Unstable Gorilla’s Tactician Guardian Fighter “build”/guide

by Unstable Gorilla on January 19, 2018
Item Reviewed

Unstable Gorilla’s Tactician Guardian Fighter “build”/guide

User Rating
Rate Here
User Score
1 rating
You have rated this

A note about this “build”


If there is one thing I learned very quickly about peoples builds, recommendations, and so forth, it is that no one agrees with them completely, and they are often providing what works best for THEM. Then, on the other hand, we have those individuals who mindlessly build their toon based on someones recommendation that may have no actual clue what they are doing. Even in cases where the build is good, this often results in those same people saying the build sucks based on there lack of equivalent stats and/or skill.Both of these situations are wrong in my opinion, and have an overall negative impact on the game. That is why this build/guide is written in a way that provides numerous alternatives and ideas rather than prescribing a specific answer. It is up to YOU, to create your character, and make it the best it can be for YOU. With that in mind, I will not share images of my toon, his stats and so forth, because it means you would need to make a clone of me (same gear, same enchants etc.) to actually play like I do.

Before you go any further, I have stopped playing. In the end, the game became too easy which resulted in me wasting time soloing dungeons out of boredom and/or grinding for achievements. As a result, I have neglected this guide and wont be able to add any additional information or update it as changes come. Before I go, I would like to thank everyone for their feedback and honest assessments. I would also like to thank all of my NW friends who made the game such a blast during the year that I played. It was a pleasure. I wish you all the best and good luck.

Why Tactician?

So, I have a number of builds for different dungeons, group types and so forth. However, I wanted to provide you with what I personally think is the best build overall, the Tactician/Buff build. Then, I wanted to give you the ability to work with this build and tailor it to what you need. Tactician is a very versatile build overall, because it allows you to still do some damage, or lean toward a more tanky style while boosting the groups survive-ability and overall DPS output. But, before we get into that, lets take a look at some fundamentals…

Note: The build I have posted is not “mine”, it is the NW communities build. I will not take claim for a general build that is used by many others and has been since before I started playing.

Guardian Fighter Fundamentals:

One of the major issues I have witnessed when DPSing/healing on my alts is that many GF tanks can have great gear, good builds and so forth, but lack fundamental understanding of simple tanking concepts. I have provided 5 pointers that I personally think every good GF tank should follow.

Priority one:

As a GF tank, your 1st job is to maintain threat and take damage. While doing damage is great for establishing/maintaining threat, damage dealing should be secondary when tanking. However, when you reach a certain level of “tankiness” feel free to start focusing a bit more on damage dealing since, as I noted it is great for threat.

Know before you pull:

There are some tanks who can handle just about anything you throw at them (looking at you Alanna of Trebond) and there are some who simply can’t. What is key, is knowing YOUR limitations and sticking to them. If you pull well beyond what you can handle, the group wipes, you look like a garbage tank, and everyone puts on their walking shoes.

Mark and Aggravating Strike are your friends:

If there is one major advantage for a GF compared to a pally, it is threat management.  We don’t require excessive amounts of recovery to use encounters consistently for threat, so feel free to spam mark. Also, don’t forget that when you are blocking you can still use mark and aggravating strike to maintain threat. Bonus! In my experience, DPSers (GWFs especially) love GFs that mark consistently.

“If he dies, he dies” -Ivan Drago:

Remember Ivan, YOU are the leader and in a perfect world, any fight you go into, any group that is pulled etc., should be based on your planning, your actions and your pace (more on that later). However, you will get those individuals who want to run ahead pulling groups and so forth. I refer to the ones who die and cry as “try hards” since they are normally doing what they are in an attempt to out DPS someone else and pad their stats. The ones who live are skilled players that really don’t run too far ahead and are aware that their actions resulted in the down. In either case, don’t worry about them, the skilled player will live or die and not cry, and you/they can catch up. The try hard will either die and learn their lesson or QQ. Then you can replace them with a person who practices proper dungeon etiquette.

I like to move it, move it:

A good tank keeps a good pace. The DPS is “champing at the bit” to keep moving and prove they’re the G.O.A.T. This means that you need to always be one step ahead. The best way to do this is to watch the mobs numbers and HP. When the group is diminished enough, start moving to the next group and let the DPS finish up. However, the ability to do this will vary by group and will require a decent amount of intuition. Move too soon, and either the group wipes and/or the mobs start chasing you (which annoys melee), move too late and the DPS grows impatient with the pace and you lose the lead.

Ability Scores

Unless you completely messed up your initial roll, it doesn’t really matter if you have 1 or 2 points missing from one of the stats. As a GF tank, the three ability scores you will focus are CON, DEX and STR. How you divide those points up depends on what you want to do. If you want to do more DMG, place all your points in CON and STR for the added DMG. If you want to be a bit more tanky, place them in CON and DEX for the additional deflect. Either way, I recommend dumping as many points in CON as possible, if you are wondering why see Priority One above.

Paragon Paths

Alright, with that said, Sword Master is the greatest ever and anyone who runs Iron Vanguard is an idiot… wait, that’s not right… they both offer differing value depending on your play style. Below are the benefits of the two different paths in my opinion but, really neither is superior since it all depends on what you want to do.

Note:This build will work with either and only requires that you use different powers.

