Xenakis Fighter Guide to Mod 17: Vanguard and Dreadnought

by Troy on September 30, 2019
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Xenakis Fighter Guide to Mod 17: Vanguard and Dreadnought

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 Xenakis Fighter Compendium

Mod 17 Builds for

Vanguard and Dreadnought

 

Welcome to my guide! It has been a long time since many of you have seen an update on this guide, but I am happy to announce that my guide is now Mod 17 compliant! I still have a bit more work to do with formatting and visuals throughout the guide, but all of the content is now updated and relevant to Mod 17. A lot has happened since I wrote the Mod 14 variant of my guide: changed jobs, moved, got married, changed jobs again. All of that mixed in with the anticipated overhaul of Mod 16, I decided to postpone all work on my guide until the changes were implemented. I apologize if anyone was hoping to see my Mod 15 guide, but at the time my efforts didn’t seem to be worthwhile considering the amount of work I had ahead of me to make this guide Mod 16. I appreciate your patience with the huge changes I need to make to this guide, but I hope you all find that it was worth the wait.

Sincerely,

Xenakis

 

Introduction:

Hello everyone, I am Xenakis (Zen-ah-kiss) and I play on Xbox One. It has been almost two years now since this guide was first published, and it has been great to see all of the support and suggestions from the community that have made this guide successful. I have designed this guide to provide as much information as possible, and presented as simply as I can (that’s the goal anyways). My goal is to provide everyone with the information needed to make their own informed decisions about how to build their Fighter, but also including my own personal choices and considerations for my Fighter build to guide you if you should need it. At the time of updating this guide, the current Module on Xbox One is Mod 16 and Mod 17 has just launched on PC. There are a few guides out for Mod 16 Fighter right now, but as was true in the past, most of them usually aren’t as in depth as mine. I encourage you to read all possible resources to help you determine your best plan for your build and your personal playstyle. In saying that, I hope that everyone stopping here can learn something, or at the very least, gain some perspective. Please read the “What This Guide Will Accomplish” tab to gain a sense of all the information covered in this guide before proceeding.

 

Changes and Updates:

8.8.2019- Updated the Title of the guide to be Mod 16 compliant. Also, the content in the Title Page, Introduction, and What This Guide Will Accomplish tabs have been updated. Also, Changes and Updates was wiped of all irrelevant postings so as to start fresh with Mod 16.

8.14.2019- Updated the Ability Scores tab to be Mod 17 compliant- Screenshots are to be added at a later date.

8.15.2019- Updated the Race tab to be Mod 17 compliant- Screenshots are to be added at a later date.

9.17.2019- Updated the Race tab to prepare for Mod 17 changes incoming. Began overhauling the Stats and Ratings tab-work still in progress.

9.20.19- Updated the Stats and Ratings tab to be Mod 17 compliant.

9.22.19- Updated the Powers tab to be Mod 17 compliant. The Rotation tab is in progress. The Boons tab is in progress. The Feats tab is in progress.

9.24.19- Updated the Rotations tab to be Mod 17 compliant.

9.25.19- Updated the Equipment tab to be Mod 17 compliant; formatting is still in progress.

9.26.19- Updated the Enchantment tab to be Mod 17 compliant. Updated the Companion tab to be Mod 17 compliant.

9.27.19- Added on to the Companion tab.

9.28.19- Updated the Mounts tab to be Mod 17 compliant. Made some edits to the the Stats/Ratings tab.

9.29.19- Updated the Consumable tab. Updated the Feats tab. Edited the Useful Links tab to remove links that were no longer relevant to the current state of the game.

9.30.19- Updated the Title page to official announce the completion of the Mod 17 content updates. Further updating will still occur over the next few weeks to improve format, layout, and visual aids within the guide. A new publishing date has been requested to mark the official update to Mod 17 compliance.

What This Guide Will Accomplish:

In writing this guide, it was always my goal from the beginning to improve the quality of information on the internet available to “Guardian” Fighters of all skill levels. This guide is intended to be a full guide to the class, in addition to providing the builds that I use. I’ll admit, as a class guide, the depth one could take into such a topic doesn’t quite resemble a compendium anymore as the new direction of the game has taken a lot of the customization and personalization out of building, but I will still attempt to write as much as possible on the current topics. I do not claim to be the very best or that my way is the only way to go with the class, but I strive to make the information in here as accurate as can be, and everything is backed with experience/trial and error. Even though I have my own play style, I think it is important to present all of the information available in a non-biased way so that you the may develop your own informed decision. I’m not going to cover every way to build imaginable, but rather you’re getting a snapshot of my builds/playstyles, why I play the way that I do, and as much factual information to back it up as I can. Unfortunately, builds are more “cookie cutter” now since the devs took most of our choices and ways to individualize away, so I don’t claim to be totally unique in my build. I show my builds hoping that everyone can learn from them and use the information as a stepping stone to figuring out how they would like to play and build.

This guide is written with the understanding that many players will utilize the load out system, and that you can have more than one play style or build on one character, and switch load outs in the blink of an eye (if you’re at a campfire). Since Mod 16 launched, the game has promoted the utilization of loadouts even more to extend to playing your class completely differently by offering newly designed class roles. In an attempt to reach all readers, this guide will cover both roles for the Fighter: Vanguard (Tanking path) and Dreadnought (DPS path).

As a Fighter, it’s important to understand that due to the queue system, in Mod 16 we are no longer strictly confined to be being a tank class. We can publicly queue both as a Tank and as DPS. Which role you queue as is determined by the paragon path your loadout is currently in- either Vanguard or Dreadnought. With private queues, we can play as Tank or DPS without regards for the standard content role rules (1 Tank, 1 Healer, 3 DPS or 2-3 Tanks, 2-3 Healers, 4-6 DPS). This means that if you want, you can have 1 Healer and 4 DPS in private queue, which is an example of a popular non-tradition group compilation in private queue. If you’re public queueing, you can play as your favorite path or have a loadout for both, but just know that once you’ve started your public queue, you cannot change roles until the queue has completed. Both Tanking and DPS are viable, and which one you may use will depend on your playstyle, as well as the types of groups that your run with. My initial recommendation is to use one load out for Vanguard Tank and the other free loadout for Dreadnought DPS. If you want to buy more loadouts, then I suggest having two of each path, with one being for level 80 content and the other loadout being tailored specifically to the high stat demands of scales content.

In this guide, you’ll see Vanguard and Dreadnought builds for PVE, covering both scaled content as well as level 80 content. At this time, I am not working on PVP builds for this guide.

 

LOADOUTS:

On my Fighter, all of my load outs that I use are self-sufficient, meaning I don’t swap enchantments around or share gear (unless the enchantments are the same, sorry i’m a gold pincher). I also use different mounts, insignias, companions, consumables, etc. Here is a little more information about what load outs can or can’t do, so you may decide if you want to build fully self-sufficient load outs, or perhaps you’ll grow your Vanguard load out and switch to Dreadnought when you do your dailies.

Loadouts can:

  • Swap gear, mounts, and companions, and companion bonuses. This includes gear on companions, as well as  insignias on mounts and mount combat powers.
  • Swap between Vanguard-Tank and Dreadnought-DPS.
  • Let you reassign points into your Ability Scores between loadouts.
  • Let you have different boon selections.
  • Swap consumables in your potion tray, ONLY if your current loadout doesn’t have a consumable on cooldown.

Loadouts can’t:

  • Let you reroll your initial Ability Scores distribution (no longer a feature in Neverwinter as of Mod 16).
  • Move anything that requires gold (insignias CAN be moved as it is free).
  • Be swapped in combat or in danger zones (only in safe zones such as cities, the stronghold, and campfires).
  • Be swapped in public queue, IF you’re attempting to change roles. For example, you can’t queue as a Vanguard Tank and then swap to Dreadnought DPS at the first campfire. You can do this with a private group but not in a public queue as the game blocks you from changing your roll once the queue has started. You should be able to swap between loadouts in the same role, however.

Ability Scores:

For the Fighter, the Primary and Secondary Attributes or Ability Scores are Constitution, Strength, and Dexterity. Previous to Module 16, it was possible to reroll all 6 attributes to acquire the best possible set-up to max your gains from Ability Scores. In Mod 16, players can no longer change the initial roll of their Ability Scores. Additionally, it seems that which stats are Primary and which are Secondary has change with Mod 16. In Mod 16, a Fighter’s base Constitution and Strength are both 16 and Dexterity has a base of 14. One could assume in this case that Constitution and Strength are Primary, and Dexterity is Secondary. Below I will show a screenshot demonstrating the base Ability Score rolls on the Fighter. There is a bonus to X and X in the image that you can subtract to confirm the true base rolls of all attributes on Fighter.

 

(Imagine coming soon)

 

 

Fighter Ability Score Base Rolls:

Strength- 16

Constitution- 16

Dexterity- 14

Intelligence- 8

Wisdom- 10

Charisma- 10

 

Before I explain which ability scores you want to boost and why, I will explain what each attribute offers. This is different from previous modules, as many stats have been removed from the game, and the stats and bonuses ability scores offer has been revamped.

Constitution: This stat increase your BASE Maximum Hit Points by .5%, and your Action Point Gain by .25% per point.

Strength: This stat increases your Stamina Regeneration by .5%, and your Physical Damage by .25% per point.

Dexterity: This stat increases your Critical Severity by .5%, and your Movement Speed by .25% per point.

Intelligence: This stat increases your Control Bonus by .5%, and your Magic Damage by .25% per point.

Wisdom: This stat increases your Control Resist by .5%, and your Outgoing Healing by .25% per point.

Charisma: This stat increases your Companion Influence by .5%, and your Recharge Speed by .25% per point.

 

In the past, it was possible that you could have a different distribution of your attribute points depending on your build style. If you were a tank you’d invest in certain attributes, and if you were a dps you may invest in a separate set of attributes. Via load outs, you can change the distribution of your points if you wish. The only thing you may not change in regards to ability score via load out, is the distribution of your RACE bonus, which is a bonus distribution of points determined by the race you chose to play and the selections you make during your race reroll. In order to change these again, you must race reroll so choose these distributions with care. In my opinion and play style, my distribution of points into my Ability Scores is exactly the same on Vanguard-Tank as it is on Dreadnought-DPS. This is not because I’m lazy, but because I truly feel that’s the best roll for both play styles.

When I rank up my ability scores, I am ranking up both Strength and Dexterity. This is for a few reasons. Strength gives stamina which is very important this mod, and the extra damage buff will help us to hold and maintain aggro. If you’re DPS, stamina is still important and the damage buff is even more relevant as your job is to deal damage. This is our number one feat that I feel every Fighter should invest in. I level up Dexterity because the extra movement speed helps to speed up the dungeon and is a noticeable quality of life upgrade. I also take it because Critical Severity will increase our damage, which again, is good for aggro on the tank side, and is mandatory for a DPS style build.

Why I like Strength and Dexterity is not my only reasoning for choosing them; I also have reasons for NOT liking the other choices which in tandem with the positive written above, determines why I ultimately chose Strength and Dexterity for both Vanguard-Tank and Dreadnought- DPS over other options.

Constitution– The reason I hated it pre-mod 16 is the same reason now: the buff to HP from Constitution only applies to BASE HP. What this means is, you get .5% more HP based off of what you have when you have literally no gear equipped. This ends up being a very underwhelming investment. If you were roll Strength and Dexterity, and then change Dexterity to Constitution on a separate load out with identical gear and set-up, you notice almost no increase in HP. Also, the AP gain is not super noticeable, not is it particularly valuable. No longer are the days of spamming dailies, so at the rate we regenerate AP (even with increases to AP), you’re still not spamming and are therefore going to need to hold onto your daily for “just the right moment.” This conservative way of using dailies in tandem with the meager buff to BASE HP puts Constitution pretty low on the list of useful attributes. This is my main reason for picking Dexterity or Strength over Constitution. However, those wanting to be super tanky will still insist Constitution is useful. Even though I’ve said it’s basically useless, if you decide you must have Constitution, then I recommend picking Strength as your second option and missing out on the Dexterity increase.

Intelligence– Intelligence boosts magic damage and control bonus. We don’t do magic and we don’t do control. Enough said- don’t use Intelligence.

Wisdom– Wisdom boosts outgoing healing. We aren’t healers so scrap using Wisdom on Fighter. The control resist is ok, but one good aspect out of two on Wisdom isn’t enough for us to invest in it.

Charisma– Charisma gives us Companion Influence. and Recharge Speed. Honestly, Companion Influence is the “best of the bad” attributes. Companion influence may seem useful to some people, especially as we strive to reach a plethora of stat caps, but the return on investment for Companion Influence is very small. Companion Influence is better on summoned companions versus augments, but even if you run a summoned companion, you’ll only gain a couple hundred rating per stat. As you’re aiming to cap your stats from gear, we will decidedly invest in damage % buffs instead. We no longer have high recovery builds in the game and the cool downs of our powers are quite long. Investing in al the possible cool down education options available will not even provide a noticeable quality of life improvement to the amount of powers you can cast in a dungeon, so in my opinion its not a good return on investment.

In summary, if you’re following by guide to match my builds you invest in Strength and Dexterity for both my Vanguard-Tank builds as well as my Dreadnought-DPS builds. Strength is more important than Dexterity, so if you’re insistent on being an HP HO then swap Constitution for Dexterity (but I really think it’s a waste of your investment to Constitution).

Earlier we discussed that you get bonus ability score distribution points. In the next section, I will discuss race that I feel are a good fit for the Fighter class, and at the same time I will let you know which choice to make on your bonus distributions depending on the class that you choose.

Race:

Remember, as I said in the previous section, the choice you make regarding your selection of bonus attribute points will be permanent on your character and effect all load outs until you decided to pay for a race reroll to change the selection. If you are intending to play Tank and DPS and are NOT taking my suggestion to use Strength and Dexterity on both builds (I really recommend that you do), then you should pick the bonus attribute pair that best matches the load out you’ll spend the most time in (either Tank or DPS).

Which race you decide to play can be a very personal decision. Some of you reading this will want the best race to do your job, and some of you will pick the race you like regardless of it’s utility for the sake of appearance. In older versions of this guide, I listed a variety of races that could be viable because they supported the Primary and Secondary ability scores of the Fighter or they provided another desirable gain. I have redesigned this section to include less traits, as feedback from the community stated they want to see the top few choices for race. The bonuses that each race provides has been adjusted for Mod 16, and so I will be going over what I think is the best possible race, as well as suitable substitutes that work well with Fighter attributes and play styles. I will not be listing all races, just the ones that I feel are a good fit for the Fighter. Races that aren’t listed either don’t have worthwhile bonuses, or more importantly, have bonus attribute options that are completely irrelevant to the Fighter.

Class suggestions will be separated based on whether you’d like to tank or DPS. Suggestions will be listed from best to worst.

 

Races for Vanguard-Tank:

 

Top Choices:

 

Metallic Ancestry Dragonborn/Dragonborn: Premium Race (Best Premium Race)

Metallic Ancestry Dragonborn and Dragonborn (in that order) are the best races available for a Vanguard-Tank. However, the race is only available as a premium purchase, or in the case of Metallic Ancestry Dragonborn, it’s only available as a legendary lockbox reward. Metallic Ancestry Dragonborn is best because it offers incoming healing bonus AND an HP bonus. The extra 3% damage is great for helping to hold aggro too. Dragonborn is only slightly behind Metallic Ancestry Dragonborn in quality because instead of offering an HP buff, it just offers a higher incoming healing bonus of 5%. Both are great if you can get them, but Metallic Ancestry Dragonborn is the best option available in Mod 16. In Mod 17, one could debate between the following options.

Gith (coming in Mod 17) (Best “Free” Race):

Gith is probably the second best race after Dragonborn for Vanguard-Tank in Mod 17. Gith offers Dexterity and Strength as your preferred bonus attributes, a bonus of 1500 Combat Advantage, and 2% increase to stamina regeneration. Gith in Mod 17 is easily the second best Vanguard-Tank race, and if you’re diligent about getting the race for free upon launch of Mod 17, then you can avoid the premium price tag on this race. The ability score offerings are perfect for the tanking build, the extra combat advantage is helpful since it’s the highest stat cap to reach, and the increase to stamina regeneration is always appreciated on a tank.

Tiefling:

Tiefling offers Charisma and Constitution as your preferred bonus attributes, a 5% damage buff to targets that are below half health, and a 10% chance on damage taken to apply Infernal Wrath to your attacker, which is a 2.5% debuff to the enemy’s damage for 5 seconds.The Bloodhunt damage buff is an appreciated boost to our aggro tool kit, and the debuff to enemy damage is a good support utility to consider. This group orientated debuff lasts longer and has a better proc rate than the Drow debuts which is why this race is better than the two Drow races (which is backwards from pre-mod 16). I don’t care for the ability score set on the Tiefling and the other following races much, but we’re getting to the point where we are running out of good options for races with good ability score combinations. The damage decreasing debuff places onto enemies will be even more important in Mod 17 so this debuff is something to consider for Tower of the Mad Mage.

 

Sub-Par/Pseudo-Relevant Options:

 

Menzoberranzan Renegade: Premium Race

Menzoberranzan Renegade, or Menzo Drow, has Dexterity and Charisma as your preferred bonus attributes, a 5% chance to apply a debuff for 4 second, which reduces target’s Defense by 1500 and their damage by 2.5%. This isn’t even worth mentioning really, but it also offers increased HP regeneration out of combat. As with Tiefling, the ability score offering here isn’t great. The debuff is decent, but the proc chance is way worse than it is on the Tiefling, and the Tiefling debuff lasts longer. Basically, you’d only pick Menzo Drow or Drow if you liked the looks better than the stats. If you’re going for looks though, you’re probably not even paying attention to what I’m writing regarding what races are good anyways. This is premium race, and is pretty low on the list of useful races to run for Fighter, so I wouldn’t run this race unless you already had it from pre-mod 16 and you’re running it for looks. The bonuses it provides in Mod 16 are not worth Zen or AD.

