Tactician Guardian Fighter- “Missionary” Build for PVE by Aristide of the Hour

by MMOMinds on January 1, 2014
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Tactician Guardian Fighter- “Missionary” Build for PVE by Aristide of the Hour

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13k Tactician Guardian Fighter- “Missionary” Build for PVE

…. or yes, how to tank like a GIRL!!

Hi all, my GF is Aristide of the Hour and I started out on the Beholder server during beta. I leveled my GF after running a CW and DC, and based my build off a wish list of things I decided I wanted out of a tank… usually as I was lying dead on the ground with a Blade Spider drooling on my corpse.

When I rolled Aristide, I fell in love with the capstone of the Tactician’s path. Figuring out how to get the rest of the build together took a bit of time. The last time I won a DPS race was Cragmire at level 23. That’s not counting the on level SP I soloed after the rest of the team wiped with the boss at 90%. Gotta love those disappearing segments. I did win an no-Cleric GG Fardelver DPS race once against 2 GWF and a Conq-GF, largely due to a 100% uptime on Fighter’s Recovery.

This Tactician build is very different from the playstyle of either Conqueror or Protector. Instead of providing DPS or Shield-blocking as much as you can, a Tactician focuses on group synergies, extreme mobility and a rotating bag of tricks. I can tank adds as if I were a CW, tank the boss, and run solo content with ease and minimal pots.

Warning: You will get kicked from pre-mades enough that you will need to learn to make them yourself. There’s a lot of prejudice against non-Conqueror spec GFs, and the general GS requirements for premades are about 3,000 more than when I cleared most content for the first time in Beta. I used to speed run SP and ToS on Aristide with a GS of 8700. Now most premades list GS requirements between 11-12,000. Until you have endgame gear and higher level enchantments, you will need a cat or a stone to even get your foot in the door. You have to keep your chin up a bit… I have even gotten kicked from FH speed-runs where you spend the whole boss fight dealing zero damage. On the other hand, you can CN ring farm in a CW slot where even high DPS GWFs are considered a burden.

Race Selection:

You’re going to be staring at your own behind quite a bit. Pick what you want to stare at. I chose Human for RP purposes and a Foundry series I am working on. If you don’t chose Human, reduce the Heroic Feat Weapon Mastery and slot more Azure to compensate. If you choose a race that gives a Dexterity stat bonus, you will have to readjust gear a bit to make sure you don’t end up with more Armor Penetration than you need (Dexterity adds to that stat). Refer to freehugs9’s thread to figure out how much Armor Penetration you need based on your Dexterity.

Attribute Rolls:

You don’t need a certain number in any one stat for this build, so it doesn’t really matter if you have already rolled your character. If you have already started leveling and placed points in Dexterity, you will get a free respect at 60 and you can move them out at that point. You will want to place your points in Constitution for the AP gain and Strength for the Damage bonus & Guard meter increase. You can gear for Armor Penetration with greater ease than what you loose from choosing Dexterity over Strength.

My initial roll was: Strength = 14, Constitution = 17, Dexterity = 13, Intelligence = 10, Wisdom = 12, and Charisma = 10. So my final stats were Strength = 20, Constitution = 23, Dexterity = 15, Intelligence = 12, Wisdom = 14, and Charisma = 12.


Heroic Feats:

5/5 Action Surge: Gain 10% more Action Points from Guarding Attacks. Sometimes you must Guard, especially in mob pulls or in a boss fight where your Cleric is busy. This helps you get to a bacon saving Daily faster.

3/3 Strength Focus: Increase the effectiveness of Strength by 15%. Useful to increase your damage output given you are maxing Constitution for the AP gain.

3/3 Armor Specialization: Increase the effectiveness of Armor Class and Defense by 15%. You will have a lot of Defense because of your Tactician Cap which gives you AP based on a % of DR when you take damage you do not block.

5/5 Powerful Attack: Increase the damage of your Encounter and At-will Abilities by 10%. More damage = more AP.

3/3 Weapon Mastery: Increase the chance to Critical by 3%.

