Dairyzeus’s Please don’t ask me to tank – A DPS build

by dairyzeus on July 18, 2017
Item Reviewed

Dairyzeus’s Please don’t ask me to tank – A DPS build

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Disclaimer (Please Read This)

First things first. If you couldn’t tell by the (hopefully viewed as humorous) title this build is not designed to tank. It CAN tank, if you bring along copious amounts of support, but it’s not designed for the tank/support/3 dps group. Ideally you’re aiming to fill a dps slot in a group.

This is an end game build (14k IL+) where the goal is to run with either a pally tank sharing aggro with you and an AC, an AC + DO cleric combo, or an AC DC + healer combo. In a perfect world you’ll get a pally tank and double clerics, but I know that’s easier said than done most of the time.

Even though this is not a tank build, knowing how to tank will allow you to use this build to a greater potential. Most of our best DPS abilities generate threat and combined with our high damage you’ll still have tons of aggro even when running with another tank. With this build you will need to take hits to gain damage buffs while having significantly lower defense than your standard tank build. Knowing what to block, what to dodge, and when to attack are things you can only learn through experience and they’re arguably even more important for this setup than your standard tank setup.

This build will assume you know those things, if you don’t there are other great guides (that I myself read and used) out there that do a much better job explaining than I ever could.

Have I scared off all of you readers yet? No? Then on to the build.






Top choices are Half-Orc and Dragonborn. Top priority here is +2 Strength as a racial bonus. Since strength is our percent damage increase stat you’ll want as much as you can get. On top of +2 strength Half-Orc and Dragonborn both offer other great racial bonuses. The 5% crit severity from half-orc is a little better than the extra power and crit from dragonborn, but you can’t go wrong either way.


Ability Scores:

As mentioned above you’re looking to maximize strength. The starting roll with the highest strength is 16 (18 counting racial bonus).

As you level you’ll want to put points in strength and charisma (if you’re dragonborn put your extra bonus in CHA as well). For those that are not aware, combat advantage damage (assuming you have 100% combat advantage uptime) can be viewed the same as crit severity. The stats are additive if you crit and have combat advantage. Since our marks grant combat advantage you should almost always be able to benefit from combat advantage damage, and if you don’t have combat advantage, it’s your own fault XD

The reason I choose combat advantage damage over DEX for armor pen is that it’s easy enough to hit the armor pen cap using your companion and mount insignias. Also, 1 point in DEX = 1% resistance ignored = ~100 armor pen. Getting ~100 stats worth out of an ability point isn’t terribly efficient.


As a dps character, there are 2 offensive caps you need to hit. Critical chance to 90% (Reckless Attacker feat takes care of the last 10%) and resistance ignored to 85%. After that you’re looking for as much power as possible. Thus, the best pieces of gear will have the highest total amount of crit + armor pen + power combined possible.


Rex Corona: Most total offensive stats per slot. Unfortunately they’re all power. If you can maintain 90% crit while wearing this, then it’s easily the best choice.

Vivified Shieldbearer’s Raid Helm: Has more total relevant offensive stats than any of the primal pieces.

Primal Raid Isigqoko: Recovery isn’t terribly great, but it’s not horrible either. The item bonus actually provides a solid chunk of healing.



Primal Raid Sesifuba: Most relevant offensive stats per slot and the stacking defense bonus is potentially useful since we won’t be hitting the damage resist cap through our gear and enchants alone.

Rex Amiculum: Slightly less constant stats, but a nice power boost at the start of combat. A better choice for mob fights and a better choice if you plan on burning bosses down in 10-15 seconds. I personally prefer consistency when possible, but this is a great option

Vivified Shield Bearer’s Raid Breastplate: Good stats but just a worse version of the primal gear.


Primal Raid Ibhuzus: Most relevant offensive stats per slot. The AP gain is nice, and has no internal cool down, but we don’t typically need it.

Boots of the Alpha: Don’t personally have these, but the stats are great.

Vivified Shieldbearer’s Raid Sabatons: Boots of the alpha with upkeep. Strictly worse outside of FBI/MSVA


Survivor’s wraps: Hurting yourself has never been so useful. While the stats on these are very subpar (and getting worse in comparison each mod), the quality of life they provide is immense. Here’s why:

The dot from survivor’s wraps will proc your reckless attacker feat. This means, whenever you use a daily you’re guaranteed max stacks from reckless attacker. The consistency these provide is why we only aim for 90% crit chance. This reckless attacker consistency far outweighs any stats gained from better gear.

There’s also a small trick you can use to get shield warrior’s wrath stacks in single target. If you use a daily, take a step back, then block for a second, you’ll guard the damage from your survivor wraps. This proc’s shield warrior’s wrath which is another 15% damage boost.

If you don’t have survivor wraps (get survivor wraps) the primal raid umdwebo is a great piece. Power/Crit stats and the item bonus scales off buffed power which makes it a large power boost in the Pally/AC group comp.

Artifact Set:

alternativeOrcus set hands down. Gives us +2 strength and a great dps boosting set bonus. If you can’t afford orcus, the strength belt + company cloak with strength on it is a decent .


Weapon Set:

Maximum personal damage choice would be the relic set. It’s really easy to always trigger the offensive bonus at the start of the fight by using into the frey. If you go this route, you’ll need to make sure you finish your rotation (outlined at the end of the guide) before the 10 seconds for the offense bonus are up.

However, I personally like the Stronghold II set a lot more. Common misconception with these is that the buff only applies to people that have the weapons. In reality, the stronghold weapon bonus will be given to every player in the party regardless of what weapons they use. This makes them a constant 2% bonus for everyone, all the time. Assuming you can use the relic set perfectly, it’s the better choice. However, I feel like in real world scenarios stronghold weapons will give you more damage on average, and the damage bonus will always be up whenever you choose to unleash your large single target burst damage.