Drow:

Drow has Dexterity and Charisma as your preferred bonus attributes, a 5% chance to apply a debuff for 4 second, which reduces target’s Defense by 2000. This isn’t even worth mentioning really, but it also offers increased HP regeneration out of combat. As with Tiefling, the ability score offering here isn’t great. This debuff is pretty bad compared to Menzo Drow, and the proc chance is way worse than it is on the Tiefling, and the Tiefling debuff lasts longer. The only reason I’ve even included Drow in this list of choices is because even though the debuff sucks, it’s still a debuff which is “something” to offer the group, and it’s the free (but worse) version of Menzo Drow.

Halfling:

Halfling offers Dexterity and Constitution as your preferred bonus attributes, a bonus of 1500 Deflect which isn’t our best defensive stat but it’s one of the harder ones to cap, and 10% increased resistance to Control effects. Mod 16 is really heavy on control so a 10% resistance to all types of control is pretty helpful. Deflect isn’t our best defensive stat but considering it’s harder to cap, we will take it.

Dwarf: 

Dwarf offers Constitution and Strength as your preferred bonus attributes, a bonus 2000 Defense which is our second most important defensive stat, and a 20% increased resistance to knock and push mechanics. Mod 16 is really heavy on control mechanics so any help with resisting control is appreciated, and the extra defense will help especially if you’re a newer Fighter. Eventually, you’ll cap Defense without this bonus, so choosing Dwarf just becomes about the ability score choice and the increased control resistance to Knock and Push.

 

Summary:

Dragonborn is hands down, unarguably the best race for Vanguard in Mod 16. If you can get Metallic Ancestry, then that’s better still, but just regular Dragonborn would suffice. Gith will be second best in Mod 17 so be sure to capitalize on your opportunity to claim the race for free at the beginning of the Mod! The race will be free for only a few weeks to VIP holders, and then it will be a premium purchase so definitely don’t miss it. If you can’t afford Dragonborn now or can’t stand the shiny/scaly Dorito-Backed Lizard, then you start with the Halfling suggestion and work your way down the list until you find something you’re happy with, just follow the suggestions for each race I listed to stay in line with this build. I only listed races here that lined up with our ideal ability scores or that provided a useable bonus for tanking or supporting the group. Races that didn’t get mentioned here offered neither of those things.

 

Races for Dreadnought-DPS: 

 

Metallic Ancestry Dragonborn/Dragonborn: Premium Race (Best Race)

Metallic Ancestry Dragonborn and Dragonborn (in that order) are the best races available for a Dreadnought-DPS. However, the race is only available as a premium purchase, or in the case of Metallic Ancestry Dragonborn, it’s only available as a legendary lockbox reward. Metallic Ancestry Dragonborn is best because it offers a 3% damage bonus and there’s no other race bonus that compares to that for damage dealing classes. The extra 3% incoming healing and 5% HP is helpful too. Dragonborn is only slightly behind Metallic Ancestry Dragonborn in quality because instead of offering an HP buff, it just offers a higher incoming healing bonus of 5%. Both are great if you can get them, but Metallic Ancestry Dragonborn is the best option available. Dragonborn has an unmatched bonus for DPS, so the next two options are free, but significantly weaker substitutes for the Dragonborn.

Half-Orc:

Half-Orc has Dexterity and Strength as your preferred bonus attributes, a 5% increase to Critical Severity, and a 10% bonus to movement speed for 3 second upon entering combat (20 second cool down). 5% Critical Severity is not nearly as good as the 3% increase to damage that Dragonborn gets, but it’s still an increase in damage. The Critical Severity combined with the Physical Damage buff and Critical Severity buff from Half-Orc’s good attribute offerings puts Half-Orc slightly ahead of our next race option.

Tiefling:

Tiefling has Charisma and Constitution as your preferred bonus attributes (preferred for this race but still bad), a 5% buff to damage against targets below half health, and a 10% chance to a apply a debuff when receiving damage, that applies a reduction to your enemy’s outgoing damage by 2.5% for 5 seconds. The poor attribute offerings of the Tiefling put this race as 3rd best DPS race.

 

Summary: 

Dragonborn is hands down, unarguably the best race for Dreadnought in Mod 16. If you can get Metallic Ancestry, it’s a nice bonus to survivability, but just regular Dragonborn would suffice for DPS since both version have the same damage buff. If you can’t afford Dragonborn now or can’t stand the shiny/scaly Dorito-Backed Lizard, then you can choose between Half-Orc and Tiefling as free race options, with Half-Orc having a slight edge on DPS.

 

Running Vanguard AND Dreadnought?

If you know that you want to be able to play both Vanguard and Dreadnought, there are a few considerations to make for races that will optimize you best for both load outs. If you’re just using Dreadnought to clear campaign content then your race likely won’t matter much, but if you’re serious about running Vanguard and Dreadnought in dungeons then here are a few suggestions.

Metallic Ancestry Dragonborn/Dragonborn: Premium Race (Best Race-Premium)

This race comes in 1st place for most versatile between Vanguard and Dreadnought in Mod 17. If you read the above paragraphs in this tab, then this comes as no surprise. The Dragonborn races are best for survivability which suits a Vanguard well, and best for damage which suits a Dreadnought well. On Dragonborn, you can place your extra attributes into two categories of your choice (Strength and Dexterity) so this is a clear winner, but at a premium cost.

Half-Orc:

This race comes in 2nd place for most versatile between Vanguard and Dreadnought in Mod 17. The attributes are all correct for this build both as Tank and DPS, the Crit Severity will help damage/aggro, and the run speed bonus is mildly helpful for Tanks to help get to mobs faster and get their aggro before the DPS does.

Tiefling: 

This race comes in 3rd place for most versatile between Vanguard and Dreadnought in Mod 17. The attributes are mediocre for Tank and completely incorrect for DPS, but the Bloodhunt 5% damage buff to enemies below half health is at least a damage buff still for DPS, and the Infernal Wrath debuff offers nice utility for the Tank side.

Gith:

This race comes in 4th place for most versatile between Vanguard and Dreadnought in Mod 17. The stat attributes are correct for both Tank and DPS, but as far as utility goes, it’s mostly personal with the extra stamina regeneration, and the combat advantage is helpful. This is more useful for tank than it is for DPS, but not the worst choice for someone who is planning on playing both DPS and Tank equally. If you want to do more DPS, you would probably pick on of the other choices with a Damage buff.

 

Why didn’t the Elves and Humans get any love?

Human is horrible this mod because you only get 3 ability score points instead of 4 like every other race. Sure, you get to pick where they go, but only getting to boost one attribute plus the meager increase to stats Human offers makes it a very poor choice unless you’re just wanting to dress your character up nice, in which case Human does well with that. The Elves: Wood Elf, Sun Elf, Moon Elf, and Half Elf don’t really line up with Fighter on good attributes, and the bonuses aren’t really helpful for tanking, and certainly useless for DPS, which is why Humans and Elves didn’t get any mention above. Of course as I’ve said before, you can run them if you want to look a certain way as the difference between all races outside of Dragonborn, especially if you’re building a tank, is small and not super significant. You can still tank or DPS on any race you want, you’re just not optimizing and maxing your potential by choosing a race that doesn’t synergies well with the play style and build.

Stats/Ratings:

An important part of any character build and their level of performance has to do with stat allocation. Stats can be broken up into three categories: Defensive, Offensive, and Tertiary. Tanks typically stack Defensive stats first and Offensive stats second. If you want to DPS, you would stack Offensively first and then Defensive stats second. I will break down what each main stat does for us, why we may or may not need it, and for which builds you’ll want to focus certain stats on.

Stats got a HUGE overhaul in Mod 16, and so before I go on describing all the stats, I need to explain how the new Stats/Rating system works. First:

 

The following stats have been permanently removed from the game with the launch of Mod 16:

 

Life Steal

Damage over Time Resistance

Recovery

Area of Effect Resistance

Regeneration

Armor Class

 

The following stats have been added to the game with the launch of Mod 16:

 

Critical Avoidance

Awareness

Combat Advantage (as a main offensive stat now as opposed to a tertiary stat)

Accuracy

 

 

Ratings are now working in a system of Stats versus Counterstats. Both players and enemies have both kinds of stats, and understanding how they work is important to knowing why you want certain stats at a certain rating level. With the exceptions of Power and HP, each Offensive and Defensive stat has a counter to it in the rating system.

 

Armor Penetration: Defense

Accuracy: Deflection

Critical Strike: Critical Resist

Combat Advantage: Awareness

 

You may notice that we no longer have a tooltip indicating a % of effectiveness for Offensive and Defensive stats. In this system, you could divide your total stat by 1000 to determine your % effectiveness, or you could just associate 1% effectiveness for every 1000 stat you have. For example, if I have 50,000 Critical Strike, that is 50% Critical Strike Chance.

HOWEVER, it is not as simple as just determining your % effectiveness based on your stats. Since enemies have counterstats to protect themselves from your stats (and vice versa), we need to factor in how much counter stat they have. Let’s stick to our Critical Strike example. If I have 50,000 Critical Strike, and the enemy has 18,000 Critical Avoidance, that basically means the same as me only having 32,000 Critical Strike. So while I thought I had 50% Critical Strike Chance, I really only have 32% Critical Strike Chance so the enemy has an 18% chance to avoid my Critical attacks.

Each level of content has a set amount of ratings for enemies in that zone or queue. It is important for you to know what the enemies have in the content you’re running, so you know how much of each rating you need to be effective in that content. Currently in Mod 16, enemies have the following rating levels:

 

Leveling Content-Sub Level 70 Enemy Ratings:

Cloak Tower- 800

Cragmire Crypts- 1,500

Gray Wolf Den- 3,200

Pirate King’s Retreat- 3,600

The Frozen Heart- 4,000

Spellplague Caverns- 4,300

Temple of the Spider- 4,600

Caverns of Karundax- 5,000

Master of the Hunt- 6,125

 

Intermediate Content- Level 70 Enemy Ratings:

The following queues all have an enemy rating of 7,000.

 

Dread Legion

Prophecy of Madness

Throne of the Dwarven Gods

Illusionist’s Gambit (Master)

The Merchant Prince’s Folly

Manycoins Bank Heist

Demogorgon

Assault on Svarborg

Rise of Tiamat

Kessell’s Retreat

Temple of the Spider (Master)

Cragmire Crypts (Master)

The Shores of Tuern

Gray Wolf Den (Master)

Malabog’s Castle

Castle Never

Valindra’s Tower

Lair of Lostmauth

 

Advanced Content- Level 70 Enemy Rating: 

The following queues all have an enemy rating of 7,000.

 

Demogorgon (Master)

Fangbreaker Island

Spellplague Caverns (Master)

Assault on Svardborg (Master)

Tomb of the Nine Gods

Castle Ravenloft

Cradle of the Death God

 

Expert Content- Level 80 Enemy Ratings:

Lair of the Mad Mage- 18,000

Tower of the Mad Mage (Mod 17)- 30,000

 

Defensive Stats:

 

Maximum Hit Points-

Maximum Hit Points is easy. The more hit points you have, the more hit points you can lose before you  reach 0 and croak. Maximum Hit Points is one often looked over defensive stat. I personally recommend tanks get their HP as high as possible after capping their defensive stats, and quite possibly, forgoing other defensive stats in certain circumstances to get their HP higher. HP is the most important defensive stat because it also adds to how much damage you can mitigate through your shield. In Mod 16, I have 800k HP which means that when I block, I also have an additional 400-600k HP worth that my shield can block before my HP gets touched. I recommend a minimum of 600k HP for tanks. 300k HP minimum for DPS. You may need more or less depending on the content you’re running and the groups you are running with. I definitely don’t need 800k HP for Lair of the Mad Mage for example, but it does make it incredibly effortless. You may need 800K HP, more or less, in Tower of the Mad Mage depending on the quality of the group and how well they can time damage decreasing debuffs and protective buffs.

Defense- 

Defense is your primary form of Damage Mitigation. Defense functions on its on now, as opposed to being converted into what used to be called Damage Taken or Damage Resistance. The cap for Defense now is only 50%, which is quite a bit lower than it used to be in previous mods. While there are still a few forms of Damage Mitigation outside of our stat caps, they are less common than they were before Mod 16 and therefore are not reliable substitutes for stacking actual Defensive stats. This stat is the first one that you’ll try to cap if you’re tanking, and since this stat opposes enemy Armor Penetration, you will need to reach 50,000 Defense + whatever amount of Armor Penetration the enemy has in that queue. Most notably, you’ll need 68,000 for Lair of the Mad Mage and 80,000 for Tower of the Mad Mage.

Critical Avoidance-

Critical Avoidance is your secondary defensive stat, and once Mod 17 drops it will be important to cap this stat as well to protect yourself from enemy critical strikes and severity. In Mod 16, enemies aren’t actually landing critical strikes which is a known issue. This just means that in Mod 16, you can basically ignore this stat. The critical strike chance for enemies is 50% (same as for us) so you need 50,000 Critical Avoidance + 5,000 + enough to counter enemy critical strike. Once Mod 17 drops, you’ll need 73,000 Critical Avoidance for Lair of the Mad Mage and 85,000 for Tower of the Mad Mage.

Once you’ve capped Defense and Critical Avoidance, it is playstyle and situational preference whether or not you’d like to cap the last two stats, or just start stacking into Maximum Hit Points.

Awareness-

Awareness is the stat that counters enemy Combat Advantage. Basically, Combat Advantage means that when you’re surrounded by enemies they deal more damage to you, and Awareness reduces the bonus damage enemies gain against you when positioned in Combat Advantage. In practice, this means that this stat is only useful if the enemies can gain combat advantage against you. In Tower of the Mad Mage for example, Halaster cannot gain Combat Advantage against you except in a very situational circumstance during one of the mechanics. So in the Mod 17 ToMM trial, Awareness isn’t needed. In other content such as Lair of the Mad Mage, Awareness can be helpful if you find yourself in situations where you are suffering from Combat Advantage damage. In this case, a well-played Fighter can forgo Awareness as long as they know how to shuffle the enemies and reposition themselves outside of enemy Combat Advantage. If this is an area in which you struggle, then Awareness is a helpful next Defensive stat to cap.

Deflection- 

Deflection is a form of chance based survivability. Deflection when procced halves the damage that you take (with 50% deflection severity which is the base amount of severity you have). Your damage is first mitigated through your Defense, and then that damage is cut in half when you successfully deflect. Deflection can be a good means of preventing a large amount of damage from taking your Hit Points, but it IS still a chance. You would want a large Deflection % to make stacking Deflection reliable as a means of survivability. 100% deflect would guaranteed that every hit you take is halved, but it is very difficult to achieve that number. You could imagine that if 50% of the time you take half damage and the other 50% of the time you don’t, even 50% percent can be pretty unreliable. If you get hit for 1,000,000 in ToMM and you deflect that to 500,000 you’re going to live, and that’s great! However, because Deflect isn’t 100% consistent/reliable it’s probably the absolute last defensive stat you would want to stack on a tank build.

 

 

 

Offensive Stats:

Power-

Power is your damage. Stacking more Power allows you to hit harder. Power stat does not have a cap, and only at extremely high numbers (200,000+) could only argue that the stat isn’t as effective past a certain point. But considering there is no hard cap, more power equals more damage regardless of how much you have. For a tank, this stat will just help with holding aggro as aggro is a combination of how much damage we deal and how much threat we generate. For a DPS, power is the ultimate way to boost damage once you’ve hit all your other offensive stat cap requirements.

Armor Penetration-

Armor Penetration is the mechanic that pierces through enemy Defense. Armor Penetration is important for both tanking and DPS. DPS need to cap Armor Penetration because they can’t deal maximum damage if they can’t hit enemies past their Defense. Armor Penetration is important for tanks because without it, they will deal significantly less damage than their DPS allies and this will effect the ability to hold aggro. In Lair of the Mad Mage, you’ll need 68,000. For Tower of the Mad Mage, you’ll need 80,000.

Accuracy-

Accuracy is the mechanic that makes it possible to beat enemy Deflection chances. Accuracy is important for both a DPS and a Tank to cap because it will ensure that any damage dealt will be at full value to the target. If you hit an Anvil of Doom for 600,000 and the enemy deflects it down to 300,000, that’s a huge disappointment. It’s not good for dealing good damage as a DPS, and it’s not good for holding aggro as a tank, so make sure you cap this stat. In LoMM you’ll need 68,000 and in ToMM you’ll need 80,000.

Critical Strike-

Critical Strike is otherwise known as Critical Chance %. When you crit, you deal more damage than normal. The Critical Strike cap in Mod 17 is 50%, and all classes have a base Critical Strike of 5,000. This is an important stat for DPS to cap as Critical Hits combined with Combat Advantage and Critical Severity lead to big damage numbers. On tank, crit can be helpful with aggro, especially when you’re positioned for Combat Advantage and are also invested in that stat. I wouldn’t worry about Critical Strike on tank until you’ve capped most of the rest of your stats. You’ll need 68,000 Crit to reach 50% in LoMM, and 80,000 to reach 50% in ToMM.