Sword Master (SM)

Generally better for damage and speed

Iron Vanguard (IV)

Easier group management/marking

Greater consistent self-heals/survive-ability


I tend to pick human for everything, the other races are cool, but those extra 3 points really play a key role for me, and the 3% added defense is nice.

Beyond Human I would say that Dwarf, Dragon Born or Even Half-Orc would be beneficial based on an individuals intended result. Either way, the advantage/disadvantages of these races are minimal when compared to each other.

Buff/Tactician Build

Below is my recommendation for a Human build. I like doing that little bit of extra damage but if you would rather be more “tanky” I recommend taking the points from the yellow squares and placing them in blue or feel free to mix and match as you see fit. I have provided a short break down of what the feats provide you (when they are maxed) below with notes/calculations on the right.



Note: That armor specialization benefit can be calculated as the following example shows:

4000 defense = ~10% DR + 15% = 4600 defense = ~11.5% DR

10 AC = ~5% DR + 15% = 11.5 AC = ~5.75% DR



  • +6% AP gain from guarding attacks
  • +15% Strength effectiveness = Longer block times, improved AOE resist and DMG
  • +9% HP
  • +15% defense and AC effectiveness
  • +15% threat generation
  • Yellow: +10% at-will/encounter DMG
  • Yellow: +3% critical chance
  • Blue: 5% DMG debuff on attacker when guarding attacks


Note: The first two really work off of each other so take them both, or don’t take them at all.

Jagged Blades bleed is affected by bonuses and buffs being applied, which equates to higher DMG but a baseline can be calculated as follows:

Weapon DMG = ~3000 + 750% = ~22500


  • +5% temp HP when you are crit
  • +15% DMG when you have temp HP
  • On Crit add bleed for 750% weapon DMG







  • -10% incoming DMG when stamina is below 30%
  • +5% deflect chance (Plate Agility is a hit or miss feat in my opinion since my toon requires very limited deflect I never use it.)
  • +5 AC


Note: If you lack the recovery needed for quick cool downs, Fight On is a great option. However, if you have a good amount of recovery the difference will be minimal since it is based on a percentage value.



  • YOUR Control Powers increase DMG to target by 10% for 3 seconds
  • Marked targets do 10% less DMG to party members
  • Allies gain AP 5% faster
  • Allies with 30′ take 5% less DMG
  • Adds an Additional 5% DMG buff to ITF
  • (Pink) Tide of Iron causes target to do 10% less DMG to YOU
  • Taking unguarded DMG increases group AP gain based on your DR

Overall Benefits:

Oh, thanks Gorilla, you simply listed everything that I can read from the character sheet. Don’t you know I’m super lazy and me no good at math! Yes, yes I do… with that in mind here is a clearer picture of what you are offering the party altogether.

15% less DMG to the party

+5% DMG buff from ITF (+30% from regular ITF) + crushing pins = +45% dmg buff

+5% AP gain and increased AP gain when taking DMG (based on DR)

Now, let’s look at these numbers and there equivalent stat values:

15% less dmg = 15% DR = 6000 defense

We all should know that 1% DMG = 400 pwr so, ITF alone provides the equivalent of 14000 pwr and when we proc pins we add another 10% = 4000 pwr for a grand total of an 18000 pwr boost equivalent.

1% AP = 400 recovery so, 5% AP gain = 2000 recovery (not recharge speed though) + the benefits of Martial Mastery


percentages and duration’s are based on maxed skill (4 points)

First, we’ll go over the at-wills since they won’t change much overall unless you are IV or opt for certain paragon points.


Sword Master

Crushing Surge – I keep this as my secondary move when I am running SM and my primary when I run IV builds. It can be handy if the heals are lacking and/or the healer goes down for a moment, and you need to shore up your HP. It also does the greatest amount of single target DMG compared to other at-wills


Weapon Master Strike (WMS) – When I run SM, this is my primary move. The main benefit of WMS is the ability to hit multiple targets at once with a single swing. In addition, WMS adds a 30% debuff to targets and that allows you to cause more DMG. Both make it great for grabbing and maintaining threat on both boss fights and groups of mobs.


Note: If you really want to maximize your at-will use on a single target fight, the rotation would be WMS once or twice (to apply debuff) followed by max 12 seconds of crushing surge. Rinse and repeat.

Iron Vanguard

(Keep Crushing Surge in place and replace WMS with Threatening Rush)

Threatening Rush – Overall this is a great move. It allows you to close the gap on groups if they are spread out and you’re trying to round them up while grabbing threat on multiple mobs and adding combat advantage.



Surging Tide and Tide of Iron – If you have opted for the Surging Tide (Pink Square) feat I recommend using Tide of Iron. However, I honestly think that the moves listed above are of more value and the 5 points could be spent in a better place. With the feat, the targets DMG to you is debuffed by 10% in addition to adding 10% DMG for you and recovering 10% of your stamina. It lasts about 8 seconds.

Note: You could utilize Tide of Iron without the points in lieu of CS and apply a of 40% debuff to the enemy with WMS. Then use WMS as the primary attack rather than CS. I have not tried this and cannot guarantee it would result in more DMG. Plus, you would lose some self healing without CS.



Villains Menace (VM) – to me VM is the best option when it comes to dailies in general. It provides resistance to control effects, boosts damage for a short period and provides an additional 20% damage resistance. Another positive is that the AOE damage can also be used to establish further threat.


