Guide: Shield "DPS" Guardian

Edit by Bryan: Please note that this build has been somewhat outdated due to recent shield changes. For more up-to-date information kindly refer to the updated version of this build, as provided by the author further down in this thread: Guide: Shield "DPS" Guardian

This one is porbably the most complicated build i did so far (and it is going to be a long guide). It resulted from the balancing discussion about the guardian and i wanted to see if i can make one that actually kills stuff reasonably fast with shield skills.

I found it is possible but it is alot more complicated to play than lets say a MM because you need to make use of a lot of skills and items and bring it together to do your maximum amount of damage.

AOE damage will not be a problem at all thats where he shines. The problem is when you stand against a Cata boss with high HP. And there you can expect average damage between 500-1400 in the damage meter. And from my experience 1000 is where the melting experience starts. But i was able to pass the Morax dps test and thats why i am posting now.

First the skilltree and a short explanation how this plays out. And then the required gear to make it work:

I assume a +1 Helmet and one point goes into Aura Stability (which in the planner sits in grand aura)

So you can see there are alot of skills in use. The damage peaks will come from Shield throw and to a lesser extend from Shield turn.
During the normal Cata and Rift clearing you go in and taunt a few times, then anchor, let the mobs surround you and shield turn and throw. Turn often is enough.
This can clear the whole entrance area of a Rift in seconds which gives you nice satisfying feeling when it makes “clonk” with shield turn and “badadam” with throw and 30 mobs including elites die around you.

You have to check though that your shield of faith is available because dropping your shields means you can get shocked. Getting shocked while being surrounded results most of the time in death. So you need to watch your shields and react quickly if you do this pull action (or use shield emitters).

And that is also the reason why i went for Aura of stability and have the elemental aura running. It is discussable how these 3 points are distributed in the auras but for the time being i use this setup.
The defensive and passive skills are minimal as you can see because we are going full damage options.

You can also run around and just use turn (which has a good reach) and throw without anchor which depends on the mobs that are around but generally the quickest way to clear a level is using taunts and anchor.

I use bash for killing single mobs as it is the quickes way to kill single lower hp mobs. Often in combination with shield charge as a teleport skill with nice range. Bash has its function and i use it more and more - max bash could be a thing. Stampede is a get out skill when you taunted too many mobs and you see that it is not going to work because shock is incoming.

Now on bosses things get more complicated. Here Shield Throw is your main skill. And that is because not only has it 50% crit but it is the mechanic of shield throw that makes it the best damage option.

When you throw your shield it bounces off the target and seems to prefer to bounce into the direction of the next mob available. If there is none it sometimes retargets the original mob resulting in multiple hits or it bounces of a wall and back to your orignial target with the same effect.

So with Cata bosses i taunt them in a gangway and check that the area is clear of other mobs. Then i check if my throw gives me multiple hits or bounces off into nirvana in which case i or the mob needs to reposition. Against single mobs Throw is a bit erratic but you have to deal with it as it has the highest damage potential.

If everything is set you can start the damage combo and it goes as follows:
First anchor of course, then heavenly condemn (i explain later where you get that skill from as i dont spend any points on it and it includes a swtich back and forth of weapons sets) which works for most bosses (Taloc excluded) and gives 20% armor reduction, then shield turn with which in the best case you phase and then throw for maximum dmg, turn, throw, condemn, turn, throw, turn throw, condemn etc.

You see it is not the most straight forward thing and you can fuck up the combo easily or something happens like a mob turns up or suddenly the shield doesnt multi hit. But it is doable and works ok most of the time. Of course there are Bosses that are awkward like the Cata Squadro which even in taunted state runs around like mad or the Cata 5 boss which seems to have a resistance to a damage type i am doing as he takes alot longer than others. Flying bosses like Valar or the Cata 2 boss can be annoying but most of the time denounce pins them quite well. Abyss bosses are no problem whatsoever (just dont use throw in the first phase of Dreadnought).

Now you might say sounds nice and dandy but shields suck where does the damage come from?
This is where we have to get into the gear and stat details.