Combat Advantage-

Combat Advantage in Mod 16 onward is now a main offensive stat as opposed to a Tertiary Stat that while it gave a bonus, wasn’t a huge factor into our stat distribution pre-Mod 16. When you are positioned for Combat Advantage, meaning that you and a teammate are standing on opposites sides of an enemy, you’re in a state of Combat Advantage where you will deal more damage from this positioning. This combined with Critical Strike and Critical Severity helps lead to big damage numbers. The cap for Combat Advantage is 100%, but it’s important to know that all classes have a base Combat Advantage stat of 10,000. Additionally, Fighter has a special General Feature where we gain % Combat Advantage based on how much Stamina/Guard you have left. If you’re at max Stamina that is the equivalent of having 10,000 Combat Advantage stat for free. The stat requirement for LoMM is 118,000 and in ToMM it is 130,000. If you’re confident that you can keep your Stamina bar near maxed most of the time, then you could subtract 10,000 from the above stat goal. Realistically, you can count on this bonus 10,000 CA for DPS Dreadnought, but it is not going to be helpful on Vanguard Tank as we are usually not at full stamina. As a DPS, this stat is mandatory for good damage dealing, and this should be a priority to cap as well as always push to position for CA in your groups. As a tank, CA can help with aggro/damage especially when your hard hitting DPS has invested so much in it, but chances are you won’t completely cap it. Focus on capping this after you’ve capped your main important stats.

 

 

Utility Stats:

There are other kinds of stats that are much harder to come by and mostly serve a purpose of utility, and we will call those Utility Stats. Some of the Utility Stats have a high relevance in group content, while some are insignificant and only serve a personal purpose such as Experience Gain, Glory Gain, and Gold Gain. We will mostly be focusing on Utility Stats that have relevance to group content.

 

AP Gain-

This stat helps you build you Action Points faster. Popping your Daily powers is an important way to protect yourself/teammates if you’re a tank, or deal great burst damage if you’re a DPS. Unfortunately, long gone are the days of Daily Spamming, and therefore investments in AP Gain aren’t really worth it. It’s best to save your daily for the right moment then to try and build for faster dailies and learn to depend on them.

Control Bonus-

This stat helps your control powers to last longer/perform better. This is not a stat we need to focus on in PVE content. In PVP it may help a little bit but it’s still pretty far down the list as far as usefulness goes.

Control Resist-

This stat helps you avoid being stunned, knocked, dazed, etc. Really, it reduces the time that control powers apply to you (so it’s the opposite of control bonus). This is a decent option when it comes to boons but we won’t go out of our way for this bonus. Wearing an Elven Battle armor enchantment is one great way to dump into this stat in bulk.

Stamina/Guard Gain-

This stat helps you regenerate lost stamina. It does NOT slow down the consumption of stamina. This stat is one of the most important functions on a Fighter because we rely on using our shield for protection and in some cases for maintaining damage buffs. An Elven Battle is one way to greatly increase this stat in one go.

Incoming Healing Bonus-

This stat increases the potency of healing both from outside sources as well as self-procced heals. This is probably the single most important stat for a tank in utility now, and it is quite useful for all classes and play styles for ensuring survivability. Additionally, this stat makes it a lot easier for the healer to do their job. This will be the main Tertiary Stat we pursue.

Companion Influence-

This stat increases the amount of stat that companions give to you. This stat is ok, but the stat pales in comparison to Incoming Healing which is the big decision to make as far as utility slots go. Companion Influence improves its value on summoned companions. However, mostly we are using augment companions for their high stat acquisition, and with an augment, companion influence provides very little stat.

Recharge Speed-

This stat makes it so that your powers have a shorter cool down than normal. In reality, this stat isn’t really worth investing. Back when this was tied into Recovery in pre-Mod 16, this was one of the best stats to have. The game has changed, and this stat is now almost completely irrelevant.

Critical Severity-

This stat makes it so that when you crit, you can deal a higher amount of a damage. We will take critical severity whenever possible, and the only time we would hesitate is if the opposing option was power (on our DPS). Critical Severity can help with aggro while tanking, but we would only take it if stats like Stamina Gain and Incoming Healing Bonus weren’t offered.

Movement-

One of the best quality of life stats in the game! The faster you move, the best you can maneuver yourself in combat, and the faster you can complete your queue. Time is money, and there is nothing bad about clearing those long stretches between boss fights even faster. We take movement speed bonus on both Tank and DPS when possible.

Mechanics: 

In this section, I will describe the basic functionality of the Fighter class, as well as some other mechanical aspects of gameplay. In some instances, this will very much be an explanation of tooltips, which some readers of this guide will not need. However, I will try to break things down in a way that is comprehensible for all readers.

*This is the newest section of my guide and I will rely on readers to ask me in the comments which aspects of gameplay they would like explained or wish to gain clarity on. If there’s something you’d like to know, just ask!

Powers:

With the introduction of Mod 16 and the class overhauls, we see a rework to the way powers are shared and differentiated between class Paragons. Which powers are shared among Paragons and which ones aren’t a lot easier to see now. All of the low level powers towards the left of the powers page are shared amongst both Dreadnought and Vanguard, and the higher level power towards the right of the powers page are the specialized powers that are different for each Paragon. Below I’ll list each of the powers, describe their usefulness (or uselessness…), and show you when I use certain powers so you know how to best contribute to your team. If you’re still leveling and you must choose damage encounters as placeholders for my suggested powers, you can always look at the magnitude and go with the highest one available. Usually we want the highest magnitude powers at least for DPS, but not always depending on feats and the combat situation.

 

Shared Powers- Vanguard and Dreadnought:

 

At-Wills: 

Cleave- Deals 25 magnitude in an arc in front of you. Wide range for keeping aggro on mobs, but this power is mostly useful on Vanguard for triggering the Cleaving Bull feat on AOE.

Brazen Slash- Deals 55 magnitude and also restores Stamina. This is a good pick for bosses when your Stamina is most important.

Shield Bash- Deals 20 magnitude when used while guarding. Not super useful. This is only available while guarding.

Guarded Strike- Deals 60 magnitude when used while guarding. If you wanted to keep attacking while guarding to maintain aggro, this is the power to use. This is only available while guarding.

 

Encounters: 

Shield Slam- Deals 200 magnitude in a line in front of you and knocks back enemies. Not super good for Vanguard as you’ll want to group enemies up, not knock them away. You could use the power to know enemies together, but this is probably more work than its worth. This power is useful for AOE DPS on Dreadnought.

Knee Breaker- Deals 500 magnitude, and places a slow on the target for 8 seconds. Slow effect doesn’t work if the target is immune to Control (Bosses). Not useful for Vanguard, and for Dreadnought DPS there are better options.

Bull Charge- Deals 400 magnitude and knocks enemies back by lunging at them from a distance. When feated to remove the knock back, this power has great utility for tanking as it allows you to close the gap and get into the fight first. On DPS, this is arguably the second best damage encounter for our single target rotation.

Shield Throw- Deals 250 magnitude and stuns targets for 3 seconds. This power is useful for use at range. On Vanguard when feated, this power deals less damage but increases aggro and lowers cool down. This is almost always a must on single target boss fights, and works well for mobs and aggroing groups together. On DPS Dreadnought, this power isn’t useful.

Anvil of Doom- Deals 680 magnitude and is a fantastic power for both Vanguard and Dreadnought. On Vanguard, taking the Class Feature for aggro helps ensure effortless aggro on single targets. On DPS, this is our hardest hitting encounter power when feated for the 980 Magnitude and 4 second cool down reduction.

 

Dailies: 

Earthshaker- Deals 580 damage in a radius and stuns targets for 3 seconds. Given how valuable our dailies are, I wouldn’t waste my AP on this power in AOE either for Vanguard or Dreadnought.

Second Wind- Increases your Maximum Hit Points by 20%, restores the amount of HP increased, and recovers a portion of your damage dealt by most attacks as hit points for 10s. This power is not like it’s former relative, Fighter’s Recovery. The heals are relatively weak and the buff to Maximum HP while nice, is super niche. Since we don’t get dailies often, I wouldn’t count on the bonuses of this daily for regular gameplay. It’s only real usefulness is to buff your HP to survive big one shot mechanics, but only if timed right and if you know your HP is the difference between life and death.

Determination- Removes and grants immunity to most control effects, and increases damage dealt by 10% for seconds. Again, since this power cannot be used often, it’s not super relevant to rely on it for the occasional damage buff and CC breakout.

 

Class Feature: 

Greater Endurance- Increases your movement speed by 10% whenever your stamina is full. Your speed decreases as your stamina decreases. This is a option for both Vanguard and Dreadnought. Faster movement between mobs equals faster runs and in the case of a tank, a better chance you’ll get to the enemies first to establish aggro. One could leave this on all the time, but really it’s only useful on mobs.

Vigorous Strikes- Increases your critical hit rate by 10% whenever your stamina is full. Decrease the amount of critical hit rate gains as your stamina decreases. Our goal is to cap our stats, so we will avoid this option on principle.

Combat Superiority- Whenever you activate an encounter or daily power, increase the damage dealt by your at-wills by 105 for 10 seconds. This is a good source of extra damage on Dreadnought and aggro on Vanguard. In reality, our at-wills don’t deal a whole lot of damage but it is still somewhat helpful. If you want to be efficient, you’ll be swapping this in and out situationally, but more on that in the rotation section.

Shield Talent- Increases stamina regeneration. This options is ok for beginners, but shouldn’t be needed at end game. This is especially true if you decide to use an Elven Battle armor enchantment.

 

Vanguard Specific Powers:

 

At-Wills: 

Tide of Iron- Deals 80 magnitude ti one target, and increases threat generation for 10s. This is a good single target aggro power due to it’s high magnitude and the bonus threat generation.

Threatening Rush- Deals 60 magnitude by lunging at an enemy, and deals increased threat. Some will say this is for single target fighting since it only targets on enemy at a time. However, I’d argue it’s best for AOE because it offers the option of mobility between targets on the field. Being able to close the gap between targets is super helpful, and the threat generation bonus is appreciated on AOE as otherwise we wouldn’t have a threat bonus from our at-wills as Tide of Iron isn’t really suitable for AOE.

 

Encounters:

Enforced Threat- Threaten nearby enemies within a 30 foot radius, placing you at the top of their threat list. This power also reduces the awareness of all target by 10,000 for 10 seconds. This power is often necessary for holding aggro on AOE as the trick to aggro is to constantly have every target in the room’s attention. Bluntly, you must attack everything always or else the target will get bored and move on to target your healer or dos teammates. This power does not need to be used on bosses unless there are mobs within the boss fight that need tank control.

Knight’s Challenge- Deals 80 magnitude and instantly restores 50% of your stamina. Also, deal damage to your attackers whenever you block. This power isn’t really useful at all, even for the panic 50% stamina refill. We will not want to be in a state of relying on an encounter power for our source of stamina.

Linebreaker- Deals 160 magnitude by lunging at your target and damaging enemies behind them in a cone. This power also increases threat. As this power deals AOE damage and increases our threat, this power is often necessary on mobs, sometimes in conjunction with Enforced Threat.

Iron Warrior- Decreases incoming damage by 20% for 8 seconds. This power has niche use for instances where your can predict the big hits and you know well enough that damage reduction is your source of survivability. For example, this power is relevant in ToMM to help protect from Annihilation damage, but this power should not be needed for regular use as long as you’re not under geared for the content you’re running.

Knight’s Valor- Cover the nearest party member and take the damage that would normally be dealt to them. Threat generated by your covered ally is transferred to you and this effect lasts for 10 seconds. This power is super niche for assisting a teammate you know can’t survive an upcoming hit. Typically, we shouldn’t need to be using this in our power though.

 

Dailies:

Bladed Rampart- Deals 250 magnitude and decreases enemy damage taken by 30% for 10 seconds. Also, you deal damage to attackers whenever you take damage. When feated, this power also negates the effects of Combat Advantage against you. With the feat, I find this daily to be the best for personal panic moments where your survival rating is uncertain. A huge damage reduction plus the effects of CA eliminated for a brief period can do wonders to take the heat off you long enough for your healer to get you caught back up on refilling your hit points.

Phalanx- You gain immunity to most control effects and construct a barrier around you and allies, reducing the damage taken by 20% for all allies within the barrier. The barrier lasts for 14 seconds, unless canceled early by guarding. This daily power is great for instances where your individual survivability isn’t the issue, but rather the survivability of the party. The CC immunity doesn’t really work as intended, so this really only works when your whole team his huddle together awaiting a huge hit such as Trobriand’s blast after the coil phase. This also only works if you know you can take the hit without guarding so that you’re able to provide the damage reduction to everybody.

 

Class Features: 

Ferocious Reaction- Deal 24 magnitude to enemies whenever you deflect an attack. Deflection is capped at 50% and the magnitude damage is minimal. This option isn’t really valuable for us at all.

Steel Recovery- Whenever you use an encounter power or Daily power, restore 5% of your stamina. This is a good alternative to Shield Talent if you’re in need of help with Stamina management. However, we shouldn’t need to use this in typical scenarios.

Anvil of Challenge- Anvil of Doom no places you at the top of the target’s threat list. This power only effects on target as Anvil of Doom is a single target power. This power is practically mandatory for single target boss encounters and holding aggro. This feat makes keeping the boss’s aggro much easier.

Enduring Warrior- Take 5% less damage when you are below 25% of your maximum hit points. We should never consistently be this low on HP, and if we are we have bigger problems. We will not be using this options as it is not helpful to us when built properly.

 

Dreadnought Specific Powers:

 

At-Wills:

Heavy Slash- Deals 100 magnitude and increases damage dealt by 5% for 12 seconds. This power is one of our few self-buffs and therefore is going to be a mandatory power option for optimizing our DPS output in both AOE and Single Target.

Reave- Deals 30 magnitude. This power isn’t super useful to use with its low range and weak magnitude.

 

Encounters:

Commander’s Strike- Deals 400 magnitude and increase the target’s vulnerability to physical damage attacks by 10% for 10 seconds. This helps increase the damage that you do, as well as the damage of other physical damage classes to this target such as Rogue, Hunter, and Barbarian. A buff to ours and ally damage as well as good magnitude makes this power mandatory for optimized DPS output in Single Target.

Tremor- Deals 250 magnitude in a 15 foot radius. Combined with the Prepared Slam feat, this power will be mandatory for optimizing our DPS output in AOE.

Into The Fray- Increases the movement speed of yourself and allies by 20% for 8 seconds. Allies must be within 50 feet at the time of casting in order to receive benefits. This power also instantly restores 100% of your stamina. This power is only beneficial if you’re trying to speed up the dungeon run by increasing party movement speed between mobs. If your group is not the speed running type, then you can run all 3 damaging AOE encounters. If your group is extremely efficient and fast paced, you can use this power to speed the run up at the sacrifice of 1 damaging AOE encounter (Shield Slam or Tremor).

Griffon’s Wrath- Deals 840 magnitude by delivering a three-hit combo to the target. This magnitude is for total combo completion, and so failure to complete the combo will result in less damage. Arguably, this is the second best Single Target power for our damage. Bull Charge can sometimes out perform this power due to its quick cast time/animation, and cool down as long as it is feared with Momentum (otherwise Knee Breaker would be the next highest damaging power). Griffon’s Wrath technically has more magnitude, but if you’re in a situation where completing the combo is tough to do, then arguably it isn’t the second best damaging encounter even though technically on paper it deals more magnitude than Bull Charge.

Onslaught- Deals 30 magnitude to nearby targets in a 20 foot radius and stuns enemies for 1 second. This is our most powerful damaging AOE encounter and therefore is mandatory for optimizing DPS output on AOE. This power unfortunately also has the longest animation of all 3 damaging AOE encounters, so use this one as soon as you’ve arrived and positioned for CA to optimize your damage.

 

Dailies: 

Shockwave- Deals 620 magnitude in a 50 foot line in front of you and knocks back enemies. This power, even when feared isn’t worthwhile. We won’t waste a daily power on mob clears.

Mow Down- Deals 1600 magnitude and knocks back enemies with a two-hit combo. This is our heaviest hitting power in our arsenal and is mandatory for optimizing our Single Target DPS output. When feated, this power does 2000 magnitude when under the effects of Commander’s Strike. This is our single most important source of burst damage on Dreadnought.

 

Class Features:

Momentum- Bull Charge no locker knocks back targets, but deals an additional 200 magnitude. Movement speed is increased by 20% after running for 2 seconds and movement bonus ceases when movement stops. This options is great for keeping up speed in dungeons, but this option will be mandatory if you decide to use Bull Charge on single target for the increased damage. If you’re going to use Bull Charge as I often do, you’ll run this power full time.

Heated Vengeance- Increases the rate at which stamina is converted into vengeance while under the effect of Seethe. This power is not helpful as it is unnecessary. It is rather easy to keep vengeance topped off so we will not be needing to use this option.

Steady Vengeance- Whenever you are under the effect of a guard and in combat, your vengeance gauge will not deplete. This option has no practical use in group content, as we are able to easily replenish and maintain our vengeance without the help of a Class Feature.

Enduring Vengeance- Every 10 seconds your Vengeance Guage is above 50%, you gain 1% damage and this effect may stack 5 times for a total of 5% bonus damage. This effect ends when Vengeance drops below 50%. This is our best Class Feature option for increasing our DPS. This is mandatory for optimizing both our AOE and Single Target DPS output. This power must always be on if you’re maintain your Enduring Vengeance stacks. If you accidentally swap this power out, you’ll need to build your buff stacks all over again. So even when you’re sitting in the Yawning Portal, this buff should be maintained so that you’re always ready for a queue. If you’re not able to manage the stacks for a long period of time, temporarily swap to a Vanguard load out and your Vengeance Guage progress will be retained until you swap back to Dreadnought and are ready to run content.

