Spirit weapons are weapons with minds of their own in Guild Wars 2. Guardians can summon spirit weapons that fight alongside them and can be used to activate their special ability sacrificing the weapon in turn. Another interesting quirk – they’re immune to all damage and are not targetable, both a great thing (they can’t be killed) and a trade-off (they cannot hold aggro).
Spirit weapons fill that niche for additional passive damage and some form of activated ability in a build. They have generally short cooldowns (20 to 60 seconds), making them a rather flavorful utility skill that can contribute a lot, even without much. Each weapon fits a specific build type, from support to assault.
I’ve done a lot of research into spirit weapons and these are the important facts you should remember:
- Power does not affect their damage in any noticeable way. Condition duration does apply to the Shield of the Avenger.
- Multiple spirit weapons can be up at a time, with a limit of three (for there is only three utility slots).
- Spirit weapons activations are different, the hammer and shield will fly towards an enemy while the sword and bow will activate at their location.
- Spirit weapons cannot be destroyed and will remain even while you’re downed.
- The cooldown starts after the weapon is either consumed or expires.
- The trait Spirit Weapon Mastery gives you a 20% cooldown reduction. This applies to the commanded abilities to.
- Eternal Spirit will allow the weapons to persist even after their activation.
- Improved Spirit Weapon Duration increases the duration from 20 seconds to 30 seconds (50%).
- Wrathful Spirits increases damage by 10%.
- A Fire Inside applies burning on each hit.
There are four traits (listed above) that apply to spirit weapons. Eternal Spirit and Improved Spirit Weapon Duration apply to all spirit weapons (and should be utilized if possible in your build if it has anything at all to do with the weapon's activation) while Wrathful Spirits and A Fire Inside only really apply to the hammer and sword.
Eternal Spirit can let you get off more than one activation during the lifetime of the weapon. Improved Spirit Weapon Duration increases a 20 second duration to 30 seconds, giving you ample time to use the activated abilities.
Hammer of Wisdom
The Hammer of Wisdom is a very powerful weapon that gives any build a nice three second knockdown on a 45 second timer. Passively it attacks with a three hit chain; the third hit is a knockback. When activated, it knocks the target down for 3 seconds. This works two fold. The first is that when it’s up, you have a passive interrupt. Your target will be interrupted if that third hit in the chain connects.
The activated knockback is key, because we’re talking about not only a passive interrupt but also a full fledge knockdown – one of the best forms of crowd control out there. It’s a really solid clean knockdown. As long as the hammer connects, the person will fall flat on their butts.
The Hammer of Wisdom works well in builds that focus on control and knockdowns. The passive knockback is extremely impressive alone, but the commanded knockdown can make a huge difference. The damage isn’t something to laugh at either, although it is lower than the sword which doesn’t have any true special effect.
The activation can be activated twice with Eternal Spirit.
The hammer will always attack your target. Its attacks will strike all enemies in front of it and the knockback will hit everyone that it strikes on its third hit.
When it comes down to hammer or sword, I believe that the hammer is infinitely better suited in PvP than the sword is. The hammer can interrupt passively, knockdown, and do damage. While the damage is less than the sword, it still has more utility. That isn’t to say the sword couldn’t work in PvP, but that’s my opinion.
Sword of Justice
A pure and simple weapon, the Sword of Justice is designed only to attack. Passively it will assault your target and when activated it will destroy itself at its location for a large AoE attack. The sword’s strikes seem to deal damage in a 180 degree arc around itself, effectively making it a very good AoE weapon. The AoE range also seems to be greater than the hammer.
The sword’s activation deals damage to all enemies around it. When activated, the damage centers around the sword’s current location so you’ll want to make sure it’s within range of an enemy when activated. Personally I find that you shouldn’t activate it unless you need immediate burst damage or you have Eternal Spirit.
Shield of the Avenger
Shield of the Avenger casts Shield of Absorption frequently while you’re in combat, without the knockback effect. Shield of Absorption will absorb all incoming projectiles, making it a great defensive ability to use while sieging keeps or in scenarios where you’re facing a lot of ranged attackers. The Shield of Absorption spawns on top of the shield, which stays fairly close to you.
The activated ability causes six seconds (by default, condition duration does apply) of weakness to your target and enemies near your target. Weakness is a great debuff in PvP, it causes fumble and reduces endurance regeneration which is a big deal.
Slot this utility skill if you’re working on a control build and want to avoid projectiles. Pure, clean, and simple.
Bow of Truth
You’d think that the bow acted as a ranged assault weapon, but the Bow of Truth actually does something a bit more interesting. Periodically, while up, the bow will send an arrow to you or a nearby ally and remove a condition. It can be commanded to destroy itself and launch a barrage of healing arrows, that heal a moderate amount for about I want to say seven or so seconds.
The bow is perfect for support builds, since it’s a castable heal. Sadly, you cannot target where the heal goes off, as it goes off near the bow (ergo near you). Which hampers its usefulness just a smidge.
That’s the spirit weapons for the guardian! I hope you’ve learned some interesting tidbits and won’t be shy to slot these powerful weapons into your build, given the chance. What’s your favorite weapon? Let us know in the comments section below.