Both those weapons are pretty expensive, the best cheaper alternative is aboleth or fey. Aboleth is better, but has a weird bug where it causes enemies to jitter/dance obscuring their attack animations. As someone who will have threat a decent amount of time, you kind of need to see those animations, and so I dislike this set. Fey is a bit less damage than aboleth, and the ap gain is not really needed, but it’s better than having enemies spazzing out.

Mainhand bonus: definitely weapon master’s strike. WMS and crushing surge are our only at-wills we use, and the bonus for crushing surge is quite bad.

off-hand bonus: We switch between 3 different personal powers. Combat Superiority, Steel Grace, and Shield Warrior’s Wrath. Unfortunately, all of these have pretty bad off-hand bonuses. We don’t really want or need the extra threat from combat superiority. Steel Grace’s control resist is ok, but you shouldn’t have much problem with control resist when correctly using villain’s menace and blocking with your shield. Aggravating Strike (the stab move while your shield is up) does very little damage, so extra damage for it doesn’t really matter (you also should be avoiding blocking if you can).

Pick you favorite of the 3, it doesn’t really matter. Don’t waste any money on cubes of augmentation to unlock any of them though.



All the standard DPS rings work. I’ve always been partial to the rising power/crit underdark rings, but a brutality, or offensive FBI rings are great choices as well. I’d use any of these at the +5 variant over a different choice at +4.

Mod 12: Any of the double offense hunt rings will work great. Choose crit > power > recovery.



I personally like the bloodstained shirt. Lifesteal is a pretty important stat for staying alive and we don’t get a ton of it when we have all +5 rings. This is a good place to get a large chunk at little cost. It also has more total stats than any other shirt available. If you’re dead set on getting as much power as possible then the warriors gemmed exquisite shirt is the right choice.

The warrior’s gemmed pants are about the only good option available. Don’t forget to reinforce both with greater everfrost kits as well.

Mod 12b: I actually like both the shirt and pants from the new skirmish (pants/shirt of the chultan merchant). Both are viable choices. Really what shirt/pants you use depends on how you want to balance your stats.

I haven’t gotten lord roy’s shirt yet, but that looks to be even better than the chultan  merchant shirt.



You’ll need to have the wheel as your active artifact. Nothing out there can beat the wheel’s fire buff for a damage bonus. There are a few tricks to avoiding the clumsiness of the wheel. The biggest tip is to always jump forward, then right after you jump, pop your wheel in mid air. You’ll land directly in the fire bonus. Right after you land, you can cast ITF (or any other skill, or guard) to cancel out the weird waiting animation that the wheel has in order  to get right back in the action. Once you get the hang of this you’ll lose virtually no combat time using your wheel. I’ve been using the wheel for so long that I actually lose more combat time from other artifacts.

It’s also nice to make an effort to go to a side and pop your wheel, so the other wheel users don’t pick up your non fire buffs. Make sure to rage at remind the other wheel users to do the same.

12b: Let’s talk soul sight crystal. This thing is amazing for single target and is absolutely worth taking the time to switch to for every boss encounter. Using this right before/after you use knights challenge will give you 10 seconds of unbelievable burst damage (which is already what we specialize in). I’m rating this an absolute must have.

Even if you didn’t want to switch active artifacts for each boss fight, I would take the soul sight over the wheel for an entire dungeon run.

Stat Artifacts:

you’re locked into using the orcus shard for the set bonus, no way out of that.

Next I think Eye of the Giant is easily the top choice as it gives 2000 total offensive stats plus HP and defense. It simply gives more useful stats than any other artifact in the game.

Lastly I’d say key of fragmented stars is the best choice, though GWF sigil is close, and all of the standard stuff like Thayan Book, Kessel Sphere, CW sigil, ect… are nearly as good.



We’re looking for power and crit so brutals in offense are definitely the way to go.

Mod 12: due to the extra armor pen requirements, demonics can be a very good choice when you’re looking at stat balancing. 

For defense you can either go for draconic (HP/Defense/Lifesteal) which will offer the best survivability and is my personal choice, or black Ice for extra assassin’s covenant damage even though the deflect from them is largely wasted in the “keeping you alive” category. If you have defense slots on your companion definitely go black ice, as the HP from draconics won’t transfer via bondings.


Weapon Enchant:

We’ve basically only got two good options: Vorpal and Feytouched. Vorpal is usuall a higher dps increase, but depending on your crit chance and how much crit severity you’re getting from other places, fey can be better. Fey is also hands down better for pvp if you’re into that. It’s also a better all around enchantment if you plan to have a tank loadout as it’s damage debuff on enemies is quite useful.

Unfortunately none of the proc based weapon enchants work well for us as we’re a very slow attack/proc based class.

Small exception for lightning. With mass pulls in something like MSP, EToS, or even CN hallways, lightning can do well. I personally don’t find these situations frequent enough to warrant switching weapon enchants mid dungeon though. Especially if you’re with a strong group that smashes through mobs anyways.


Armor Enchant:

Short answer: it doesn’t matter.

After trying out a whole bunch of different enchants I never really felt like any made a significant difference. There are a bunch of solid choices though.

Barkshield – really good for hard-hitting mobs. My enchant of choice for places like FBI and MSVA. Those are also about the only places where I feel barkshield really makes a difference. Does not interfere with reckless attacker as you still get hit, even though you don’t take damage. If you’re using survivor wraps this enchant is basically pointless as the wraps will keep your barkshield stripped the entire dungeon.

Soulforged – For situations where barkshield is bad, soulforged is typically good. Covers those “oh shit” moments. Still I find that if I die surrounded by mobs I just revive and die again afterwards. Does have the benefit of being effective at the lesser rank, making it the cheapest option available.

