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Introduction to the Guardian

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Guardians are virtuous masters at protecting allies, their exceptional defensive boon application is only matched by amazing fighting capabilities, both physical and in form of punishing enemies with their fiery consecrations and deadly spirit weapons.

Guardian’s main power-damage weapons will be Sword, Focus, and Greatsword, and the only true condition damage weapon Core Guardian has to offer is Torch.

Your defensive/healer weapons are Shield, Mace, and Staff.

Scepter also deals a fair amount of damage, but its generation and quick attacks make it a good pick for all builds, in some cases also for healers.

The least used type is Hammer, oriented around applying , a relatively low damage weapon.

If you don’t yet know anything about Guild Wars 2 profession, and you maybe are looking for a short comparison, check out our introductory guides:

Profession mechanics


As a Guardian you will have 3 additional skills above your weapon bar, those are your Virtues, and each of them is serving a different purpose and acts like a signet, with passive effect, and a stronger active component:

Virtue of Justice – applies to foes around you

Virtue of Resolve – heals you passively

Virtue of Courage – applies at set interval

Each of those Virtues can be used for a stronger effect, but that will disable its passive until Virtue will go off cooldown. Virtue of Justice will apply with your and your allies’ next attack, Virtue of Resolve will cleanse conditions off of you and heal you and your allies, and Virtue of Courage is on-demand for you and allies around you.

Virtues seem like simple profession mechanics in comparison to other classes, and frankly, they are. But that simplicity with amazing synergy between skills, traits, and Virtues creates an unstoppable force in every game mode.


Symbols are unique to Guardian weapon skill types, each main-hand or two-hand weapon has one Symbol skill, which after use, spawns a medium AoE (Area of Effect) Light field that will linger on the ground, dealing damage and applying boons to each second.

This type of skill can be enhanced with some traits and is an important part of every Guardian build, be that for damage or boons it provides. Core Guardian symbols are:


Spirit Weapons

This is a very unique skill type amongst all professions, you are summoning untargettable Spirit Weapons that after performing a specific task will despawn.

All skills of this type are “ammo skills”, which means you can use it multiple times in short succession and the cooldown will start in the background (indicated by the white progressing border). The first use will start the background cooldown (time is indicated by “Count recharge” in the tooltip), next charges will start their cooldown once the previous one finishes.

Of all Spirit Weapons, Sword of Justice shines the most, its damage is unparalleled, and the amount of stacks is absolutely insane. It’s used by all end-game power builds.

Bow of Truth shines on defensive support builds as it heals for high amounts in a large area (after a short delay after casting it).

Situational Hammer of Wisdom is often used by many builds when facing enemies with the Defiance bar.


Signets have tho parts to them: a passive effect that’s active as long as the skill is not on cooldown, and an active element, often thematically similar to their passive effect.

Once activated, Signet will apply its active effect for a short duration, at the cost of disabling the passive bonus until the cooldown will finish.


The two most noticeable Signets that often see play in end-game PvE are Signet of Wrath and Bane Signet. While both are taken for a strong passive effect, Bane Signet can be used for a big amount of Defiance damage against enemies with a breakbar.

Signet of Mercy is mostly picked by support classes in competitive game modes, that powerful ranged review skill on a very short cooldown has one major downside: long cast time, making it easily interruptable, which requires extra protection in form of .


The Meditation skill type thankfully doesn’t require you to sit down and meditate before using it. In fact, all utility skills from this type are instant casts, and heal skill has a very short cast time.


Litany of Wrath, even though initial healing is low, can be a very powerful skill. In some end-game encounters when players’ damage is reflected, most classes need to stop attacking to not die. Guardians with Litany of Wrath can continue their rotation, because the more damage they deal, the more healing they will receive.

Elite skill Renewed Focus is also often used by builds that benefit from recharging Virtues, or simply as a defensive tool in competitive game modes.

Utility skills from this category are situational. Judge's Intervention and Contemplation of Purity are often used in PvP game mode, and Merciful Intervention is sometimes picked by healers in PvE as a review tool.


This is another category of skills unique to Guardian, there is no heal or elite Consecration, and all utility skills are ground-targetted and extremely useful in all game modes.

