You’ll come across a wide array of skill types for the guardian in Guild Wars 2, each with their own unique mechanic. It’s important when playing a guardian to understand how each skill works and how they synergize with one another so that you can create your own builds to dominate in world vs. world, structured PvP, and of course PvE. We’ll look at the different skill types and their uses in this article and how they function in combat.
If you’re looking to know more about the guardian, check out our main guardian guide, your central hub to all of the information you’d want to know about the guardian.
Skill Lines and Supporting Traits
There is a healthy amount of skill types available to the guardian, some are unique and some are not, but ultimately each one fits in with the general theme of the profession. Below is a list of the skill types and their unique distinctions.
- Consecration: These work exactly like symbols, except that they’re more support oriented and last a bit longer. They are not ground targeted, unless you get the Consecrated Ground trait.
- Chain: A series of three skills that happen in succession. Each skill must connect for the next one to activate.
- Meditations: These skills allow the guardian to teleport.
- Shouts: Instant AoE support abilities.
- Signet: Applies a passive effect until activated, putting that effect on cooldown for an activated effect.
- Spirit Weapons: Summons conjured spirit weapons that fight alongside the guardian, until consumed for a special attack. You can avoid consuming the spirit weapon with the Eternal Spirit trait.
- Symbols: Short duration attacks/support on the ground around the guardian.
- Tome: A conjured weapon that replaces your primary skillbar with five new abilities for a brief duration.
- Wards: Creates impassable terrain on the ground.
As you can see, there is a lot of variety when it comes to the guardian and a lot of abilities that both work in an offensive, defense, and support role all in one. This makes the guardian profession very versatile. Mastering each of the skill sets is tad amount to mastering the profession.
Traits can modify some of the skills, like Consecrated Ground allows you to target your consecrations. When making your build, you’re going to want to focus on a few skill types, then build your traits up around them to boost them and make them more effective.
Chains, Shouts, and Signets
These are shared with other classes and work just like they do universally. Chains are simple, they’re part of the auto-attack cycle and are used by most weapons. Shouts on the other hand require some critical thinking as to the best time to use it. They’re best used at critical times to assist allies, although when solo, they can be used whenever. Signets require, again, some thought on when giving up the passive boost is beneficial.
These are a bit different than symbols because you can trait them to be ground targeted. They’re basically, for the most part, support skills that help you and your allies in combat when they run across them. They have a rather long duration, for the most part, between five and ten seconds, so they’re rather useful. Unlike symbols, they are all utility skills and not weapon skills.
Wall of Reflection is notable because it can really help defend certain areas from projectiles, specifically capture points and rams. It’s not a ward, but it blocks projectiles, which is enough to keep ranged attacks off of you.
Consecrated Ground makes them ground targetable, which means going 15 points into virtue a must have if you’re going to carry more than one consecration or use it as a critical part of your build.
Teleporting is a neat concept and in the context of support or defense, absolutely amazing. Why? It can get you out of some rough spots AND put you in a position where you can heal or defend your allies. Not all meditations are teleports though, Smite Condition and Contemplation of Purity involve condition removal. You’re going to want to use the teleports whenever a big AoE attack is incoming and you need to get out of the way, or if the third part of a chain attack is incoming. Judge’s Intervention is superior for defense, because it lets you get in someone’s way while Merciful Intervention is great for support because it takes you to the lowest health player nearby.
These come in multiple flavors, hammer and sword attack, bow cures conditions on you and nearby allies, and shield grants Shield of Absorption at random. More technically:
- Hammer of Wisdom: Attacks nearby foes. The command ability is a knockdown.
- Sword of Justice: Attacks nearby foes. The command ability is an attack.
- Bow of Truth: Cures conditions on you and nearby allies. The command ability is a heal.
- Shield of the Avenger: A shield that casts Shield of Absorption. Its command ability weakens your target.
Ultimately, bringing a weapon into PvE is fun and a great way to boost your damage. In pvP, it’s a bit different. They’re all excellent, but you’re going to want to think about a few things. First, they have a mind of their own and generally attack your target. Unlike other summonables, they cannot be targeted, which means that they will last their full duration no matter what.
Some traits make them very appealing, like Eternal Spirit which will not destroy the weapon when you command it. Combine this with Hammer of Wisdom and you now have not only extra DPS, but a knockdown to use whenever you wish. These things have to be considered when making your build.
Similar to meditations, these are small AoE abilities that affect the ground around you for a short period of time. These are usually bundled into an attack/support. The exception is Symbol of Protection which grants protection. The honor trait line provides many boosts to symbols.
There are two tomes, Tome of Courage which is a support tome and Tome of Wrath which is an offense tome. The wrath tome is good for having a knock down (Judgment which you can only use once, even with Elite Focus) and the ability to grant fury and quickness. The courage tome is notable because it can fully heal five nearby allies. This makes it the elite to have for support guardians. If your allies nearby are about to fall, you simply use your tome and then use Light of Deliverance to take them back up to full. This can be even more critical in a dungeon, with a five player limit, or tournaments, again with a five player limit.
These come in two flavors, Line of Warding which is a line on the ground and Ring of Warding which is a ring on the ground. Both of these prevent enemy movement through the ward, although RoW is great for locking fleeing enemies in for the kill.
LoW is used to block off chokepoints in PvP or can be placed down in the middle of an engagement to keep enemies from moving around a point, while allies can run behind it to keep them out of melee. A great use is in PvP on any of the bridges, in front of open gates, in front of entrance portals to enemy keeps, and on stairs. LoW does require a staff, which some guardians may shy away from as they focus on pure melee.
RoW is good for two things. The first is you can use it on a control point to keep people from entering it. The second is you can use it as a way to keep enemies from leaving, blocking off their escape or drawing a line between them and their allies.
Other Guardian Skills
Many of the skills a guardian can use on their weapons do not have a specific type involved. These range from shields to abilities that grant boons. What’s the difference? Well abilities that have a type are affected by traits.
That’s the summary of the various guardian skill types. One important thing to note is that many of the ground targeted skills work as light combo fields. This can grant retaliation, remove conditions, or remove a condition from nearby allies depending on the finisher.
What's your favorite unique skill to the guardian? Let us know in the comments section below!