 

Rotations:

Below, I will explain my go-to powers for both AOE and Single Target scenarios, as well as reasons I may change powers situationally. Sometimes, rotation and power preferences can be heavily affected by playstyle, so I’ll do my best to explain my playstyle and reasoning for my power choices so you can more easily apply my information into your playing.

 

Tanking Rotation:

For Tanking, the power usage is more about timing for the correct moment rather than using everything in a pre-determined sequence for optimization (Rotation). Since tanks have to manage aggro, we must appropriately time our powers to make sure that aggro is not lost.

AOE:

I typically use Linebreaker, Enforced Threat, and Bull Charge. I like this set up because Enforced Threat is a hard taunt that forces me to the top of the enemy threat list for each target hit. This hits in an AOE and is one of our most important aggro powers. Linebreaker is great too because it offers a bonus to threat generation and it hits in an AOE which is also super important for managing large groups of mobs. Bull Charge is great for getting into the fight first as it has a very long lock-on range for its lunge. Bull Charge also works well with the Cleaving Bull feat which adds an additional damage proc whenever multiple targets are hit (AOE). I use Threatening Rush for the extra threat generation and the maneuverability on the field. If I see an enemy beginning to aggro on an ally (Yellow Threat Bar), then I’ll smack them with Threatening Rush, especially if my aggro powers are on cooldown. Cleave is used in between encounter cooldowns. When you start the fight, you can charge in with Bull Charge, use Enforced Threat on the group, and hold Dig In until your shield is red. When It’s red, you release Dig In and you’ll deal bonus AOE damage when feated correctly. At this point good threat should be established, and you should take care to alternate Enforced Threat and Linebreaker so that you always have one of those powers in reserve to use on enemies should an ally begin to pull their aggro. Spamming the threat powers back to back leaves you vulnerable to loosing aggro towards the end of their cooldown. If you team has good efficiency, you can time your AOE threat powers so that you always have at least one power ready for each group of mobs by alternating Enforced Threat and Linebreaker as your starting power between mobs. The key to aggro on mobs is to give every single target love and attention. If you’re not constantly attacking, the enemy will get bored with you so the best way to not lose aggro is to use powers that can target in an AOE. Namely, Enforced Threat, Linebreaker, and Dig In should be enough for this once you get the rhythm down. Also, I don’t use my daily powers on AOE.

Optional substitutes which I would sometimes use include swapping out Shield Throw for Bull Charge or Linebreaker. If you’re able to successfully hold aggro on all the enemies then you could swap out Linebreaker for Shield Throw so that you can pull groups from farther away to help group enemies together. If you don’t prefer to charge in with Bull Charge, you could swap Shield Throw here too instead of Linebreaker.

 

Single Target:

I typically use are Shield Throw, Anvil of Doom, and Bull Charge against bosses. Shield Throw and Anvil of Doom are slotted because they are single target aggro powers (Anvil of Doom is only when use Anvil of Challenge Class Feature). I also like to use Bull Charge to lunge in first to the boss to ensure I set the aggro threshold. In this set-up, I would start with Bull Charge and then just use Bull Charge on cooldown to keep big damage hits on the boss. I would then use Anvil of Doom followed by Shield Throw. Then I would use Dig In for the Red Retaliation proc as described above. At this point you must make sure you’re constantly attacking with at-wills unless you need to block or until your powers are off cooldown. You can actually keep attacking even with your shield up by using your at-will buttons. After the initial usage of Shield Throw and Anvil of Doom, if you want to be safe you can hold your Anvil of Doom until you see any allies beginning to gain threat (Yellow Bar above their health bar) as a panic reset on your threat generation, and just use Shield Throw off cooldown since with the feat, we get to use that every 6 seconds anyways. I like to use Brazen Slash on bosses for the Stamina Regeneration instead of Cleave, and you can use Tide of Iron or Threatening Rush as your second at-will for bonus threat. Usually I just keep Threatening Rush on 24/7 as the maneuverability provides a lot of utility at the cost of slightly less magnate (damage) than Tide of Iron. For Daily powers, I use Bladed Rampart of decreased incoming damage and CA damage mitigation if I’m at risk for dying, or Phalanx if protecting my group from a big one shot mechanic.

Optional substitutes for powers depending on the situation would be Enforced Threat and Linebreaker if you’re in a boss fight with a lot of mobs. A good example of this is the final boss fight in LoMM. In there I will use Linebreaker, Anvil of Doom, and Enforced Threat. Linebreaker and Enforced Threat work for single target too, but the reason we swap in the first place to Shield Throw and Bull Charge is because of damage and cooldown that we gain in exchange for losing the ability to hit multiple targets.  Also, don’t forget to use Dig In to proc Retaliation (Red Shield) for more damage and aggro. In this set-up, use your Enforced Threat and Linebreaker as if you were in an AOE rotation as describe above, and then use Anvil of Doom on the boss when it is off cooldown. Another sometimes useful power is Iron Warrior. Hopefully, if your group is good you shouldn’t need this power regularly, but should you get into a run where your heals are weak or your group is having trouble outlasting a slow DPS fight, this power can help reduce your incoming damage to give you a little bit more time to survive. Usually, I’d just go into my menu and swap this power in real quickly for niche moments such as Gigawatts in LoMM at the second boss, or the battery charge wipe in LoMM at the third boss if the group was weak and took to long to destroy the batteries. Ideally, you shouldn’t need to rely on Iron Warrior regularly.

 

DPS Rotation: 

For DPS, we will be sticking to a very precise order of powers in order to optimize of damage output (Rotation), as opposed to the sort of timing and power management style of tanking on Vanguard. We will try to do as much damage per second, with a small consideration given for group utility and efficiency.

 

AOE:

The powers we should use for maximum damage on AOE: I use Heavy Slash and Brazen Slash as my at-wills, Shield Slam, Tremor, and Onslaught as my encounters, and I don’t use my daily on mobs. Heavy Slash is always first because it gives us a damage bonus for 12 seconds. When feated properly, using Heavy Slash will consume its buff overtime I use an AOE power and hit more than one enemy. This means that we will use Heavy Slash, Encounter, Heavy Slash, Encounter, etc when fight mobs. Onslaught is our hardest hitting AOE power so I use Heavy Slash, and as soon as I have as much combat advantage on enemies as possible I’ll use Onslaught. Then I’ll follow up with Heavy Slash and Tremor. Lastly, I’ll finish up with Heavy Slash and Shield Slam. Shield Slam throws the enemies around so I try to use this last so that the move kills the target and I don’t have to worry about the knock back. Alternatively, if needed you can use Shield Slam to actually throw mobs together if they’re too spread out, then use Heavy Slash and Onslaught, etc. If you run out of encounters and are still fighting, just chip away with Brazen Slash and make sure that your Heavy Slash buff stays up (once every 12 seconds, recasting if you use an AOE power).

Optional substitutes for AOE include swapping Into The Fray with Shield Slam to help yourself and teammates move about the dungeon faster. This is really only a valuable option if the group you’re running with can kill mobs fast enough for you to not have to use more than Tremor and Onslaught before moving to the next group. If the group can’t kill mobs that fast, then it’s likely they’ll need your extra damage from Shield Slam to keep the run moving faster. You could always swap between Into the Fray and Shield Slam in between mob encounters if you auto-walk and want to really try to maximize your effeciency.

 

Single Target:

The powers we should use to maximize our damage on Single Target: I use Heavy Slash and Brazen Slash for my At-Wills, Commander’s Strike, Anvil of Doom, and Bull Charge/Griffon’s Wrath for my Encounters, and Mod Down for my Daily. For the purposes of defining the rotation, we will say that the rotation is everything that can fit within a 10 second window for our burst damage as that is the standard length for Debuffs and buff artifacts as well as mount combat powers. The order is as followed, and the faster you can do it the better. Swarm Combat Power, Soul Sight Crystal, Heavy Slash, Commander’s Strike, Anvil of Doom, Bull Charge/Griffon’s Wrath, and finishing with Mod Down. It seems like a lot but it is all easy to fit with in 10 seconds time frame with some practice. A variation to this rotation can be viable if you’re running with a really good tank and you’re using the Music Box Set. The previous rotation works for Demo set (best overall damage buff), or any other set you have as a placeholder until you get Demo set. The following rotation is adjusted to maximize the use of the Music Box Set, but this set is only good if you have a reliable tank and it’s only good for single target so you’d only use it if the group was extremely efficient: Swarm, Soul Sight Crystal, Heavy Slash, Commander’s Strike, Mod Down, Anvil of Doom, and finishing with Bull Charge/Griffon’s Wrath.

Bull Charge versus Griffon’s Wrath- optional controversial power swap:

Griffon’s Wrath technically deals the second highest damage next to Anvil of Doom (when feated) followed by Bull Charge. Commander’s Strike deals 400 magnitude which is actually 5th place for damage, but it’s always in our rotation to buff Mod Down and all of our physical damage. So when comparing Bull Charge and Griffon’s Wrath, we need to look at a few variables. These variables are damage, cooldown, animation length, and damage window opportunity. In my opinion, with a well coordinated group, Bull Charge is better because while it has a less magnitude than Griffon’s Wrath, it is quick to cast and has a short cooldown. Griffon’s Wrath does more magnitude but you only get the full magnitude if you complete the three-hit combo which sometimes isn’t possible if the boss moves, a phase ends prematurely, or if you get stunned or knocked around. If any of those things happens the Griffon’s Wrath was almost a wasted attempt at dealing damage. Also, the animation time for Griffon’s Wrath is really long, so in the best groups where you can one or two phase the bore worm for example, there is simply not enough time to wait on that full animation. However, in slower groups where buff timing isn’t relevant and phase canceling isn’t a thing, then you would do better to use Griffon’s Wrath instead of Bull Charge, but for top tier groups and fast boss phases Bull Charge is the best. You may even prefer Bull Charge in a slower group if you find yourself unable to complete the Griffon’s Wrath combo as stated above. Keep in mind that this argument is only valid as long as you are using the Momentum Class Feature, which for me is always on.

 

 

Feats:

Vanguard versus Dreadnought

The discussion of Paragon Paths and Feat selections were greatly simplified with the reworks introduced in Mod 16. Now, choosing your Paragon is as simple as deciding what role you’d like to play within the game. If you’d like to be a Tank, then you’ll pick Vanguard! If you’d like to DPS, you’ll pick Dreadnought! Of course, one can always skew the lines a little bit by creating a so called “hybrid” build by building for damage on Vanguard or by building for more survivability on Dreadnought to serve as an off-tank, but these hybrid type builds will only be moderately successful and the success mostly will shine through with weak groups. I hope to upload pictures soon as soon as I can deal with the issue of upload quality and resolution but for now, I’ll format this section by describing each feat as the choice you have to choose between and discuss why I picked each feat over the other option.

 

Vanguard Feats: 

 

Shield Thrower versus Staying Power

  • Shield Thrower– Shield Throw now generates additional threat, its cooldown is reduced to 6 seconds, its magnitude is reduced to 250, and it no longer stuns targets.
  • Staying Power- Enforced Threat now grants the added effect of increasing threat generated by at-wills for 6 seconds.

In most situations, I prefer to feat into Shield Thrower because the 5.7 second cooldown on Shield Throw plus it’s added threat generation is an “almost” spammable aggro tool, and its good for throwing ahead to pull the next group of mobs in to help you group up the mobs for an easier DPS clear. On single target, this is an excellent way to boost aggro generation. One could argue that Staying Power is better suited for mobs while Shield Thrower is better suited for bosses, and I would agree with that statement. However, even if one does not use Shield Throw on mobs (I usually don’t anymore), Staying Power is not necessary to use on mobs if you manage Enforced Threat and Linebreaker well. For one load out that works for both mobs and single target, I recommend Shield Thrower. If you want to have a separate loadout for mobs an single target, then you can choose to use Staying Power on mobs, but I definitely don’t think it’s necessary on bosses and not better than Shield Thrower on bosses.

 

Rising Tide versus Cleaving Bull

  • Rising Tide- Tide of Iron now grants the effect of Rising Tide, causing you to deal additional physical damage whenever an attack strikes multiple enemies.
  • Cleaving Bull– Bull Charge no longer knocks back targets and now grants the effect of Cleaving Bull, causing you to deal additional physical damage whenever an attack strikes multiple enemies.

I always use Cleaving Bull not only because Bull Charge is a popular tanking power for me (especially on mobs which this feat is aimed towards), but because I do not really use Tide of Iron in practice. Tide of Iron in theory is a great single target threat generation power but so is Threatening Rush. One could use both on bosses for aggro, but boss aggro is really easy and so I do well enough using Threatening Rush the entire dungeon which always helps with threat and provides be extra mobility when needed. Since I’ve already explained my reasoning for not needing or using Tide of Iron, I’ve explained with Rising Tide feat is not useful to me. Cleaving Bull actually IS useful to me though because while Bull Charge is a single target power (but the feat is aimed towards AOE mobs), I use Bull Charge to get into each mob group before the rest of the group by charging in, and so following this playstyle allows me to boost the damage my follow-up Enforced Threat deal additional damage via procs from Cleaving Bull feat. Also, from a damage/aggro standpoint, Bull Charge + 40 magnitude from Cleaving Bull feat is way more damage and threat generation than Tide of Iron + 25 magnitude from Rising Tide.

 

Critical Deflection versus Combat Balance

  • Critical Deflection- Whenever you deflect an attack you recover up to 10 stamina if your critical strike rating matches or exceeds your deflect rating. Stamina recovered decreases as critical rate decreases. This effect may not occur when blocking and may only occur once every 5 seconds.
  • Combat Balance– Whenever you are not blocking, decrease damage taken by up to 10% if your critical avoidance rating, deflect rating, and awareness rating are equal. This effect decreases the farther apart the ratings are.

Simply put, Combat Balance is infinitely better than Critical Deflection due to the fact that Combat Balance is a form of damage mitigation that will reduce the incoming damage you take that is separate from any defensive stat cap. This means that if you have all of your defensive stats capped and working in a given scenario, Combat Balance can still provide extra damage mitigation on top of that. For a tank, this feat is unmatched. Also, Critical Deflection has a pretty awkward condition to meet to get the perk, and the uptime of the buff isn’t great. Even if your stats are all over the place at first, you will still get more benefit from Combat Balance, even if you’re only get 1% damage mitigation I’d still recommend it over Critical Deflection.

 

Sharpened Senses versus Perfect Block

  • Sharpened Senses– Bladed Rampart now negates the effect of combat advantage against you.
  • Perfect Block- Determination now allows the blocking of most attacks without the use of stamina but a 180 second cooldown is imposed on Determination.

For some people, this feat choice may come down to “which power you like to use,’ but this situation is quite simple for me. Why would I want to impose a 3 minute cooldown on a daily power? If I slot a power, it’s because I find it useful. If I find it useful, I don’t want to be imposed to use it less often than I need it. Fact is, the key words in the tooltip are “allows the blocking of most attack.” This feat isn’t designed to beat tough mechanics but rather to be used as a panic button. As a panic button, I prefer Bladed Rampart. Being able to negate incoming CA damage and decrease overall damage by 30% for 10 seconds every minute (approximate time to fill my Action Points) is much better and much more reliable to be used as your “get out alive” card.

 

Shake It Off versus Deep Breathing

  • Shake It Off– Increases the magnitude of Retaliate by up to 300 base on your remaining stamina. Damage decreases as remaining stamina decreases.
  • Deep Breathing- Whenever you are under the effect of Dig In you gain the effect of Deep Breathing every 3 seconds. Deep Breathing increases damage by 4% and healing received by 4% for 10 seconds, and can stack up to 3 times.

With a little explanation, this becomes quite a simple choice to make. In order to make use of the Deep Breathing feat, you’d need to sit on the squatty potty (Dig In) for anywhere between 3 and 9 seconds to gain the buff. In actual gameplay, no one should be using Dig In for that long. The longer you sit on the squatty potty, the longer you’re gone without attacking your enemies and that could lead to a loss of aggro. A skilled Fighter will learn when just the exact right moment to use Dig In or their Shield Block is so as to not waste Stamina or time. Shake It Off is one of our best free sources of damage, which is especially helpful for holding aggro on multiple targets. When you Dig In and take damage you shield will turn red, and this is the visual confirming you’re about to Shake It Off and Retaliate. This effect deals damage in a cone which is great for holding aggro on mobs (but works well on bosses too). The more stamina you have the more damage the Retaliate will deal, so this feat also promotes proper use of the Dig In mechanic as well. The best use of this power is to get right into combat and proc Retaliate and Shake It Off on the first enemy hit you can take in combat , as this will grant you the maximum amount of damage (since your stamina should be full at the beginning of combat).

 

Dreadnought Feats: 

 

Heavier Slash versus Weight of Vengeance

  • Heavier Slash- Grants your at-will attacks a 20% chance that your next heavy slash will deal an additional 200 magnitude damage.
  • Weight of Vengeance– Grants Anvil of Doom the effect of dealing an additional 300 magnitude, recovering from cooldown 4 seconds faster, and consuming 25 vengeance. No effect if your Vengeance Guage is below 25.

