Tony’s GF Notebook
My old build is embarresingly outdated, and the additions I wanted to make to it won't fit in the two forum post I've had set up for it anymore, so I'm moving it over here. I will also be seperating PvE and PvP builds since loadouts became a thing by now. I plan on updating and expanding this over time to include various tactics for dungeons too. Enjoy.
Last Updated: 2018-04-01
In my opinion people should play whatever race they feel like playing. Looks are important. However, some beneficial races are from better to worse:
Dragonborn: 3% Increase to crit and power, then you can choose to add +2 to STR and DEX or CHA. They smell bad though.
Half Orc: +2 DEX by default and optional +2 STR, also 5% extra Crit severity. These don't smell much better.
Halfling: +2 DEX and optional +2 CHA, as well as 3% deflect and 10% CC resist.
Human: You can choose to add +2 to STR, also you get 3 extra feat points and +3% defense.
Drow: +2 to DEX by default and optional +2 CHA.
Dwarf: Optional +2 STR as well as +2 CON, also DoT and Knockback Resistance.
Other races don’t really have things that benefit our Guardian Fighter much.
As you may well know, Main attributes for GF is Strength, Constitution and Dexterity. Charisma is often overlooked, even though it brings us a decent dps increase.
Strength: Give Damage Bonus, DoT resist and increases guard regen. The more the merrier.
Constitution: Increases Action Point gain and Maximum hit points. HP bonus from this does not affect HP you get from equipment, so not good, but since it’s the primary attribute, game will always roll it highest.
Dexterity: Gives Resistance Ignored, Deflection Chance and AoE resist. Resistance Ignored means more damage, so this is good too, extra deflection doesn’t hurt either when fighting those people with -160% RI or classes that just ignore your DR in PvP.
Intelligence: Gives recharge speed
Wisdom: Gives Control Bonus and Control Resist
Charisma: Companion Stat Bonus and Combat Advantage Damage. This is better than DEX for PvE, as RI is easy to get. Endgame just the companion influence alone may make up more stats than what you get out of DEX.
I'd aim for the highest amount of combined STR+DEX+CHA when doing the initial roll, even better if STR is the highest among those 3.
When increasing attribute points, give all your points to STR and DEX for PvP and STR and CHA for PvE. Constitution isn’t nearly as useful. The starting Roll I use is: 15 CON, 15 STR, 13 DEX, 12 CHA. The other two stats will be 10 and 11, it doesn't really matter which is which. This is not the highest STR Roll. But it gives up 1 STR in exchange for getting 1 DEX and 2 CHA for more combined stats, so it should provide better DPS.
I use this same Conqueror loadout for PvE 99% of the time, regardless of tanking or DPSing, and I've tanked everything there is to tank with it. Even without a cleric, and at various different item levels over the time so don't believe people who say you can't tank as a Conqueror. It also has all necessary tools for DPS. I will include a Tactician spec as well, in case you find yourself needing one.
For offensive stats, I aim for 85% Crit and RI. You get 10% extra crit from your capstone, and I prefer to use crit potions to make up for the difference to hit 100%, as I think they provide better return compared to other potions and food(10% Crit Sev from Wild Storm Elixir > 2% Damage Bonus from Elixir of Fate & 5% Crit Sev from Squash Soup > Power from Watermelon Sorbet.). If you're at a point where that 5% crit chance makes a huge difference, you can already afford the food anyway.
These feats are used for tanking as well as dps, I don't have a seperate tanking loadout, I use shield and caution to tank for the most part. Tactician feats are for buffing. I prefer conqueror for tanking too. Take Measure and Grit are both fairly useless no matter how much points you put into them, so 1 should be enough. Humans can put their 3 remaining heroic points into Action Surge. Most other feat options are pretty self explanatory, and thus not worth paying 5$ for. You can check out the "Notes on Feats" tab of the guide if you're wondering about a feat you'd actually quite like to have but is not shown here. I'll write my opinions there.
Overall, you pick stuff that gives offensive stats rather than defensive ones. Try to make sure that your secondary stats stay under 1400, thats about when the soft cap kicks in. One exception is 2nd Dread Ring Boon: Arpen % is easier to get (100 for 1% instead of 400 for 1%) and I'm already at cap, so I went for deflect.
As a stat from your mount, you want it supplementing rest of your gear. You can't go wrong with Crit or Power. As for active mount power, I'd recommend a Golden Lion. It's good offensively, protecting your temp hp so you can have 15% damage bonus from Wrathful Warrior feat longer. It is also good defensively, when you're being overwhelmed, it can come to your rescue and give you some space to breathe. You can also get a Tensers Floating Disk for if youre going to focus on DPS.
There are lots of decent mount insignia bonuses to pick from, I'll list 4 must haves and then a few good ones you can pick from:
Gladiators Guile: Gotta go fast yo. Also mostly prevents your stamina from running out and speed means you don't fall behind your team and can engage mobs in a timely manner.
Assassins Covenant: Free Power. Most of defense comes from various other places anyway(shield up) instead of stats.
Shephards Devotion: One of the above mentioned places that defense comes from. It's extremely good for your party, also helps with gofast too.
Protectors Camaradie: Pads your stats nicely, your companion will do its job anyway, you might as well profit more from it.
Other good ones: Combatants Manuever, Magistrates Patience, Cavalrys Warning, Artificers Persuasion, Champions Return, Victims Preservation, Wanderers Fortune.
Best mount insignias for PvE are insignias of Domination. If you can't get those, you can go for the crit or arpen ones too.
I will list 3 alternatives with different ways of acquisition for every slot. If you can't get any of them, just get whatever you want, dear.
- BiS: Rex Corona; Gives you the most offensive stats from a head piece thanks to its bonus.
Hassle-Free Alternative: (Vivified) Primal Raid.
Cheap 'n' Quick Alternative: Guise of the Wolf Clan.