First of all shield skills qualify as melee skills and thus every point of strength increases your damage by 2%. Shield throw gives you 50% crit and your critdamage gets increased with every point in accuracy. So in the end stats wherever they come from generally increase your damage as you can distribute them via attribute retraining.

Having stats on your gear is allways good. You also need to know that your damage increase through strength is additive to increases through crit and increase% dmg on gear and probably skills, which means your 28% Jugulator guards are inferior to a pair of intrepid trousers with 30 strength and putting more skill points into shield master is questionable when you already have 600% increase through strength.

This being said there is another source of stats apart from armor and the statpoint you get through quests that i utilize and that is a strength vorpal. You only use shield skills so your mainhand weapon is not being used which opens up the use of a 7 slot Vorpal Ripper filled with strength mods which can give you 100-140 strength.

So you can easily end up at 400 strength total which translates into 800% dmg. You also get 100% from Anchor. Another 20% from Shieldmaster. But you can see the 2 points in Shieldmaster dont really add alot and you need 3 skillpoints for that.

Getting more Accu as i said increases your critdam (and also works additively) but you dont have alot of that naturally but your shield throw has 50% crit, so thats a dilemma. But there is a piece of gear that you should get hold of which offers critdam, critchance and strength. And that is the Face of the Crusader Tower Helmet. You need to aug a +1 Guardian skills on it though. It is quite an important piece of gear as it is also providing you with your only shield penetration affix and you need that to procc your effects against shielded mobs.

It is time to get multiplicative damage into the equation. Affixes on armor and weapons that are elemental damage are scarce but should be sought after wherever possible. So the Seraph set gloves offer up to 20% physical dmg as does the archangel cincture belt. They multiply all the dmg you get from strength and crit- so they are set.

A trinket can also have elemental damage and mine has spectral damage and phase. You will need to have spectral damage somewhere.

Your shield should also have those affixes and they come on Mythical Shields. So you end up with 80-100% elemental damage that multiplies your strength damage.

Speaking of the shield finally. In my build it has to be a Dissector shield (there is also Merkabah build but that works differently and is slower). The reason is the 2 slots it can come with. If you put two mods with high phase into it and have phase on your trinket you can end up with 500+ phase and thus a 1500 phase shield turn. And phase gives you another 50% multiplikator as phased mobs take 50% more dmg (and also deal 50% less damage). Also Dissector shields poison nearly anything and phase means poison then does mor dmg.

This also explains why you need spectral damage somewhere, be it as an affix on the shield, the trinket or as a mod.

Now comes the last multiplicator ( i am not 100% sure if it is a sole multiplicator or if gets mixed together with phase). And that comes in form of armor reduction via heavenly condemnation (could also be via hamper). You can get nearly max denounce/heavenly condemnation if you put a Goldies Tactic and a Keeper of the Northstar into a secondary weaponset and quickly switch to denounce.
It is also pretty handy as the denounce range is very long.

Thats it. Lotsa strength on gear and vorpal, some mandatory pieces of gear, a good Dissector shield, Goldies/Northstar and alot of skilluse to get everything together.

Video might follow when i get the time as allways.

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I adjusted the skilltree a bit because my build is not using anything else other than shields to damage. So he gains more dps while moving when i switch the points from anchor into max shield master as any of these points increases my dmg by the same amount. Also took out 2 points of spiritual toughness and put them into shield turn for more phase uptime:

https://london2038.com/skill-planner/#Guardian,50,50,0,v1.00001510262096000115001000000002450

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Here is a little video to show you what i am talking about. As you can see sometimes Shield Throw bounces of the target damaging only once and sometimes it multihits. It is a bit erratic but you can make use of walls and mopping up mobs so that they reflect the shield. Damage on the Boss can be higher, this time it only peaked once over 1000 it can do that more often. The Rift was a bit deserted and the mobs hard to taunt together but you get the drift:

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Have you tried using range mods? As shield travel further it can bounce, therefore hit the same target more times resulting in an overall increase in damage.

Gonna try that for sure, sounds good.

I also wanted to mention that there are a couple of variants to the build possible.

