Over BWE2 I ran with a Meditation focused Guardian (I think this was a pretty common build in retrospect; was really easy to theorycraft once you got over the fact that maybe one-handers were viable for damage over two-handers). Rather than try to break down all the abilities slowly like I did for my Ele posts before I’m just going to give my thoughts on the build since I think that’s the more valuable part! Check the GW2 Wiki for info on specific abilities or just watch the video I made: I break down the nitty-gritty there.
Click past the jump for the breakdown.
Runes of the Forge (165 toughness/15% burning duration/20% protection duration/proc 10s protection and AoE burning when reach 50% hp on 60s cd)
Soldier’s Amulet (Power/tough/vitality) with Knight’s Jewel (Vitality/Power/Precision)
Sword/Scepter – Sigil of Superior Earth (60% to proc a 5s bleed on crit) – This is for Radiant Power; I tested it and it seemed to be giving me ~8% damage per unique condition on the target so having access to the bleed seemed good. It’s like the 5% damage sigil except higher and the bleed is annoying for the enemy to remove as well as slightly damaging.
Shield/Focus – Sigil of Superior Smoldering (10% burning duration) – I’m not sure about this anymore. I picked it because with Rune of the Forge’s 15% it means you get an extra tick of burning on your Virtue of Justice which is 399 damage. Going with something like Sigil of Air would be fine if I got some more crit rate with the Knight’s Amulet or Berserker’s. Got to experiment more!
Weapon swapping is huge here (although I imagine it will be really important for most builds). Going to Scepter for the root is great and I used it primarily for that or the focus abilities but it actually has decent damage (not as high as the Sword but still good and a bit more consistent at midrange since you aren’t always slightly in/out of range). That said, apparently Scepter is going to be buffed even further
Jon Peters wrote (on BWE2 beta forums):
I think this weapon also needs to get a range of 1200 with staff moving to a 600-900 range. I know it is different than other classes, but it just makes sense. To make up for that torch and maybe focus as well might need to get 1200 range also. Since I like to triple post, obviously the speed of the orb will have to increase if I give it 1200 range…
I was considering trying Staff out as an alternate for the Scepter but with those changes I think Scepter/Focus is pretty cemented as superior. It really fits this build like a glove.
I know a lot of other people were running Scepter/Shield and Sword/Focus, which does give you a more offensive Sword and a more defensive Scepter. I think that’d work great if I was using a more offensive amulet setup like Berserker’s where I really want my Offense to be top-notch and would use the Scepter as more of a Defensive tool rather than anti-kiting. That said I used the Shield with the Sword to great effect as a controlling tool (e.g. knocking enemies away from allies while being offensive or getting Protection uptime) and liked having a blind on my Scepter for Radiant Power (also the block seemed more useful defensively on the Scepter where it wouldn’t just fizzle immediately in melee).
Capabilities of the build
Uptime is great with Flashing Blade and you can use Judge’s Intervention as a great long-range gap-closer.
The spec has great access to blind via Flashing Blade, Virtue of Justice and – to a lesser extent – Ray of Justice. I tended to just use them fairly often without worrying much, especially with the other utility tied to those abilities (Might/Fire damage on Virtue of Justice; the teleport on Flashing Blade) but there were definitely times when I was fighting a very bursty warrior and I’d need to time the blinds to get a big advantage as their big burst just whiffs.
It’s quite durable as well. I have pretty decent uptime on Protection when I need it via Shield of Judgment (used it more for buffing other players rather than myself honestly) and the Rune of Forge proc (though I have to admit I’m not 100% certain how well it was working. I’ll check my videos later to be sure) which should be a ridiculous ~14 seconds of protection. Between the protection and general toughness, direct damage was pretty manageable and I only felt like I got bursted fast when I jumped into a huge group (my own fault obviously but it worked well sometimes! obviously won’t work in a tournament) or when I let a warrior hit me with a full bull’s charge/hundred swords/eviscerate combo (even that wouldn’t take me down completely if I was at full health and it was rare that I didn’t have time to recover mid-way through the combo if I didn’t outright avoid it via dodge/blind).
Condition removal is pretty good. Smite condition on a 16s cooldown is great for people who dabble in conditions or only stack a lot of a single kind (see: Leaping Death Blossom w/o poison thieves or the various CC conditions without anything else… or the rare burn damage guardians I saw). Contemplation of Purity is great for wiping a whole set but there WERE multiple times where I’d wipe a huge set of conditions and immediately have them again. Not sure what it was, probably a necro or something. Definitely had to learn to wait on pushing that button til it started to get out of hand (e.g. wait til venom/bleed thief has done 3-4 leaping death blossoms and has everything on you before wiping it all).
My favorite tactics I did over the weekend:
– A few times while I was ahead of a small group of my team going into a larger group (~2 more players) at a node, I found it really effective to use Flashing Blade to close the gap and get right into the thick of things, pop Virtue of Justice to AoE Blind every enemy, stab a little (the swing has decent range) to apply fire to an enemy, and then Shield of Absorption to knock enemies off the node. I’d then use my Elite and immediately use Pacify to stop the enemies from attacking (hopefully by this point my allies have engaged and the enemies are a bit confused) and start channeling the AoE full heal. Once the heal goes off, throw down the protection/regen buff and then drop out of the Elite ability early to start fighting normally. Usually the few seconds of free damage without enemy engagement/heal/knockbacks were enough for us to gain enough of an advantage/scatter the enemies enough to do pretty well.
– There were multiple times where I was in a zerg at the clocktower and started to run away down the ramps and targeted one of the 1-2 enemies that didn’t take the bait and stayed to cap the node. Once I got to the bottom I used Judge’s Intervention to pop back up to the top and reengage the remaining enemies. Unfortunately couldn’t find footage of it that didn’t have audio corruption =(
With regard to other options for some traits:
I played around briefly with the 10% toughness to precision trait “Retributive Armor” since I had ~2000 toughness in that build. I put it in place of the “Focused Mind” trait and regretted it a lot. Instant meditations mean you can use them while channeling other abilities or even being controlled without delay which makes Smite Condition great for emergency condition removal/damaging/healing and Judge’s Intervention amazing for escaping as well as gap closing. It was only giving me 5% of toughness as precision anyway.
I guess in retrospect the strongest parts of the build is its ability to capitalize on enemy mistakes. It won’t burst anyone down crazily but it’s durable enough that if you’re not on top of things it’ll steadily wear you down and stay pretty healthy itself. I think I dominated in particular (was getting ~80-90% winrate once I got a really good handle on the build) because I didn’t get around to trying the tournament play where things will be more coordinated and my enemies would make fewer mistakes. When I fought other Maven players or competent opponents I’d have to focus pretty hard on just the one player and most of the 1v2’s or close 1v1’s I won were a result of my superior lastability/mistakes on the opponent’s part/just lasting long enough for allies to show up.
That said I also had a game where I got ganked at half-health fighting the Chieftain, killed it and the Ranger who attacked me and got another Thief to downed state who joined in halfway through my fighting the Ranger. So maybe it’s a littttlleee OP. Oh and that Elite is just ridiculous. Definitely one of the strongest in the game (only thing that comes close is Mesmer Time Warp).