- BiS: Fured Kiuno of the Bear; Damage bonus equals to a lot of power.
Hassle-Free Alternative: (Vivified) Primal Raid; but Kiuno is easy enough as it is.
Cheap 'n' Quick Alternative: Pilgrim Raid.
- BiS: Survivors Wraps; Being able to easily stack capstone and SWW is worth it. (Even after animation fix)
Situational Alternative: Jawripper's Gloves; For fights where SWW stacks are easy to achieve, like those that are heavy on DoT.
Hassle-Free Alternative: (Vivified) Primal Raid.
Cheap 'n' Quick Alternative: Pilgrim Raid.
- Weapon Set:
- BiS: Primal; Effect is super easy to trigger and has basically permanent uptime.
Hassle-Free Alternative: Pilgrim.
Cheap 'n' Quick Alternative: Wootz.
- BiS: Boots of the Willed; Damage bonus outperforms stats.
Hassle-Free Alternative: (Vivified) Primal Raid.
Cheap 'n' Quick Alternative: Bonespurs.
- Artifact Set:
- BiS: Orcus; Again a case of damage bonus outperforming stats.
Tanking Alternative: Valhalla; I haven't mentioned a tanking alternative before because I believe the survivability you get from DPS gear is enough to tank anything with, but this set makes so much of a difference that it's worth mentioning.
Cheap 'n' Quick Alternative: Company Assault Belt + Company Executioner Cloak; This will outperform going Girdle of Strength + Company Raider Cloak because Charisma is a very useful stat.
- BiS: Ring of the Shadowstalker +4 and 5.
Grindy Alternative: Ring of the ___ Slayer +5; Version depends on what stats you lack. If you have 85% RI and 90% Crit, then Goblin. If you lack RI, then Dinosaur. If you have RI but lack Crit, then Beast.
Hassle-Free Alternative: Primal; Version depends on what stats you lack. If you have 85% RI and 90% Crit, then Restoration. If you lack RI, then Assaut. If you have RI but lack Crit, then Raid.
Hassle-Free Alternative #2: Ring of the Curse Bringer; chance to apply Crushing Pin.
Cheap 'n' Quick Alternative: Ostrian Ring of Version depends on what stats you lack.
- BiS: Upper Primal Paints; You don't deal much of your damage with your dailies, but there aren't many better bonuses.
Hassle-Free Alternative: Shirt of the Chultan Merchant; but paints are easy enough to get.^
Cheap 'n' Quick Alternative: Lord Roy's Shirt; but Merchant shirt is quick enough.
- BiS: Pants of the Chultan Merchant; mostly because there aren't any good bonuses to begin with.
Hassle-Free Alternative: Lower Primal Paints.
Cheap 'n' Quick Alternative: Sandy's Assault Pants; due to lack of good bonuses, applying Crushing Pin every minute will do.
- Single Target: Soul Sight Crystal.
AoE: Wheel of Elements.
Cheap 'n' Quick Alternative: Lantern of Revelation.
- BiS Stat Sticks:
- Eye of the Giant, Fragmented Key of Stars.
- Other good stat sticks:
- Lantern of Revelation, Sigil of the Controller/Great Weapon, Thayan Book of Dead, Kessel's Sphere of Annhilation, Heart of the Blue Dragon, Lostmauths Horn of Blasting.
- Weapon: Vorpal or Fey, can't go wrong with either. If you have low crit chance or high crit severity already, Fey performs better. Otherwise, Vorpal will benefit you more dps wise. Fey is however much better for tanking. Cheap alternative is Terror here.
Armor: Honestly it doesn't matter. Negation is good, so is Elven Battle for its stamina bonus. Shadowclad is basically a cheaper and slightly worse version of Negation. You can also use a lesser Soulforged, but I've read somewhere that using Soulforged as a tank is admitting failure, and I tend to agree with that.
Offense: The enchants should complement your choice of gear and Arifacts. Demonic is theoretically BiS, but it's not as good if you have your RI at 85% already. A generally safe bet is Brutals, and Radiants are also safe, but I recommend going for at least 2 stats enchants, since upgrading costs are equal for all now.
Defense: This depends on the sort of parties you usually run with. The HP damage bonus you get from Paladins Aura of Courage with Radiants usually outperforms the power damage bonus you would get from Black Ice enchants and Assassins Covenant. Also, HP is a good way to gain survivability especially in fights where bosses can strip your DR. You can also run something like Gigantic, to recieve the most possible survivablity out of these slots. Overall, it won't make a huge difference which you pick. I personally run Black Ice, but I'd recommend Gigantics.
- Reinforcement Kits:
- Armor: The usual logic applies here. You will probably want to go Crit here, unless you lack RI or have 85% crit already.
Accesory: Stamina and AP Gain are both good options. Just make sure they don't go over 1200, or worst case 1400, as this is where the soft cap really kicks in. I'd priotise AP Gain.
You want bondings, they are the best, augments don't compare. And when upgrading your gear after your weapon is upgraded, your bondings should be priority, as well as the gear on your companion, as these usually provide much better return than gear on yourself. If you're wondering about what enchants or gear to put your companion, check the gear part above. For slots other than rings, you still have to farm Illusionist's Gambit.
- BiS: Chultan Tiger; it puts a 10% debuff on enemy, which stacks with other tigers it, this is why its a good companion, and its active bonus is better than other debuffing companions.
Cheap 'n' Quick Alternative: Con Artist; Also puts a 10% debuff on enemy, it's ring slots make up for the defense slot it has. Needs to be blue rank to apply debuff.
Tanky Alternative: Dancing Shield; It's hard to gear, and it has defense slots, and its a defender, so many downsides to this, but those downsides aren't a big deal if you're focusing on tanking, and its debuff is 20%, even though it doesn't stack.