4/5 Ubiquitous Shield: Decrease the damage effects of Combat Advantage against you by 20%. There will be arguments for and against this particular feat. It will make a difference for you when Astral Shield is down or if your CW effs a Daily. It will mildly lower your AP gain based on your Tactician cap feat. So there is a trade off here, but one I’ve found useful to make in T2s. If you only run in a Guild with a very good DC, and you aren’t Human, you might reduce this one and keep Weapon Mastery.

Tactician Paragon Feats

5/5 Fight On: Reduce cooldowns on Encounters by 10%. Useful because you aren’t stacking Recovery beyond what you get from your gear.

5/5 Battle Trample: When Trample the Fallen would cause you to deal more Damage, gain 25% of your Weapon Damage in Threat and deal 25% of your Weapon Damage as Physical Damage. This is the main point at which you hold agro. You don’t take the Heroic Feat and you don’t run Enhanced Mark except for FH’s final boss when you aren’t doing any damage at all. I have had no difficulty holding agro while doing 6-7 million in damage in MC or a T2 while GWF and CWs do 20-30 million.

5/5 Inspiring Leader: Into the Fray increases your party damage by 5%. This really should be more given your sacrifice in damage, and to help make non-Conq specs more appealing. But one can only dream.

5/5 Powerful Strike: Lunging Strike provides 20% more threat and a 100% chance to Interrupt. This one is so great. And it also helps with agro holds in high level boss fights when your CWs aren’t using so much control, and the threat production of Battle Trample drops.

1/1 Martial Mastery: Taking damage while not blocking now generates AP. You gain a bonus based on your Damage Resistance.

Protector Feats

5/5 Plate Agility: You gain 5% chance to Deflect. Overall, the build will give you a 20% chance to Deflect if you slot 3 Level 9 Silvery enchants in your Defense slots. You could gain a smattering more of health, which in testing didn’t make much of a difference towards my survivability. Or.. you could turn a 26,000 hit into 6,500 in damage received. In boss fights and against elite mobs, I’ve found it more useful to gain the chance to deflect high levels of damage.

5/5 Shield Defense: +5 to Armor Class. This did provide a noticeable increase to the AP gain, when I took it after having taken the Tactician end cap.

** Note: I didn’t take the Conqueror feat Improved Vigor because I am so rarely below 50% HP, and whenever I am my Regen and Life Steal correct things pretty fast. If you take that feat instead of going up the Protector tree, you can increase the Prone of Frontline Surge by 1 sec. This may or may not be really useful outside of hardcore PvP… since in PvE, the use of Frontline Surge is to gain threat and interrupt while your CW is on cooldown.

Combat Powers


Cleave: Bread and Butter.

Threatening Rush: Dash towards your target and Mark it, and also Mark nearby targets. Mark stays on until you take damage. No cooldown and helps you get out of CC red zones. If you use it to Mark a boss while soloing it, be careful you aren’t Marking other add.

I did not slot more than the one required point into Tide of Iron and I never use it.

Class Features: 

The first two are almost always, the second two are situational, usually in end boss fights when you are required to point boss damage towards one stable point.

Combat Superiority: For 5 seconds, deal 20% additional damage to foes after they hit you. Don’t forget to let the add actually damage you and remember that each mob has to damage you for this to go into effect.

Trample the Fallen: When a foe is affected by Control powers, deal 15% additional damage. When both are in effect, Cleave can do about 30% more damage to mobs being Controlled (Steal Time, Icy Terrain, etc.)

Shield Talent: Increase Shield by 15%.

Enhanced Mark: Marked targets now build Threat while Marked, and you generate 33% more Threat while doing damage to them.


Lunging Strike: Very good for boss fights, or dealing with elite mobs. Once it’s feated for interrupts, you can use a LS, Frontline, Bull Charge and Terrifying Impact rotation to pin things down 100% while your party DPSes them. Like Thoons in Dread Vault. You can also Interrupt Elite Mobs outside of Malaborg’s boss fights, and the Shaman that spawns in the first fight of MC, though the Totemist is immune. However, in the mob clearing section I rarely slot it in the rotation.

Enforced Threat: AOE Taunt and helps recover Guard Meter. Almost never leaves my rotation during PvE mob clearing.

