Guardian Fighter 11-11.5 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 11.5/B which introduced loadouts. This whole guide is going to focus on PVE tanking, however, I do have different builds for solo content as well as PVP, so I will be sharing those with you as well. My explanation of the solo and PVP builds will be less detailed, but know that if you wanted to be a full DPS guardian fighter for instance, you could use the same boons and feats, you would just use different boons and enchantments. 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.
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.
**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.
In the current Mod 11.5, loadouts were introduced. Here is a little bit of confirmation 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. Loadouts can only be switched at the camp fire and additional loadouts currently cost 500 Zen each.
To start off, in my opinion and in what I see other guardian fighters using, the Best in Slot (BiS) choice for race is the Human (more on this in a minute). However, I also think that if one wanted, the Dwarf and Halfling could be viable, as well as Dragonborn. Dragonborn is a paid pack from the Zen Market so that may eliminate that option for most readers. Let’s break down what’s good about these races and why they are viable for a Guardian Fighter. Up until Mod 11.5 I ran a human and never regretted it. I am currently using dragon born because I wanted to test it and a loss of 3% Defense and 3 heroic points at this point in my character development wasn’t a huge loss.
- Versatile Defense- This race has an extra 3% Damage Resistance (DR) than other races.
- 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% for the newest content, and when Mod 12 hits, 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 the best. More heroic feats means more initial stats on your character.
- 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.
- 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.
With many options available, I picked the Human race. I didn’t pick it because that’s what most everyone else does (I’ve seen all of these classes being used). The selling point for me was the extra three heroic feat points, and the initial 3% DR buff was a bonus. With companions, end game gear, BiS enchantments, the need for extra 3% DR may become unnecessary, but the feats with always be great. Your character will always grow and change. I could see myself switching to the Halfling in the future for extra Deflect because Deflect is harder to get on your character. You have many options here, choose your own path for your destined play style. I chose Human and from here on out I’ll show you how my character looks with a Human race.
*I’ve mentioned earlier that I am currently running the dragonborn but I would still recommend Human as the go-to race. I wanted to test having the plus two in two ability scores, and I was WAY over the Damage Resistance cap so I could afford to lose 3% Defense. The Human makes it easier to build feats without regrets, but all of the above are viable.
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 and Dexterity. If you’re here for a true DPS build or PVP, run Strength and Dexterity.
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. For your solo build, since most solo content isn’t hard with decent gear on, you could actually get strength as high as you can for more damage if you’d really like, though I have not tried this personally.
Depending on your race, you will get additional points to use. Assuming you went with human, put plus two into your main stat. If you’re a tank it’s Constitution, if you’re DPS it’s Strength. If you’re Dragonborn, put plus two into your two main stats. Tanks are Con and Dexterity, DPS are STR and DEX. If you went with dwarf or halfling, those races guide you in your point choice. One is decided for you, the one you choose, only pick Constituion, Strength, or Dexterity.
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 swings twice as fast as a Great Weapon Fighter’s copy of the move, 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 reach 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. 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= Knee Breaker
- Y= Griffon’s Wrath
- X= 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 ONLY used in a Conqueror Build where these powers are buffed together. I use Enforced Threat in low level areas to quickly clean trash mobs. I use Anvil of Doom, Griffon’s Wrath, Knee Breaker, and Bull Charge in harder areas depending on my needs. Knee Breaker slows, 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.
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 Into The Fray, 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 upgrade, threat generate 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.
- 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.
- 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 are tanking, you ALWAYS use Enforced Threat. Also, using Enforced Threat as an artifact weapon power debuffs the enemies. With Enforced Threat as a tank, use shield talent if you need it, if you don’t use guarded assault, steel grace, or desperate survival. When soloing, I use combat superiority, with either steel grace desperate survival, or guarded assault.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Knee Breaker- This power is for solo play/DPS. Besides dealing damage, the affect enemy will be slowed down. This is only slotted when by myself as there are powers with better buffs for group play.
- 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.
- 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. 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 an defectors attempt to attack your group. With the right active powers and artifact weapon powers, marking targets with even increase the damage enemies take when marked.
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 (0)- 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 (5)- 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%.
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.