Tanky Alternative #2: Rust Monster; Along with Valhalla set, this is one of the biggest impacts you can have on tanking, both with its active bonus and its debuff. If you absolutely have to survive.
- You can pick any of the ones listed: Fire Archon, Air Archon, Siege Master, Cambion Magus, Alpha Compy, Dancing Blade, Erinyes of Belial, Earth Archon, Energon. My top 4 would be the first 4 in the list, the rest aren't ranked.
Powers:Knights Valor(AoE)/Lunging Strike(AoE)/Knights Challenge(Single), Enforced Threat(AoE)/Knee Breaker(Single)/Griffons Wrath(Single), Into the Fray; Shield Warriors Wrath, Combat Superiority; Weapon Masters Strike, Crushing Surge.
Into the Fray never leaves the toolbar and almost always used on cooldown. Don't forget to use your Tab Power all the time either. Fighter's Recovery is for moments when you think you've bit more than you can swallow, or when you don't seem to have any heals coming your way. It's a life saver.
For mob parts of the dungeons I'll usually have Knights Valor and Enforced Threat slotted. Knights Valor protects the team nicely and makes it easier to stack Shield Warriors Wrath and Reckless Attacker capstone feat. Enforced Threat is simply the best AoE encounter we have. If your team doesn't need the protection from KV anyway and you have other means of stacking capstone, you can drop KV for Lunging Strike.
There are various ways to engage enemy groups based on powers you have, but what I usually do is press ITF, go in and mark the biggest mob while going in, shield up for a few hits to get capstone stacks, use Villians Menace and Enforced Threat, then grind at the mobs with Weapon Masters Strike until powers are up again.
For single target I'll drop KV for Knights Challenge and change Enforced Threat to either Knee Breaker or Griffons Wrath. Which of these two depends on the boss. Knee Breaker is better damage over time, while Griffons Wrath is much better spike and works better when there are lots of buffs. If the boss has immunity phases like FBI Turtle, TNG Orcus, Lostmauth, Valindra, etc, and if your team can reach those phases in short time, Griffons Wrath will serve you better. In other circumstances, Knee Breaker edges out in my experience.
The Procedure here is similar. You again mark the thing you want to kill, then make sure you have enough SWW and Reckless Attacker stacks first. Then get an ITF and a KC going and perhaps a slash with Weapon Masters Strike, then use your Encounter, then grind away with your At-Wills, making sure you keep Weapon Masters Strike buff up before poking with Crushing Surge.
I don't change anything when I'm tanking, except if team is too squishy, then it might be a good idea to drop KC and sacrifice some dps so everyone survives by picking up KV. If you're too squishy and cant handle the boss with KC, then you can use again KV or perhaps Commanders Strike.
Yes I use Swordmaster in PvP unlike most of the other PvP GFs out there. I'm generally in top 10 overall and top 3 GF on the leaderboards, and that is done without any premades or queue trickery, with like 14k IL in PvP. Apart from the brag, my point is, there is some merit to the build.
If you're wondering why I don't make l33t PvP videos with dank electro music on the background, that's because I run the game 1600x900 on lowest settings on Intel HD520, so my laptop couldn't really handle additional recording or streaming on the background that well.
Using Swordmaster in PvP has its advantages and disadvantages. I'll give more details in "Notes on Power" tab regarding each power.
As usual, humans can put their 3 extra points into Action Surge.
I go with Ubiquiotious Shield to reduce damage from TRs and other GFs. Same goes for Daunting Challenge, it applies to yourself too as far as I know despite what the tooltip says.
An alternative is Fight On.
Same logic for PvE applies to here too.
Differences are, you can't have too much Arpen and Crit isn't that useful.
You can't have too much Arpen. Try to get your hands on a mount with 4k of it if you can. Luckily they aren't too expensive as far as 4k stat mounts go. As active, Golden Lion is also hard to beat here. Gives you a prone on call and an escape.
This time I'll list 3 must have and rest you can pick yourself from the good ones:
Gladiators Guile: Gotta go fast yo. Also mostly prevents your stamina from running out.
Assassins Covenant: Free Power. Most of survivability comes from various other places anyway(shield up) instead of stats.
Combatants Manuever: Free Damage bonus, since almost all your powers apply control and you should have your target marked.
Other good ones: Champions Return, Victims Preservation, Magistrates Patience, Cavalrys Warning, Artificers Persuasion.
For PvP You want Arpen Insignias. If the slot doesn't have Arpen avaliable, you may want to consider deflect or HP for increased survivability, as other offensive insignias won't do much in the way of increasing your damage.
I will mostly just name one item per category here. If you want more alternatives, check the PVE gear section.
- Rex Corona(Chitters Fangs and Mane of the Manticore are currently broken, they proc multiple times per use and can oneshot people, they are technically BiS until a fix arrives)
- Fured Kiuno of the Bear
- (Vivified) Primal Raid
- Weapon Set:
- Primal; You won't need the set bonus anyway against someone who can't hit you hard enough to trigger its bonus.
- Strategists Executioner
- Artifact Set:
- Orcus or Valhalla
- Ring of the Shadowstalker +4 or +5, Ring of Offensive Action
- Bloodstained Shirt
- Sandy's Assault Pants; Can be a lifesaver.
- Active: Wheel of Elements
Alternative Active: Oghma's Token of Free Movement, Rod of Impreial Restraint
Possible Stat Sticks: Anything with Power + Arpen.
- Weapon: Feytouched; its damage bonus and survivability both work excellent. Terror a cheap alternative.
Armor: Negation is best for Survivability. Shadowclads stealth can be a lifesaver, and Elven Battle allows you to block much longer and can save you from CCed to death sometimes. I've used all and all work well with slightly different playstyles. Currently using Shadowclad.
Offense: Vicious or Draconic.
Defense: Gigantic or Black Ice.