Griffon’s Wrath: 3 charges and an annoyingly long animation cycle. I dropped this pretty early and slot it in for Skirmishes if I’m bored. Some GFs love it though, so it’s worth playing around with.

Knee Breaker: Single target DoT than also Slows. And I love the sound it makes. When I was leveling, I found it useful in holding boss agro when you had one whose AOEs you must avoid (Pirate King).

Knight’s Challenge: You and your victim do double damage to each other and half damage to anyone else. If you’ve Clericed before, this is the thin red line that sometimes stretches between the GF and the boss. I slot it in for soloing targets. You’ll first get this for the Skirmish Garanduar the Vile, the one with the big green dragon. So useful. Use this in a rotation with LS and Kbreaker, and keep the dragon turned away from the group. Be careful using it in boss fights with huge AOE attacks latter, like Karandax. Use it only *after* you get knocked back by the wings.

Anvil of Doom: Nice damage and 50% damage once your target is less than 25% of HP. Practice learning to slot it in. Running dungeons on level is good for learning when it’s safe to do this. In MC’s second boss fight, do this during one of his lightening pillar periods.

Frontline Surge: Knock back the add and leave them Prone. Once you have it, it never leaves your Encounter rotation for mob clearing. With practice, you will learn how close you have to be to use it for ledge pushing. It is useful in Frontline-BC moves for some add that can resist the CC effect of BC if you use that first.

Into the Fray: The more they nerf AP generation, the more useful this one is. 15% AP generation, 5% more damage, temporary HP for all, and recovers your Guard meter. Kills your DPS, but the AP generation also applies to you. And all for 8 seconds out of every 12 during combat.

Bull Charge: Huge Knockback and Prone, very good damage. Extremely useful in dungeons where most mob is pushed, such as SP. When I slot out ITF, it’s usually to slot this one to push. I also use it a lot in solo content because it’s just hilarious to watch things fly around. Be careful using it for missions requiring that you kill certain mobs. In Sharandar, for instance, you will not get credit if you BC some mobs off ledges.


Terrifying Impact: Knock things down and leave them prone. What’s great about Tactician Builds is that you essentially turn this into another Encounter. So instead of Frontline Surge on a 16 second cooldown, FS is on an 8 second cooldown, since you use TI as another “charge” of Frontline.

Fighter’s Recovery: Insane Life Steal. Go from 5% HP to full with one Frontline.

Villain’s Menance: 15% increased damage and immunity to CC. Use for Solo boss or solo elite mob fights where the elite is immune to CC.

Supremacy of Steel: This one is used a lot by other GFs, and if you are having trouble with your Terrifying Impacts being eaten by CW Dailies, you can play around with this one. I rarely slot it.

Indomitable Strength: High damage, single target, Prone. I use it in Gauntylgrym or to solo some elite mobs in Sharandar.

If I did not list something here, I did not spend points in that Power.

PVE Rotation:

At-wills: Cleave, Threatening Rush
Class Features: Trample the Fallen, Combat Superiority
Encounters-Push: Bull Charge, Frontline Surge, Enforced Threat
Encounters-Burn: Into the Fray, Frontline Surge, Enforced Threat
Dailies: Terrifying Impact, Fighter’s Recovery
Optional: You can slot Villain’s Menace to deal with Elites.
Optional: Full Prone Rotation: LS, Frontline, BC, Terrifying Impact.

PvP-Gauntylgyrm Rotation:

At-wills: Cleave, Threatening Rush
Class Features: Trample the Fallen, Combat Superiority
Encounters: Lunging Strike, Frontline, BC
Dailies: Indomitable Strength or Terrifying Impact, Fighter’s Recovery

I average about 15-20 kills per session with 2-3 deaths. If you are solo on a point, most people ride on by. Holding points when Golems have spawned is fun, but if the Golems aren’t on your team you need to let the CWs and DCs flush the enemy out. Don’t waste your rotation on a Golem, wait till you have a clean shot. Read over Envy’s DPS Build and also Scrotobagins’ DPS Build for good advice and pointers in dealing with different classes.