As was the case with the first feat in the Vanguard Paragon, the Dreadnought Paragon has a little bit of debate and flexibility revolving around the first feat choice. Weight of Vengeance is by far the biggest increase in our DPS overall because it is a huge boost to our single target damage.  We get to use Anvil of Doom more often and it get s a huge buff to magnitude which makes it our top hitting encounter power. The loss of vengeance is not a big deal once you learn how to manage your Vengeance Meter, which I cover thoroughly in the Rotation tab. Heavier Slash is arguably useful on mobs because in slower groups where we have used our AOE powers, we must resort to a period of only using at-wills until our encounters come off of cooldown. Heavier Slash can bring some nice hits during these down times in our AOE encounter damage, but this is only really useful if your group  is taking a long time to kill mobs and if you are willing to run a second load out with Heavier Slash as the AOE choice and Weight of Vengeance as the Single Target choice. In groups I run with, we kill mobs fast enough where I typically never use my at-wils so for me Heavier Slash would be a waste, but if your groups are slower and you find yourself chipping away at mobs with at-wills, then you could consider Heavier Slash on mobs, but Weight of Vengeance on single target is a must for maximum damage output!

 

Ricochet versus Prepared Slam

  • Ricochet- Shield Throw now bounces to up to three nearby enemies dealing 30% less damage to he second target, 60% less damage to the third target, and 70% less damage to the fourth target.
  • Prepared Slam– Whenever you are under the effect of Heavy Slash your encounter powers which deal damage to multiple enemies consumes the effect of Heavy Slash to deal an additional 200 magnitude damage.

This is a sort of a weird comparison of feats. Ricochet is a feat that makes us deal LESS damage just so we can make a single target power into an AOE power. Read that again slowly, and then one more time. This feat actually makes zero logically sense. On DPS we want to deal more damage, and sacrificing damage to make a power AOE when we have three capable AOE encounter powers is a complete waste. Prepared Slam however, is a great damage boost to our arguably weak AOE DPS capability, but one must be sure how to use it correctly. The Heavy Slash damage buff which gives a 5% increase to all our damage dealt for 12 seconds must be used before every AOE encounter power we use, and it must hit more than one target. If these conditions are met, then the damage of each of those encounters powers is almost doubled. When compared to Ricochet that nerfs the damage of an already useless power for AOE DPS, this best choice for this feat is most clearly Prepared Slam.

 

Crushing Blows versus Roiling Hatred

  • Crushing Blows- Whenever you attack you have a chance to deal a crushing blow consuming 5 vengeance to deal an additional 100 magnitude damage. Your chance to deal a crushing blow is 20% when your armor penetration is equal to your power and decreases the lower your armor penetration is.
  • Roiling Hatred– Whenever you critically strike and your Vengeance Gauge is at least 50% full, restore 5 vengeance.

Another set of feats here where one choice is so obviously terrible, you wonder how the devs let something so dumb slip into the live game server. Crushing Blows is so terrible for a variety of reasons. First, the best chance to proc the bonus damage is 20% which is already a poor uptime on the perk. The 20% gets even worse since no good DPS is going to over cap armor penetration just so it can be the same as their Power rating, or even worse, lower their Power to match their armor penetration instead of trying to get Power as high as possible for maximum DPS. Also, 100 magnitude is nothing compared the the benefits of Roiling Hatred. Roiling Hatred does not provide a damage proc or buff directly, but when you understand what it does and why it is important. Roiling Hatred is the clear choice. Roiling Hatred helps us to maintain our Vengeance Gauge above 50%. This is extremely important because our Dreadnought Class Mechanic for Vengeance states we earn a 20% damage buff when above 50% Vengeance, and we have a Class Feature that will allow us to obtain an additional 5% damage buff at max stacks. So just for keeping our Vengeance Gauge above 50% we get a 25% damage buff. A damage buff of any kind is going to be way better than a couple random procs for 100 magnitude, but 25% is a hue damage buff! There is absolutely no comparison here as far as discussing which feat will lead to us optimizing our DPS output. With Roiling Hatred, it is very easy to manage and maintain our self-buffs for our damage output.

 

Landwaster versus Striker’s Mark

  • Landwaster- Grants Earthshaker the effect of applying Landwaster when the Vengeance Gauge is above 90%. Landwaster allows the execution of Shockwave with no action points by activating Earthshaker again. Doing so fully depletes the Vengeance Gauge.
  • Striker’s Mark- Grants Mow Down the effect of dealing 2000 magnitude damage if the target is affected by Commander’s Strike. Commander’s Strike is removed from the target in this case.

Now, ok the devs really implemented some absolutely terrible feats on the Dreadnought Paragon, but perhaps this one isn’t as obvious. Allow me to explain. Landwaster basically allows you the ability to grant 2 dailies when you’re above 90% Vengeance. 90% Vengeance is extremely easy to maintain and 2 dailies is like double the damage, right? Not at all actually. First, if you have to use 2 dailies to kill a group of mobs, there’s something seriously wrong with the DPS in your group. Second, in case you were wondering, you must use the follow-up Shockwave attacker almost immediately or else the effect and free daily is lost so you can’t use Earthshaker on the first set of mobs and save Shockwave for the next set of mobs. Third, and most important, the effect completely depletes your Vengeance Gauge! Remember how right above this feat we discussed how important it was to stay above 50% Vengeance in order to maintain a 25% damage increase from self-buffs? The fact that you’re supposed to deplete the Vengeance Gauge on mobs and then somehow find time to build it back up to 50%+ again is ridiculous. You’ll either get to the next mob without the damage buffs, or you’ll be late to the party because you spent too much time on the squatty potty building up your vengeance. This is the biggest trap feat we have (trap as in don’t fall for it). On the other hand, Striker’s Mark is probably one of the biggest contributors to our burst damage that we have, so in fact it is ok that they gave us such a crappy alternative against Striker’s Mark. Striker’s Mark buffs our hardest hitting single target power to deal even more damage just as long as you use Commander’s Striker before using Mow Down. for an additional 400 magnitude at a total of 2000 magnitude (plus Mow Down will benefit from Commander’s Striker as well), this feat is a very clear winner for our DPS. Mow Down is only helpful on bosses unfortunately, but for the reason explained above, you can skip Landwaster as it is the exact opposite of useful to use on mobs.

 

Bloody Reprise versus Executioner’s Cut

  • Bloody Reprise- Whenever your Vengeance Gauge drops below 50% you receive the effect of Bloody Reprise. Bloody Reprise states that whenever you use an encounter power, set your Vengeance Gauge to 75.
  • Executioner’s Cut- Whenever you attack an enemy with less than 30% hit points, deal 50 magnitude additional damage and restore 3 Vengeance.

Ok folks, you thought they were all done with trap feats but you were wrong! To be fair, this isn’t so much a trap as it is a way to enable poor performance as a Dreadnought DPS. Bloody Reprise sort of acts as a safety net to provide your will a quick way to regain Vengeance should you accidentally mess up and drop your Vengeance below 50%. We talked about this in great detail already, that we should never ever drop below 50% Vengeance because that would equate to a 25% damage loss for us. It’s not hard to keep Vengeance maxed with Roiling Hatred, good critical chance, and constant attacking so don’t fall for this scapegoat of a feat. Executioner’s Cut is not a super stellar feat, but it is functional and provides us with yet another small means to replenish Vengeance (even more reason to ignore Bloody Reprise and why you should never be low on Vengeance), and it provides a small damage increase. While the damage increase is small and conditional, we will take any damage increase as opposed to the alternative which offers no direct damage increase.

 

CAMPAIGN BOONS:

In Mod 16, the boons page and progression got overhauled, and the choices between boon became a lot more straightforward and simple to determine, so I will not be debating boons in great detail. I will provide a few guidelines for choosing the proper boons based on the current progress of your build. I will also include my own boon selections for where I’m at at with my build and stats currently.

 

Campaign Boons: 

With the changes to the Boon Page with the introduction on Mod 16, boons became quite easier to navigate and decide which boons to use. I will attach my Boon Page for both Vanguard and Dreadnought below at a later date, but for now, here is the process I use for determining which boons to use no matter what stage of development mine or a friend’s build is at no matter if I am playing Vanguard Tank or Dreadnought DPS.

  1. Use your boon points to reach your important start caps. Boons are a good way to round out your stats if you’re just a little bit under the cap so this is the first thing you should do with your boons.
  2. If you have met your stats caps and you still have boon points left over, use your points to maximize your Power and HP as those stats do not have caps.
  3. If you still have points left to use I would invest in some utility bonuses. The ones I like to invest in are Movement Speed, Companion Influence, and Control Resist.
  4. When you get to Tier 5, you will be able to make 2 of these boons. You can choose to use these 8 points to fill in Tiers 1-4 if you’re really behind on stats, or if you’re able to I would take Stamina Gain and Incoming Healing for Vanguard, with Critical Severity being an optional substitute if you’re struggling to maintain aggro. For Dreadnought, I recommend Stamina Gain and Critical Severity, with Incoming Healing being an optional substitute for Stamina Gain if you feel you manage your Stamina/Seethe well enough without it.
  5. For the Master Boons, I really like 3/3 in Focused Retaliation. This can lead to big number proc on both Vanguard and Dreadnought but taking damage is the requirement for the damage to proc. This is a must for me on Vanguard, but if you’re running Dreadnought and you feel you don’t take enough damage for Focused Retaliation to be worthwhile, then take 3/3 in Bloodlust.

Optional:

If you’re going to be running separate layouts for specific content, you can work in taking a few damage boons as they will help with either DPS or Aggro depending on your Paragon Path, but I don’t think it’s worthwhile to invest almost 30% of our boons to running Damage % boons full-time when often times you’re only going to encounter on of those types. Sometimes depending on the content you don’t benefit from any of the Damage % boons. I don’t both with them but if you wanted to have a specific load out for To9G for example (not necessary anymore) then you would probably take the damage increase to undead enemies and maybe even increased damage to dinosaurs. In general though, I skip these boons but if you have few points leftover after maxing Power. HP, my Utility preferences, Tier 5, and Master Boon then you could start dumping into a damage bonus.

 

GUILD BOONS:  

Power:

Your only viable choices for either DPS or Tanking is to use the Power boon or the Armor Penetration boon. This is personal preference, and will change the way that you build with your gear and enchantments. My philosophy is that one should always go for Power if possible as Power is an uncapped stat. You only need specific amounts of Armor Penetration depending on the content you’re running but more Power will always be beneficial and Power is harder to get than stats like Armor Penetration which can be acquired through Combined Rating.

Defense:

Defense is a bit more complicated. As a tank, you will likely use the Defense boon early on until you hit the Defense cap. After that, you can choose Incoming Healing or Hit Points. I personally choose to get Incoming Healing from elsewhere as Hit Points can be hard to get a lot of without the HP boon. Even better is having access to both Incoming Healing and Hit Points boons so that you may swap between the situational. If you’re unsure which one to use just answer this question. Which is more problematic-Am I dying because the healer isn’t able to heal me fast enough, or am I dying because I’m getting one shot? If you’re dying because the healer is having a hard time filling your HP pool, then Incoming Healing is your answer. If you’re dying because a mechanic or boss is one shooting you, then HP will likely be your answer (assuming your Defensive stats are capped).

Utility:

This boon is 100% personal preference. If you’re new to the game and need power points I would suggest using the experience boon so you can get the extra experience rewards. Otherwise, I keep mount speed bonus on all the time. Revive sickness is a good one but as good players we always hope to not go down in the first place.

PVP:

I’m including this boon since some of you may be in a guild that has this boon available, and some of you may dabble in PVP. When I go into PVP I run the Overload Slayer. My goal is to kill my target in one rotation so the overload slayer boon helps me do that, especially on the tankier classes that I slot overloads for. If you do not have the Overload Slayer boon, I would go for the Stamina Drain boon. Just be sure to use overloads according to the boon you’re using.

Equipment:

Once again, this section is getting a major change (in progress). Armor is now listed as a palette as opposed to pre-made sets in this section. Additionally, this list is not definitive. There are other choices that will work for any of the builds (particularly lower gear), but seeing as the time gap to catching up from fresh level 70 to reaching this new gear eat level 80 is considerably smaller, I have left out older gear such Drowcraft, Dusk, Alliance, Elven, and Dragonflight. If you happen to come across those feel free to use them until you get better gear, however the lists below all consider the most recent modules’ gear selection (Mod 11-17).

When choosing any equipment in this game, there are a few important considerations. The first one being accessibility (costs, content unlocked, seals, etc) and the second being the stat allocation. Below I will list all of the equipment most recent equipment I would recommend in each category, but that does not mean you must use that gear. I will highlight and explain why I’ve picked some pieces over others, but any gear that has made this has the stats required for a good build, and you should feel free to mix and match, and tailor to your playstyle.

Be sure to take a look in your collection to find out information on the stats they have and where to acquire the gear.

Vanguard-Tank Armor:

Helm:
  • Protege Helmet
  • Mane of the Manticore
  • Successor Helmet
Chest: 
  • Barkhide
  • Successor Chest Piece
Arms: 
  • Lazaric Hide Gloves
  • Successor Gloves
Boots: 
  • Gilded Spike Gaitors
  • Sparkly Slippers of Sloopna
Rings: 
  • Ebonized Assault Ring
  • Ebonized Ward Ring
Shirt:
  • Protege Shirt
  • Prized Cult Shirt
Pants: 
  • Protege Pants
  • Ebonized Pants
Artifact Neck and Belt:
  • Valhalla Set
  • Trobriand Set
  • Wyvern Set
  • Reflective Set
  • Flowers Set
Artifacts:
  • Staff of Flowers
  • Wyvern-Venom Coated Knives
  • Trobriand’s Ring
  • Arcturia’s Music Box
  • Erratic Drift Globe

 

  • Halaster’s Scepter>Charm of the Serpent>Wyvern>Lantern of Revelation>Thirst>Heart of the Black Dragon
Weapons:
  • Lionheart Set
  • Burnished Set
  • Watcher Set

When considering armor choices on a tank, I am looking for bonuses that either help me with my survivability, provide me utility or group support, or help me with my stats. This list will continue to be update so I can help guide the gear progression for new players. The above gears currently are some of my favorite pieces to use at end game. As always, until you hit your caps, you should just be equipping the new best thing for reach your stat goals. Once you reach your stat goals you can seek out gear with better bonuses and min-max your stats as you change pieces out.

 

Dreadnought-DPS Armor: 

Helm: 
  • Protege Helmet
  • Cap of the Omnipotent
Chest: 
  • Fured Kiuno of the Bear
  • Executioner’s Black Attire
  • Ebonized Chest Piece
Arms: 
  • Terrored Grips
  • Jawrippers
Boots: 
  • Enduring Boots
  • Heels of Fury
  • Boots of the Willed
  • Sparkly Slippers of Sloopna
DPS Rings: 
  • Shadowstalker +4/+5
  • Ebonized Assault Ring
Shirt:
  • Protege Shirt
  • Prized Cult Shirt
Pants: 
  • Protege Pants
  • Ebonized Pants
Artifact Neck and Belt:
  • Demogorgon Set
  • Music Box Set
Artifacts:
  • Arcturia’s Music Box
  • Staff of Flowers
  • Soul Sight Crystal
  • Trobriand’s Ring
  • Wyvern-Venom Coated Knives

 

Weapons: 
  • Lionheart Set
  • Burnished Set
  • Watcher Set
  • Alabaster Set
  • Mighty Set

 

 

When considering armor choices on a DPS, I am looking for bonuses that either help me with my damage, provide me utility or group support, or help me with my stats. This list will continue to be update so I can help guide the gear progression for new players. The above gears currently are some of my favorite pieces to use at end game. As always, until you hit your caps, you should just be equipping the new best thing for reach your stat goals. Once you reach your stat goals you can seek out gear with better bonuses and min-max your stats as you change pieces out.

 

Artifact Weapon Sets:

For DPS:

There is only one viable set for full DPS. Demon Lord’s set with the Demogorgon’s Belt, Baphomet’s Infernal Talisman, and the Shard of Orcus Wand artifact. I suppose the next best set available currently would be the Lostmauth Set, but if you’re seriously trying for DPS, the artifact set isn’t the place to cut corners. Even in Mod 13, the Demon Lord’s set is still unmatched. People have asked if I think the Apocalypse set from Mod 14 will beat the Demogorgon set. The short answer is no, but when I get to Mod 14 and can test it, I will pass along my findings.

Artifact Weapons:

Outdated Weapon Sets:
  • Golden Dragon Set
  • Elemental Fire Set
  • Burning, Howling, Earthen, Drowned Sets
  • Twisted Set
  • Shield bearer Set
  • Mirage, Fireforged, Fey, and Abolish Sets
  • Wootz Set
  • Pilgrim Set
  • Pioneer Set
  • Primal Set
  • Tyrant Set
  • Bronzewood/Stronghold Sets
Current Weapon Sets:
  • Mighty Set (CTA Seasons Reward)
  • Mountaineer Set (Trader Store)
  • Burnished Set (Seals of the Deep Vendor-Lair of the Mad Mage)
  • Alabaster Set (Master Expeditions)
  • Watcher Set (Master Expeditions Watcher Boss)
  • Lionheart Set (Tower of the Mad Mage)

So you’re probably wondering, if the weapons are outdated, why even list them? Well, particularly for the new players in Neverwinter, it is important to understand that you’re joining the game late, and so many changes have occurred since the beginning of the game. You will progress through older campaign module content and will come across many of the weapons. It’s important to know that your time grinding for the old weapons, or refining them is not valuable. Unless you want older weapons for transmutes or for very niche gameplay, you’ll do better to just run older weapons at a low rank as a placeholder until you can get newer weapons.

Among the new weapon sets are many options. It’s important to upgrade to a current weapon set not just for the base stats (much higher), but the weapon damage is much higher than older weapon sets. Weapon damage determines the range in which your attacks can deal damage. If your teammates have higher weapon damage then you, then you’re at a huge disadvantage as a tank to try and hold aggro threshold over someone who will have higher base hits than you. As DPS, it’s simply less damage so try to upgrade to a current weapon set as soon as possible.