- Reinforcement Kits:
- Armor: Armor Penetration
Accesory: Stamina and AP gain are both good options. Just make sure they don't go over 1200, or worst case 1400, as this is where the soft cap really kicks in.
Powers: Bull Charge/Knights Challenge, Griffons Wrath, Into the Fray, Crescendo, Fighters Recovery, Shield Warriors Wrath, Combat Superiority, Weapon Masters Strike, Crushing Surge.
In general, before using your Encounters or Dailies, you want to make sure your buffs are up and your target marked.
When you're on the offense, as long as you catch someone, you can most likely finish them off. As a Swordmaster, there are two main ways you catch someone: Bull Charge and Crescendo. Both are gap closing controls. Crescendo is especially useful as it continues applying CC for the whole duration of it, making it very hard to Dodge/Block. The Golden Lion can also be used for catching people at range. After you catch someone, you just throw Griffons Wrath on them, which makes them dead or very close to it. You can add a few At-Wills after, or start blocking, if you think your enemy is about to retaliate. I only use KC to kill some tanky clerics who do no damage, otherwise, it's not really worth slotting.
When defending, remember that best defense is a strong offense. Not many classes can go face to face with GF and survive, so move close to your enemy. Feel free to throw in controls even if it doesn't look like you'll catch them, but keep one in your pocket for when they give an opening. You will really only be in trouble if you've got someone hitting behind you or your stamina runs out, so keep aware of your surroundings. You can use Crescendo to give yourself some control free time to recover some stamina, then continue blocking.
PvP unfortunately depends on your gear and ping much more than your play, but practice will still improve you, especially knowing the class you're facing.
Notes on Powers
This part is where I write my opinions on GF powers and feats. They are split into categories and will be listed in the order of acquisition. Nothing here is a fact, but thoughts based on my experience and stuff I hear here and there.
- This is what happens when you hold shift by default. Allows you to block attacks in the 180° arc in front of you, reducing their damage by 80%. It is also excellent at instantly filling your AP, if the hits youre blocking are big enough. Walking backwards can help you keep the npcs in the 180°C arc ahead.
- Compared to what other classes have, a mark which you can get by being GWF or putting an enchant on your weapon as mechanic doesn't sound too exciting, but regardless of that, it works. It provides you Combat Advantage(Meaning you recieve the Combat Advantage Damage Bonus) and it debuffs the enemy as well as increasing your aggro generation. It can be used when blocking. You should always mark stuff, especially bosses. The enemy you last mark using Tab(by default) gets a Mark Focus, which is shown by a red X with a transparent X behind it, so it looks "deeper". This mark will stay on the enemy for its duration unless moved by you. All other marks without depth will go away if you get hit by the marked enemy when you're not blocking.
- Most basic At-Will. It's damage doesn't compare to other higher level At-Wills but it's the only AoE At-Will if you choose Iron Vanguard.
- Tide of Iron:
- Its debuff only works for you, so not much practical benefit to it. It can be used when youre trying to one shot stuff, or you have serious troubles managing your stamina. But neither happens commonly, so mostly useless.
- Shield Slam:
- This is your bash when you're blocking. Very slightly helps your stamina, though barely noticable. Not very useful, unless you want to stand still when attacking with your guard up.
- Aggravating Strike:
- It's the main damage dealer when youre hiding behind your shield. Its damage is still low though, so you should not rely on it for damage, only useful when you really can't drop your shield.
- Crushing Surge:
- The hardest hitting At-Will we have, but only good for single target. Useful for bosses when your encounters are on cooldown. The healing you recieve from it is very insignificant.
- Threatening Rush:
- A gap closer that also marks things around the impact area. Not great for damage, but useful for PvP. Its mark also stacks with other marks, so can be used as a debuffer too.
- Weapon Masters Strike:
- Best AoE At-Will, but it doesn't stop there. Its debuff is usefull for single target, when you follow up by Crushing Surge. Also an additional debuff for your encounters if you use Staying Power feat.
- Lunging Strike:
- A gap closer, so can be useful for PvP. Its damage is not very high but it has very low cooldown and it hits the people behind the main target too, so it's a decent(by GF standards, which are very low) AoE, if you position yourself right. Can also be used for engaging enemies due to its DR bonus.
- Enforced Threat:
- Best AoE Encounter right here, marks targets, builds threat, recovers stamina, mows your lawn and brings you the paper. Do you want a coffee with that?
- Griffons Wrath:
- Best spike(lots of damage in short span) encounter combined with the Staggering Challenge feat.
- Knee Breaker:
- Best DoT and the highest overall damage encounter we have. The damage of DoT ticks are determined by the buffs you have at the moment of application(A Knee Breaker applied at the last second of Knights Challenge will still deal double damage for its whole duration) and if you have enough recovery, you can stack it.
- Knights Challenge:
- Does exactly what it says in its tooltip. Main reason for GFs good single target DPS. It's a hard taunt, tagged npc will be aggroed to you.
- Anvil of Doom:
- Worse spike than Griffons Wrath and worse DoT than Knee Breaker. Not very useful.
- Frontline Surge:
- Fairly low damage, but still can be used as AoE.
- One of the highest hitting encounters we have, and it shows when used in PvP. In PvE however since things are easy to hit, you will get better spike out of Griffons Wrath x3 than you get from this. Overall not a priority though.
- Into the Fray:
- Reason people invite GFs to the parties. One of the biggest party damage buffs in the game and it comes with AP and Stamina gain too. Temporary HP can also be useful for triggering Wrathful Warrior.
- Iron Warrior:
- Takes 3 years to cast for a useless buff that lasts about 10 seconds, then you must wait another 5 years to be able to cast again. Useful for posing for photos or if you want to get yourself killed.
- Knights Valor:
- Does what it says on the box, it transfers half the damage allies would have taken to you, and you take that damage. All your defenses work on this incoming damage. Increased ranks reduce that incoming damage from allies, it doesn't affect your own damage resistance. Very good for squishy parties and helps build Reckless Attacker and Shield Warriors Wrath stacks.