Negation – Seems good because you’re not at the damage resist cap and you do take a lot of hits (in certain dungeons). However, I find all my missing damage resist is covered by the pallies and clerics I run with. The bonus recovery you get at trans level doesn’t do much as our base recovery is next to nothing. Still, a solid choice as it does help cover one of the short comings of the build (damage resist).

Quite frankly though, none of those enchants made a world of difference. Since they’re all pretty meh, I’ve started using a thunderhead. Not only do I look beautiful, but I sometimes stun mobs too. Some would say I look… Stunning. Sorry not sorry.



In general I took anything offensive over anything defensive.

Instead of pictures (I’m lazy/forgetful) here’s a link to my current build on the nwo uncensored character manager. Here you can see all the boons I’ve selected and my current gear and companions. Keep in mind the stats and percentages on here are not entirely accurate with my in game stats.



Paragon Path:

We’re going swordmaster. There’s 2 main reasons for this

  1. Weapon Master Strike – simply too good to pass up. It’s got a large aoe, great damage, and the 30% (capped) debuff for at-wills attached to it is amazing.
  2. Steel Grace – The 5% crit chance and deflect are solid, but the extra movement speed is amazing. You’ve got to remember with this build you’re not necessarily a “stand there and get pummeled” type of GF. Dodging big hits (think FBI boulders) is a much better tactic, and the speed from steel grace goes a long way towards that.


Heroic Feats:

In general we’re just taking offensive feats over defensive feats. The main exception here is armor specialization. We take this over three extra points in action surge because

  1. it’s a great feat. According to the knowledge in this thread armor specialization feat, while the math on it is still a bit unknown it does add a solid amount of damage resist that doesn’t show up on our character sheet. Since we’ll definitely be under the defense cap on this build it’s a great choice
  2. Action surge, while it increases our action point gain, it requires guarding. Guarding is something I try to avoid most of the time as every second you’re guarding is a second you’re losing dps.

The other thing to note is that the 1 point in grit is actually kind of important. As you’ll see in the next section, we’re taking a feat that gives us 15% more damage while we have temp hp. This makes any source of temp HP important, even if it’s minuscule like grit. Also, if any DO DCs are wandering by, we love sacred flame for this reason. I know it lowers your damage, but… please?



Things to note:

  • Take Measure > Improved Vigor. You should definitely have at least 1 point in take measure for the small amount of temp HP every once in a while. It’s perfectly viable to put 1 point in Take Measure and 4 in Improved Vigor though. Honestly both skills are pretty bad and it doesn’t really matter where you put the 4 extra points.
  • Staggering Challenge. You have to take this, and in single target fights you have to use knight’s challenge. If you’re aiming to do damage, knight’s challenge is your greatest tool. 10% extra damage on KC is a must. Griffon’s Wrath is also usually our best dps encounter and the extra damage on it can make it quite insane (more on that later).
  • Staying power from the protector tree is another must have. It’s an uncapped debuff which means it’s a straight 10% dps boost to our encounters, and you’ll want to take this into account during combat to maximize your damage.
  • Since we’re aiming to be at 100% crit chance, jagged blades is amazing. It can worth as much as 20% of our damage over the course of a dungeon.
  • Tactical Superiority is a must. Combat superiority is our best damage boosting personal power and will never leave your bar. The sizable boost from tactical superiority is a no brainer.
  • If you’re paying attention you’ll notice that picture is 5 points short. That’s because there are 3 options for those last 5 points, and they all have different merits:
    • Fight On – This build will have practically 0 recovery when completely finished. As such Fight on is a good choice to make up for this weakness. Keep in mind though the goal of this build is to run with pallies and clerics who will reset your cooldowns for you.
    • Crushing Pin – It’s a capped debuff, so loses some value in high debuff groups. However, outside of those BiS groups, this is the highest dps boosting feat you can take.
    • Menacing Impact – 20% more damage for villains menace. The damage on villain’s menace  is pretty low, but it’s the only daily I ever use. In the optimal group, neither crushing pin or fight on matter much, so this the only dps boosting option left for us.

Mod 12: Crushing pin is now always the best choice since debuffs don’t have a cap.



Summoned companion: Con Artist/Sellsword/Rebel mercenary

The 10% uncapped debuff these get at the rare rank is without a doubt the best thing you can do to lower the amount of time you’re in a dungeon. Sellsword/Rebel Mercenary are better assuming you can get gear for them (due to an extra offense slot), otherwise con artist is pretty easy to gear with rings from FBI/MSVA. Even plus 4’s are solid as you can always use the defensive stats, though in the end you’ll want to ditch them for double offense if you can.

Active companions:

Air Archon – Nearly permanent 5% damage boost. Can’t be beat.

Siege Master – 4% damage boost. Almost as good as air archon.

Earth Archon – with the exception of some phases of Spell Plague Caverns I find I’m either at full health or dead, meaning the up-time on this is pretty good.

There’s a few choices for the last slot – Fire Archon, War Boar, or Erinyes

War boar is really good for single target as you should always have your target hard marked (R1 mark for PS4). It falls off a bit in aoe though as you likely won’t be able to keep up marks with enforced threat on everything, and enforced threat has a target cap of 10, so in large pulls you can’t even mark everything at once.

Erinyes can range anywhere from a 5% dps boost to as low as a 2.5% boost depending on how much crit severity you already have. If you’re running vorpal, popping crit severity food, are a half-orc, etc… then Erinyes probably isn’t the right choice.

I personally dislike fire archons as they lose a lot of damage in groups that have damage boosts at low health. In those groups enemies will drop super quick below half health meaning the fire archons up-time is really low. Since we ourselves use the orcus set the uptime on this guy can get pretty bad. You’d have to do the crit severity math to be sure, but erinyes should almost always be a better choice.