In Mod 16, what weapons are best can depend largely on the situation one will perform in. For DPS and Tank I would recommend Alabaster or Burnished. In Mod 17, the best weapons in the game will be Lionheart which is a very rare reward from Tower of the Mad Mage. For many, this weapon set will be inaccessible for a while. When you’re ready to try and get the Lionhearted set, the preferred weapon sets for a Tank or DPS to farm ToMM are Burnished or Watcher. Another viable option for DPS in Mod 17 is the Mighty Set if you’re able to get it or have been farming the event.

Artifact Weapons- Main Hand and Off-Hand Modifications:

Vanguard Tank:

Main Hand- Threatening Rush or Cleave, basically whichever you want to use the most.

Off-Hand- 10% Incoming Healing and Health.

 

Dreadnought DPS:

Main Hand- Heavy Slash or Brazen Slash, basically whichever you want to use the most.

Off-Hand- Critical Severity and Power. you can substitute Power for a different offensive stat for which you still need to cap.

 

 

Enchantments:

Whatever stats you cannot get from your boons, artifacts, weapons, gear, and your mount you will need to supplement with enchantments. A few things about enchantments are that there are single, double, and triple stat enchantments. It is difficult to advise one on which enchantments are best for their character is it is all fine tuning. In Mod16, the game shifted to making relying on gear to get the bulk of our stats we need. This means that really, you can upgrade your Runestones on your companion and get your gear exactly the way you like it, and THEN you should start investing in your enchantments as they offer the least amount of gain for your investment. That being said, upgrading enchantments can take a long time so if you only want to make enchantments once (hard to avoid), then upgrade them last when you have a better idea of what you’ll need. Your other option is to pick an enchantment with a pretty safe spread of options so that you can upgrade them over time and not worry about if you have the totally wrong enchantment for your stat needs. With the newest update to enchantments, at max rank you get about 9% more stats if you use a double stat enchantment instead of single stat enchantment, and about 17% more stats if you use a triple stat enchantment instead of a single stat enchantment. This is quite a bit less of a increase moving to split stat enchantments than we had pre-Mod 16, so if the triple stats work for you then great. If not, you’re not losing enough stats to make it noticeable if single or double stat enchantments are giving you exactly what you need.

In Offense:

For Tanks: 
  • Radiant (Power)
  • Brutal or Cruel or Vicious (Power/Crit or Power/Accuracy or Power/Armor Pen)
  • Black Ice or Demonic or Draconic (Power-Accuracy/Crit or Armor Pen-Power/Crit or Armor Pen-Power/Accuracy)

If you looked closely, you may have noticed that I chose all enchantments that included some amount of Power to them. The reasoning for this is that Power is an uncapped stat. There are people that will argue with me that Power is not necessary on a tank, and those same people will also argue that Combat Advantage is not needed on a tank either and that these are DPS stats. However,  one could say the same thing about Armor Penetration and Accuracy. All these offensive stats aid in the process of dealing damage which whether or not people like it or accept it, does effect aggro to a certain degree. Being able to deal some type of damage matters more when you have very good DPS in your group. Power won’t help you though if you are too low on your other offensive stats so if you are capped on everything then my best recommendation is to take Radiants for maximum Power gain. If you need to fill in some stats, try picking up one of the suggested enchantments that at least includes some Power gain. If none of these enchantments work for you because you’re missing a lot of stats, try gearing up your companion and armor more before worrying about enchantments.

For DPS:
  • Radiants (Power)
  • Brutal or Cruel or Vicious (Power/Crit or Power/Accuracy or Power/Armor Pen)
  • Black Ice (Power-Accuracy/Crit)

The clear winner for offensive enchantments on any DPS class is Radiants. This is because a Radiant has 960 more power than Black Ice and any amount of Power increase is still a damage increase. If you’re low on other stats you cold use a double or triple stat option but you would be doing so at a loss of damage potential. If you’re not capped on your stats however, adding Power won’t help you a whole lot. Definitely get your companion and your armor all set up first to where you are capped on your stats so that you can invest in Radiants without fear of falling short on other stat caps.

 

In Defense:

For Tanks: 
  • Radiant (Maximum Hit Points)
  • Brutal or Wicked or Savage (HP/Defense or HP/Deflection or HP/Crit Avoidance)
  • Gigantic or Draconic or Demonic (HP-Defense/Deflection or HP-Defense/Crit Avoidance or HP-Deflection/Crit Avoidance)

Once again, if you notice the pattern for the tanks as if with offense, I focused on enchantment options with HP because HP is our uncapped Defensive stat. If you are all capped on all of your Defensive stats, then the best possible choice for an enchantment is Radiant so you get your HP as high as possible. I would like to point out that Demonic is also an extremely strong contender, and the reason is that Deflection and Critical Avoidance are a lot harder to come across on gear and therefore you’ll find they are bit harder to cap than Defense. Since you get HP plus Critical Avoidance and Deflection with a Demonic, that is a very strong substitute for the Radiant enchantment. You’ll gain 720 Deflection and Critical Avoidance each but lose 3,840 HP. Either Radiant or Demonic is a solid option in my opinion.

For DPS:
  • Radiant (Maximum Hit Points)
  • Brutal or Savage (HP/Defense or HP/Critical Avoidance)
  • Draconic or  (HP-Defense/Crit Avoidance)

In general, it’s important to understand that as a non-tank class we have to prioritize our defensive stats even more so than our tank allies. The reality is that if you cannot cap a stat, then the enemy still has countersuit working against you and therefore anything invested in that stat is much less effective. So for Defensive stats, if we can’t cap Defense or Critical Avoidance for instance, then it would’ve been better for us to invest in HP so we can take bigger hits. The only content really requiring heavy defensive stats for DPS classes in Mod 17 is Tower of the Mad Mage. If you want to try and bulk up your survivability a little bit you can try a mix of HP and Defense/Critical Avoidance options as those will be our best two capped sources of mitigation. Otherwise, HP is your best bet for overall use.

Utility:

The number one BiS enchantment for utility slots in PvE content is Tactical for Incoming Healing Bonus, hands down. It’s the only utility that actually provides a quality of life improvement to group content. That being said, you’ll see some people occasionally running Dark enchantments in utility for Companion Influence but realistically you’ll probably want to be capped on your stats before relying on Companion Influence, and your healer will thank you for running Tacticals regardless of if you’re a Tank or DPS.

I understand the need for refinement and occasionally, I find myself needing refinement boosting enchantments. To maximize refinement, use 1 Quartermaster and 1 Dragonhoard as both enchantments have cool downs, so no use running extras. Then use Fey enchantments 1 Fey and 2 Tacticals. If you have no need or interest in these enchantments for refinement, then run all Tacticals Dark for Incoming Healing in all utility slots.

 

Weapon Enchantment:

The thing to understand about weapon enchantments is that what’s best to use may be situational. It’s not exactly what everyone wants to hear when discussing making a huge investment like buying a weapon enchantment or ranking one up. However, it’s true and the fact is some weapon enchantments stack and some don’t. If you run enchantment A in a group and your buddy uses that same enchantment, you only get the benefit of one enchantment if it doesn’t stack. With that in mind, here are some options.

For Tanks:

Bronzewood– At max rank, this enchantment marks enemies on encounter use, and provides allies with an 10% Damage Buff against the marked targets for 10 seconds. The mark and buff can only be applied once every 20 seconds to a given target, which means this enchantment’s buff has a 50% uptime. Still, for an enchantment that buffs your allies this is still a great thing that we can provide for our allies as tanks. This is the ultimate choice for group orientated building.

Lightning- At max rank, when you strike a foe you have a 50% chance of arcing a bolt of lightning off of them to a nearby foe, dealing magnitude 50 weapon damage. This can chain up to 3 times. This enchantment doesn’t really help the group at all, so the only reason I’m suggesting this enchantment as a substitute for Bronzewood is that it should help you with your aggro on mobs. If you need help with aggro you can try this but Bronzewood is still the best.

For DPS:

Vorpal– A max rank, increases your Critical Severity by 50%. This is going to be the best overall damage increase for a DPS weapon enchantment. This is pretty much the standard for all DPS classes.

Lightning- At max rank, when you strike a foe you have a 50% chance of arcing a bolt of lightning off of them to a nearby foe, dealing magnitude 50 weapon damage. This can chain up to 3 times. This enchantment gets notice because it has been noticed that for some classes without Damage over Time abilities that can crit, Lightning may actually post your DPS on mobs. If you were to invest in a Lightning enchantment for DPS, I’d only recommend using it on mobs. Some people don’t want to manage to weapon enchantments and swapping them out situationally so if that’s the case, just stick with the Vorpal.

 

Armor Enchantment:

Elven Battle– A max rank, you are 85% more resistant to slows, immobilizes, disables, and stuns. Their duration is reduced. Your Stamina Regen is also increased by 40%. This is our number one choice of armor enchantment for both DPS and Tank. Our shield is important not only to our survivability but also for managing Seethe for increasing our damage on Dreadnought. Therefore, Stamina Regen is a valuable utility buff for either playstyle. The resistance to Crowd Control effects is super nice too. You may not think it does anything as you will still get stunned and knocked around, however if you have run with Elven Battle before and then forgotten it on a different character and ran without one for instance, you’ll have a new found appreciation for how good this enchantment is.

Eclipse- At max rank, increases your Deflection rating by 3,000. Whenever your stamina drops below 20% your stamina is refilled and no longer depletes for 3 seconds. This effect may occur once every 60 seconds. This is a solid choice for a Tank both because of the bonus Deflection rating which is harder to come by. The shield utility buff however is great for both Tank and DPS in dire situations, but because this effect has a major cool down on it, this enchantment is second place to the Elven Battle.

Bloodtheft- At max rank, you have a 10% chance upon dealing damage to heal yourself for 50% of the damage dealt. This can only occur once every 3 seconds. This enchantment provides minor survivability but doesn’t really provide utility, so if you really need a source of self-healing you can try this out, but you’re going to be better off if you can stick with Elven Battle or Eclipse for shield utility, and our shield is our main source of survivability.

Companions:

When you are building your companion team, there are some basics to know.

1. Bonding runestones are what can make a low level character very effective, and a great character BiS. They share stats from your companion and add them to your own stats. These are the single most important runestone/enchantment on your whole character and these should be the first thing ones that you upgrade.

2. Some stats share from your companion to you, and some don’t. Power, Crit, Armor Pen, Accuracy, Combat Advantage, Defense, Deflection, Critical Avoidance, and Awareness all share. Maximum Hit Points does not share through Bondings currently. However, if your companion has HP on it that can share through your Bolster bonus but equipping HP to your companion will not share to you.

3. Bolster is a new feature where the more companions you have ranked up in a certain category boosts the amount of stats you gain from activating any companion from that Bolster group. The companion groupings are Fighters, Creatures, Invokers, Mystical, and Beasts. 15% Bolster is the max meaning you have 5 Legendary ranked companions in that category. You want to run a companion from the group that has the highest Bolster available to you. If you want to run a specific companion as active, then you should work on upgrading companions from that category to increase the Bolster.

4. You now get 5 companion bonus slots. On Fighter, these are fixed as being 1 Offense, 3 Defense, and 1 Utility bonus slots. you can run any bonuses that you’d like as long as they fit within those categories, and what you run does not have to coincide with your summoned companion. This means that if you really like to run the Bulette Pup as your active companion, you do not need to use Bulette Pup companion bonus just because you have that companion active. The higher quality the companion is that you’re using for bonuses, the higher quality the bonus will be when you equip it.

5. Your active companion can equip 3 pieces of companion-only gear, and it does not matter what type of gear it is like it did in the past. This means that you can now just pick gear with the stats you need without having to worry about if it is a ring, neck, sword knot, etc. This gear all has IL and Combined Rating on it so when picking new pieces of gear, in general it will always be better to have higher IL gear as you’ll get a higher Combined Rating which is an improvement to all of your stats except Power and HP.

6. Your active companion can now has have an Enhancement which is a bonus applied directly to your character upon meeting certain conditions. Each companion has a different Enhancement but many companions can have the same Enhancement. The Enhancement is always the same rank and effectiveness no matter what level your companion rank is at. You do not need to use the Enhancement that came with your current summoned companion.

7. There are two types of companions: Augments Companions, and what I’ll refer to as Summoned Companions. An Augment companion is a pet that follows you around but is non-combative. These companions provide higher stats to the user, but they have no combat powers and cannot fight. These are the most popular type of companion currently as capping stats is extremely important to proper gameplay. Summoned companions are pets that can engage in combat and sometimes can even provide useful bonuses for the user or the user’s group. If one is to use a Summoned Companion, the reasoning would be very specific to provide a particular bonus for the group that is worthwhile and would outweigh the amount of stats one would get from an augment. Augments differ from each other not by combat powers, but by Augment Enhancement Stats. Each Augment offers 3 main stats in which it has more of than the rest of its stats, and these stats effect what is shared to you. So the user can choose their augment based on the bonus stats it provides in its Stat Enchantment to help the user reach vital stat caps. When choosing the proper active companion, we will need to consider Augment Stat Enhancements and Summoned Companion Powers that are of an asset to us.

 

Summoned (Active) Companion:

 

For Tanks:

For Tanks, we want any Augment that will provide us with that stats we need to cap as its Stat Enhancement. Otherwise, all Augments function the same and therefore as long as you have one, the Stat Enhancement is a very minor factor to consider. Once you are close to maxing out your character, you can change Augments to min-max your stats if you’d like. Some suggested Augments are:

 

Bulette Pup- Provides extra CA, Defense, and Power. Power is uncapped and CA is hard to cap so this is a solid choice. The companion bonus that comes with Bulette is also viable for a tank so you can’t go wrong with this Augment.

Red Dragon Ioun Stone- Provides HP, Deflect, and Defense. This is a very defensive based State Enhancement but it works great for a Tank, and its companion bonus is one of the best ones available for a tank so this is another solid choice for getting the most bang for your buck.

Goldfish- Provides HP, Crit, and Deflect. There is a mix of offensive and defensive Stat Enhancement here, but the companion bonus is viable for a Tank.

Chicken- Provides Critical Avoidance, CA, and Defense. This provides too of our most important defensive stats plus a hard to cap offensive stat. Solid choice for Stat Enhancement with another viable companion bonus option.

 

On tank, we could provide the group we are running with some utility by running an Active Companion. At this time, there are only a few that I would possibly recommend. It’s important to understand that by running an Active Companion though, you are severely cutting down the amount of stats you can gain on your character so being high-leveled, end game, and near min-maxed on your enchantment and runestone choices will be imperative to running an Active Companion without the loss of stat effecting your gameplay. A few suggestions of viable Active Companions are:

 

Black Death Scorpion- This companion upon attacking provides forced Combat Advantage to the target to make sure your DPS is always dealing Combat Advantage even if they can’t both to position themselves correctly. CA positioning is super important for maximizing damage so this is a great utility feature you can provide to your team, especially in situations where positioning for CA isn’t feasible or possible. The uptime on this feature is 100% which makes this one of the best Active Companions we could use.

Pseudodragon- Poison Sting damages the target with its poison barbed tail, poisoning the target for 5 seconds. Rampant Venom provides Combat Advantage against targets that are poisoned. This companion can use Poison Sting once every 8 seconds so with a 5 second uptime on the forced Combat Advantage, this is a pretty good buff for ensuring your DPS are always dealing Combat Advantage damage even if they are too dim witted to position correctly.

Dread Warrior- Siphon Strike deals damage to a target and heals allies near the target and increases the power of those allies by 5,000. Warrior’s Thirst increases the damage of allies healed by Siphon Strike by 10%. This effect lasts for 5 seconds. This buff is actually pretty good but the uptime isn’t great because the attacks are slow. Still, if you can cap your stats without an augment and you want to provide your team with some extra firepower this is one way to do so.

Harper Bard- Bardic Inspiration provides allies with HP above 50% additional Power and Critical Strike. Allies with below 50% HP are granted Defense and Deflection instead. This effect lasts for about 7 seconds from the time cast. The only reason to run this would be to help increase your allies Power to increase their damage. The uptime isn’t great, but it could be a decent option if you already had this companion from previous mods. It’s Companion Bonus is one of my favorites for the tank so if you follow my guide closely you’ll likely have this companion sitting around anyways.

 

For DPS:

For DPS, we want any Augment that will provide us with that stats we need from its Stat Enhancement. Mainly, we want Power as one of the 3 stats and then the other 2 stats can be any offensive stat we may still be short on. Otherwise, all Augments function the same and therefore as long as you have one, the Stat Enhancement is a very minor factor to consider. Once you are close to maxing out your character, you can change Augments to min-max your stats if you’d like. Some suggested Augments are:

Bulette Pup- Provides extra CA, Defense, and Power. Power is uncapped and CA is hard to cap so this is a solid choice.

Icosahedron Ioun Stone- Provides Crit, CA, and Power. Again, Power is uncapped and CA is hard to cap, and we get another offensive stat thrown in here as opposed Defense with Burette Pup. This is another solid option if you’re low on the crit, but if you play tank too this may be a very marginal upgrade for you from the Burette Pup unless you’re really hurting for Critical Strike.

 

On DPS, we don’t really want to be running an Active Companion because doing so makes it much harder to cap our offensive stats and to stack power as high as possible.

 

Companion Enhancement: 

 

Tank: 

Redemption- Chance on hit to heal you and your companion for 4% Maximum Hit Points over 15 second when your companion is nearby. This is a great utility buff for helping your survive a bit longer even if your healer isn’t able to keep your alive. Realistically, this doesn’t replace a healer but it will help take some of the pressure off of them.