- Bull Charge:
- It hits hard and prones people. Must have for PvP.
- Commanders Strike:
- Gives additional damage to the first encounter of your allies, lasting 5 seconds. It is not easy to coordinate. Has decent damage by itself too but only single target. Useful when youre acting as a buffer.
- Line Breaker Assault:
- Kind of an AoE, comparable to Lunging Strike. Daze means it applies Crushing Pin. Useful when acting as a buffer.
- Villains Menace:
- Primary damage daily for PvE. Not because of its high damage output, but because it gives you a damage buff.
- Fighters Recovery:
- "Oh shit!" button. Basically makes all the damage you do steal life to heal yourself. This is all the healing a tank ever needs and so it's a very good source of survivability. Works well with DoTs like Knee Breaker or Jagged Blades.
- Terrifying Impact:
- Kind of like a more powerful but slower Frontline Surge. One thing to note, the Crushing Pin you get from it stacks with other sources of Crushing Pin, even if only for 3 seconds, so it can be seen as a debuffer. It's damage isn't that great otherwise.
- Indomitable Strength:
- If you want to do straight up damage with your daily, this is the way to go. Sending people prone helps too. In PvP it works well against GWFs since they can't free themselves from prone.
- Damage similar to Indomitable Strength, however, it acts as a gap closer and it applies stun for the duration and only prone at the end. That means its not so great against GWFs, but much better against CWs, SWs, HRs, and so on, because they won't be able to escape from it by using just one dodge. Also makes you CC immune for the duration, so you can use it to catch TRs in their smoke or CWs in their oppression.
- Shield Talent:
- Does what it says. Ideally you should learn to live without it, but can be useful for beginners.
- Enhanced Mark:
- Also does what it says. Ideally you should not need this to have enough threat.
- Guarded Assault:
- The deflection damage is fairly insignificant in most cases. However, this feat can be useful for a debuffer, because the off-hand weapon ability for it also makes it apply slow to targets, proccing Crushing Pin on them.
- Combat Superiority:
- Does what it says and works even better when you have Tactical Superiority feat. I have it slotted 100% of the time.
- Feracious Reaction:
- You shouldn't rely on it to survive, can be useful for beginners, but there are much better options.
- Steel Blitz:
- A very tiny damage buff. Not worth a slot, since there are better options.
- Enhanced Mark:
- Also does what it says. Ideally you should not need this to have enough threat.
- Steel Defense:
- Can be good for survivability especially for beginners, it outperforms Feracious Reaction since you can combine this with Fighters Recovery to get a better effect which can be used much more often. Still you should learn to work without it.
- Trample the Fallen:
- When combined with Battle Trample, it is the best damaging feat you can get, it only works for powers that apply the CC though. Good for PvP since almost all your damage comes with CC and its instant damage buff to them.
- Enduring Warrior:
- I'd give the most useless feat reward to this one. The effect is insignificant and unnecessary.
- Steel Grace:
- Gets you gofast. Also gives you crit chance and deflect chance. I sometimes use it when doing dailies and grinding, when I'm too lazy to gain Shield Warriors Wrath Stacks. Decent option for non critical solo tasks.
- Desperate Survival:
- Also fairly useless, though if you're going for tanky loadout you could use this with Combat Superiority. Even though there is no need for tankiness and party would benefit more from Combat Superiority + Guarded Assault with offhand bonus.
- Shield Warriors Wrath:
- Lovely all around damage bonus. It's slightly worse than Trample the Fallen pure damage wise, but much more versatile. I have it slotted 95% of the time.
Notes on Feats:
This part is where I write my opinions on GF feats. They are split into categories and will be listed in the order of acquisition. Nothing here is a fact, but thoughts based on my experience and stuff I hear here and there.
- Action Surge:
- A big source of AP is blocking, this boosts that, so its handy.
- Strenghth Focus:
- More damage is always good.
- More HP is also good.
- Shielded Resurgence:
- Not very useful. There are mount insignias that give better self healing.
- Distracting Shield:
- Not a big difference, but not too bad for tanking.
- Armor Specialization:
- Works well, it basically increases your defense.
- Potent Challenge:
- You shouldn't need this to keep aggro, just mark your target.
- Potent Challenge:
- Damage bonus is hood as fuck. More damage means more aggro too.
- Not useful for survivability purposes and not worth putting more than 1 point into because most hits will drain the temp HP regardless if its 1% or 3%. 1 point only for triggering Wrathful Warrior.
- Pin Down:
- Useless in Pve. Even in PvP .3 seconds is very short time, so not really worth it.
- Weapon Mastery:
- Crit is good for PvE, not so good for PvP.
- Ubiquitous Shield:
- Useless in PvE. In PvP helpful against GFs and TRs as they tend to get a lot of damage bonus from Combat Advantage.
- Improved Vigor:
- Not really that great, but better than the alternative, especially since some bosses attacks can take you below half HP even with a shield on.
- Take Measure:
- See Grit, this is very similar: Not worth putting more than 1 point into because most hits will drain the temp HP regardless if its 1% or 3%. 1 point only for triggering Wrathful Warrior.
- Wrathful Warrior:
- Great damage boost and reason to put points into temp HP feats. Temp HP also comes from ITF which you should almost always use.
- Reinforced Surge:
- Not very good since Frontline Surge is a rather underwhelming power itself.
- Stunning Flourish:
- If you plan on using Flourish in PvP, the might be worth picking up. Otherwise Flourish isn't used often enough to make it worth it.
- -Jagged Blades:
- Extra dps, its not a huge amount, but its something. DoT also works nicely with Fighters Recovery.
- Crushing Shield:
- Your least damaging powers do more damage. 20% more of nada is still nada so it's not worth it.