Purging Flames deals massive damage with an additional, pretty decent power damage component, it’s taken by all condition PvE builds.

The other three Consecrations are situational. Wall of Reflection does what its name states, and is a great tool for some end-game encounters. Hallowed Ground offers a great AoE application.

Finally Sanctuary, apart from some healing and missile block, deals absolutely massive defiance bar damage, making it a great pick for multiple PvE encounters by all Guardian builds.


And lastly, Guardian can shout at their allies… but in a good way, a very good way in fact. Shouts are played in every game mode but are mostly used in PvE content.


The most iconic Guardian Shout is "Stand Your Ground!", extremely short cooldown instant-cast group is almost unparalleled.

"Feel My Wrath!" is a must-have elite skill for most builds providing , it’s also a great filler skill if your build does not benefit from other elite skills.

Other Shouts are very situational defensive abilities, with "Advance!" being one of the most popular picks for mitigating multiple mechanics in end-game PvE.



This trait line focuses mainly on power damage and boosting your Symbols and Spirit Weapons, as well as adding some good passive bonuses.

Most common pick in this specialization is 223 (Fiery Wrath, Zealous Blade, and Symbolic Avenger) or 323 for additional source from Zealous Scepter, often picked in Open World builds using Scepter.


Radiance specialization is absolutely a must-have trait line for all offensive Guardian builds. The Critical Chance bonus it offers is simply unparalleled, and bonuses to are the base for all condition builds.

Power builds usually take x33 (with Retribution and Righteous Instincts), while condition damage builds pick x21 (Radiant Fire and Amplified Wrath), and in both cases a situational Adept trait.


This specialization is all about healing, improving and adding bonus effects to it, and enhancing Meditation skills.

Because there are not many situations in PvE where players need extreme tankiness Valor offers, it’s rarely taken in this game mode, with an exception of tank builds of course. It can be useful in some more tanky support builds in PvP though.

Usual traits taken by those builds are 111 or 211 with Stalwart Defender and Altruistic Healing accompanied by Adept Smiter's Boon or Strength of the Fallen.


Honor is the best specialization for healers and other types of defensive support builds. It offers improved healing, enhanced Symbols that now also can heal, improved Shouts, increased concentration, and shorter Mace and Staff cooldowns. Truly all-around healing specialization.

PvE healer builds often pick 321 traits (Protector's Restoration, Honorable Staff, and Pure of Voice), in competitive game modes on the other hand, 221 selection might make more sense (Protective Reviver, Pure of Heart and Pure of Voice).

Most of the traits in this specialization can be taken depending on the situation and weapon used.


Last but not least, the most popular trait line focusing on improving Consecrations skills and your profession mechanic Virtues, a great pick for condition builds, but also often taken by healers and other support builds.

Usual selection (331) for condition builds includes Master of Consecrations, Glacial Heart and Permeating Wrath, and 222 (Resolute Subconscious, Absolute Resolve, Battle Presence) is most popular pick for healers.

Competitive builds often include Absolute Resolve and Indomitable Courage with build dependant Adept tier trait.

Hidden Mechanics

While not unique to Guardian, canceling an animation might be most obvious animation-wise on this profession.

A technique called “animation canceling” can be achieved in multiple ways, by stowing weapons or sidestepping, this is done to cancel the “aftercast” of the skill, which is animation performed after completing the actual skill.

In Guardian’s case, the most obvious will be Greatsword. You can cast Symbol of Resolution, instantly when the cast bar finishes tap the movement key and queue another skill.

The movement will not even be visible in most cases, and the time saved is minor, but performing this can be very rewarding.

Gameplay Tips

Guardian is a versatile and very strong profession, which makes it a very good pick for new players.

Due to amazing offensive capabilities paired with good defensive potential, you should focus on outputting as much damage as possible at the start of the fight, and utilize , , in downtime.

An absurd amount of Light fields you’ll have at your disposal make you insanely resistant to condition damage, try to utilize your Leap, Blast and Whirl finishers to cleanse yourself and your team from conditions whenever possible.

If you are ready to start playing this profession we recommend a starter build that was created to help with the traditional leveling experience of the core profession.

If you are looking for more builds for all game modes, make sure to check your build guides.

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