Terrifying Impact (TI) – Despite the direction you take (dps, tanky, more buffs) crushing pins should always be feated when you are running a buff build. Terrifying impact is a great move for applying crushing pins to an entire group at once and interrupting any potential CC that adds might be charging up (Great in ToNG).


Single Target

In certain fights like Drufi (FBI) you need to be very careful about your AOE DMG (don’t break the ice!) and in others VM or TI maybe impractical to use. When this is the case, I recommend you slot one of the following based on your path.

Sword Master

 Crescendo – It’s quick, ignores controls effects and does a descent amount of damage.



Iron Vanguard

Indomitable Strength – This is an awesome single target move. Like crescendo it does decent DMG, and has a quick animation, but also debuffs the targets outgoing damage by 20%.



So, why no Fighter’s Recovery? – I know this will come up since a lot of people seem to swear by this daily so, I will try to proactively address it. Simply put, this to me is a useless daily. My opinion is that Crushing Surge and Life Steal should be enough to keep ANY tank alive in a precarious situation. If you need to use this skill to survive you are only delaying your inevitable demise. As a GF, we have a shield and numerous other abilities available to keep us going. So, either your healer is trash or, you need to rework your stats/method for better survival.


This is where things start to get complicated because it all depends on the situation you find yourself in. To start, let us go over the things that will never leave your bar or will barely ever leave your bar.

Into The Fray (ITF) -I will love it, and hug it, and call it ITF… Ok, as my explanations above make clear, ITF is an encounter that is critical to you and the party. With a tactician build, it not only provides the party with a massive DMG buff but, will also increase run speed, provide additional AP gain and drop some temp HP on everyone. In addition to all of this, ITF provides you with stamina gain over 8 secs. In my opinion, this should never leave your bar.


Enforced Threat (EF) – This is another all around great move that helps the party by letting you group all the adds and supplying marks that provide combat advantage. In addition to its utility for establishing threat and marking mobs, EF provides 30% stamina regeneration over 8 seconds.


Griffins Wrath (GW) – To me GW is a great move to use for proccing crushing pins on a consistent basis. Since it has 3 charges, you can use it with enough recovery to keep CP up nearly indefinitely . In addition, it does a relatively good amount of damage when compared to other moves, and can also be used in groups to interrupt mobs that use CC (Yuan Ti).


Note: Feel free to use other moves like Knee Breaker or Guarded Assaults artifact power to proc pins if it suits you better.

Situational encounters: (swap with EF)

Knights Valor (KV) – I don’t use it all the time but, this is a move that can be used consistently if you like. One of the primary benefits that KV offers is the fact that it provides additional survive-ability to the group, and gives the healer a chance to target the majority of their efforts on a single individual, rather than everyone. In addition to this, KV provides a massive boost to AP gain for the group due to the amount of unguarded DMG you will be taking. Finally, the move provides a massive boost to both your DR and threat levels when it is active.


Commander Strike (CS) – CS is a fantastic move for classes within the party that do massive DMG using a single move such as GWFs. This move will increase the DMG of every party members next encounter by 40%, which can result in some extremely big chunks of HP being lopped off of a boss. The only major issue with this move is that it requires good timing on your part, the part of your party members, and mark must be on the target for it to apply properly.

Again, other than ITF, these are all just recommendations. Feel free to  mix, match and replace as you see fit.

Class Feats:

Again, class feats really depend on your play style, stats and gear. Below are some suggestions based on my experience and why I think they are beneficial. As always, mix, match and repalce as you see fit.


For beginners, there are two things that generally hold them back from being capable of tanking content effectively; big hits and threat. For this reason, I recommend the following class feats are used until you feel comfortable with your ability to manage without.

Sword Master

Steel Defense – While this skill’s duration was nerfed and now only provides a maximum of 3.5 seconds of invulnerability, it still works very well when timed properly and can be the saving grace for someone who lacks enough DR and HP otherwise.


Iron Vanguard

Ferocious Reaction (FR)- While you’re not immune to DMG like SD offers, this feat can be critical to ensuring you stay alive when you take a massive hit. Anytime you drop below 37.5% HP, this feat will proc (as long as it isn’t on CD) and provide you with a DR buff and 25% HP (35% if you have specc’d into Improved Reaction).



Enhanced Mark – Sometimes, you are going to get a DPS who just does massive amounts of burst DMG, resulting in a loss of aggro. As I noted above, spamming mark and aggravating strike are critical for ensuring this doesn’t happen, but if you are doing all that and still having problems, slot this feat.


Intermediate – Expert

Alright, so you have gotten to the point where you don’t need crutches to keep you alive or maintain aggro, but you still want to maximize your ability. In this case, I recommend the following feats.

Combat Superiority – Hands down, the best feat in my opinion. It provides you with 8% additional DR and 8% additional damage, both of which are critical to threat management and survival.


Sword Master

Steel Grace – This is a great skill for doing some additional DMG (+ crit strike), maintaining a good pace (+ run speed in combat) and adding a slight increase to survive-ability (+ deflect)


Iron Vanguard

Trample the Fallen (TtF)- I know, this seems like an odd feat to pick but, you have gotten to the point where you don’t need the additional survival from FR or help with threat. Why not translate that into a massive boost to DMG when you use GW to apply crushing pins? With Pins procc’d, you are looking at a 30% increase (CP 10% + TtF 20%)  to your next attack.