- Cruel Cut Style:
- If you're an Iron Vanguard, then you will likely rely on Cleave for your AoE damage so its worth taking. For Swordmaster it's not worth it though as Weapon Masters Strike performs better.
- Staggering Challenge:
- Knights Challenge is very important for single target DPS in PvE and Griffons Wrath is very good in PvP and sometimes PvE, you should welcome buffs to them.
- Tactical Superiority:
- Damage bonus and damage bonus to Combat Superiority that is slotted all the time. Great thing to have.
- Menacing Impact:
- Only worthwhile for boosting Villians Menace as an AoE damager. Can be taken, but there are better options.
- Reckless Attacker:
- Having these stacks are important for your DPS, its a great damage boost, and crit boost too.
- Armur of Bahamut:
- Meh, too conditional.
- Plate Agility:
- It is what it says it is. 5% deflect is not bad at all, but its not a gamechanger either, worth taking to unlock staying Power.
- Shield Defense:
- Very Slight DR increase. Not really worth it unless you really don't have another option, but you usually do.
- Iron Focus:
- Meh, neither Feracious Reaction nor Frontline Surge are great skills to have, making this fairly useless.
- Staying Power:
- WMS Damage buff now works for your encounters too. Very much worth getting.
- Unshakeable Line:
- Not really needed.
- Devoted Protector:
- Easy to activate, not too bad.
- Not really needed. You really have enough stamina without any additional boosters to it, as long as you have some boons and mount insignias.
- Brawling Warrior:
- Decent option since Enforced Threat and Knights Valor are both very frequently used skills.
- Balanced Shield Fighter:
- Youre not a damage dealer, you will never be as a protector. Besides, these two skills have very tiny damage anyway, so you can pass this.
- Overwhelming Impact:
- Debuffing is good. There aren't many dailies other than Fighters Recovery thats very worthwhile as a tank. Picking this up presents you two new options.
- Iron Guard:
- Supposedly now fixed and works like it says on description. Good for survivability.
- Fight On:
- Nice for solo and when you don't have much recovery. In higher end parties and with higher end gear, kind of loses its value though.
- Crushing Pin:
- 10% Party wide debuff. I always use it.
- Daunting Challenge:
- Contrary to tooltip, it also reduces damage you recieve. I use it for PvP, useful in PvE too as it helps very nicely with tanking.
- Battle Trample:
- Must have in PvP if youre going Iron Vanguard. This is what makes Trample the Fallen slightly better than Shield Warriors Wrath.
- Grim Promise:
- Hardly worth it due to very short duration.
- Rousing Speech:
- Simple buff, works as intended, good to have as a buffer.
- Again simple buff that gives 5% DR, works on yourself too. Good for tanking.
- Inspiring Leader:
- Reason to ever go tactician. Increases ITF damage buff from 30% to 36%.
- Powerful Strike:
- Not bad, but there are better options for your role.
- Surging Tide:
- Can be used to increase survivability. I wouldn't use it as a Swordmaster, you shouldn't need the survivability from here anyway.
- Terrifying Menace:
- Doesn't fit your role as a tactician, so a pass.
- Martial Mastery:
- Probably the worst capstone between the 3 options, but since you're going tactician to get Inspiring Leader, might as well pick it up. Every bit helps the team.
Notes on Dungeons
This is where you can find tips and tricks regarding various dungeons, their mechanics, boss fights and so on. They are from a Conqueror GF perspective since that's what I mostly play, but everyone could learn something from it, at least that's what I hope. These are just opinions and not facts though, and can change over time.
- Shores of Tuern: Last boss here has a resistance ignoring attack, so your shield will serve you better than your defense stat.
- Valindras Tower: Wraiths during Valindras death beams are easier to avoid if everyone runs in the same direction. Traditionally this is done clockwise.
- Temple of Spider: If your back is turned towards a cliff while aggroing Phase Spiders, they will teleport behind you only to fall to their death. It's fun. Also during the last boss, standing in front of the green beam from big background spiders will prevent boss from healing, making the fight a lot shorter.
- Cragmire Crypts: Last boss will put fire AoEs on the ground. They stay there and do DoT to anyone standing on them. You should pull the boss so that its not in those Redzones. When the whole area gets filled with red AoEs, you can interact with the big barrel on the far end to clear them. Be careful though, this will cause Boss to do a Bloodbath attack, so make sure you have enough stamina to block it.
- Gray Wolf Den: When the last boss goes immune, a small red wolf will spawn after a while. You have to kill that fox near the close vicinity of the boss, so it can be damaged again. It spawns on the opposite of the entrance side of the arena , so pulling the boss there to fight will make it easier for mindlessly damaging people to succesfully kill the wolf near the boss.
- Castle Never: Orcus is a great way to test your shielding technique. It has fairly obvious animations, and enough time between them for you to drop your shield. You can block every slam of orcus, use a skill, then block the next one. Try to not put up your shield longer than necessary. For weaker parties, it is a good idea to move away when Orcus raises its arm, so balls dont spawn. A stronger tank should be able to take the balls to the face however, with a little(actually very big) help from Fighters Recovery. During Zombie phases, you can move into the death orb in the middle to gain Capstone and SWW stacks easily.
- The Climb: This refers to the first part of the dungeon until you reach first boss. It is the part that is the hardest. Don't get discouraged if you die here. Play defensively and let dps do the dps. Like rest of the dungeon, having high Everfrost Resistance will make this significantly easier. Additionally, you can use giant wards from stronghold in overload slots if you're still having trouble.
- Hati: At start, 50% and 20% HP, the boss will jump on a rock and do a push attack. You have to hide under the rock to survive it. For the rest of the fight, keep the boss away from the cliff and generally block its attacks. There is one attack where you actually have to move away from the red instead of blocking. It is the poison attack, and thats the killer move of Hati. It's the attack with widest red area. You can move out of it by going to the bosses side. Hatis attack pattern is not random, so you can see when its coming even before the red appears, if you learn the pattern.