For example one can use a Merkabah and by utilizing the additional +1 you can max out shield turn, so that you can get really high ignite chances (if you factor in an ignite trinket). You lose damage as Dissectors deal out more and you lose out on the possibility to phase. I found a combination of merkabah and a phase nova quite workable. It can be quicker on some bosses but the general clearspeed suffers a bit. It is a different gamplay though. And some bosses are not impressed by 3000 ignite hits.

Then it is also possible to use a sword instead of the vorpal (preferably a 5 slot with strength mods) that has hamper on it and maybe additional skillpoints on a trinket and bring in the armor reduction by this instead of or even together with the weapon switch to the heavenly condemnation set.

My current Guardian STM build (Slash&Trash) :upside_down_face:
Anchor: 6
Sword of Reckoning: 8
Aura of Power: 2
Aura of Renewal: 6
Aura of Stability: 3
Shield of Faith: 3
Prayer of Healing: 4
Provoke: 3
Spiritual Toughness: 4
Shield Bash: 5
Shield Wall: 3
Challenge: 2

With the two extra skillpoints from helm and shield and some extra points from opal ring:
Anchor: 8+2 = 10 (extra points from gear)
Sword of Reckoning: 10
Aura of Power: 4
Aura of Renewal: 8
Aura of Stability: 5
Shield of Faith: 5
Prayer of Healing: 6
Provoke: 5
Spiritual Toughness: 6
Shield Bash: 8
Shield Wall: 5+2 = 7 (two extra points from opal ring)
Shield Master: 2 (two extra points from opal ring) + 2 (extra points from gear) = 4
Challenge: 4

I tried Shield Charge but it doesn’t work all the time when i want it to. Didn’t try Shield Turn/Shield Throw yet (but will try it) because i don’t want to put to many skills in my action bar. I use the Shield Wall mostly to taunt and to surround the crowds and because the Shield level is around 8.500 + 1.200 (from Shield of Faith) i can heal and relax even when Syd or Moloch have a bad day :slight_smile:

Hello aladinf,

thanks so much for your Guide which i now worked through. Have a couple of questions and hope you can answer them.

a) related the Vorpal machine gun filled with shrapnel mods
Are all 7 slots filled with shrapnel mods?

b) i find Shield Charge not to be very handy because it is not under control of the gamer and a lot of times, even with monsters in reach, can not be used so i stopped skilling it. How does Shield Turn work? Can someone activate it anytime with monsters near by?

c) i used to have Challenge/Provoke and Denounce/Heavenly Condemnation fully skilled with Opal ring but for farming and taunting i stopped skilling both and concentrated on Challenge/Provoke now to safe skill and because Denounce is not really the good taunt solution to gather crowds. Sadly the armor reduction of course is now not possible anymore but i need to focus also on my solo gameplay. What do you think?

d) i use the full augmented Merkabah and Bloodletter (3 runic slots) also fully augmented because i want the spikes and skill point and other affix stuff. The opal ring i use, lets me gain access to Shield Master which ranks 4/10 now because of the Opal ring with +2 and +2 from helm and Shield. Because Shield Master does a overall increase in damage of Shield attacks, do you have any experience if this works when not having skilled Shield Charge at all? With a Shield Throw Opal ring will it also work without having Shield Turn activated to profit from the increased critical chance level?

e) is the skill planer beeing updated? For example the Evoker Firestorm skill needs three skill points to let someone skill the following skills. In the game only two skill points are required. Also in the game there are already some skill points preset for example Guardian -> Bash 1 skill points and so on for other factions.
On the Retribution tab Challenge, Provoke, Denounce and Heavenly Condemnation needs to have max 5 skill points and the pic of Provoke is misplaced.

Thanks and greetings

Hello MaxFar,

Shield Turn can be activated at any time, even without monsters nearby.

I find Denounce to also be useful for Champions, but Challenge alone should be safe enough. You can try to get either or both with a combination of hard points and gear, or use such Uniques as R. J. Donald’s Diplomat - which is coincidentally quite good for farming. Or The Sovereign’s Mace, for that matter.
I ended up using Diplomat or guns with +Challenge for farming, and a Denounce set for bosses. Still takes a couple of hard points to max them all, but it saves quite many with a +2 to all skills.