Mod 12: If your group has a total of 4 or 5 tamed raptors (including your own) then it’s a better choice than fire archon, otherwise fire archon is now easily the best choice for your final slot since they’ve fixed the multi-archon bonus.


Mount Powers:

If you’re aiming to get a legendary mount, there’s no better choice than the lion. The active bonus is too good to give up.

The only active that’s close is tensor’s. However, when you factor in the cast time on tensor’s, and all the other stuff we have to do at the start of combat, trying to work tensor’s in will be a pain in the ass and most likely cause you to miss time your big encounter hit. Not saying it’s impossible to use well, but I don’t think it’s worth the effort, and the 4k recovery is largely pointless for this build.

The other big bonus for us is that you can use the lions active power to shield your temp HP. ITF gives us temp HP at the start of combat. If you can get your lion off before an enemy hits you, the shield from your lion will protect your temp HP keeping your 15% damage boost around longer.

Unless you’re in a crazy strong power share group, 4k power is probably your best DPS boosting equip power. Take note that it’s not 10% more damage. Power has relative increases in DPS depending on how much power you already have. In your standard end game power share group you’ll probably be around 200k or more power. At that point, 4k power is only about a 1.6% dps boost. Thus, if you’ve got the option, go for the lion first as the shield is far more important than and additional bit of power.

Since the 4k power is looking to be a pretty marginal increase in damage, you can instead opt to use your equip power to round out some other stats. Good options include:

  • Life Steal – A really good stat for helping keep you alive. Using a  4k life steal power will likely put you around or past the 20% range. You should easily be able to constantly keep yourself topped off at that point without much help from support classes.
  • Hit Points – If you feel comfortable with your life steal, then since we’re defense capped (with help from allies) HP is the next best thing you can stack to keep you alive. Also comes with the bonus of giving extra damage when running with a pally. Depending on your current HP, adding an additional 16k from a legendary mount can be almost as much of a dps boost as 4k power.
  • Defense – If you don’t like relying on allies to provide your defense for you, a 4k defense mount can definitely get you a lot closer to the cap on your own. I don’t recommend this, but it is an option.

I’d take any of those options at the 4k (or the golden lions equip power) over a different one at 2k.

Mod 12: The T-Rex also has a great team dps boosting active bonus. You can’t go wrong with either the T-Rex or the lion. It’s personal preference whether you want an offensive or defensive active.


Mount Insignia Bonuses:

Gladiator’s Guile: Despite what some people think, moving fast is important (and fun!). A large part of increasing dps is positioning. Extra movement will help you position faster and allow you to stay in a good position longer before you have to move. Use it, love it, never leave home without it.

Protector’s Camaraderie and Friendship: Not only do these increase your power, but they also increase your defense. Both of these are things we need, so these are easy choices. The reason we go friendship over a second camaraderie is due to how insignia bonuses and diminishing returns work. Every duplicate bonus after the first is worth 25% of the original. This means a second camaraderie would only give you .75% per stack where as the first friendship will give you 1%.

Shepard’s Devotion: not a dps boosting bonus, but the defensive stats it gives can easily shore up the loss of defenses in our build. Scales off your buffed power, so ideally you’ll hit it after receiving AA, but it’s not a big enough concern to wait to use your daily for.

Assassin’s Covenant: a huge boost in power at the cost of our defense and lifesteal (and deflect, whatever). If you’re too scared of losing more defense you can opt for a second camaraderie instead, but it won’t give nearly as much power as this will.

Calvary’s Warning: Assuming you have a legendary mount it’s a good choice, but I like the above options better. At a finished build I’ll have capped crit, so as far as offensive stats go it’s only giving me power (remember we have no recovery to get boosted by this). Calvary’s Warning is calculated from base stats and has a duration of 15 seconds. When you factor in the uptime it’s only giving on average 2.5% of my base power (and defense) which is even less than a second camaraderie.

That being said, it does also increase defense and lifesteal which is helpful. It can also be argued the uptime is higher than 25% as you won’t be in combat the whole time your mount power is on cooldown. Still I find a second camaraderie to be a more consistent buff. I’m a fan of consistency when I have the choice.



Skills and Order of Operations

This is so important it gets its own fancy big header. Everything up to this point is just setup. You can be a fully maxed out 17k GF and if you don’t nail your self buffing and timing correctly you’ll still be a very sub par dps.


Stuff that never changes:

You will always run weapon master strike and crushing surge for at-wills. There’s a small misconception that WMS is always the best at-will even for single target. Crushing surge will definitely beat out WMS in single target assuming you still use a WMS every once in a while to keep its debuff up.

You will always run villain’s menace and fighters recovery for dailies (I only ever realistically use villains menace though). Fighter’s recovery is good to have on your bar, but I try very very hard to never need it.

You will always run combat superiority. With it feated in the conqueror tree the dps boost is just too good to give up.


Single Target Skills:


  • Knights Challenge
  • ITF
  • Single target DPS encounter of choice

You’ve got three good options for dps encounters Griffon’s, Kneebreaker, and Anvil of DOOOOM.