- Dragonturtle:This is considered a Dragon, so anything that increases damage to dragons or decreases damage from dragons will work on it. This boss likes going for a swim, when it does, you should gather in the middle of the platform, and only throw away the closer runes that pose danger. After a little bit of swimming, it will come up and do a breath attack that can cause a wipe. You have to throw the runes at the boss to interrupt that and continue the fight. The runes fly in the direction your character is facing when you hit them. The other reason parties may wipe here is because of the slams, which significantly increase its damage. The turtle doesn't like having too many melee people engaging it. When it does its close-range-breath-AoE(Where people tend to hide under armpits), it also does a check. If there are more people in close range than there are in far range(Outer side of AoE), it will do a slam. Another trigger for slam is if the turtle isn't engaged close range after a swimming phase. You should be able to tank up to at least 5 slam stacks. If the stacks are reaching 7, you can start blaming your team. This bosses difficulty is propotional to amount of slam stacks it has.
- Drufi: Rule #1; don't get caught in ice. Rule #2; Dont't break ice unnecessarily. Rule #3; Hide behind ice when boss does Call of Winter attack(Boss says: Winters Fury will be your demise!). Rule #4; Hug the person who has an arrow on them. Rule #5; Run to the boss when wind starts. If everyone follows these rules, it is an easy boss.
- Kabal: This fight is very easy if your heals are good enough. It is similar to the weekly Kabal fight, where you need to drag a fireball(which drops from bigger iron golems) to the boss in order to be able to damage it. The killer here is the chain that connects you to another player. You have to break that chain by holding it on a fire mote on the ground. The fire motes drop from smaller iron golems when they are killed. When boss is immune, focus on those. Using KV during immunity phase will give your team more time to break the chains. After the boss becomes invulnerable you can swap to KC to kill it faster. The boss must be killed 3 times. After the 2nd kill, it spawns fire archons and chains everyone to the middle. This time fire motes drop from those archons. Kill them and hold your chain over it to break it, otherwise the boss will pull and kill you.
- Nothic Stone-Eye: Very fun boss. The killer here is the pushes, and if your party isnt tanky enough, the buff stacks. For the duration of the boss, you have to watch out for 3 things in this order: The red eye above the bosses head, the jumps, then the buff stacks. If you don't turn your characters back in time and look away when the red eye appears, you will get petrified. The target for the eye is random, so watch out at all times. If you get petrified youre vulnerable and useless. You don't want that. The bosses gaze attacks also reflect from the mirror, so its a good idea to turn your characters back even if youre behind the boss. The second thing you watch out for is the pulsating red circle on the ground. This appears one attack before the boss does a jump. You should be roughly in the middle of the platform if you don't want to get pushed off. The last thing to watch out for is the buff stacks under the bosses health bar. Over the duration of the fight, the boss will keep getting bigger, buffing itself. Each time it increases its damage and damage resistance. You should clear that buff around 2 or 3 stacks ideally. To clear the buff, the boss must petrify itself. You can make it do that by making it face a mirror when it uses its gaze attack. The range for him to get caught by is very small though, so you want to bring him close to one.
- Nostura:This boss has lots of mechanics, but once you figure them out it is actually easier than the previous one. I'll explain how the fight goes chronologically. You start damaging the boss. She does her petrify attack, turn your back to avoid it. After a while, she goes into stealth, and stone gates appear around the platform. Go to the edge of the platform between the gates, so you don't get hit by them. For the rest of the fight the gates will occasionally appear again without boss going stealth, but they aren't usually a big issue. Once you take her down to 75% HP, the boss will change dimension and begin healing herself. Tencatcles will appear in your dimension, as well as small yellow portals. DO NOT enter portals until the tentacles are killed, otherwise you will be stuck there. After the tentacles die, souls appear in the alternate dimension. Once you kill all those souls, the alternate dimension will disappear, and you can start attacking boss again. While you're doing that, the boss will put a curse on you, which makes an icon appear over your characters head which is similar to warlocks curse icon. DO NOT touch other people when you have the curse, or they will get it too. This curse is a DoT that keeps getting stronger, you have to clear it or it will kill you. You clear it by getting yourself petrified. This is another thing you have to keep an eye on for the whole duration of the fight, and much more important than stone gates. Anyway, with everything going well, you will reach 50% boss HP. Same thing that happened at 75% happens here too. So kill tentacles, go into yellow portals, kill souls, then back to boss. From that point to 25%, you only really have to worry about the curse. Finally at 25%, the boss will again become invulnerable, but this time instead of tentacles, the souls spawn around the platform. Kill them all. After all of them are dead, they will be replaced with yellow portals. You have to walk into those and become a yellow ghost to be able to avoid the next attack that instantly kills you(usually). Having done that, now you can just burn the boss down. She will still curse, but you don't have to worry about anything else.
Tomb of the Nine Gods:
- Entrance: There are 3 entrances to the tomb, but only one is correct. The correct one is marked by a mask statue on the wall. You can see rightern and leftern statues by jumping in the first area, and if you don't see it on either side, it will be the middle one.
- Tombs: On each side of the room there are 3 tombs with symbols over them. In the middle of the room there are symbols engraved on the floor. You have to click on the tomb that matches the symbol on the floor on each side for door to open. Watch out for souls before proceeding.
- Puzzles: Item sequence puzzle is explained very well here. The mimic puzzle is pretty easy, you just have to follow the purple glow. The drinking puzzle is usually the one that takes the most time. You drink a potion, which makes you a colored animal, but you can't see your own color, only your teammates can. They will tell you what color you are and you have to step on the platform that has the same color and animal.