**If you’re are going to go full DPS (even though that isn’t really the point of this guide per say), you’ll definitely use Jagged Blades as you’ll have some crit built into you character. Since this build is more for a hybrid tank with heavy damage support, you’ll use Staggering Challenge. If full DPS, you can use Staggering Challenge but expect to die A LOT, or make serious adjustments by using a defense companion for example.
Plate Agility (5)- You gain up to 5% chance to Deflect an attack.
Shield Defense (5)- You gain up to 5 AC.
Fight On (5)- Encounter cooldowns reduced by up to 10%.
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.
Fight On (5)- Encounter cool downs reduced by up to 10%.
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 (5)- Encounter cool downs reduced by up to 10%.
Crushing Pin (0)- 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.
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 (!)- 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%, and in Mod 12 it’ll be going up to about 80%. For just tanking, I haven’t found armor penetration to affect my ability to hold aggro but many players will swear that they can’t hold aggro without good armor pen. This is a personal choice, but I’d say definitely go armor penetration if you’re needing the resistance ignored in a conqueror/solo build. I personally run Power boon unless I am running PVP. I don’t need the Armor Penetration boon in solo play because I have a separate companion for “DPS.”
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 250,000 out of party with the HP boon on, and close to 300,000 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.
**Come Mod 12, the Relic gear is going to be available for purchase. They will need restored but you can buy the lanolin with seals as well. This also means that alliance gear and elven gear will no longer be available. When this is the case, you may as well go full ward gear. Until this actually happens, you can use the progression below based on what gear you have available to you.
Mod 11.5 brings the option of buying company gear which costs guild marks. These are the pieces I would use.
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.
As stated earlier, in Mod 12 the previous set will be entry level gear which is great for newer players. For a true tank, I prefer this last set over all the rest, but you would feel confident playing end game content in either the previous gear set or this last set which is my personal preference.
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 BiS for anyone that is tanking because you get the most bang for your buck. The Blackthorn is Max HP, Defense, and Deflection. The numbers are very competitive with Vivified because there is no Deflection on the Vivified Helms. The Deepknight’s Brigandine and The Blackthorn both take time and keys to get, but honestly have a higher drop rate (in my experience) than any of the Vivified Gear. This is the chest piece that has 50,000 Max HP, which you really can’t make up for with any other gear combination. I did the math, and this set does have a few thousand more Max HP than running the Dusk with the 5,000 Max HP set bonus. So if you’re lucky enough to get the helmet and the chest piece, this is a good way to for HP as well. The arms and boots are the best that we have available to us at this time for tank stats. They do take a long time to farm. If you have the helmet and chest, you can run Dusk arms and boots for the set bonus until you get Vivified gear, or run Dragonflight for the higher base stats.
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.
In your ring slots, the best rings to use are Rising Defense and Rising Deflect Underdark rings, or Mod 10.5-11 Ostorian Rings with Defense and Deflection. You should can use a dragon flight or Drowcraft ring until you get access to the Underdark rings. The rising rings give you stats over time, and there are sudden rings that give you 4000 stats for 8 seconds with a 30 second cool down. I used to use the sudden rings, but then switch to rising rings as the stats are more consistent. You end up get a more accurate experience of where your character is at developmentally. The movement currently in the game is moving away from the Underdark rings and favoring static stats, so the Ostorian rings do just that. Your goal should be to build our character so you’re using (almost any) rings with double defense slots so you can polish your character off with more Defense, Deflection, and Hit Points as needed. Offense/Defense rings could still be viable in end game if you’re having trouble getting recovery and you aren’t getting enough from your other Offense slots.
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 Aurora’s Whole Realm Catalogue ( I use Catalogue as I hit Max DR easily)
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 safes 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 the point I recommend the following:
Use the Drown 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 the life forged 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.
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: Really this is a personal preference, but I don’t use dragon hoard because we have wanderer’s fortune available. I use 1 Quartermaster just to get the bags to drop (I equip more when it’s time to open the bags), I use 1 Fey enchantment for the rank 5 refinement or coffer food, and I run Dark enchantments in all the rest of my utility slots. The reason for this is because as a tank (we can be slow) we have to compete sometimes with (stupid) DPS that run ahead to get the first hit in (I’m looking at you SWs and GWFs). Understand that they do this because typically in Neverwinter, the paingiver board reflects the most HP drained from enemies and not the actual numbers that pop. So basically top DPS between two similarly strong characters is the difference between getting the first hit in. Knowing this, movement is critical for getting to the fight first or at least close enough to wear you can enforced threat and pull aggro off whoever ran ahead. Put whatever your heart desires here but movement is best in my opinion.
