times. Great debuff, stacks easier with single target fights.
4. Con Artist- It’s third attack of Wicked Strike debuffs the enemy it hits. It has 3 rings slots, and is my summoned companion of choice when I run dailies, or a dedicated Conqueror build. Active bonus is 300 Critical Strike.
5. Energon- Increases your Max HP by 5%. The further into end game you get, you’ll want to consider taking a look at your Maximum HP and try getting it to a certain level. This active is best if you are stacking HP already. If not, then it will be useful but not as noticeable.
I currently have a Dancing Shield, Bulette Pup, Rust Monster, Energon, and Con Artist at Legendary as my 5 active companions because I tend to use my Con Artist every day for soloing content and occasionally DPS dungeons in guild runs. When I re-manage my inventory space of guardian fighter to accommodate all the loadouts and gear changes, I will be removing and re-adding the con artist to the summoned list depending on the content I am running. I chose the con artist because I had three Greater Dod rings drop for me on my tank and it was a good way to make use of them.
When your character gets to the point where it is “damn near impossible” to kill, I would switch the Bulette Pup out for the Phase Spider which is what I’m currently working on upgrading. At epic, the phase spider gives you 25% resistance to combat advantage against you. That with Ubiquitous Shield is 50% protection for combat advantage. I used the Bulette Pup until Storvald’s club swing wasn’t activating the power. He used to hit me really hard and so the Bulette Pup was super useful. Once your deflection is high, you can retire the Bulette Pup, or skip it all together and do the Phase Spider from the start. If you’re not going to use the Con Artist as I do (since it isn’t for tanking), then you can have the Phase Spider AND the Bulette Pup upgraded and active.
For those wondering, the Con Artist in addition to the Greater Dod rings just has azures mostly, with one dark for armor penetration. You could go this route to make solo content even easier. In Mod 12, I’ve found that I actually like running my Defense companion with my DPS gear in Conqueror and that gives me the ideal amount of damage and survivability when running those dailies, but I still use the Con Artist for everything else.
Before Mod 11, many players used a select few companions as actives because getting gear for their companion was difficult. You gear choices were high level crafting items, Adorable Epic Companion Gear, and Underdark rings were some of the best and mostly hard to get items or they were expensive. This led many people to choose companions based on their equipment slots. Popular ones were ones that used rings as one could use Underdark rings. In Mod 11, the Underdark rings no longer work on companions, and there is the new Illusionist’s Gambit skirmish which drops Ranks 1-5 companion gear much like the Underdark gear was scored. Now, any gear, even difficult to get gear such as sword knots are a lot more accessible. Ranks 1-3 can even be bought on the auction house. The +4 gear is what you’re aiming for. Alliance gear or lower ranked companion gear can suffice until the rank 4 drops for you. The rank for has 2 slots for your stats. Unlike Underdark, +5 gear is not BiS because the plus 5 has an overload slot instead of a second enchantment slot. This may be a mistake, but for now, +4 gear is the best. The gear you use in combination with the amount of Offense or Defense runeslots you have can help compensate for any “holes” in your character’s static stats. If your character is in great shape stats wise and can run your content effectively, then use the companion as a supplement. If you’re using a companion with rings, the Mod 10 Ostorian rings are also a great (and possibly better) option to the IG gear.
I am currently using Adorable Rolls belts in all three slots on my Dancing Shield, with Silveries in all 6 slots. This allows me to hit 90% DR (with HP boon), about 70% Deflection (more if I use Desperate Survival and Steel Grace), and with these stats, your character can take a beating. Another viable option for a more well-rounded companion is to use a mixture of Personalized Piercing and Recovery belts, with Critical Strike in the Offense and Deflection in the Defense slots. Use Piercing until you reach your Armor Penetration needs, and then use Recovery the rest of the way.