- Avatar of Orcus: Orcus acts as a DPS check. To engage Orcus, the team needs to pick up 3 curses. The leftern curse gives the person who takes it 1900 times their HP in temporary HP, but they can't be healed. This is the most crucial curse. Whoever takes it will have to watch out for green orbs that spawn for the duration of the fight and run into them before they run into others. They oneshot everyone except the person with this curse. As a tank, you should avoid this one, as Orcus' attacks will also eat at that temp HP, so it will run out faster, and its better to keep Orcus in one place anyway. A person with higher HP taking this curse will give the team more time to kill Orcus. The middle curse is the least important one. It increases wielders damage against zombies, but decreases against Orcus. Since Orcus is the focus here, this curse shouldn't be taken by a DPS. Nor should it be taken by the tank, as it will cut down aggro generation significantly. Finally there's the rightern curse. This increases the takers damage against Orcuse, but puts a DoT on them. DoT is fairly insignificant, and this is best taken by the main DPS. Orcus is not too different than the CN Orcus, except it has one AoE attack that covers the center. If you raise your shield in time, you can block this attack and prevent getting CCed and pushed all the way back. Orcus also has one attack that ignored aggro, so team should have some degree of survivability or dodge it.
- Withers: This boss has one killer attack, and loads of distractions. It presents a survivability check. You have to break the stone platform in the middle. The killer attack is the hand swipe that's centered on that platform. As long as you block it, you should survive fine. The team might need some help though, a help like Knights Valor. It is also good practice to stay bundled together, so the grabby hands that pick someone randomly get broken as fast as they come up. Watch out for bosses quote that talks about his favorite recipe. That means a CC over time is coming. You can block it and you will be immune to it if you use Villians Menace, that way you can keep your KV on and protect the team. Once you have the survivability figured out, this boss is very straightforward.
- Ras Nsi:This is a boss where a lot is going on during the fight especially for a GF tank. At first you're likely to have moments where you have no idea what it was that killed you, but once you get the hang of things its pretty simple. The general thing you want to do in this fight is stay on the platform and kill the souls Staying in the center of the platform helps. I'll explain the fight chronoligcally. As soon as the boss is agroed, he will come to melee range, raise his sword, and it will start flaming, this flaming sword attack hits hard, and puts an equally hard hitting DoT on you, setting your character on fire. Block it. You have enough time between DoT ticks to use Fighters Recovery, if its not cleansed by your clerics yet. You can block the DoT hits as well, just block in the direction where the boss was when he put the DoT on you, maybe take a step back too. After you survive this, the bosses next major attack will be an electric swipe, indicated by him holding his sword above his shoulder for a few seconds. This puts partial paralysis on you if you don't have AA or if you don't block it. So block it too. This attack is always followed by a quick stab shortly after, which is harmless at first, but if you have a couple of shatter armor debuff on you, it can be deadly too. After the boss is done showing off all his attacks, he will teleport to one end of the platform and do an AoE that covers the platform partially. If you get caught in that, you will get shatter armor, which reduces your DR significantly. After two of these attacks, depending on the dps, usually the the laughing ghost skull(acererak projction) will appear. This means a pull is about to happen, and you have to go to the opposite side of the platform to survive it. For the duration of the fight he will keep doing this. So watch out for it. I usually listen to the audio cue which is an evil laughter, but it can sometimes bug out. Watch out for the skull thing itself, when it puts its hands on the platform. Every time after the pull, boss will do the electric swipe. Then after taking a certain amount of damage, it will summon adds. There are a few indications for adds. Most obvious one is the AoE the boss does, which covers the entire platform in red except the red circle around him. This is a good time to preserve your attacks and start looking for souls. Souls will spawn every time adds do, and they have to be killed. If you don't kill them fast enough, they will fill the soulmonger charge of the boss. If this charge reaches full capacity, it's a hard wipe. At around 30% HP, the boss will use soulmonger attack regardless. If the soulmonger charge is low enough, you survive and continue as usual, if its too high, it will probably kill everyone but the pally, you may have to use a scroll then. After this point, you can ignore soulmonger charge and the souls and focus on boss. He does not repeat the soulmonger attack even if the charge is full.
Cradle of the Death God:
- Skull Phase: Pull the skull to the Acererak Projection, then kill it from behind. Similar mechanic to the turtle runes.
- Jelly Cube Phase: Don't put AoEs in the middle. Pull the jelly cubes to the corner and stab them furiously there till they explode and jam the gears of the elevator. Jammed gears stop and become green. Pull the next cube to the unjammed gear until all of them are killed
- Tubes Phase:Kill the tubes clockwise. Watch out that your companion doesn't falll from the platform. If it does, you can revive it before engaging the boss in the next phase.
- Atropal Phase: If you have an arrow above your head with AoE below your feet, move away from the group, similar mechanic to MSVA, except this time the blue areas dropped by these arrows are much more deadly. This kills people. Don't stand on it. If you have a pulsating arrow on your head without an AoE below your feet but more arrows on your sides, then cuddle your team, similar mechanic to FBI.
- Pull-Push Phase: Appropiate mechanic for a undead baby boss. It's easy to resist as a GF. Go to the outer edge of the platform, facing the baby. When the pull starts, raise your shield and stand still. When you reach about the halfway of the platform, take a step or two backwards so you don't fall. And once the pulling stops, go to the inner edge of the platform. There are 3 pulls and 1 push in the span of 5 seconds.
- Acererak Phase: Make sure your healers arent healing, because healing done here heals Atropal. Just damage Acererak enough before the soulmonger charge fills, then step into the dome created by the nine lost gods. Rest of the fight after this is same as the previous parts.
- There is a custom chat channel you can join in game: /GF_Channel
You can ask about GF stuff there or talk about fashion.
- Thanks to @elvalianon and @rjc9000 for proofreading.
- Thanks to bunch of people who maintain helpful websites like nwcalc.com, bethel-95.github.io/Insignia-Bonuses/, jannenw.info, and whoever maintains the official wiki.