Sharandar Boons:

Dark Fey Hunter: 250 Power
Fey Precision: 250 Critical
Elven Haste: 3% AP Gain. Added to Constitution that’s 15%, with ITF 30% AP Gain.
Elven Ferocity: some damage?
Elven Resolve: Guard Meter recovers 10% faster in Combat.

Active Companion Bonuses: 

1. Ioun Stone of Allure (Purple): 10% to Slow Target on Encounter Use
2. Panther (Purple): Increases Damage Against Prone Targets by 10%
3. Helmite Paladin Ghost (Green): +55 Recovery and +55 Regen
4. Skeletal Dog (Blue): +195 Life Steal
5. Vicious Dire Wolf: 5% Chance to Interrupt Target (works on At-wills & Encounters)

Some money saving was involved here. I had the Panther and the Vicious Dire Wolf, and the Paladin in the bank from the event. But the Paladin and the Skeletal Dogs are not too expensive on the AH right now, and I chose to boost two of my survivability stats with them. I also have found the two procs from the Wolf and the Stone to be often and useful, making my choice not to get a cat a pretty good one at this point.

To follow: Gear and Enchantments in next post…

As you level your GF, remember that the in-game suggestions are not always and sometimes rarely good advice. Focus on Defense, Power and a good weapon. You will need at least 1000 in Critical, Life Steal or Regen for any of those three to make a real difference in a dungeon. There is some really good green gear out there, and nothing beats an enchantment slot. Go ahead and slot at least level 2s and level 3s in your gear. Don’t forget your shirt and pants, and also that you have to manually open your character screen to change your left ring slot. Keep up with your gear. At least every three levels go to the AH and make sure your items are comparable in stats to what is out there for your level. If you spend any AD while leveling, I recommend spending it on your weapon.

When you hit 60, if you haven’t already acquired your gear via the AH or farming on an alt, focus on getting a 2 piece bonus and then a 4 piece KC. End game gear for this Tactician build is PvE mob clear with Knight’s Captain, and a Solo-Boss Fight +850 Armor Pen (2+Knight Captain and 2+High General). You’ll find it hard to get into T2s with a KC set because your GS will be so low. Take the 2+KC bonus and choose really good blue pieces with regen stats, and you will have a GS high enough for T2s with only Rank 5s.

I built this set first and cleared most content with it before working on my KC set:

Head: Helm of the High General
Chest: High General’s Armor
Arms: Antiquated Knight Captain’s Gauntlets
Feet: Antiquated Knight Captain’s Greaves

On the test server, I had a real difficult time keeping the Timeless set bonus in effect. A lot of the Encounters that I use have high cooldowns, I don’t stack Recovery, and sometimes you can’t spend that particular encounter because a CW Daily has been used. As far as I could tell, I wasn’t getting the Timeless stack if Singularity ate my Frontline.

You should take set bonuses with a grain of salt. As we’ve seen, they can be nerfed. And during beta, GFs using Timeless were openly scorned and pestered for their useless gear in T2 farming. Anyone with the current “BiS” T1 Knight Captain set would be flat out kicked. I only use Knight Captain if either I know the group, or I’m asked, or it’s a boss fight that I am essentially tanking rather than DPSing. And since the Knight Captain has a lower GS than the +850 Armor Pen set, I join zone groups in that and do my solos & skirmishes. The other benefit is that you don’t have to farm a whole T2 set ontop of a T1 set, and you save on 2 Dark Enchantments, as you are only switching out 2 pieces to change set bonuses. With the +850 set bonus, you will have a 22% Armor Penetration rating and 24% once you get the Armor Pen boon from the upcoming Shadowmantle release.

Head: Antiquated Helm of the Knight Captain
Chest: Antiquated Knight Captain’s Armor
Arms: Antiquated Knight Captain’s Gauntlets
Feet: Antiquated Knight Captain’s Greaves

The biggest change between the sets is going from 22% Armor Penetration to 17%.