Since companion gear acquisition is easier now, pick your companion based on the combination of active bonus and powers it has. When you have chosen your active companion and have it geared up, you can visit a test dummy and attack it to see the effects of your bonding runestones. You want to be somewhere private so that you can assure the stats you see are unbuffed by nearby players. If you’re not in a Guild, then the best place to do this testing is in the PVP Hub in Protector’s Enclave. You attack and get your companion swinging, then you can inspect your character sheet and watch the stats go up and down. By doing this when you make adjustments, you’ll see what stats need work still and if you need to swap out enchantments or gear. It is worth noting that I have change my summoned companion a number of times as well as changed my active companions as my needs have changed. You will likely undergo transformations like mine. Here’s an example. I used the Lillend because it had 3 rings slots and healed me; super useful for a weaker tank. I then switch to an Ice Galeb Duhr because I was strong enough to not need the Lillend, and I could handle tanking more enemies. Only problem was I had trouble generating threat. The Ice Galeb Duhr generates its own threat with it’s Taunt power so if you aren’t holding aggro, he will. Plus, it’s a high defense companion and can take a beating on it’s own. Great if Orcus likes to turn around and backhand your DPS randomly. When I didn’t have trouble generating threat (and my Defense was higher so I had less use for the active bonus) I switched to Dancing Shield because I needed more Deflect stat, and also because it has a great single target debuff. What companions you use comes down to need and personal preference.
Not everyone’s budget is the same as far as companions go, and no two people will have the same luck with dropping a good companion from a lockbox or dungeon. In general, if you can’t get the companions I have right away, safe options are healing companions (if they’re summoned and you need the extra healing or stats), any companions with stats you needs as actives like HP, and companions with “On damage taken” bonuses are safe bets as well.
Mounts Bonuses, Powers, and Insignias:
To start, mounts can be pretty expensive. You can get them through Auction House, The Tarmalune Trade House, and through the Zen Market. While it is cheaper in AD to buy the mount you need through the Auction House, there is benefit to buying it through the Zen Market. If you are someone that runs multiple characters or plans on running multiple characters, you can reclaim any and all mounts purchased through the Zen Market. This makes for getting your characters good mount bonus and extra stats fast. I will say each mount that I do have, it’s stat and combat powers if relevant, it’s insignia bonus I use, and then I’ll list insignia bonuses and insignias that I like to use.
*The mounts I’m listing below are suggested ONLY because they offer the recommend Insignia Bonus. I have included the mount power they give as courtesy, however there was some confusion that I was recommending these mounts for their bonuses. These are possible mount suggestion to gain the desired Insignia Bonus.
My current mounts:
Starfade Stag: Stat- 1,000 Recovery and 1,000 Regeneration, Bonus- Gladiator’s Guile
**Lord’s Armored Polar Bear: Stat- 2,000 Defense, Bonus- Wanderer’s Fortune
**Leopard of Chult: Stat- 2,000 Recovery, Bonus- Artificer’s Persuasion
Tenser’s Disk: Stat- 4,000 Recovery, Combat Power- Increase Power and Movement by 10%, and increases the effects of Strength, Constitution, and Wisdom for 10 seconds with a 60 second cooldown , Bonus- Cavalry’s Warning: When you active a combat power, receive increase Armor Pen, Power, Defense, etc…
Neverwinter Champion’s Charger: No Stat, Bonus- Champion’s Return
Heavy Twilight Nightmare: Stat- 2,000 Power, Bonus- Survivor’s Blessing
**I use Wanderer’s Fortunate most of the time, and swap out from the stable with Leopard of Chult to get Artificer’s Persuasion when I need to perform at my best, aka speed runs and end game content.
Here’s a little more information about my current bonuses:
When I list the possible mounts, it is not an end-all be-all list. There certainly are mounts that I missed, but the list I provide below is still extensive. Calvary’s Warning is a Legendary Only bonus, as the bonus only applies when using a legendary mounts combat power. For all other bonuses I will list epic mounts as they are much more affordable and they still have 3 slots, providing you the full effect of the bonus. You may find rare or common mounts that have the same bonuses.
The reason I use what I have is because the Survivor’s Blessing and Champion’s Return are the two best heals for my build and proc often. The other heals are good if you need more sources of healing but they proc less and are less effective. Gladiator’s Guile is a must for both keeping up with brash DPS in dungeons and for recovering your stamina when lost. Cavalry’s Warning is an absolute must if you are lucky enough to pull a legendary mount (or buy one). If I didn’t have a legendary mount, I would slot another heal, or I would run artificer’s and wanderer’s full time without ever having to worry about swapping them in and out.
Gladiator’s Guile– When your Stamina is above 75%, you move 15% faster. When your Stamina is below 25%, gain 15% of your Power and Stamina Gain. (Apparatus of Gond, Dawn Unicorn, Gas Spore, Gorgon, Heavy Giant Spider, Heavy Mystic Nightmare, Lord’s Armored Polar Bear, silverback Bear, Stormraider Clydesdale).