Special Case (Both)

Guarded Assault (GA) – So, there is a an off-hand feature that makes it so GA will slow the target, effectively proccing CP whenever you guard. I totally understand this concept, and think it is a very cool trick for ensuring CP is up nearly all the time. I personally have never used it due to my tanking style (which relies on limited blocking). However, I feel that for those who find them selves putting up there shield very often, this a great way to go.

Note: Shield talent may be a good feat to marry with this strategy.


(Based on ToNG requirements)

In general, I focus on stats in the following order: Damage Resistance (DR), Recovery & HP, Resistance Ignored (RI), Life Steal, Deflect

Many of these stats sort of work themselves out by being included with the gear you need to shore up DR and other important stats. This is why I don’t look to stack that stat until I have met more important milestone stat levels.

Resting Value: this refers to the percentage or value seen without any bonding proc, armor enchant proc, buffs from party members etc. Simply put, resting value is what you see when you are standing idle by yourself.

Damage Resistance: While other builds are correct in noting the need to stack defense, the real number you want to look at is your resting damage resistance (DR). DR includes defense, armor class and some other factors. In addition, some feats like Armor Specialization will increase your DR but are not reflected on your character sheet.

In general, I like to aim for a resting DR of 80-90% on all my builds. Then we factor in Armor Specialization, which arguably brings you to around 95-105%. I am aware this math isn’t exact, so please see above for the proper calculation of Armor Spec.

Notes about DR:

AC is one of the few stats that has increasing returns. For example, if 40 AC = 15% additional DR then you are getting .375% for every 1 AC. However, 45 AC = 17.5% DR which means that you get .4375% DR for every 1 AC.

Defense is a flat stat so, 400 defense = ~1% DR

Everfrost Resistance (ER) and Damage (ED)

Alright, based on the question posed by Matt below. You have gotten to 80% DR and you know you are ready for FBI, you hit ITF, go in screaming, the giant turns around smiles and squishes you like a bug. As you lay there smashing the help button, all you can think is, wtf just happened. Its called ED, and don’t worry it is common for tanks, it does happen a lot and there is a cure but, you must go to the ER to have it fixed… OK, all innuendo aside, lets take a build into FBI with maxed DR and let the adds hit me.

Beastmaster deals 28540 (142699) Physical Damage to you with Trample.

Beastmaster deals 47091 (71350) Everfrost Damage to you with Everfrost.

On the first hit we do the calculation to see how much damage we are taking by dividing 28540 (the dmg we took) by 142699 (the dmg I should’ve taken) and get ~20%. This makes sense considering the max dmg we can mitigate with DR in FBI is 80%.

Now we look at the ED hit and do the same calculation 47091/(71350) and we get ~66%. This means that I only mitigated 34% of the ED dmg despite mitigating 80% of physical damage.

The reason for this is that the build I went in with only has 34% ER and therefore I will continue to take ~66% dmg from every ED strike until I up that number. So, long story short, lets get some more ER but, where?

Well, you can always go for some of the gear that offers ER (there is a shirt and pants in the STK store). You can also finish your STK boons which provide a bit. There are potions that can be taken to temporarily increase you ER. Finally, you can get some ER Armor Kits to increase your resistance to ED.

The maximum value of ER that can be obtained is 75%. This includes, gear, weapons, potions, boons and everything else.

Hope this helps, thanks for the question Matt.

Hit Points: Once you have reached an acceptable level of DR, focus on HP and recovery. “But Gorilla, I’m not a Pally, why HP?” Well, the mechanics of the game mean that even with maxed DR, there is a chance to be one shotted by big hits in places like FBI, MSVA and ToNG. Because DR never mitigates all DMG, your HP should still be relatively high. I like to aim for at least 200k, because it means that with 80% DR, you will have an effective HP of 1 Mil or more based on formulas provided by SharpEdge and others. However, always remember to account for enemy RI, debuffs applied to you and additional damage types like everfrost or buffs the enemy may be getting (for example, the Dragon Turtle’s Slam Buff).

Note: The calculation HP/1- DR = effective HP can be used to check your effective HP  (eHP). In the example below we are looking at 200k hp with 80% DR.

200k/1 – .80 = 200k/.20 = 1,000,000 eHP

Now say the enemy has 30% worth of RI and or debuffs applied to you, and see why it is pivotal that these types of things be accounted for (The RI/Debuff is just an example, not solid math):

200k/1 – (.80 – .30) = 200k/ 1 -.50 = 200k/.50 = 400,000 eHP

@40% RI/debuff= 333,333 eHP

@50% RI/debuff = ~285000 eHP

OK, you get the point… more HP + DR = GOOD


Recovery is a relatively simple concept, the more you have the faster your encounter powers recycle and AP is gained. The math behind recovery works as follows:

(From 0) 200 rec = 1% recharge speed increase

400 rec = 1% AP gain


5000 recovery = -25% recharge speed and +12.5% AP gain

15 seconds x .25= -3.75 seconds = 15 – 3.75 = 11.25 seconds

10000 recovery = -50% recharge speed and +25% AP gain

15 seconds x .25= -7.5 seconds = 15 -7.5 = 7.5 seconds

Unfortunately, while the concept behind recovery is simple, the math isn’t. A number of factors should be taken into account when trying to verify the result of adding a chunk of recovery to your toon including the initial cool down (CD), initial amount of recovery, added recovery and more. While it would be nice if the 200 rec/result stat was always true, the stat actually does have a curve that is rather sharp. I suggest using a mount, piece of armor or other device with a good amount of recovery to get a general understanding of the added stat/result value. When you apply/remove the chunk of recovery take note of the CD before and after. Then you can calculate the % decrease in time and recovery/result with the following formula.