Neck: Ancient Exorcist’s Necklace of Blessings
Right Ring: Ancient Berserker’s Ring of Cleaving
Left Ring: Ancient Berserker’s Ring of Cleaving
Belt: Nefarious Belt of Youth
Optional: You can slot any blue belt with Regen to increase that stat or another to focus on something else. The important part is that your belt have an Offensive Slot.
Shirt: Gemmed Exquisite Shirt
Trousers: Gemmed Exquisite Pants

Main Hand: Ancient Grand Knight’s Longsword
Shield: Ancient Grand Knight’s Shield
** Grants +450 Defense 2+Piece Bonus


Weapon Enchantment: Bilethorn. (Currently a Greater, would love a Perfect.)

** I tested this build out with Lesser Plaguefire, Delozoun Energy, and Bronzewood. I went with Bilethorn because I had a noticeably easier time with agro management than I did with either of the two weapon enchants that didn’t hit a second time. Plaguefire was a close second, but it is so common, and the agro hold was better with Bilethorn.

Armor Enchantment: Elven Battle. (Greater)

** I tested this build out with Soulforged, Negation and Briartwine. The benefits in PvE to this build from 150% more immune to Slows and immobilizes, plus a reduction in the time you are CC’d is hands down the best benefit. So much of what you do is setting up lines for Frontline and Terrifying Impact, as well as maneuvering mobs to where you want them on the battlefield. Elven Battle will greatly reduce the times you miss the best shot for those encounters, and helps you will you tank a lot of Elites.

General Gear Enchantments:
Defensive: Silvery for Deflect.
Offensive: Azure-Radiant.

I have hit 21.5% Critical Chance in my boss gear, but adding more Azures to this stat goes quite a bit to waste due to Diminishing Returns. If I slotted all the rest of my Offense slots in Azure I would reach 23.5%. So, the rest I slotted Radiant for Power. I determined that in order to drop .5 seconds off my Encounters, I would have to slot 1000 more in Recovery, and I decided that Power was a better choice. This build only spams Into the Fray, and uses Frontline and Enforced Threat to manage how a mob encounter unfolds. I only very rarely am left wishing Frontline was up a tiny bit faster. As far as boss fights go, the build’s gear gives the Armor Pen you need, and Knight’s Challenge takes care of the rest of your DPS. You can slot according to your income, but if you spend anything I would save it for the Defense Silvery slots. I have reached 20% Deflection in my Build with 3 Rank 9s, up from the 15% from the gear and Feats, which is a noticeable jump.

Companion: Ioun Stone of Allure:

Offense: Profane Runestone, Rank 9
Offense: Profane Runestone, Rank 9
Defense: Eldritch Runestone, Rank 9
Ring: Ancient Berserker’s Ring of Cleaving
Neck: Bloodied Frostwolf Pelt
Icon:Ancient Royal Priest’s Icon

[B]Pet Bonuses:
Armor Penetration = 292
Critical Strike = 844
Life Steal = 292
Power = 1290
Recovery = 356
Regeneration = 100

** Note, when I go into GG, I trade out my Bloodied Frostwolf Pelt and wear that on my Character.

General Thanks and Reference Threads:

I’d like to extend a thanks to Leeroy Jenkins, who first introduced me to this forum and the concept of builds. (This is my first MMO.) Also to my favorite in game GF Zexxx, who showed me how to be a GF and clear CN, which I thought would never happen for me.

I’d also like to thank the writers of the other Guides I will list below, and for everyone whose done math on the GF, and to everyone I’ve done runs with as long as you didn’t ninja any loot.

Guardian Fighter Scrotobagins Regen Tank and DPSBuilds

Rokuthy’s Hybrid Tanking Build (GF) for End Game PvE (and PvP) content

Envy’s DPS Guardian Fighter compendium

GF Statistical Data (Avoiding Diminishing Returns)

Con (GWF) and Dex (GF) are now addative to Armor Penetration

Thanks all.

If anyone has any questions about running as a Tactician, ask away and I’ll try to answer you.


Original Post

Leave a reply
  • Vali
    February 3, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Nice guide ive been following it for a while now.I have one question though.You don’t mention anywhere your dread ring boons.id like to know 🙂

  • Manuel
    April 9, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Really useful! Only complaint: how many points to give to powers? You say that if you don’t list a power, you don’t use it, but if you list it, how many points you give to it?

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