Way before the June 23rd patch dropped and Condition Damage became a big deal, I loved the idea of a Guardian being all about fire damage and defense. It didn’t hurt that ‘Dire’ exotic armor was much cheaper than ‘Berserker’ varieties, but even before I looked at the Trading Post prices, I wanted my little Guardian to be specced out for Condition Damage, Toughness, and Vitality. The gist of my original build was to make my little guy as indestructible as I could, all the while boosting his burning damage and the frequency that it was applied.
Prior to the patch, little Fizlip was unexpectedly efficient in sPvP, more often than not taking honors for top player of the round, and very rarely ever getting downed or killed. Most of that had to do with a couple of crafty combos, executed lightning-fast with the help of a Razer Naga gaming mouse, but it seemed like the idea of a burning tank Guardian was at least a little viable.
After the patch, practically every single bit of this build is better. I didn’t have to tweak very much to get Fizlip (my Asura Guardian) into fighting shape, but the traits that I did change just seemed to solidify the build even more. I was also surprised to find that I somehow had about 20% more health than I did previously, a fact that was sure to increase my survivability. And the results have been spectacular! In some sPvP matches, Fizlip has so owned the game that the other team just runs away at the sight of him.
So without further adieu, here is the build for the Fire Tank Guardian.
The three main specializations lines are Radiance, Virtues, and Zeal. And although the choices are now graphical in the interface, and easy to see in a screenshot like this, I’ll still copy all of the trait effects below so that you can see just how nasty this build is.
Justice Is Blind – When activating Virtue of Justice, nearby foes are blinded.
Inner Fire – Gain fury when you strike a foe that has burning stacks over threshold.
Renewed Justice – Virtue of Justice is renewed when you kill a foe.
Radiant Fire – Gain zealot’s flame when you critically hit an enemy. Burning duration is increased. Torch abilities recharge faster.
Radiant Power – Deal more damage to foes inflicted with conditions.
Amplified Wrath – Burning damage is increased. Burn enemies whose attacks you successfully block.
Inspired Virtue – Virtues now also apply the following boons to allies when activated: Justice: might, Resolve: regeneration, Courage: protection
Retaliatory Subconscious – Gain retaliation and aegis when stunned, dazed, knocked back, pulled, knocked down, sunk, floated, launched, taunted or inflicted with fear.
Virtue of Retribution – Gain retaliation when you activate a virtue. Retaliation you apply lasts longer.
Supreme Justice – Virtue of Justice causes burning more frequently. When activating Virtue of Justice, the burn duration is increased.
Power of the Virtuous – Deal extra damage for each boon you have. Virtues recharge faster.
Permeating Wrath – Virtue of Justice’s passive effect no longer burns your target, but also burns the area around your target each time it activates.
Zealot’s Speed – Create a Symbol of Wrath when you are struck while below the health threshold.
Fiery Wrath – Increases damage against burning foes.
Symbolic Exposure – Symbols apply vulnerability to foes.
Zealous Blade – Attacks with your greatsword deal extra damage and heal you. Greatsword abilities have reduced recharge.
Symbolic Power – Symbols have increased damage and a chance to burn enemies.
Shattered Aegis – When an aegis you applied blocks an attack, it damages nearby foes.
Scepter – Dire with Superior Sigil of Corruption (Gain a charge of +10 condition damage each time you kill a foe, five if you kill an enemy player. (Max 25 stacks; ends on down.))
Focus – Dire with Superior Sigil of Smoldering (Increase Inflicted Burning Duration: 20%)
Greatsword – Dire with Superior Sigil of Fire (50% Chance on Critical: Trigger a Flame Blast for area of effect damage (240 radius). (Cooldown: 5 Seconds)) and Superior Sigil of Intelligence (Your next three attack after swapping to this weapon while in combat have a 100% critical chance. (Cooldown: 9 Seconds))
All armor is Dire (+Condition Damage, +Toughness, and +Vitality) and all six pieces have Superior Rune of Balthazar. In total, these runes give +175 Condition Damage, +45% Burning Duration, and grant two special abilities: gain quickness for 5 seconds when struck below 20% health, and apply burning to foes when using healing skills.