CD1 = initial CD
CD2= added recovery CD
Y = percentage difference
X = recovery applied
Final value = ~recovery for % recharge

(CD2 – CD1 / CD1) x 100 = Y
X/Y = Final Value

So for example, we can use some of my values and enforced threat CDs.

Lets start with 1,800 recovery and bump it 2k (3,800):
(11.7 – 12.8 / 12.8) x 100 = 8.59375% decrease
2,000/8.59375 = 232.7272…. recovery per 1% recharge

Now we’ll add 4k to the 1,800 (5,800):
(10.8 – 12.8 / 12.8) x 100 = 15.625% decrease
2,000/15.625 = 256 recovery per 1% recharge

Now let’s get my recovery to its current max w/o comp (8,457):
(9.8 – 12.8 / 12.8) x 100 = 23.4375% decrease
6,657/23.4375 = 284.032 recovery per 1% increase

So, on average… we are looking at ~257.59 recovery per 1% recharge speed for ME in a range of 1800 – ~8500 recovery (totally forgot to have my comp summoned when I did this but eh, you get the point).

As you can see, the cost of recovery to recharge went up as we added more. Rather than going into all of the above math, it may be simpler to assume a value of ~250 recovery/stat overall when adding it. This way you wont be annoyed when you add a bunch of recovery and don’t get a better return.

Resistance Ignored (RI) aka Armor Pen:

RI is extremely important to a tank, because it ensures you are doing as much DMG as possible to the target and therefore generating more threat. It also does this at a bargain when compared to power and other offensive stats.

At this point the maximum value for RI in PVE is going to be 85%. Anything beyond that is essentially wasted stats.

General knowledge says that 100 armor pen = 1% RI. However, resistance ignored is slightly challenging because it does actually have slight diminishing returns when applied in large numbers. This makes it hard to pin point where exactly you will be when applying a large amount of armor pen via a mount bonus or numerous enchants. One of the best ways to offset this issue is to have a mount with 1k or 2k armor pen on it that can be applied and removed before you add any new armor pen. This way you can get at least a general value for the amount of RI the next 1-2k armor pen will offer you on average. If without a 2k mount bonus applied you have 60% RI and after it is 78.7% the calculation can be done as follows:

78.7 – 60 = 18.7

2000/18.7 = 106 armor pen for 1%RI

Really, the most deviation I have seen was when 125 arm pen was required for 1% RI. So if you are happy with getting “close enough” the value without additional modifiers is easy to calculate by simply taking the RI you have minus what you are looking for and then multiplying that value by 100 (see below). Just remember, this value will not be exactly what you are looking for, but it will be close.

current RI = 50%, want 85%: 85 – 50 = 35 x 100 = 3500 armor pen

Life Steal and Deflect

So these are really very low on my list of priorities when it comes to stats but, they are still relatively important (confusing, right?). Honestly, stack these as much as you can once you have met the milestones you feel are important. Picking one over the other doesn’t make a huge difference since they both add to your survival in different ways.



Alright, so keeping with the original concept, I am not going to post my own gear because it is essentially all end game and would limit the value of the information provided.

General: from my experience Cryptic likes to provide two sets of armor that both provide the ability to tank but one is normally aligned with tanking completely while the other is more aligned with tanking/dps.

The straight tanking gear normally contains a mixture of the following stats:

  • Power
  • Defense
  • Recovery
  • Deflect
  • Regen

The tank/dps gear normally contains the following:

  • Power
  • Defense
  • Crit Strike
  • Armor Penetration

Now, not every piece will have all of these stats and not every piece will conform to this general observation. However, in my experience the majority do.

Armor Sets (Chult):

In general, I recommend you go for the ward sets when looking for stats that are meant solely for tanking. However, there are some raid pieces that may serve you better in certain sets and I have noted them after each collection method. To get a complete look at the stats offered for these armor sets visit the NW gamepedia or the Chult drops page in game. I have simply provided an understanding of the necessary time/currency requirements for the gear.

Gamepedia Armor: https://neverwinter.gamepedia.com/Collection/Chult#Pioneer_Armor_.28Item_Level_440.29

League Armor: So, this is the lowest level of the new armor sets from Chult but, it can normally be bought from the AH for a reasonable price. In addition, this gear can be crafted by you or for you by individuals if you/they have the resources and recipes. However, since the recipes come at the cost of Chultan treasures I would really recommend saving the treasures for the Pioneer Armor (see below) and buying them from the AH if you have the AD.

Note: If you need more recovery than deflect, the raid chest and boots will give you more in exchange for deflect.

Pioneer Armor: can be purchased from De’ Vana Ritzulma in Port Nyanzaru using Chultan treasures which you gain by completing quests and other tasks in the Soshenstar River. Obtaining this gear can take a bit of time when it comes to collecting the currency but, it is essentially given to you for completing tasks that you will need to do anyway in the pursuit of campaign completion.

Note: the raid helm piece will provide you with more power and less crit but, you will sacrifice some deflect if you don’t go with ward.