Which one you should use follows these general rules:

  1. Can you kill your opponent (or end the phase) in three hits of griffon’s? If so, use griffon’s.
    • The triple Griffon’s combo has some truly amazing burst if you time it right (more on that later) It’s easily our hardest hitting encounter, with the downside that if the phase doesn’t end after you use it, you likely won’t get another combo off before the phase ends. To make maximum use of griffon’s you need all 3 charges. Waiting around to get all your charges back is too big of a loss over the other encounter options. This will also trigger crushing pin if you chose to use it (each hit triggers crushing pin).
  2.  Is your opponent below half health? Use Anvil.
    • If your team isn’t giving you enough burst for giffon’s to work, anvil is your best choice provided your opponent is below half health. Note that it’s not worthwhile to use anvil for a whole fight. If you’re in a boss where you can’t realistically switch skills halfway through, run kneebreaker for the whole thing. For stuff like the dragon turtle or Hati though, if you’re not using griffon’s, you should switch halfway through from kneebreaker to anvil.
  3. Griffon’s and Anvil won’t cover the scenario? Use kneebreaker.
    • Just because this is listed last doesn’t mean it’s a bad skill, it just means there are situations where other skills can be better. Kneebreaker does some serious DPS and is our all around best damage skill. Because kneebreaker is a pretty long duration damage over time, it’s total dps is dependent on how many ticks actually land. This is another reason it’s important to switch to anvil below half health if you can. The upside to the DoT though is that it’ll give you more chances for lifesteal. This can be very useful in certain fights like hati, nostura, green dragon, or even demo. This will also trigger crushing pin if you chose to use it (only on the first tick).

If you’re running with another GF who’s using ITF, you can simply run 2 of the 3 dps encounters instead of doubling up on ITF.

Personal Powers:

Shield Warriors Wrath is the top choice, especially if you’re using the survivor’s wrap trick to top off the boost nearly instantly. The 20% damage you can gain from this trumps everything else including steel blitz by a large margin.

If you don’t want to bother trying to balance SWW stacks, and the boss doesn’t require you to move around much, steel blitz is the highest dps choice. However, it’s not much of an overall dps boost.

Personally if I don’t feel like using SWW, I just stick with steel grace.


Single Target Combat:

It’s all about self buffing, and timing. You’ve got 1 hard-hitting encounter and you’ve got to make it count. Here’s the general idea:

Start the fight with a hard mark – it’s a 20% debuff for you and combat advantage, it’s duration is pretty good too so it should last until you’re ready.

Jump into your wheel and cast ITF to cancel the animation.

Use villain’s menace. If you’ve got survivor’s wraps on, take a step back and block for the shield warrior’s wrath charges as well.

Throw out a couple of weapon master strikes, you’ll need at least 1 for the staying power buff from your feats. Depending on how fast you did the first steps you might need to wait a second for clerics/pallies/cws/whatevers to get their buffs/debuffs applied anyways.

Pop on knight’s challenge and drop the hammer (the hammer is my… dps encounter).

In a really good buff group, and if the timing was just right to line up all the buffs (communication can be key here), the fight is now over.

I really can’t emphasize how important communication is here. I’ve ran multiple runs with the same people and if everyone is in chat lining up their buffs and debuffs my burst at least doubles compared to if there’s no party chat.

The best thing you can do in an unsynchronized group is to wait a few seconds after popping knight’s challenge. Smart teammates will use the boss turning red as an indicator that you’re going for your burst and they should (doesn’t mean they will) throw out any extra artifact/mount buffs/debuffs they have.

If the fight’s not over, encounters will likely be a bit out of sync the rest of the fight. Keep ITF and your hard mark  up at all times. Ideally you’ll want to try and line up knight’s challenge and your dps encounter, but it’s not always possible. At the very least you should always throw out a WMS for the staying power debuff before your dps encounter.


AoE Skills:


  • Enforced Threat
  • ITF
  • Line Breaker Assault

Enforced threat deals excellent damage in an instant large aoe. You also need to maintain some threat so that you can get hit for your reckless attacker stacks.

I love line breakers assault for a few reasons. First, it’s one of our only skills with any aoe at all and it does ok damage. The biggest reasons though are that it’s a get out of jail free card and a stun. It’s an instant dash in whatever direction you’re targeting, I’ve said it before but I really cannot stress how important positioning is and this skill is a great positioning tool. It’s also got hard cc attached which is very underrated. Has a target cap of 5 so not great in large pulls (but none of our stuff is great in large pulls). Since most of our damage comes from weapon master strike and enforced threat, I find the utility of this skill makes it a great addition. Line breakers also has the small bonus of causing jagged blades to crit. The next non-crit jagged blades will overwrite the crit one, so it’s not something to try and optimize, it’s just a nice little bit of extra damage (credits RJC).

If you don’t like line breakers assault, or are running with a GF who’s covering ITF for you then you can slot lunging strike. I personally don’t care for this skill all that much. I find it a bit cumbersome to line up and hit multiple enemies with the small aoe cone at the point of impact. You also have to have a target to be able to dash, so not always usable as an escape like linebreakers can be. The lunge range on this thing is huge though which can be nice. The damage is also almost as good as linebreakers. Lunging strike will also cause jagged blades to crit, though only for the inital target hit (credits RJC).

Finally the last option for encounters if someone else is covering ITF is to slot one of your single target encounters. There’s usually a big guy per group of mobs and having some extra damage for them can be nice. My preference for these situations is anvil or griffon’s wrath as they’re better burst than kneebreaker is.

Personal Power:

Steel Grace is pretty much king here. The extra movement speed is way too handy to give up. Again, steel blitz and shield warrior’s wrath are technically higher damage, but in reality without the speed to go mob to mob I think you’ll find you fall too far behind to benefit greatly from it.


AoE Combat:

Start with a mark on the biggest target followed by villain’s menace if you have it for the extra damage and damage resist. Weapon Master Strike for the staying power debuff on mobs, then an enforced threat. Don’t feel like you have to use line breakers on cool down. It’s often more valuable to save this to interrupt an enemy channeled attack, or lead into a new group of enemies with a stun. After that keep weapon master striking away and only use enforced threat once you put the staying power debuff on a mob.

Not much more to be said here. GFs in general struggle at AoE damage, so don’t be too surprised if you feel you’re lacking here.




I hope you enjoyed and found some information you were looking for. Please keep in mind there are a LOT of various degrees to which one can spec for dps as a guardian fighter. This, IMO, is the setup for the maximum damage potential at any cost to being a tank. It is simply the play style I found I like the most.