Calvary’s Warning– Whenever you activate a Mount Combat power, you gain an increase of 10% to your Power, Recovery, Armor Penetration, Critical strike, Defense, Deflection, Regeneration, and Life Steal. (Legendary only- Armored Axe Beak, Armored Bulette, Armored Griffin, Beholder Personal Tank, Black Ice Warhorse, Coastal Flail Snail, Runeclad Manticore, Tenser’s Floating Disk.
Champion’s Return– Whenever you are reduced to 50% Hit Points, you instantly recover 20% of your Stamina and are healed for 20% of your Maximum Hit Points over 10 seconds, This effect can only occur once every 60 seconds. (Apparatus of Kwalish, Gas Spore, Heavy Mystic Nightmare, Silverback Bear, White Owlbear).
Survivor’s Blessing– Whenever you Deflect an attack, you are healed for 3% of your Maximum Hit Points over 4 seconds. (Black Owlbear, Heavy Howler, Heavy Twilight Nightmare, Medium Adventurer’s Horse, Yeah Hound).
*Wanderer’s Fortune– You have a 4% chance after killing a foe to find a Refining Stone at your feet. (Armored Bear, Bulette, Dawn Unicorn, Elite Shadow Wolf, Griffon, Heavy Giant Spider, Heavy Inferno Nightmare, High Forest Bear).
*Artificer’s Persuasion– Whenever you use an Artifact Power, your Recovery, Movement, Action Point Gain, and Stamina Gain are increased by 10% of your Power for 15 seconds.
*Currently, I use Wanderer’s Fortune because I still have much upgrading to do on my character. Eventually, I may use Artificer’s Persuasion full time, but right now I have the insignias all set on both mounts and can quickly swap them out (it’s just a matter of remembering to do so).
Other good bonuses:
Oppressor’s Reprieve– Whenever you are Stunned, Knocked, or Immobilized, you are healed for 4% of you Maximum Hit Points over 4 seconds. (Elite Shadow Wolf, Giant Strider (Legacy), Griffon, Heavy Inferno Nightmare).
Protecter’s Camraderie– Whenever your summoned companion attacks, you gain 3% of your Power and Defense for 10 seconds. This effect can stack up to 4 times.
Shephard’s Devotion– Whenever you use a Daily power, your teammates Defense, Deflection, and Movement are Increased by 5% of your Power for 10 seconds.
I am happy with the mount bonuses that I have. I will switch Protector’s Cameraderie for Victim’s Preservation when I can get my hands on the appropriate mount. If you have a Legendary mount, you need to use Calvary’s Warning to get the most out of your combat power. If you don’t have a legendary mount, I suggest either double up on the Gladiator’s Guile/Wanderer’s Fortune mounts. If you don’t need Wanderer’s Fortune, then slot a mount with Oppressor’s Reprieve. I list other bonus options so that you can make the most of what you have available to you.
In Mod 11.5, the insignias you slot effect your gear score, so upgrading them past green means more than it used to. Epic insignias can be very costly, so how I obtained most of mine were from lockbox drops or drops on the ground. I would first get the minimum required to activate my bonuses, then keep switching out insignias until I get only the stats that I need (Max HP, Defense, Deflect, etc.), and upgrade the quality as they became available. If you had the extra AD laying around, you can buy Epics. The reason I don’t rush to upgrade insignias is because they are the last way to fine tune your character. They are the finishing touches on your stats, not a means to achieving big numbers. So I would wait until your stats are nicely lined out and semi-permanent before investing in expensive insignias. I personally use Prosperity (HP) in every single slot possible, then I filled the each slot I could with Recovery (because I don’t need Defense or Deflect more than Recovery at this point), and then whatever I had left I stacked Armor Pen or Deflection. It is helpful to keep in mind the third stat each insignia has. Supplemental stats such as AOE resist, Control resist, and et cetera start having diminished returns at about 1,000-1,200 points. Insignias can be a great way to round off your character build and even those numbers out to be as close to 1,200 without going over.
Thank you all for reading if you got this far! If you have any questions about the guide, or would like to submit possible correction or suggestions for information you would like to see added, please message me on here and I will try to maintain my inbox. If this guide helped you please rate it a 5! If you rate it lower and feel it can be improved or corrections can be made, please send me a message and I’ll be glad to help.