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.
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, and Briartwine for reflection damage, or a Thunderhead as a debuff. I would eventually like to get the Briartwine form my character, an the only reason i’m not using it is because I can’t afford it yet. Once you have so much deflect, you can’t proc the shadow clad and it becomes useless for anything other than item level. I don’t need more shield time so I’m choosing Briartwine.
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. In Mod 12, you actually WILL get stats from having all your companions at legendary so it will be worth doing eventually. It is not cheap so choose wisely.
5. 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. Chicken- On Damage Taken, +40% movement speed and a -10% damage debut on your attacker if you take damage greater than 25% of your Maximum Hit Points in a single blow.
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, Energy, 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.
For those wondering, the con artist in addition to the dod rings just has azures mostly, with one dark for armor penetration. You could go this route to make solo content even easier. I would imagine that when Mod 12 hits and the enemies get very difficult, that a companion like this will become more important to clearing solo content effeciently.
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.
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.
The above companions are my preferred companions, however everyone’s budget, loot drops, and preferences are not all the same, so here are some other viable companions (though i’d still recommend the ones above).
Health and Healing Companions:
Iron Golem- 1600 Max HP
Rimefire Golem- 1600 Max HP
Cave Bear- 1600 Max HP
Harper Bard- At blue, 800 Increase to Max Health
Battlefield Medic- 6% incoming Healing
Dedicated Squire- 6% Incoming Healing
Bulette Pup– When you lose 25% of you Max HP in one hit, heal for 25% of your health over 5 seconds. (60 second cool down)
Energon– Increase Max HP by 5%
Silver-Scaled Cleric Disciple- 3% Incoming Healing & 3% Outgoing Healing.
Lillend- On Daily use, heal nearby party members by 2% Max HP.
Galeb Duhr- Deal up to 10% more damage based on the percentage of damage you have taken. Good for Conqueror.
Ice Caleb Duhr- Increases damage resistance up to 10% based on the percentage of damage you have taken.
Volcanic Galeb Duhr- Deal up to 10% more damage based on the percentage of damage you have taken. Good for a Conqueror.
Chicken– On Damage Taken, +40% movement speed and a -10% damage debut on your attacker if you take damage greater than 25% Maximum Hit Points in a single blow.
Cockatrice- On Damage Taken, +10% chance to root the source of the damage for 6 seconds (3 seconds if target is player).
Blacksmith- On Damage Taken, +15% chance to reflect 10% damage taken. If the same target is hit 4 times it will reflect 3 times the damage taken.
Black Ice Prospector- Summoned Companion: +25% Additional Threat, You: 5% Damage Resistance versus AOE attacks.
Rust Monster– On Damage Taken, +25% chance to inflict a 5% damage debuff on attacker. Stacks up to 3 times.
Dread Warrior- On Damage Taken, +10% chance to become enraged, increasing threat generation by 15%.
Companions with Great Attacks: Summoned
Con Artist- Final strike of Wicked Strike shreds 10% of the targets defenses.
Sellsword- Final strike of Wicked Strike shreds 10% of the targets defenses.
Ambush Drake- It’s bite applies a 20% defense duff to it’s target for 3 seconds.
Silver-Scaled Cleric Disciple- This companion heals you with Healing Word which is a HUGE heal.
Harper Bard- This companion has a great critical strike share which can be good for conqueror builds.
Lillend- Handful of great heals including a heal that applies to allies 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.
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.
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. 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, ARCANE WHIRLWIND?
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).
Warlord’s Inspiration– Your summoned companion does 20% more damage. (Apparatus of Gond, Giant Beetle, Gorgon, Purple Owlbear, Stormraider Clydesdale).
Victim’s Preservation– Whenever you take greater than 35% of your Maximum Hit Points in pre-mitigated damage from a single blow, you are healed for 10% of your Maximum Hit Points over 5 seconds. This effect can occur once every 10 seconds.
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.
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.