Because of this, this build is not for everyone. There are very good hybrid builds out there that will suit many of your needs and play styles better than this will.

Leave a reply
  • July 19, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Y wot m8? Not tanking? That means that you can’t shield or use any aggro tools, which means no Shield Warrior’s Wrath, no KC, and no ET:


    Another thing I think you should put in the disclaimer is that this build shines best when you know how to tank AND know how to DPS. I DO like that you pointed out that this is an expensive endgame option for acomplished GFs, and thus should not be used by newbies because way too many guides miss that part and we end up with a stream of noob “DPS” GFs who can’t DPS nor defend. The reason I think you should add the part about learning how to tank and DPS is because your knowledge and decisions made only get stronger if you are decent enough at both fields. If you don’t know how to tank, then you’ll miss your opporunities to attack. You also don’t know which attacks to get hit by (for damage stacks) and which attacks to respect. If you know how to tank, then you have a backup skill-set to fall back on in the event your other tank dies/is pre-occupied, and imo having an extra tank can start opening up some versatility in your tactics. If you don’t know how to DPS, your attacks will hit like a wet noodle. You also won’t likely know how to gear yourself (although that’s what this guide is for).

    Lightning situationally has uses if your ETs/WMSs can hit as many targets as you can, although that can only do so much to patch up our mediocre AoE DPS. Dread also has potential in the “only got time to apply 3x Griffons” scenario in good teams, although that’s such a niche scenario that you don’t need to mention it.

    Line Breaker is an unusual choice. I personally prefer Lunging Strike for how quick it is and Line Breaker barely edges out Lunging Strike in the DPS department. Mob bowling is pretty funny (try that in CN) and pissing off your GWFs/CWs is worth a few cheap thrills .

    You might want to point out in the grit section that you should prepare to beg your DC(s) to also occasionally apply Divinity Astral Shield or Divine Armor for the Wrathful Warrior goodness. If you run with a Tankadin (or even Healadin), also consider begging them to apply Absolution to you before the boss fight starts. Also consider the Purified Restoration Blice overloads. And, since this is going to be an expensive build, you also might want to tell people to get a damn Swift Golden Lion, because the shield means that you never really have to worry about Wrathful Warrior on bossfights ever again.

    No mention of mount bonuses, although I think that can be inferred from the idea that you pick the stats you need.

    I am personally against the idea of a rotation, although that’s probably the fighting game part of me speaking. I see each ability as a tool with a use/multiple uses that changes on the situation, so that’s why I’m against “rotation”, which implies “do [xyz] all the time and you’ll always win”.

    And, no, I don’t need credit, ideas and information are free to everyone, as anybody could have gotten the data should they put in the time and effort into research.

    I personally dislike DPS GF builds because experience and understanding and a guide can’t teach you intuiton or understanding of something (well, guides “can”, but don’t guarantee that you’ll understand). However, yours is a step above many others in that you attempt to explain the hows and whys of DPS GF, which makes it stand out amongst the other DPS guides. And, you actually do your damn research, which is better than I can say for most other builds on this website (Sharp wasn’t kidding when he said [redacted]).

    • July 19, 2017 at 4:35 pm

      forgot to add “experience and understand are key to making the best of your build” but stupid school internet crapped out.

    • July 19, 2017 at 7:13 pm

      I fully understand not liking dps GF guides. I held off on doing this for a while for similar reasons. However I had a lot of free time yesterday and have been getting quite a few requests in alliance for a build, so here we are.

      I did allude in a couple different places that you need to know how to take hits to maximize your dps, but it’s probably important enough to throw in the disclaimer.

      I believe you on lightning, but even on the best case scenarios I’ve found it’s barely better than vorpal/fey, especially if you’re with a group that’s just smashing through mobs anyways. I probably remove lightning as a recommendation actually. Just not worth the effort for the extra mainhand/weapon set and switching.

      I’ve always found lunging strike to be cumbersome to use and hit multiple targets with, though if someone doesn’t like linebreakers, lunging strike is what I recommend next. I thought about mentioning it as an alternative, but decided against it. I’ll probably throw in a few sentences about it after I give it a few more tries.

      The sacred flame sentence for DOs was mostly a joke. I’ve always considered the dps boost from temp HP a bonus and not something to always try for.

      Totally forgot mounts. I originally forgot weapons too, but just caught that today. I’ll definitely recommend lion and add the ITF then lion to keep temp HP combo.

      After thinking about it, maybe rotations the wrong word. There definitely is an order or operations at the start of combat, but once the initial round of abilities is used it’s kind of up in the air. I alluded to that as well, but probably not specifically enough.

      Anyways, this is still a bit of a work in progress as it was written in one sitting yesterday. Along with the stuff you mentioned I’m sure there are other places that can be worded better. As always I appreciate your feedback

  • July 20, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    I believe the section talking about Barkshield should say “Reckless” Attacker, not “Relentless”.

    In terms of the damage encounters section, I would point out that Knee Breaker’s effectiveness is heavily dependent on the amount of DoT hits you get. If you only get 1-3 hits, Knee Breaker is our worst encounter (yes, even worse than ET/Linebreaker/Frontline on single). If you score 4, it beats ET/Linebreaker/Frontline. If you score 5, then it beats Bull Charge. If you get . If you get 8 or more hits, then only Anvil at half and 3x Griffons beats it. I believe Knee Breaker ticks 1 per sec for a total of 14 sec, but I would need to verify that. Same for Anvil’s DoT as well.

    3x Griffons was always our strongest encounter, even without Staggering Challenge. Staggering Challenge makes it even more hilarious. After the Mod10 “omg Knee Breaker” phase, it took us a bit to figure out how ridiculous Griffons is.