Skills are completely independent in that regard, yes. Shield Master will work without hard/soft points in Shield Charge, and Throw will benefit from its own increased +critical chance without having/using Turn.

Eventually, yes. Recent patches have made it inaccurate, and it never accounted for the initial skillpoint. We’ll likely remove the initial skillpoint investment, but the planner does need to be updated either way.

Hello there Bryan,

a good day to you and thankyou for addressing and answering my questions. At current, i have 4/10 skill points (2 from gear + 2 from Opal ring) in Shield Master. Is there any way i can actually see the damage output in numbers? I checked the Defense statistics but there is seemingly no effect with or without the ring.

Another question. In the past my Evo girlfriend took shelter under my Shield Wall or Shield of Faith and it seems like i could keep her safe from certain level of damage and attacks. Which of these Shields is better for the take-cover purpose Shield Wall or Shield Wall? For example getting close to Talox and my friend can get very close to the bosses, too but can also attack. Do you have any insight in this issue? Whats the Shield difference of Shield Wall and Shield of Faith? Thanks so much.

Is there any way to increase the healing capabilities of the Nautilus with expertise points?

BR

A good day to you too, always happy to help.

Shield Master won’t affect defense stats in any way, since it only increases shield attack damage. A way to gauge the difference would be to keep an eye on the DPS meter just beneath the power pool.
That said, it’d be ideal to specifically test it with just shield attacks - say, Merkabah’s spikes add to damage and can thus muddy the test.

I’d argue they’re both useful in this regard, and they synergize with each other too. One could use Shield Wall for its bonus shields, then use Shield of Faith when the shields are almost depleted; this will refill all shields, including Shield Wall’s bonus ones.
That said, Shield Wall is relatively more restrictive. But should you get it, even as a 1-point wonder, you’ll also have Shield of Faith - no reason to not use both then.

For a similar function, Aura of Deflection might be useful as well. In Global it would be used to deflect incoming projectiles away from party members, but I’m not sure if ours has the same functionality.
Either way, it’s a great Aura to have and it can also be gained through weapons like Grimace. So testing it shouldn’t be too hard.

I don’t have an exact number at hand, but it should be a decent difference in favor of Shield Wall. Since it’s more restrictive, it’s also more potent - and the two can be combined, as above.

Not that I know of, no. To my knowledge, pets are unaffected by all personal stats and affixes.

Thanks so much for answering these very specific questions. Is it possible to implement besides the Defense statistic also a Offensive statistic?

Is there anyway i could get a Opal ring with Shield Throw 2 and Shield Master 2?! Really would like to test this Shield Throw and Shield Master combination. I would pay 300.000 Palladium for this ring XD.

BR

Hello Bryan,

it would be great for me to clear up a question. I currently have skilled Challenge/Provoke and have a ring with Heavenly Condemnation 2 (no Denounce though). Will the 2 skill points in Heavenly Condemnation add to the armor reduction when taunting with Challenge? Thanks and all the best.

I have checked out my Shield Guardian pre Wipe where i adjusted for the nerfs in 1.5 (at least to some extent). It was still working though i didnt have the chance to add some of the new “shield damage” and userate gear. The only issue that appeared was the longer cooldown of shield turn which messes up the rotation. The new leg armor with 25% userate remedies that a bit but not enough. So i assume the Shield Guard will work pretty much as before if some more shield userate is included on the shoulder, legs and Torso. Arms and Belt are harder to change because of the phys damage on them.
A nice boost was the new dye kit with increased elemental attack strength which increases phase uptime.

I am currently collecting the items needed for the Shield Guard and will update the guide when i came to put him together. But i can say he has not fallen apart with 1.5.

Hello, thank you for good information, I’m a beginner who likes Guardian. I hate defending too much. So I try to follow you. I think I know the skill. I think it would be nice if you just tell me your name. Can you tell me the essential options for the core item? ;^) Thanks again for good information!