Pilgrim Armor: So, pilgrim armor is nice but, getting the full set will cost you Zen. If you have VIP and the available trade bars I would recommend grabbing the bracers and chest piece from the trade bar store since it will save you the hassle of upgrading for a while and help prepare yourself for entering ToNG.

Huntsman Armor: This armor is great but, it is really just a hold over as you obtain primal gear. While running ToNG, random pieces of Huntsman Armor will be provided from the chests and as boss drops. The great thing is that like pioneer armor these pieces really are freebies during your progression.

Primal Armor:  Ok, so Primal is very nice overall but it takes some grinding in ToNG to complete the set. Currently the only place to obtain seals of the Brave is from ToNG which will provide a total of 70 for a complete run if you have keys for both end chests. In addition, there is a maximum seal limit of 400 per a week which means that after 6 ToNG runs in a week you will no longer gain seals. If you are using a single toon it means that to obtain the Chest (600 seals) Bracers, Boots and Helm (400 seals ea.) it will take about 4 ½ weeks or 26 ToNG runs to get a complete armor set.

It is important to note that you can buy pieces for alts using brave seals so, if you have alts that can complete ToNG, take advantage since it will drastically reduce the time needed. In addition, seals of the brave are included in 2x seal events.

Note: If you need additional armor pen you can grab the raid boots and bracers but, will lose potential deflect in exchange.

Hunt Gear: I’m not a huge fan of the current hunt gear based on the stats/bonuses provided and the time/effort required but, if I were to recommend anything as a place holder till you get huntsman/primal gear it would be the:

  • Batiri Shaman Mask
  • Hull snappers
  • Martyr’s Placard
  • Dawn Hide Mask
  • Hunters Keffiyeh (Recovery)


Armor Kits: Like many of my other suggestions, aim for stats that you need to round out your character. However, in the interest of being frugal I don’t suggest you place armor kits and other items on Huntsman and below. As you work through the campaign and eventually begin running ToNGs, you will notice that you are changing out gear on a regular basis. Since each major armor kit can cost around 180k to buy/make (last time I checked), you would eventually spend a few million AD altogether on items you get minimal long term use from.


Note: Bonuses are nice and all but flat stat increases are better in my opinion. Even if a previous armor piece has a “better” bonus than the next level up, you are most likely getting more from the new piece due to the overall stat increase.


Artifact Set:

Alright, most things are really “up in the air” but in my opinion and most of the communities, the Valhalla Set is hands down the best tanking set for a GF. This primarily based on the dmg debuff it provides and that other than the Horn of Valhalla, the stats offered are great for straight tanking.

If you can’t afford the Valhalla set, the Protector or Seldarine sets also provide a nice temp alternative. Both have decent set bonuses but, the protector set does allow you to mix and match your belt and artifact to suit your needs.

Sorry that’s it: I really didn’t want to get this far into it in the first place (people kept asking) so, I’m not going to dive into rings, artifacts and so forth. The important thing to remember when picking gear is Priority One and to take note of where you are lacking on stats, choose items from there.


As the Count said, I will only be offering three options (at most) for each of these for the sake of brevity, because I am lazy and I want you to make up your on mind on what is best.

Having the right mount bonuses and companions can be just as critical to a great build as the stats you stack. Since we are focusing on the concept of straight up tanking, I will share those that I think provide a great benefit for the task.

Mount Bonuses

When it comes to insignia bonuses, try to focus on the stat you need from your character sheet, and not what some random individual says is the “best” one. Also, keep in mind that insignia bonuses are easy to replace and swap out as your toon evolves. Here is a great site https://two30.github.io/neverwinter-insignia/ that you can use to get an idea of what is available and what you need. I like to have additional self heals when I am tanking just in case the healer is more buff focused, weak or there isn’t one.

Victims Preservation – (1 Crescent, 2 Barbed) Whenever you take greater than 35% of your Maximum Hit Points in pre-mitigated damage from a single blow, you are healed for 10% of your maximum Hit Points over 5 seconds. This effect can occur once every 10 seconds.

Champions Return – (1 Illuminated, 2 Enlightened) Whenever you are reduced to 50% Hit Points, you instantly recover 20% of your Stamina and are healed for 20% of your maximum Hit Points over 10 seconds. This effect can only occur once every 60 seconds.

Champions Struggle – (1 Illuminated, 1 Enlightened) Whenever you are reduced to 50% Hit Points, you instantly recover 10% of your Stamina and are healed for 10% of your maximum Hit Points over 10 seconds. This effect can only occur once every 60 seconds.


Awww man, we have ventured into highly contested territory here. If there is one thing everyone has an opinion on, it has to be companions and what is “best”. Yet, Gorilla can tell you without a doubt that ALL of these people are absolutely wrong because there is no definition of best. Granted, there are some companions that are probably a poor choice in general but, best implies that it is above all and if you have gotten this far, you are well aware that it only matters what is best for YOU to do your job right.

With that said, let me go ahead and provide you with SUMMONED companions I think are nice, that have suited me well in the past and present.

Note: I have refrained from posting comps that cost millions in AD, since most individuals don’t have the capital to obtain them. While some of these may be relatively expensive they are easily obtainable and/or can be upgrade from green at a bargain.

Frozen Galeb-Duhr – From my experience, this guy is a straight up tank. He demands massive amounts of threat, can take a huge hit and seems to stay generally close while tanking. If you are having issues with holding threat and want someone to take a few wacks for you, this is your guy. Bonus: He has a hilarious voice and comments.