    I know that this is trivia at this point, but all 6 hits of Flourish actually beat out an equally ranked up Anvil above half health. So, I guess you could mention it, but 3x Griffons is 2 stronk.

    Also, Dragon Turtle is one of the few places where imo there’s no reason to swap out of Griffon’s. If you burst it down within the use of 3 Griffons hits, all is good. If you don’t, you get ~30-40 seconds to recharge all your Griffons charges by the time the turtle comes back for another serving of knuckle sandwich (well, more like “blade/magic/blunt object” sandwich…). You usually get more than enough time to apply all 3 hits of Griffons, but you can’t get greedy when trying to use Crushing Surge on the turtle.

    I would personally put the Lion shield above the active bonus, but that’s just me. Being able to never worry about TempHP, being able to play extremely recklessly, and having the mount for those “oh crap” moments imo is more appealing than the Radiant stacks’ extra damage, although that’s how I see the Lion mount.

    I’m sure I’ve mentioned this a million times by now, but the Radiant damage from the Lion works like Wheel of Elements Fire, meaning that the damage works off your direct hits rather than procs. I know that this is oriented towards GFs and thus is not too big of an issue, but given the number of people who take information from another source (guilty as charged), there’s a chance that someone might think it works like the any other damage buff ala ITF, which it doesn’t.

    You are correct about why the Power mounts suck. If you would like to get technical/more indepth about the math of the Arcane Whirlwind/Blice Warhorse trap, the formula for Power DPS Increase would be:

    [(New Power/39,908.04)+1]/[(Old Power/39908.04) +1]

    Then, you could let people run the math on their own, or do an example yourself.

    • July 21, 2017 at 7:25 pm

      So, I decided when I started writing this that I’d try to avoid going math heavy. While I personally love min-maxing and getting into the grit of why somethings are better than others I know that most don’t. An “Additiional References” section is on the TODO list that should help.

      The breakdown on kneebreaker is nice to know, but it doesn’t really change the flowchart. If the boss is above half health, all the dots will almost always play out. If they’re below half switch to anvil. If its a boss where you can’t switch, I still think kneebreaker is better overall.

      I was kinda purposefully vague on the lions radiant damage as I’ve never been entirely sure on how good it actually is. I know it functions similarly to the wheel and is a better choice than 4k power based on things others have said over time, but outside of that I’m a bit in the dark.

      • July 22, 2017 at 6:25 pm

        I can try ACT-ing them, although I think it’ll only be Steel Blitz tier “% of DPS” at best (predict it’ll be only 3-5% of my total DPS). You can trigger the mount equip Radiant damage buff via the Survivors Wraps.

        Also of note: you might want to start preparing to readjust your stats come Mod12. Apparently, there was a hidden bug relating to Companion Influence and CHA which contributed to Bonding stats. That is getting fixed, according to the Mod12 preview patch notes.


        It’s the part where it says “certain companions no longer incorrectly gain stats over time”.

        I was talking to the likes of Duck and Sharp, who have large amounts of CHA on their characters. Sharp estimated the change causes him to lose ~10k in stat total on his CW and Duck noticed he lost at least ~5000 Power off his GWF.

        I don’t know how exactly the bug works, but just prepare yourself when Mod12 hits. Characters with low amounts of CHA and Comp Influence won’t be affected too much.

        • July 24, 2017 at 7:13 pm

          That’s definitely something I didn’t know about CHA and Companion Influence. However, this is very much only a 11.5 build. There’s tons of changes coming in 12 and I don’t feel comfortable recommending anything until I can get my hands on it.

          As an aside, any idea if that bug is what causes me to get seemingly random results when checking stats on target dummies? If it is than I couldn’t be happier about it being fixed even if I lose 20k stats.

          • July 25, 2017 at 9:46 pm

            It’s possible it could lead to some small fluctuation of stats on training dummies due to campfire buff granting +1 CHA, but it would only be a 3% fluctuation of Comp stats at best.

            Also, aside note: not many people are aware that this bug exists, I just saw the first thread complaining about it on PC. Place your bets on how many will pop on consoles XD.

  • Chris
    July 25, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Would magus+eriyas with feytouched beat vorpal with archons?

    • July 25, 2017 at 2:32 pm

      It depends on your total combined crit severity and combat advantage damage.
      As we can see from the final graph on this page: http://janne.coreside.com/mechanics/crit-ca

      If you’re already around 177 combined crit severity + combat advantage damage, then feytouched becomes as good as vorpal (both are an 18% damage boost).

      Realistically though the value is a little lower than that as the 177 doesn’t account for the weapon damage hit from feytouched, or if you run with a pally, vorpal won’t boost aura of courage damage, meaning feytouched will likely be a better choice around the 150 combined crit severity + combat advantage range.

      All that being said, I would never give up an earth archon, air archon, or siege master for a crit severity companion. So unless you’re running an archon as summoned (boooo) there’s only room for 1 in your lineup.

      Hope that helps you make a more informed decision.

  • August 21, 2017 at 3:34 am

    Btw, when Mod12 hits, you should consider the Ring of the Curse Bringer.

    Individually, the stats aren’t notable, but the ring’s CC effect means Crushing Pin is up 24/7 on bosses.

    • August 23, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      Does that actually proc often? I was considering it anyways just because I always miss having CC when on my GF (I’m a wizard at heart).

      • August 24, 2017 at 3:50 am

        Yeah, procs every couple of seconds.

        The whole “chance” thing is actually a lie. You can actually check your buffbar as to when you can apply the ring’s CC effect.

        • August 24, 2017 at 3:55 pm

          You can actually check your buffbar

          Haha, good one. Unless it’s one of the first 2 buffs in the list I’ll never see it during my lifetime.