Thanks for this guide. Are there any changes to this build with the adjustments to shields and shield skills from patch 1.5.3b? Is it still as dependent on specific gear choices? Is there more give in the rather tight skill budget?

E.g. now that Shield Throw mainly gains range from additional ranks, I wonder if maxing it is still as much of a priority, or if one could more usefully spend some of these skill points elsewhere on more sustain, more damage, better taunts or whatever.

Maxing Shield Throw for range also translates into damage, so maxing it is still usefull.

A few things on tested shields: Top Dog for single DPS is the imperial Shield 3slot, best aoe shield is a (global) Domination/Citadel shield -i prefer the phase one. they both trump Morgoth Hold in the respective area though Morgoths remains the best allround shield.
For shield turn centric builds Zenith shield offers all elemental effects bonuses of 150 which then get multiplied by the shield turn bonus, so high sfx proccs of all sfx can be achieved with the right mods. It is also high single damage.
I have yet to see a Bedlams Bladeturner and One Hundredth Soldier - they might offer a suprise.

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A bit more on the new shields:

I havent found a Moorgoth Hold or Merkabah in the new version ( didnt even know at first they got more damage now). But i have seen the Moorgoth without slots and it seems to be the best shield in most cases (both might be a bit overtuned in comparison). I think it outshines the imperial or citadel unless you get a very good auged and mythic one. There are a few notable things to consider. While Moorgoths has more single dps than the imperial, the imperial stuns and can be modded to phase and ignite which makes most bosses super easy. On the other hand moorgoth probably shredds a bit harder AND also does splash, so you are not getting interuppted by adds compared to single dps shields. Also the splash area is bigger and you get even more range(=damage). The Moorgoth is probably the best choice overall and i cant wait to get one and see how far it can take me into DOD - i can already advance with a normal Dissector. Merkabah is harder to say but the 300% critidam and +1 is not to be looked over. In the end this might be even better.

Bedlams Bladeturner turned out to be pretty good as is the Techsmith one, they both can lead you from early to endgame.
Keeper of the North Star seems to be the best shield for Multi Proccing effects if that is what you are after. Polaris Shields have nearly the same sfx stats as Zeniths if they are nanoed to the same level (around 150). But the Keeper already does all damage types so you can mod it more easily to procc alot of effects.
Probably THE shield for the tank, that also helps the group by shieldturning and proccing all kinds of sfx on the boss.

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I just want to quickly update the build to the new patch:

Here is the revised skilltree (including most important expertise):

-As before minimal Auras but three of them (power very important)
-Obviously maxing out shield throw and shield Master but also alot in Shield turn which could be distributed somewhere else to an extent
-Minimal Anchor, free points can go in there
-Mass Taunting (Challenge and Provoke) minmaxed (Taunt strenght maxed, a few points in duration spared)
-Single Taunt with Armor debuff comes from a seperate set with Goldies Tactic and Keeper of the northstar

Armor:

-Helmet: Either Face of the Crusader (https://wiki.london2038.com/Face_of_the_Crusader) with +1 or a Good Defender Helmet with userate and +1
-Shoulders: Defender with userate and alot of stats
-Torso: Sols Invictus (https://wiki.london2038.com/Sol's_Invictus) with userate
-Belt: Archangel Cincture with as high physical damage as possible (max 20%) -https://wiki.london2038.com/Archangel_Cincture
-Arms:Hands of Heaven with maximum physical damage (max 20%) - https://wiki.london2038.com/Hands_of_Heaven
-Legs: Defender Chausses (https://wiki.london2038.com/Defender's_Chausses). Now, i have seen Jugulator Guards with 40-50 combined increase and shield damage which is alot. However that is additive while userate is multiplicative so i prefer the Chausses and they make up for a more fluid gameplay
-Boots: if you dont use Face of the Crusader you can use Archangel Gliders (https://wiki.london2038.com/Archangel_Gliders) otherwise Defender Boots with userate and movement speed -minmaxing userate here
-Trinket: Talox Trinket with spectral damage and phase and userate
-Dye: Either scorched dye (for more phase uptime) or Ultimate Rift dye (the phase one)