If you don’t have Redemption or if you are still struggling to reach stat caps, you can use a different bonus that helps fill up your missing stats. This isn’t a good long term solution though as capping stats only under certain procs and conditions is not reliable, and you’ll eventually want to cap from stats alone.

 

DPS: 

Potent Precision- Chance on hit to increase you and your companion’s Critical Severity by 5% for 15 seconds the your companion is near. This is the best source of bonus damage from a Companion Enhancement bonus. The value of the buff depends on the quality of the active pet. The only other source of damage we could gain here is from adding Power as I’ll show below, but the amount of Power you gain does not increase our damage more than the Critical Severity will.

Potency- Chance on hit to increase your power by up to 2,000 and your companions critical avoidance by up to 4% for 15 seconds when your companion is near. The value of the buff depends on the quality of the active pet. This is a substitute for Potent Precision in case you don’t have the bonus yet, but Potent Precision is the best damage increase we can get so we should use that over Potency.

If you can’t get Potent Precision, and you don’t have Potency to use in the meantime, use an Enhancement that helps your reach your stat caps. This isn’t a good long term solution though as capping stats only under certain procs and conditions is not reliable, and you’ll eventually want to cap from stats alone.

 

COMPANION GEAR:

In Mod 16, leading into Mod 17 I am wearing 2x Choke Chain of the Companion, and 1 Plated Belt of the Companion. On companion gear, we want the highest amount of stats possible but they need to give us stats that are useful for us as tanks too. In Mod 16, the devs didn’t really release a lot new companion gear so our options are a bit limited. We want high item level gear so we can gain a high combined rating which will make capping all of our stats a lot easier. My current set-up doesn’t have me capping out all my stats, but it does have me capping all of the mandatory stats for high-level performance. When I get access to the Mod 17 companion gear, I will update the gear I have swapped to in order to cap more stats and prepare my tank for the Tower of the Mad Mage.

 

Companion Bonuses: 

 

Tank: 

 

Defense Power- Harper Bard (16,000 Maximum Hit Points and 2,000 Awareness)

Offense Power- Zhentarim Warlock (16,000 Maximum Hit Poitns and 4,000 Combat Advantage)

Defense Power- Iron Golem (16,000 Maximum Hit Points and 2,000 Defense)

Defense Power- Red Dragon Ioun Stone (10% Incoming Healing Bonus and 8,000 Maximum Hit Points)

Utility Power- Energon (32,000 Maximum Hit Points)

 

Viable Substitutes:

 

Offense- Goldfish (10% Incoming Healing Bonus and 2,000 Critical Avoidance), Werewolf (10% Incoming Healing Bonus and 2,000 Defense), Galeb Duhr (10% chance on using an encounter power to restore 5% Max Stamina.

Defense- Duergar Theurge (10% Incoming Healing Bonus and 2,000 Armor Penetration), Ioun Stone of Allure (10% Incoming Healing and 2,000 Power), Burette Pup (Taking more than 20% HP in a single blow procs a heal over time that heals your for that 20% HP over the next 5 seconds once every 60 seconds), Chicke (+40% movement speed and a 7.5% damage buff on your attacker if you take 25% of your HP or more in a single blow, once every 30 seconds).

Utility- Battlefield Medic (10% Incoming Healing Bonus and 2,000 Combat Advantage), Dedicated Squire (10% Incoming Healing Bonus and 2,000 Accuracy), Acolyte of Kelemvor (10% Incoming Healing Bonus and 4,000 Deflection), Pig (5% of your Max HP healed every second you are controlled), Pseudodragon (10% chance on using an at-will power to restore 4% of Max Stamina), Shadow Demon (A deflection does almost no damage and does 20% weapon damage to the source of the defected attack once every 30 seconds). Dread Warrior (10% chance on damage taken to become enraged, increasing threat generation by10% for 10 seconds).

 

DPS: 

 

Defense Power- Minstrel (4,000 Power and 2,000 Awareness)

Offense Power- Tamed Velociraptor (You gain 2,000 Power per ally running this companion with a cap of 10,000 Power)

Defense Power- Ioun Stone of Allure (10% Incoming Healing Bonus and 2,000 Power)

Defense Power- Ioun Stone of Might (2,000 Power and 4,000 Deflection)

Utility Power- Alpha Compy (Increases your power by 5%. 10% when in Chult)

 

Viable Substitutes:

 

Offense- Deepcrow Hatchling (8,000 Power), Mercenary (4,000 Power and 2,000 Combat Advantage). Batiri Runt (5% bonus damage to bosses). Anything that helps you reach your offensive stat caps.

Defense-Anything that helps you reach your offensive stat caps; there are no other Power options for this slot.

Utility- Mercenary (4,000 Power and 2,000 Combat Advantage). Anything that helps you reach your offensive stat caps.

 

Companion Runestones:

 

What runestones your should use is going to depend on a combination of the Companion Gear you have available to use, the Enchantments you’ve chosen to use on your character, and the gear and artifacts you’ve chosen in order to reach your stat caps. Currently at the time of writing this, I am set-up for Mod 16 content and awaiting access to the new companion gear in Mod 17. When I get access to the new companion gear, I will be able to determine what combination of runestones is best for capping stats in the new trial. In Mod 16, I am running 6 Rank 15 Empowered Runestones all in Offense Slots. The reasoning for this is because Power has no cap, and with the limited about of high-end companion gear available in Mod 16, I did not feel it was wise to invest in anything other than Power for runestones. Fact is, if I need to use a mixture of different runestones to cap different offensive and defensive stats in Mod 17, I will easily be able to sell or reuse my Empowered Runestones. As my set-up changes, I will let you all know exactly what I am running going into the Tower of the Mad Mage for Mod 17.

 

SUMMARY:

Companions can be expensive and time consuming to upgrade, but upgrading this part of your character is one of the most important things you can do. You can either build for where you’re at now, or build for the future. However, it is probably inevitable that you’ll find yourself ranking a companion up completely, only to toss it to the side as you improve your character or as the game changes. Try to think ahead but don’t get frustrated if any investments you make don’t end up being good forever, because this has happened to all of us playing this game. The summary is that you need to use your companion page to cap your stats, help provide you with useful bonuses if you can work them in around capping your stats, and if you’ve done all that and have room you can explore using Active Companions that will assist your team in performing better.

Insignia Bonuses, Insignias, Equip/Combat Powers:

To start, mounts can be pretty expensive. You can get them through Auction House, The Tarmalune Trade House, and through the Zen Market. While it is cheaper in AD to buy the mount you need through the Auction House usually, there is benefit to buying it through the Zen Market. If you are someone that runs multiple characters or plans on running multiple characters, you can reclaim any and all mounts purchased through the Zen Market. This makes for getting your characters good mount bonus and extra stats fast. I will say each mount that I am using, it’s stat and combat powers if relevant, it’s insignia bonus I use, and then I’ll list insignia bonuses and insignias that I like to use. The below mounts are very expensive, but you do not need those mounts to gain the listed insignia bonuses. Legendary mounts only differ from epic mounts in that the equip power is doubled from its epic counterpart, and you gain a combat power. You can build the below listed insignia bonuses with epic mounts on the zen market and the auction house. You can find a good list of mounts for the bonuses needed here.

 

Vanguard Tank Insignia Bonuses:

For Tanking I have two different insignia bonus set-ups that I like to use. I have a general use set-up for when I run with random or new groups, and then I have a set-up for when I speed run dungeons. There is only slight variation between these set-ups so feel free to mix and match as it suits you.

Tank Survival Set-Up: 

Gladiator’s Guile- When your Stamina is above 75%, you move 10% faster. When your Stamina is below 25%, gain 10% Stamina Gain.

Survivor’s Blessing- Whenever you Deflect an attack, you are healed for 1% of your Maximum Hit Points over 5 seconds.

Knight’s Rebuke- Whenever you receive Combat Advantage damage from an attack, you are healed for 1.5% of your Maximum Hit Points over 5 seconds.

Oppressor’s Reprieve- Whenever you are Stunned, Knocked, or Rooted, you are healed for 5% of our Maximum Hit Points over 5 seconds.

Barbarian’s Revelry- Whenever you perform a Critical Strike, you are healed for 1% of your Maximum Hit Points.

Since the point of this set-up is to use it when I don’t know the skill of the group, this provides me a bit extra heals just in case the healer isn’t on top of their game. I don’t do big pulls ahead of the group and speed run if I don’t know the group as they won’t be ready for it, so 1 Gladiator’s Guile is enough for this set-up.

Tank Speed Run Set-Up:

Gladiator’s Guile (3x)- When your Stamina is above 75%, you move 10% faster. When your Stamina is below 25%, gain 10% Stamina Gain.

Knight’s Rebuke- Whenever you receive Combat Advantage damage from an attack, you are healed for 1.5% of your Maximum Hit Points over 5 seconds.

Oppressor’s Reprieve- Whenever you are Stunned, Knocked, or Rooted, you are healed for 5% of our Maximum Hit Points over 5 seconds.

Since the point of this set-up is to speed run dungeons, I removed some of the heals that I thought were weaker or that I felt weren’t as relevant for pulling big groups of enemies in end game content. I chose 3x Gladiator’s Guile as that is the max amount of Guile’s I’ll use because when I added a 4th copy and ran next to a friend with 3 copies of the bonus and the same movement speed as me, there was no noticeable difference gained from adding a 4th Gladiator’s Guile. Crowd Control effects is probably one of the biggest annoyances in end game content so Oppressor’s Reprieve was relevant to me still even when speed running. When speed running, often times I’m not as concerned about positioning out of Combat Advantage because I’m counting on the group being strong enough to wipe out the enemies before any real damage is done, and then quickly moving on to the next group. However, I opted to keep Knight’s Rebuke as a safety net for this fast and loose type of dungeon running.

Tower of the Mad Mage Considerations: 

Gladiator’s Guile- When your Stamina is above 75%, you move 10% faster. When your Stamina is below 25%, gain 10% Stamina Gain.

Champion’s Return- Whenever you are reduced to 50% Maximum Hit Points, you instantly recover 1-% of your Stamina and are healed for 10% of your Maximum Hit Points over 10 seconds. This effect can occur once every 60 seconds.

Shepherd’s Devotion- Whenever you use a Daily Power, you and your teammates’ Defense is increased by 1500, and Movement Speed is increased by 20% for 10 seconds.

Magistrate’s Patience- Whenever you receive damage from a Critical Strike, you gain 2500 critical Avoidance and up to 4 teammates receive 2500 Defense for 5 seconds. This effect can trigger once every 10 seconds.

Victim’s Preservation- Whenever you take greater than 35% of your Maximum Hit Points in pre-mitigated damage from a single blow, you gain 2500 Defense, Critical Avoidance, Awareness, and Deflect for 5 seconds. This effect can occur once every 10 seconds.

I am going to be experimenting with a completely different set-up of insignia bonuses for Tower of the Mad Mage. The reasoning behind this is because as opposed to a dungeon where you have 1 healer, Tower of the Mad Mage is built to be ran with 2 or 3 healers. Provided that 2 or 3 healers should be able to keep me alive without the use of insignia bonuses (which won’t really help during a one shot anyways which is a lot of the worry with this trial), I opted to use more bonuses that cater towards supporting the group and that would help me in dire situations.

Each of these set-ups serves a purpose for the content I am running or for the skill level of the groups I am running with. I will say that while you will observe me often running a plethora of healing insignia bonuses, they result in about a a few million heals per run total compared to the healer in the group which is about 4x as much healing as my self-heals. So while they can be useful for topping off, they aren’t all necessary or game breaking. Some are better than others but I haven’t had the time or resources to isolate each one and test them to compare their overall effectiveness to place them in an order of priority and significance. Reading the bonuses and determining your ability to meet the conditions should help you out though. For example, if you’re very good at positioning out of Combat Advantage then Knight’s Rebuke isn’t necessary, and if you have a low Deflect chance then you don’t really need Survivor’s Blessing. Take what works for you because since Mod 16 dropped, most of the bonuses aren’t very good. Previous to Mod 16 there were almost mandatory bonuses for high performance in content, but that is not he case anymore for insignia bonuses, so take my suggestions and try them for yourself to judge the best set-up of mine that works for you.

 

Dreadnought DPS Insignia Bonuses: 

Gladiator’s Guile (3x)- When your Stamina is above 75%, you move 10% faster. When your Stamina is below 25%, gain 10% Stamina Gain.

Assassin’s Covenant- You lose 1000 of your Defense, Deflection, Critical Avoidance, and Awareness. you gain 1000 Accuracy, Armor Penetration, Critical Strike, and Combat Advantage.

Cavalry’s Warning- Whenever you activate a Mount Combat Power, you gain 1000 to all of your ratings for 10 seconds.

Optional Substitutions:

Artificer’s Persuasion- Whenever you use an Artifact Power, your cooldowns are reduced by 2 seconds.

Assassin’s Covenant- You lose 1000 of your Defense, Deflection, Critical Avoidance, and Awareness. you gain 1000 Accuracy, Armor Penetration, Critical Strike, and Combat Advantage.

Combatant’s Maneuver- When you control an enemy, you gain 5% Combat Advantage damage for 10 seconds.

With the changes to insignia bonuses in Mod 16, many of the previously “mandatory” insignia bonuses have faded into being something less than useless. I tend to run the same insignia bonus set-up on Dreadnought for regular groups, speed running, and trials currently as the bonuses for a DPS Dreadnought just aren’t that great. Artificer’s Persuasion can be used instead of Cavalry’s Warning or Assassin’s Covenant if you’re above your offensive stat caps, but this bonus isn’t super helpful in well coordinated groups, especially on bosses since we will be saving our encounters for timing with group buffs and debuts. A second Assassin’s Covenant is only worthwhile as a substitute for Cavalry’s Warning if you’re low on offense stat caps and/or you do not have a legendary combat power. Combatant’s Maneuver is only worthwhile if you’re insisting on using powers that proc Combatant’s Maneuver. If you’re following the way that I play with my rotation and powers/feature set ups, you will not be pricing Combatant’s Maneuver. If you deviate from my choices though you may find some use in this power such as using Knee Breaker on bosses instead of Anvil and Bull Charge (with Momentum). Onslaught and Shield Slam can proc this power on AOE so if you’re 5,000 short on your CA cap you can use this.

 

 

Insignias:

There have been HUGE changes to Insignias in Mod 16, as well as over the past few mods since I really overhauled this section of my guide. A few things to know about insignias include that they come at, Common, Rare, Epic, and Legendary quality. Insignias can be swapped via load outs since they don’t require gold to move around, and probably the biggest change (besides the fact that you can upgrade Epic insignias to Legendary quality now), is that insignias are now one of the best ways to upgrade your stats. In previous mods, it may have been one of the last things you would do in order to upgrade your toon or round out your stat caps. Now, the amount of stats insignias give, especially when at Epic or Legendary, is tremendous. For this reason, it is actually pretty important to start upgrading insignias early. Your first goal is to get insignias of any quality in the stat and variant that you need for the Insignia Bonuses you’re going to use. Then your next goal will be to save until you can buy Epic qualities of the insignias you’ve chosen, but be sure to keep all Common and Rare copies of the insignias you’ve chosen to use as you’ll need them when you go to upgrade your Epic insignia to Legendary. Once you have enough copies of the insignias, you can upgrade to Legendary. Since this can be a long process and quite frankly expensive, I have chosen to go with options for my insignias that were good long-term investments.

 

Vanguard Tank Insignias: 

On my Tank, I felt that the safest long-term for upgrading insignias was to use Prosperity and Fortitude which both provide HP. Prosperity is considerably more affordable than Fortitude since Fortitude is a premium insignias type that only drops out of special boxes in the Zen Market. HP is the safest long-term investment for you as HP does not have a cap, and even if you’re lacking on defensive stats a little bit, a huge HP pool with good Incoming Healing Bonus and a suitable healer will still get you through the dungeon pretty effortless if you’re playing your tank well. At end game, 15 maxed out HP insignias will next you a total increase of 67,200 HP. Even if you can only afford to get the insignias to Epic, you will still walk away with a 33,600 HP increase. Now, since Fortitudes can be quite expensive, if the insignia bonuses you chose to take don’t support Prosperity, then you can pick up insignias that help with your other defensive stats such as Deflection and Critical Avoidance. It cost me millions to get 3 Illuminated Fortitude insignias so there will be no shaming here if you can’t afford those. The Prosperities cooperate very well with the self-healing insignias bonuses so if you go that route then you will only need to sub-out 3 Fortitudes for other insignias if cost is an issue. In Mod 17 with the stat caps raised, it is still my goal to run all HP insignias with the hopes of capping all of my defensive stats through my runestones, enchantments, and companion gear.

 

Dreadnought DPS Insignias: 

On my DPS, I decided to invest in the only insignias that may have some long-term value which was Power. DPS is always looking to increase their Power, so without knowing where you stats will balance at end-game, Power is never a bad investment. If you ever needed tossup out a Power insignia for to gain another offensive stat such as Critical Strike, then you would be easily able to sell off your Power insignia. Power also has no cap, so on the premise of trying to cap all offense stats without losing opportunities to increase our Power, then Power insignias are the only way to go for maximum damage. Dominance insignias have power on them and they’re pretty old school. Take Dominance everywhere you can on your DPS. Some insignia types don’t support Dominance insignias, and for those slots your only options for gaining Power would be to use Brutality insignias. Brutality insignias are premium insignias only available on the Zen Market in insignias packs, so these can be wildly expensive. They’re so expensive in fact, that I have not been able to afford to upgrade mine yet. The Dominance is pretty reasonable to upgrade but just requires patience. If you can’t/won’t afford the Brutality insignias to fit the Insignia Bonuses I’ve suggested for Dreadnought, then I suggested investing in Skill insignias for Critical Strike and Combat Advantage as CA is the highest cap to hit. Otherwise, sub in any insignia offering an offensive stat boost to help you hit your stat caps if the Brutality insignias are too expensive to acquire.