Note: Based on my testing a few months back, the active bonus on this companion did not appear to work properly. In fact, from what I could tell, none of the “Duhrs” active bonuses seem to work correctly. This may have been fixed since I tested them however, I don’t use/slot this comp anymore.

Stalwart Golden Lion – First, let me explain the pros of this companion. Like the Duhr, he grabs a massive amount of threat and can take huge hits. However, he will also take damage for you and redirect threat to you. This means that unlike many defenders, you aren’t competing with your comp for aggro. In addition to this, he provides you and the party with a radiant damage buff that stacks. Now, with that said, there are some issues with this comp. One is that if anyone other than you gets close to him, there is a chance he will drop the threat on them resulting in a dead DPS/healer. In addition, he has a tendency to want to fight everything at times and will get you in some unwanted fights here and there. Overall, this is a great comp that can provide a massive benefit to you and the group, but beware of the double edge. Bonus: He looks awesome and his aura makes you look pretty cool when you stand in it.

Bulette Pup – Yes, that’s right an augment companion. Since the bonding “nerf”, augments are once again a viable solution for tanks who have no real issue with maintaining threat and would rather see consistent stats. The bulette pup in particular is a great companion to have on hand due to his active bonus (regenerates 10/15/25% of your Maximum Hit Points over the next 5 seconds when you loss 25% of your HP in a single blow) and that he provides massive defensive stats when eldritch stones are slotted.. Augments also benefit from the fact that they don’t die in fights where the arena is limited (Nothic Stone Eye, Ras Nsi, Dragon Turtle). However, using this as a summoned companion means that active bonuses that require your comp to attack go out the window and he wont be doing anything but sharing stats.

Again, these are merely recommendations, the companions listed here are some of the ones that I have enjoyed using the most and feel provide a great benefit overall when summoned. As always, pick and choose comps Summoned or Active that will best suit your needs and methods. Here’s a quick reference for companions (https://neverwinter.gamepedia.com/Companion).



There are a few good enchants for tanks and it all really depends on you and what you want to do. (benefits listed are for Transcendent unless otherwise noted).

Note: These are expensive, no way around it

Feytouched – My personal choice due to the fact that I also enjoy pvp from time to time. The primary benefit of the Feytouched enchant is that it debuffs the targets DMG by 18% on encounter use, and increases your DMG by 18%. At Transcendent, the enchant’s proc lasts 20 secs, and procs every 20 secs, which means it in consistently up.


Bronzewood – While I haven’t personally used this enchant, it does have some interesting benefits. On encounter use, the target becomes marked, buffing your DMG to the target by 16% and the parties DMG by 5%. In addition, it debuffs the targets outgoing DMG to you by 10%. At trans, it lasts for 10 secs and can proc every 20 secs so, it is up about 50% of the time.



Negation – By far the enchant of choice for many tanks, the negation provides some great benefits. When you are struck, this enchant can provide UP TO 35% DR (3.5 per stack), +10% incoming heals (1% per stack) and +10% recovery (1% per stack). As you fight and continue to take shots, these benefits should be close to, if not maxed, at all times.


Shadowclad (PURE) – Second best to some, good enough to others, the Shadowclad is a great enchant for those who lack deflect (like me). At maximum, it will provide 96% of your deflect  so, if you have 20% deflect each stack should provide ~2.4% deflect. (12% of your deflect rating per stack). In addition, it will provide 32% DR (4% per stack). However, it is important to note that once you deflect, the stacks reset to 0 and begin building again. In addition, never go beyond Pure as Trans will make you go invisible which will result in threat being lost.


Fair Warning: Armor enchants are SUPPLEMENTARY. This means that you should not be thinking “I can get 35% DR from my negation so I only need 60% DR to reach 95%”… Since stacks are gained from hits, you will most likely be one shotted before you ever get close to the max stacks in endgame dungeons…


Slotted Enchants

I am not diving too deep into this. Simply put, Azures and other enchants that provide the stats discussed above are the best options in my opinion. If you can successfully swing it, try to slot enchants that provide 2 or 3 stats as they provide the most payback. See below for an explanation.

  • A Single Stat Azure provides 1000 defense @ Rank 14 = total 1000
  • A  Double Stat Cruel provides 600 defense and deflect @ Rank 14 = total 1200
  • A Three Stat Gigantic provides 350 defense, 1400 hp (350 equivalent) and 700 deflect @ Rank 14 = total 1400

The primary issue with slotting 3 stats will be balancing everything out properly. However, if you can, you will be maximizing the benefits of your enchantments.


Alright, I think I have covered all of the necessary information to give you a good start. Keep in mind when commenting or giving feedback that everything here is a recommendation meant to help. Also note that if you disagree with something or think it should be added/included, you should provided sufficient information to make the point valid. I hope you have had fun reading through this guide and I hope it helps.

I am currently working on updating the Enchants section with a bit more information

I am also working on a portion regarding different sets and gear.

Special Thanks

[email protected]

For always checking my numbers, helping me make decisions on builds, upgrades, being generally awesome and making me cookies! Love you lady!

The Starks Guild and Alliance Members

Shay, Eliza, and Swax (for keeping me alive with fantastic heals!)