All jewelry (and back item) is specced to give Condition Damage, Toughness, and Vitality.
6 – Signet of Resolve – Passive: Cures a condition from yourself every few seconds. Active: Heal yourself.
7 – “Retreat” – Grant aegis and swiftness to up to five nearby allies.
8 (PvE) – “Stand Your Ground” – Grant stability to yourself and allies.
8 (PvP) – Contemplation of Purity – Convert the conditions you are suffering from into boons.
9 – Judge’s Intervention – Teleport to your target and burn nearby foes.
0 (PvE) – Signet of Courage – Passive: Periodically heal allies in the area around you while in combat. Active: Fully heal nearby allies.
0 (PvP) – Renewed Focus – Focus, making yourself invulnerable and recharging your virtues.
The Fire Tank Guardian is a very versatile build, and many of the skill choices are situational for dealing with various challenges either in PvE or PvP. Contemplation of Purity and Judge’s Intervention are both Stun Breaks, so you have two different ways to get out of a tight situation, but priority should be given to Contemplation of Purity, as Judge’s Intervention is required for the ‘Big Combo’.
Remember your Virtues! Guardians have a lot of interesting things that they can do with these three little abilities, but specced as above, they become even more powerful. Especially good to remember is that Virtue of Justice also now blinds nearby foes, giving an additional way to accomplish this besides Greatsword 3 and Focus 4. Also, remember that any time an Aegis blocks an attack, nearby foes are damaged. Keep this in mind as you are in the thick of a fight. Virtue of Courage applies an Aegis, so throw one one while you’re taking a beating to layer on Protection, block an attack, and blast people in the area.
The default load-out for the Fire Tank Guardian should be Scepter/Focus. Always seek to get back into this mode after a fight. When approaching an enemy to engage, be sure to fire several shots from the scepter at range to tear down any situational defenses your opponent may have (like their own Aegis). At this point, you can also try to root them with Scepter 3, and then throw down a Smite on their location with Scepter 2. This will delay melee engagement by a couple of more seconds, giving you that extra time to work down their defenses. Then, just before entering into the next part, you can choose to use Focus 4 to add Blind, but this is a judgment call, as there is a slight casting time to it that may throw off the combo if things are moving too fast.
When you are ready to blast in for the kill (what I call the ‘Big Combo’), you should use Focus 5 to put an exploding shield on yourself, and then follow that with a very quick sequence of abilities. Switch to Greatsword (this activates the Superior Sigil of Intelligence) and activate Judge’s Intervention to warp to your target (causing three stacks of Burning to the area). Then throw down a Symbol of Wrath with Greatsword 4 and immediately activate Greatsword 2 (your Superior Sigil of Fire should cause another Flame Blast due to the 3 guaranteed crits). This is a Combo Finisher: Whirl on top of a Light Field, so you’ll get some Cleansing Bolts, and then just as the spin is finishing (but before the Light Field goes away), activate Greatsword 3 to Leap and Blind foes (activating a Light Aura from the Combo).
As all of this is happening, you can activate your Virtue of Justice and Virtue of Courage to add more Burning, more Blind, and more area damage as your opponent shatters the Aegis from your Virtue of Courage. You can even use “Retreat” to add one more Aegis if the first goes down quickly. If the opponent isn’t dead after this explosion of fire and justice goes off, then you may need to call them back to the fight with Greatsword 5 (remember to push a second time to yank them back).
If your opponent is really skilled and the above does not burn them to ash, then you may need to cleanse any conditions you may have picked up (with Contemplation of Purity), heal (which applies Burning, remember?) and distance yourself a little. Try to get back to scepter when you can to expand your options. Since this build doesn’t have a lot (read: any) of additional Power, then there’s not a whole lot of point to standing close and beating on people with your Greatsword if you didn’t drop them with the Big Combo. In fact, you’re probably going to want to “Retreat” and regroup for another pass.
Hopefully this guide will provide you a good starting place for how to spin up your own Fire Tank Guardian. If you think you have even better ideas for the build (without changing the basic idea), then I would love to hear them in the comments.
Good luck out there!