Weapons:

-the Vorpal with strength+stat mods remains, preferrably with another aura skill
-In terms of shields there is more to select from now and it highly depends on wether you go for phase uptime or crit. I am talking phase uptime here and there Moorgoth is still the best allround and single DPS shield (you need the new version though). I haven’t found a new Merkabah up to now but it is probably good too especially in a crit setup.
A global Citadel shield would beat every other shield on aoe damage and Citadel in general are very good allround shields with a high crit chance inherently. If you go for crit (like say, take a Darkmaster trinket instead of the phase one and Face of the Crusader) and find one with Critdam on it this might even be the best for you.
A good single DPS shield in my sfx heavy setup is the imperial one which stuns most bosses reliably and ignites them inherently and can be modded to also phase. It also is at the top end of single DPS numberwise.
Domination Shield also perfoms good with the highest inherent phase and a good aoe amount.
I would use Zenith and Polaris only for Shield Turn heavy more tanky builds.
Bedlams Bladeturner and Techsmith Shield are also good allround shields.
Modwise i allways support my phase chance with one or two mods.
Before i bought my Moorgoth i had a legendary Citadel for clearing and a legendary Imperial for bossing and it was very good at shredding Catas.

A few mixed tips:

-i think this build can even be considered a good starter build as it doesnt require that many special items or augs to work and good shields are easy to come by. Also because of the Vorpal you can compensate some misallocated attribute points. It also has very good recovery and is quite tanky.
It is also alot of fun to discover the pletora of shields which are really well done in the new patch.

-max out on Shock resist. I have 6000 and it helps alot.

-As long as refelecting Tormentors exist not hardcore viable because of the little control you have over the thrown shield.

-The only way to beat Morax is to taunt him when he wants to dig in. Use both taunts on him. He oneshots you when he comes out again and you are too near to him.

-Allways have an eye on your Shield of Faith, so you dont taunt the whole map when it is on cd (especially in Ancient Bloods).

-Stay with the Engi in your group. Hastebot is nuts for shield throw.

-Dont waste points on Shield Wall, i dont see a use for it anymore in this build.

-You can get a good Imperial Shield from the Tracy Quest in Parliament and reroll the loot until a 3 slot comes up.

-I got my Citadel from the crafter in Monument Station (or was it Temple Station, lol - check what shields the vendor offers, if there is a citadel the crafter will offer them too).

-Shield throw shreds only when it bounces so HP heavy mobs and bosses are better to be taunted into narrow spaces at best with no other mobs in range to not confuse the ai.
Molloch eg when he stands in the middle of the disk is kindof meh because the shield is not bouncing on him though he will go down easily non the less. Dessi is hard to keep in a good position and therefore it is hard to deliver your top damage on.
When in Abbys the left and right gangways are total deathzones for any boss or mob. Probably the hardest shredding place in the game.

-when leveling dont fall for the dual nova setup as convenient as it is (unless you have attribute retrainers to spare). Guns need alot of ACC which you later want to have in Strength as this scales your shield damage better.

-As for numbers, you can get (depending on augs) to 400 strength of which the Vorpal contributes around 140 (+additional +stam on the three relics and acc on the tech)!

-you can get your userate down to the point where you can throw and turn in a loop if you want. Your teleport is also profiting as is your shield of faith (super important for the big pulls and general survivability).

-belt and arms are out of the question to replace imho even if you find super good mythics. There is not a single armor piece in the game that can provide 20% ele dam which is huge given you dont have alot of eledam possibilites.

-i went for the phase route instead of the crit route because i think your multiplier where crit sits in (among others) is already high. I am still assuming strength also sits in that multi. Others think its not.
So i believe having a high phase uptime through the two mods in the shield, the trinket and the dyekit (the few variables in the minmaxing game) contribute more to your final damage. This is debatable. But i also love my purple and green lightshow and that you get a defensive value out of phase and other fx also profit at least from the dye. And the most important thing it works and shreds :slight_smile:

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