The many others who have been willing/unwilling participants of my testing…

Those who have posted builds, knowledge and results throughout the web

[email protected]

Janne Coreside (Not sure if that’s your name but thank you)

Reditors, NW Forum(ers) and everyone else








Leave a reply
  • January 21, 2018 at 12:26 am

    My first and main is a tank but I keep getting spanked in FBI. I’m over 12k gs so not a total noob, and I enjoy tanking but I’ve got a slump and can’t get out of it.

    I’m going to try to adjust to this guide but I’m not clear on the DR, is 80% unbuffedthe target?

  • Theo
    January 21, 2018 at 9:23 am

    Something else to consider, seeing as you have taken Wrathful warrior, meaning that when you have temp hit points you get 15% more damage is that I would consider putting one point in GRIT. That means that every time you are healed by a player you get 1% of your max hitpoints as temp. The actual amount of hitpoints is irrelevant but this will result in you doing 15% more damage simply by being healed. (40 second cooldown)

    • January 21, 2018 at 5:14 pm

      I understand your point about the point (see what I did there). Seriously though, let’s look at a couple concepts behind the reasons we want to allocate points or at least my thought process when I do.

      What are the chances this point will come into play when I am tanking, and does it require factors that are beyond my control (other players actions)?

      There are 5 points in take measure which means that when we are crit, we get a chance to gain temp hp and therefore additional dmg from wrathful warrior. Since we are tanking in this build, there is a guarantee that we will receive critical hits from adds/bosses which guarantees that we will see the additional dmg. At times, I tank without a healer which means that any points in grit would be wasted. In addition, DC/healadin powers tend to automatically include temp hp which still procs wrathful warrior.

      Is this a maximal use of the points considering the overall purpose of my build?

      The points in conq. are really the additional “left-over” points that we have when the rest of the points have been allocated to the true purpose of the build (tanking and buffing). On the other hand, taking a point in grit would require taking points from something else in the heroic feats. Most of the points here are very important to our ability to tank and if you have gone the additional dmg path, there are places where the point would be better served, providing a maximal gain (powerful attack/weapon mastery).

      What purpose will it serve outside of a dungeon environment?

      Some people may be soloing content (questing) in their tanking build (often part of the reason or wanting additional dmg). During this time, they would be running around with a wasted point since it is unlikely they will be seeing heals from anyone else.

      Finally, take measure already provides plenty of potential for us to receive temp HP by maximizing the effect of tanking. ITF also provides temp HP whenever we use it, so it will be proccing wrathful warrior. The primary reason for taking points in take measure is to get access to wrathful warrior while still having utility from the points you used to get there. Taking points in grit would be adding another level to the temp HP potential that may or may not be of use given the situation.
      Again, these are just my thoughts and reasoning. Feel free to do whatever you think will suit your style and general situation best. Hope this answers your question ?

  • Azor Ahai
    January 21, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    could you possibly post the gear you use and what you run in offence and defence slots?

    • January 22, 2018 at 3:22 am


      I am really trying to avoid posting my personal gear and enchants based on the idea that it would require you to mimic every aspect of my toon. However, I will update the enchantment section to provide a better understanding of enchants overall and those that work particularly well for GF tanking. In addition, I will add a section for different armor sets, what they are good for and different levels of cost/work to obtain them. I’ll need a day or two to finalize the changes so, please check back in a few days.


  • Farepuppy
    January 22, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Well done Gorilla. Well detailed.

    • January 22, 2018 at 6:34 pm


      I appreciate the feedbak and will try to keep it up to date. I just started my thesis and am working full time atm so it will be a bit hectic over the next few months.


  • tu5uew5uew
    January 22, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    boons don’t count

  • Fifilalachuchu
    February 14, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    You, sir, have my vote….This is the best guide…because of memes/gifs/whatever lol…that totally won me over XD

  • Still Grumpy
    March 9, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    I am not a GF but great reading. Always useful to see another characters e\set up and rationale behind it. Good luck with the thesis

  • Fifilalachuchu
    March 9, 2018 at 10:42 pm

    What do you suggest should be sacrificed in feats if playing a different race?

  • DeanR156
    March 15, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    So I just got my GF to 70 the other day, but noticed he wasn’t being “tanky” enough. So I doled out the Zen to get a respec stone and followed some of what’s here – I say “some” in the sense that I haven’t even gotten to gear, companions, mounts or enchantments yet 😉

    After the respec all I can say is “WOW”. What a huge difference. Where I deviated was using KV (knights valor) instead of GW (griffin’s wraith), but other than that, the build is fairly close Swordmaster build to what you list. I’m not one to spew out stats and numbers and percentages, but I can tell you that doing the Dread dailies took half as long as it would with my OP. Not only was I tanking, I was doing a fairly decent amount of damage.

    So thanks for doing a great job putting this build together in a way that was easy enough for this n00b to the game to follow 🙂

  • Kale
    April 30, 2018 at 11:25 am

    What artifact would you suggest to set as active for most useful buff/debuff?

  • Greg611
    May 12, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    Good Morning,
    I just wanted to say thank you. I have been playing Neverwinter for a little while, but never understood what was going on with all the feats, and numbers.
    Your guide was awesome in helping break down and understand how things go together. An I like the fact that it’s a guide and not a build a clone . You let the people reading it discover what works for them.
    Thanks for all your hard work. I for one enjoy this guide, and am having fun discovering what works for me.

Leave a Reply to Fifilalachuchu Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: