Guardians must choose their weapons wisely because the active weapon defines the playstyle of the guardian and Guild Wars 2 is all about the weapons. Guardians are an interesting profession because a lot of players assume that the only viable way to play is a shield and sword. While it’s true that is viable, each and every weapon combination is viable in a build. Understanding your arsenal is key to understanding the Guardian. So let’s jump straight into the weapons.
Guardians can equip the following weapons:
We’re looking at 11 total weapons that a guardian and equip and twelve possible sets (not including underwater) that can be equipped at any given time. There is weapon switching for the guardian, so remember that! We won't be going over the underwater weapons, but you can check out our underwater guide here.
There is no best weapon for the guardian, no weapon that is overpowered or gives them an unfair advantage. Each weapon is a key component of each build and each build relies on the weapon to define it. For instance, a support build may rely on the might from a staff or the immobilize of the scepter. I hear all the time that “mace/board” is the best, overpowered, and you’re unable to die with it. I’ve personally killed many mace/board guardians and I find that the
Considered by many to be the leveling weapon of choice, the greatsword is mostly damage and boon generation. It’s great for dealing with large groups of enemies and can apply might, retaliation, burning, and blind and comes equipped with a pull (think interrupt). It’s very powerful, but there are some very big drawbacks. The first is range, it’s a short ranged weapon that doesn’t attack fast or slow, and has massive animations that can call your attacks.
Greatswords are best used when aiming to go for an offensive build, because the majority of the abilities focus on offense. Although, like all guardian weapons, it has a control or support element (in this case control), it is primarily for killing enemies and throwing around your vitreous justice.
The main attack sequence you’ll use is putting down Symbol of Wrath and following it up with one of the finishers (Whirling is a whirl, Leap is a leap, and Binding is a whirl) and keeping might up with your skill 1 auto-attack.
Strike / Vengeful Strike / Wrathful Strike: This is your bread and butter skill 1 attack and it applies might on the third swing. If you continue auto-attack then you’ll have perma-might up.
Symbol of Wrath: The damage from this one is actually pretty decent, but it actually has two neat things going for it: retaliation and a light combo field. You’ll want to time the retaliation with an incoming attack as it only lasts one second (although it refreshes if you stay within the symbol).
Whirling Wrath: Spin in place and throw projectiles at enemies. Does good damage and is great for spinning around striking enemies while moving. The damage is no reliable, as the projectiles may or may not connect with an enemy. Combo’d with Symbol of Wrath it applies Cleansing Bolts to allies, removing conditions.
Leap of Faith: You jump at the enemy and if you connect, you blind nearby foes. This is a distance closer to get you up close and personal if an enemy is running away. You can also use it in melee range in order to apply three seconds of blind.
Binding Blade / Pull: This is an interrupt / pull. It has a nasty damage over time effect on Binding Blade and Pull will interrupt and setup for a Whirling Wrath.
We’re looking at a weapon that pulls off burst damage. The skill 1 has a symbol built into it (with a long “cast” time) and the skill 2 is a high damage followup. It’s the best weapon for dealing burst damage by default in the guardian’s lineup. You also get some prime control options, including Ring of Warding that is like a prison – no enemy can get in or out of the ring while it’s up.
The hammer is what I like to call a great all-around weapon. Control, support (while attacking none the less), and damage are all integral to the hammer. It pairs well with a weapon switch to a faster weapon or anything that boosts damage, like the staff, so that you can switch back and lay on the pain with Symbol of Protection and Mighty Blow.
Hammer Swing, Hammer Bash, Symbol of Protection: This one has two fast hitting attacks followed by a long attack that is a symbol (that grants protection to allies and deals damage to enemies). The third attack hits hard and can do some serious burst damage when used with Mighty Blow.
Mighty Blow: A pure damage ability that comes with a leap finish. If used with Symbol of Protection it will apply area retaliation. This is best used right after Symbol of Protection for a large amount of burst damage.
Zealot’s Embrace: Causes a 2 second immobilize to enemies in front of you. Pure and simple: use it on fleeing foes.
Banish: Causes a blowout, which is great for an interrupt and to control an enemy (knock someone away from someone).
Ring of Warding: Draws a circle about the size of a symbol on the ground. Keeps enemies from leaving the circle or entering the circle for five seconds. This is another form of control best used on fleeing enemies, protecting allies, or on choke points to prevent movement (like bridges).
The staff is a mid-range weapon designed as half support (like most weapons) and half damage. Its skill one has a huge AoE arc and it’s one of the best weapons in the game for applying might. One huge misconception is that a guardian with a staff is a healer – nay this is false. They are warriors, first and foremost, and the staff is a very powerful weapon.
It’s like a toolbox though; there isn’t a general overall theme. It has a single heal, a control ability, two abilities that grant boons, and it’s skill 1 attack is a wide arc AoE.
Wave of Wrath: A mid damage / mid-range AoE that strikes up to five foes in a huge arc around the guardian. This is a standard attack that’s great for tagging tons of enemies.
Orb of Light: On activation it sends an orb forward that deals moderate damage. It can be activated (for a four times longer cooldown) to provide a heal to allies. It passes through enemies, meaning it’ll deal damage to anything in front of it for its duration.
Symbol of Swiftness: This grants eight seconds of swiftness for those standing in it and deals damage to foes. This is a key ability in a lot of builds for WvW and sPvP because you can place the symbol in a chokepoint and grant your allies swiftness as they walk through it.
Empower: This is an insanely powerful ability when used with large groups of allies. You get six stacks of might during the 4 second channel and if it finishes it also heals nearby allies. The eight seconds of might is a tremendous damage boost when used with large groups.
Line of Warding: A control ability that stops the movement of enemies through the line. This is best used at chokepoints.
Scepter is a mid-range weapon much like the staff but offers something a bit different. Its skill 1 has a decent amount of range, but its best known for Chains of Light which is an incredibly strong immobilize. There isn’t a lot to describe, although Smite has a low cooldown and is great for spamming.
Scepter is pairs well with any off-hand and is best used as a secondary weapon to switch to than a main weapon, you can use Chains of Light, then Smite, and then weapon switch - causing you to catch up while dealing some great damage.
Orb of Wrath: Mid damage mid-range damage ability.
Smite: High damage AoE that does more damage the fewer targets are in the circle. It strikes 15 times, choosing targets at random.
Chains of Light: The true hero of the scepter, this stacks 2 seconds of immobile along with 6 seconds of vulnerability, stopping a foe in their tracks.
A slow defense oriented weapon, the mace excels at damage mitigation. Skill 1 and 2 provide healing while skill 3 provides a block or protection, depending on if you’re hit. The mace is considered to be a mostly defensive weapon, although it deals a fair amount of damage like the hammer. You’re going to just want to keep the skill 1 auto-attack going for the passive healing and decent damage.
The mace pairs well, like all weapons, with the different off-hands. A shield will get you more defense (making a defensive build) while a torch will give you a mixture of defense and offense. The focus is somewhere inbetween.
True Strike, Pure Strike, Faithful Strike: The first two, like the hammer hit fast, and the last one is a bit slower but provides a heal. The neat thing is that it provides passive mitigation while you attack, so even though the heal isn’t huge, it’s still recovering health.
Symbol of Faith: Good bit of damage plus provides regen while you’re within the symbol. Although the symbol is small, it can help keep you up while you’re fighting in melee.
Protector’s Strike: This one works a bit strangely, but is great for stopping an attack. For about 5 seconds you’ll block any incoming attack for you and your allies and then counter. If you’re not stuck at the end, you’ll provide protection.
One of the coolest weapons out there, the sword for the guardian is a flashy fast moving distance closing weapon of justice. The skill 1 does great damage and attacks quickly, skill 2 is a teleport, and skill 3 is a high damage projectile block. This is the one-handed DPS weapon of choice and is great to switch to whenever you need to strike fast and apply a lot of burning from Virtue of Justice.
For off-hands, you’ll gain defense with a shield, tons of additional damage with the torch (you’ll be a burning machine), and the focus will give you some much needed utility and defense. If you’re going for a build focusing on burning then the sword excels.
Sword of Wrath, Sword Arc, Sword Wave: The third attack sends three projectiles out that deal a good bit of damage.
Flashing Blade: Blind (3 seconds), a teleport, and a 10 second cooldown makes this one of the coolest abilities to have. You can close distance with a small damage strike, then either switch weapons or begin stabbing them.
Zealot’s Defense: It’s a 3 second projectile block that deals considerable damage with the projectiles it sends out. It’s best to use this as a regular attack.
The shield is a neat off-hand because it gives the perception of being able to block attacks, but it instead is actually a bit different. Shield of Judgement is a solid attack that grants protection to nearby allies and Shield of Absorption is a knockback, projectile nullifier, and massive combo field that can be used for a moderate AoE heal. The shield is a great off-hand in a support role when you want to keep enemies away from you and keep projection up.
The focus is a support off-hand. Ray of Judgement sends out a bouncing projectile that bounces four times. If it hits an enemy it deals damage and blinds, if it hits an ally then it provides regeneration. Shield of Wrath provides three blocks and deals a good bit of damage when it ends.
Zealot’s Flame doesn’t cause damage to you, but it does light you on fire and can apply burning up to three nearby foes. You can use it early to deal damage to someone (if they got out of range for instance). Cleansing Flame cures conditions and deals some alright damage.
As you can see, there is a lot going on in the world of guardian weapons. What’s your favorite? Let us know in the comments section below.