  • September 13, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    Just a few notes for the Mod12 (assuming that it’s still pertinent to this build):

    -It is impossible to place Combat Superiority on T9G Boss 2 (the tower). I tested this, and got Ryu & Bethel to confirm this for me.
    -Currently on PC at the time of the writing, the Primal Arms’ set bonus seems to work of buffed power. In addition, the Primal Boots’ 3% AP per kill has no ICD.

    I did a little bit of research into Jagged Blades, of which you didn’t mention and is easily 10-20% of our DPS. The only abilities which apply Critting Jagged Blades are the WMS Ghost hit, Lunging Strike (initial target only), and any targets hit by Line Breaker.

    I wouldn’t put too much stock into spamming the Jagged Blade crit abilities on bosses, as if you place a Critting Jagged Blades on target, then apply a non-Critting JB power, then the non-Crit Jagged Blades override the Critting Jagged Blades.

    • September 19, 2017 at 3:47 pm

      Forgot about this for a bit (been on a small destiny hiatus).

      Updated the guide with small notes about mod 12 where applicable, and a couple sentences about jagged blades. I didn’t really mention in initially because it’s essentially just free damage you get from doing your normal attack patterns.

      This guide will likely be neglected for a while. With the changes announced in 12B (and destiny) I’m only focusing on one character and that’s my wizard.

      • October 10, 2017 at 4:08 pm


        Soul Sight Crystal.

        Mini KC without the damage debuff.

        Works with everything good on deeps GF except for Jagged Blades (boo!) and Steel Blitz (lol).

        Good for rekting bosses.

        Add it Eventually ™.

  • November 3, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    As a sorta awareness update for 12.5…

    -Soul Sight Crystal is love, it is life, is awesome for rekting bosses, and is extremely common to get. I would consider this your #1, or atleast makes the list top 5 priority items to gun for immediately as soon as 12.5 hits.

    -Pants from the 12.5 skirmish are pretty decent. The Shirt from the 12.5 skirmish is good if you want some extra Crit/Recovery/Lifesteal for your build. Both the shirt and pants are, mercifully, extremely common drops.

    -There’s no denying that 12.5 hits us all with the nerfbat. Rank 13 everything sorta puts us back where we were, but you might have to readjust your ArmPen, and optionally, your Crit stats a bit to account for the changes. Due to the math on enchants, I would consider Demonic enchantments to get back on ArmPen needed, as the 3x stat enchants at R13/R14 gives stupid amounts of stats. I would also prepare a few Savages for the same reasons.

    -UESs are stupidly rare. Though nobody know the exact mathematical droprate, it feels on par to prepatch Svardborg legendary drop rate to me. Combine this with needing 3x per R14 you wish to make, means that you either need to be stupidly lucky, or be prepared to drop a LOT of AD for R14 upgrades. If you have the resources to get R14 stuff immediately, I would consider your weapon enchant as first priority, then focus on the Bonding stones, then the enchants in your Bonding, comp, then the rest of your enchants.

  • January 31, 2018 at 12:17 am

    Oh, hey, you’re back.

    I ‘ve been playing around in premade setups. I’m not quite as strong as the Russians, some of the Xbox monsters, or even some of your PS4 tryhards (I was able to *only* hit for a 50 mil Griffons when I had a super stacked team of double DC/Baneadin/MoF Rene).

    Though, I think there are some things to consider adding to this build if you think some people are transitioning to tryhard premade teams.

    I would consider adding Dread to the weapon enchantments section, on the condition that you are running in a premade/are so good at playing DPS GF you can 3 hit everything with Griffons. If you go with the 3 punch man setup, you’ll want to consider Tide of Iron instead of Crushing Surge so your Griffons’ hits do more damage.

    If you’re in a BiS supertryhard team with a Baneadin, you may wish to consider Knight’s Valor for some sections. Its primary use there is to proc the OP’s Radiant Champion so you can run through certain sections (coughcocugh Tomb stairs coughcough) much faster and get to the parts which matter.

    If you’re going to join the super tryhard club, you may wish to consider adding the Yuan Ti slayers for Tomb mobs and Ras Nsi, as the damage buff conferred by the rings outweighs any loss in stats.

    Another thing to consider is Radiant Enchantments for defensive slots. If you got an Afkadin, they heal you by practically existing and lifesteal becomes a non issue, so you can use Radiants to buff your Courage damage. Even though we’re not GWFs or CWs, Courage is still as good (or about as good) as Jagged Blades, so we might as well add to our offense.

    Also, if you find your team is giving you enough movement with Shepherds, or you need the extra offense, you may elect to kick out Gladiator’s Guile for Combatant’s Maneuver. Yes, Griffons procs Combatant’s Maneuver and math wise, it’s the same as adding +5% CA bonus (or the rough equivalent of adding a Blink Dog).

    That covers my thoughts for things pertaining to Mod12.5.

    In regards to Mod13, I know there’s a bunch of cool hunt gear (ex: Fured Kino of the Bear) with raw “+damage” bonuses.
    However, until disproven, I am going to *assume* they will just add procs of damage ala Executioner’s Black Attire. I don’t know if anyone on preview has exclusively tested or posted results, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the devs pulled a troll move like that.

    Another thing is the Mod13 Primal weapons. At the moment, they look like they’re our best weapon set due to Afkadin/Divine Glow keeping up the bonus 24/7. You can also elect to use FR occasionally to proc the buff, but lifesteal and healing boons sadly don’t activate the Primal buff.

  • Michael Carter
    January 31, 2018 at 5:22 am

    What. Enhancements do you use in your utility slots?

    • January 31, 2018 at 6:24 pm

      In a very endgame scenario where you don’t need RP anymore I’d run all darks. However I’m of the opinion that you can never have too much RP, so I use a quartermaster, dragon hoard, and 3 darks.

  • Michael Carter
    March 3, 2018 at 2:45 am

    Im just curious as to why you arent updating this build on here abymore?

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