Mount Equip Powers:

The mount power is the stat or bonus gained by equipping a specific mount. Each epic and legendary mount has a mount equip  power. Rare and common mounts do not have mount equip powers. Epic mounts generally have 5,000 stats while legendary mounts have 10,000 stats. There are exceptions to this rule such as a few mounts that have % bonuses and the HP mount has 25,000 HP at epic and 50,000 HP at legendary.

 

Vanguard Tank Mount Equip Powers:

Stalwart (25,000 HP-50,000 HP)- I use this one most often as it increases our survivability by a tremendous amount. This mount has been hailed as necessary even for non-tank classes in Tower of the Mad Mage due to the mount of damage received in that content. HP doesn’t cap, so having a way to jack ours way up is very nice.

Opportunism (Activating an Artifact Power reduces all of your cooldowns by 15%-30%)- This bonus has a nice niche application when you combine it with the artifact Wyvern-Coated Venom Knives. Per the artifact bonus, if you use the artifact and miss the target, you can reuse the artifact again 15 seconds later (at max rank). Doing this allows you to have nearly 100% uptime on this cool down reduction ability. This is nice for making sure that you always have your encounters ready for the next mob encounter. Some people use this at bosses too to help with damage or aggro by increasing the amount of powers they can cast in a fight. This playstyle is not for everyone but worth mentioning. It’s a valid way of playing, but it is not my preference at this time.

Fast Striding (5%-10% Movement Speed)- I use this one if I am running with a group specifically trying to speed run through content as fast as possible. Some classes have very good movement speed and so this is one of those features that can help make sure you don’t fall behind. If you don’t want to speed run though, there’s no real need to invest in this option.

Other than those three, you can use an Epic Mount Equip Power that helps you reach your stat caps! If you’re going to invest in a Legendary Mount Equip Power though, I wouldn’t really recommend investing in ones that I have not listed. All three of the bonuses I have listed above are ones you should use ONLY if you’ve reached your stat caps. Since I can’t see each reader’s individual build and stats, I can’t exactly advise which one for you to pick up, but this is the direction you would go wafter capping your stats (hopefully from other sources).

 

Dreadnought DPS Mount Equip Powers: 

Dominant Force (5,000-10,000 Power)- Power is one of biggest increases to damage so if you can cap all of your other offensive stats while maintaining this bonus then that is your best option. Keep in mind, if you only have the 5,000 Power version, a legendary Fierce Predator is better for more overall stats while maintaining the same amount of power as the epic version of Dominant Force.

Fierce Predator (2,500 Power & 2,500 Armor Penetration-5,000 Power & 5,000 Armor Penetration)- This is one of the next best options for DPS. This option is great if you want to gain more Power, but you aren’t quite ready to handle 10,000 Power from Dominant Force while maintaining all of your other stat caps. Many DPS will run this bonus to help take he edge off of stat cap management while still investing in some Power increase.

Opportunism (Activating an Artifact Power reduces all of your cooldowns by 15%-30%)- This bonus has a nice niche application when you combine it with the artifact Wyvern-Coated Venom Knives. Per the artifact bonus, if you use the artifact and miss the target, you can reuse the artifact again 15 seconds later (at max rank). Doing this allows you to have nearly 100% uptime on this cool down reduction ability. This is nice for making sure that you always have your encounters ready for the next mob encounter. Some people use this at bosses too to help with damage or aggro by increasing the amount of powers they can cast in a fight. This playstyle is not for everyone but worth mentioning. It’s a valid way of playing, but it is not my preference at this time.

Fast Striding (5%-10% Movement Speed)- I use this one if I am running with a group specifically trying to speed run through content as fast as possible. Some classes have very good movement speed and so this is one of those features that can help make sure you don’t fall behind. If you don’t want to speed run though, there’s no real need to invest in this option.

Other than those four, you can use an Epic Mount Equip Power that helps you reach your stat caps! If you’re going to invest in a Legendary Mount Equip Power though, I wouldn’t really recommend investing in ones that I have not listed. All three of the bonuses I have listed above are ones you should use ONLY if you’ve reached your stat caps. Since I can’t see each reader’s individual build and stats, I can’t exactly advise which one for you to pick up, but this is the direction you would go wafter capping your stats (hopefully from other sources).

 

 

Combat Powers:

These powers only come with legendary mounts, so if you’re lucky enough to pull one or you think you’re ready to buy one, here are a few to consider.

 

Vanguard Tank Combat Powers: 

Legendary Tyrannosaurus Rex (Rex’Em)- Summons your Tyrannosaur, causing your enemies fear, rooting them for 5 seconds, and lowering their defense by 10% for 10 seconds. If targeting a minion, the Tyrannosaur will consume them.

Legendary Armored Griffon (Piercing Screech)- Summons your Armored griffon to release an earsplitting screech, reducing the damage nearby enemies deal by 15% for 6 seconds.

Legendary Swarm (Bat Swarm)- Summon a swarm of bats which will release you from most control effects and increase your damage by 5%. your target will be slowed by 5%, take 5% more damage, cause 5% less damage, have their critical chance reduced by 5%, and have their Action Points Gains reduced by 5% for 10 seconds.

Legendary Carpet of Flying (Vortex)- The Carpet of Flying rushes in and circles the target causing a vortex which pulls nearby enemies towards the center. All enemies caught in the vortex take periodic damage based on their level.

There are quite a few choices here and unfortunately in order to play your best or be the most useful to your group, what you need to run isn’t always about what you have as available options. Sometimes, it is better for you to be the flexible player that has many viable options available to increase the effectiveness of the group. The best 2 are bolded above, but in reality, it depends on what the rest of the group is running. In Mod 17, Rex debuffs no longer stack. This means that if another player in your group has one and uses it, then you won’t be able to use yours and have it be a worthy contribution to the group. At that point for a debuff perspective you’d want to have a Swarm available since the Swarm debuff still stacks. If you’re in really difficult content like Tower of the Mad Mage, you may want the Armored Griffon for your team to help them survive huge amounts of damage. These don’t stack but timing them opposite of each other can help take some of the edge off of the damage and lighten the demands on the healers of the group. The Legendary Flying Carpet gets a pity mention for those that may already have one or for those that are super into speed running. If you’re super into speed running then the carpet Vortex provides some utility by group mobs up for an easy mob clear, however it is virtually useless in all other aspects of gameplay, so unless you are into speed running and have millions to blow, you’ll just stick to using one of the top three combat powers. Some people will probably be upset to read that the Legendary Golden Lion is no longer mentioned here. Unfortunately, in Mod 16 the devs broke this combat power and it now gives next to no shields. In a state of the game where you could just bring a Paladin to give your teammates shields, a broken Golden Lion-Aureal Armament combat power is useless.

 

Dreadnought DPS Combat Powers:

Legendary Swarm (Bat Swarm)- Summon a swarm of bats which will release you from most control effects and increase your damage by 5%. your target will be slowed by 5%, take 5% more damage, cause 5% less damage, have their critical chance reduced by 5%, and have their Action Points Gains reduced by 5% for 10 seconds.

Legendary Tenser’s Disk (Tenser’s Transformation)- You are transformed into a virtual fighting machine, becoming stronger tougher, faster, and more skilled in combat. For 12 seconds, you gain 10% Power and move 10% faster, and gain +2 Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution.

These two combat powers are the only ones that are going to really provide you any noticeable damage increase so as far as a DPS investment, don’t look into other mounts if you expect to optimize your damage output. Bat Swarm is the best one to use overall because of its damage buff combined with a damage increasing debuff, a damage decreasing debuff, and the two debuffs that the power has helps out all of your teammates. Tenser’s Disk is a close second choice for increasing damage, and while the bonus to Strength and Dexterity boosts our damage as well as the Power, the increase to Power does not outweigh the % damage buff the Swarm gives as well as the group damage increase via debuff.

Consumables: 

Consumables, often referred to as “potting up” (no double meaning here), is an important part of maximizing your characters stats. If you are still developing your toon, it can be a great way to supplement your build (kind of like taking your vitamins). The game has changed what consumables can be stacked over the years, and so it’s important to know what your options are. When stacking consumables, there are a few rules to follow to know whether or not a consumable stacks or not. Here are a few things to consider:

  • 1 Stronghold Food
  • 1 Event Food
  • 1 Potion
  • 1 Elixir
  • Special consumable should stack such as Scrolls of Fate, Dragon Protection Scrolls, and Dragon Slaying Potions.
  • 1 Potion Tray Buff Trinket such as Tymora’s Coin, Adorable Pocket Pet, and Chain of Scales.
  • You may have other utility items in your Potion Tray with only cooldowns to consider including Liira’s Bell, Champion’s Battle Horn, Alliance Battle Horn, Healing Potions, Doohickey, Owlbear Figurine, and Stone of Health. Read below to see what my most used items are for both Tanking and DPS.

 

For Vanguard Tanks: 

  • Stronghold Food- Any food that helps you reach your stats caps, and if you’re capped then I use Prime Rib.
  • Event Food- Caprese or Lathander’s Dew.
  • Potion- Superior Potion of Vitality or any other potion that helps you reach an important stat cap.
  • Elixir- Foehammer’s Elixir or Sunlord’s Elixir.
  • Potion Tray- Chain of Scales, Alliance Battle Horn, and Stone of Health.

The above listed consumables are ones that I feel give me the most gain on my Tank. As far as the Stronghold Food and Potion options go, there is some flexibility there for you to pick the consumable that helps you with your stat caps. After reading the Stats/Ratings tab, you should have a pretty good idea of which stats you are low on that would make the most difference in your build performance. If you happen to cap stats without potions, then you can use anything that will boost your Power or HP as those are uncapped stats. Foe hammer’s Elixir is great if you have high Deflect but if you aren’t close to capping, then you may prefer Sunlord’s Elixir for more passive AP Gain.

On the Potion Tray, I recommend Alliance Battle Horn and Stone of Health on at all times. The Liira’s bell can be used to revive your companion, but this is only relevant if you are using a summoned companion as your active companion since augments can’t die. The Champion’s Battle Horn can be used to catch up to the group if you’re behind but typically won’t be necessary.. Chain of Scales, Adorable Pocket Pet, Tymora’s Coin can be used to pop their buff and then swapped with Stone of Health on the tray if you don’t want to dedicate one slot to just potion tray buffs. The items should cooldown from your inventory and you get to keep that third tray slot useful. Use Chain of Scales first, then Tymora’s Coin because if you get a bad buff of Chain of Scales (Regen), you can try Tymora’s Coin or Adorable Pocket Pet to see if you get a better buff. The reason to use Chains first is the buffs are better and last longer than Tymora and Adorable Pocket Pet, and you can’t have both active, so try Chain of Scales first.

 

For Dreadnought DPS: 

  • Stronghold Food- Prime Rib or any other food that will help you reach your offensive stat caps.
  • Event Food- Watermelon Sorbet or Squash Soup.
  • Potion- Superior Flask of Potency or Potion of Force.
  • Elixir- Wild Storm Elixir or Elixir of Fate.
  • Potion Tray- Chain of Scales, Alliance Battle Horn, and Stone of Health.

The above listed consumables are ones that I feel give me the most gain on my DPS. Anything that gives you Power such as Prime Rib and Watermelon Sorbet are going to be your best options for DPS, but you can use a variety of Food and Potion combination to give you stats other than Power if you need them to meet required offensive stat caps. In my potion slot, instead of the full Power potions I prefer Superior Flasks of Potency because they give not only Power, but also Critical Severity. I find this to be better than just gaining Power in the potion slot in most scenarios.

On the Potion Tray, I recommend Alliance Battle Horn and Stone of Health on at all times. The Liira’s bell can be used to revive your companion, but this is only relevant if you are using a summoned companion as your active companion since augments can’t die. The Champion’s Battle Horn can be used to catch up to the group if you’re behind but typically won’t be necessary.. Chain of Scales, Adorable Pocket Pet, Tymora’s Coin can be used to pop their buff and then swapped with Stone of Health on the tray if you don’t want to dedicate one slot to just potion tray buffs. The items should cooldown from your inventory and you get to keep that third tray slot useful. Use Chain of Scales first, then Tymora’s Coin because if you get a bad buff of Chain of Scales (Regen), you can try Tymora’s Coin or Adorable Pocket Pet to see if you get a better buff. The reason to use Chains first is the buffs are better and last longer than Tymora and Adorable Pocket Pet, and you can’t have both active, so try Chain of Scales first.

 

For Speed Running-Tank or DPS:

  • Stronghold Food- Sambocade
  • Event Food- Lightwine
  • Potion- Potion of Speed
  • Elixir- Elixir of Fate
  • Extra Consumables- Scroll of Fate: Movement
  • Potion Tray- Chain of Scales, Alliance Battle Horn, and Stone of Health.

This set-up is only used when the entire group I am running with is attempting to speed the run up. Many of these consumable options are expensive and therefore I only use them if I know the rest of the group is investing in them and that they are a strong enough group to do a speed run. Most of these may seem obvious, but my choice to use Elixir of Fate was determined by the very minimal increase in Dexterity for movement speed. This is the weakest option of them all and you could easily swap to an Elixir that would give you more damage or survivability if you prefer.

 

Additional Consumables: 

There are other consumables that you may find helpful. These consumables can be stacked since they are less potent or situational. Dragon Slayer Potions and Dragon Protection Scrolls may help in certain instances, such as the FBI Dragon Turtle. Ever frost consumables can also help in FBI for protecting from Everfrost damage. If you want extra consumables, you can utilize Invocation Blessings and Scrolls of Fate in order to gain more stat. It is also important to make sure you always have your campfire buff on; just visit a campfire every 30 minutes or sooner to refresh the buff.

 

 

Useful Links:

Overload Enhancements Tests

  • This is the most update state on Stronghold Overload Enhancements. Some work and some don’t so check it out.

Janne’s Site for Game Mechanics

  • Janne’s Site explains in-game mechanics such as damage calculations, buffs, debuts, cool down education, aggro, etc. For anyone looking for more of the math “under the hood” this is the place.

Bethel’s Mount Insignia Bonus Guide

  • Use this if you’re having trouble figuring out what mount has the insignia bonus you need. This guide is a bit outdated (Mod 10?) but there are plenty of choices here for your insignia bonus needs.

RJC9000’s Together We Ride GF Guide

  • RJC has done a lot for the GF community in providing quality information to Guardian Fighter’s on all platforms (including myself). Some things we do are similar and some are different, but it would be wrong not to mention his guide, and since you all should be reading everything you can find, this resource is of high quality.

Neverwinter Dye Preview

  • In case you haven’t truly maxed out your character until it looks good.

Neverwinter Guardian Fighter Facebook Page

  • This page is a nice and clean resource for you to reach out and ask questions about the class, your build, or just share with the community. Myself and the other admins are active in conversation and moderation. If you have questions about this guide you can find me there as I check it daily.

The End:

Thank you all for reading if you got this far! If you have any questions about the guide, or would like to submit possible correction or suggestions for information you would like to see added, please message me on here and I will try to maintain my inbox. If this guide helped you please rate it a 5! If you rate it lower and feel it can be improved or corrections can be made, please send me a message and I’ll be glad to help.

Xenakis

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  • Jesse Watson
    September 30, 2019 at 11:52 pm

    Thanks for the great guide! Out of the artifact sets you listed, which do you think is best for tank loadout? Wyvern and reflect set both seem great and I’m having a hard time deciding which to invest my limited ad in. Thanks again!

    • October 1, 2019 at 4:49 am

      Hi Jesse!

      Thanks for reading and for the feedback. I think that Wyvern and Reflect set are both solid choices. Choosing one can be difficult but I would say in general that I think the healer of the group should be responsible for using the Wyvern set since a healer can position themselves with the DPS easier at the time they are going to use the buff. Since the Tank usually isn’t clumped up with their allies (sometimes but usually not), it’s best to not have allies rely on the tank for one of those rune artifact set buffs. For this reason, I feel that Reflect set is better as you can take care of your personal stats and protection, and if allies happen to be nearby for the buff that is a bonus for them, but your main objective is to aggro and survive so with that in mind I wouldn’t be chasing DPS to buff them so you can drag the boss attacks to them. Also, if someone in your group already has Reflect set, then using two of them may or may not be worth it to your group so that is something to consider as well. In short, Reflect will serve you better all around, but I wouldn’t ignore using the Wyvern set if the group needed it.

      Xenakis

  • Paul Ian Whitelaw
    October 4, 2019 at 11:07 am

    thanks for the guide quick question what would be the 5th companion for the bolster tia

    • October 15, 2019 at 5:31 am

      Hi Paul,

      1st: You know me on the Facebook group so just shoutout and I’d be happy to reply there. I’m one of the admin so I typically respond on there daily and much faster than I do on here.

      2nd. You want to know the 5th companion for what bolster? You need 5 legendaries for the bolster category your chosen active companion falls into. I could help with telling you what extra companions would be worth upgrading, but I’d need to know if you’re playing Dreadnought or Vanguard, and which companion you’ve chosen as your active.

      Xenakis

  • JesseBooch
    October 20, 2019 at 2:37 am

    What class features should you use for vanguard build?

  • JesseBooch
    October 20, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    What feats should I use for tank aoe build

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