Welcome to the Guardian FAQ. Please spread enlightenment to the curious by linking them directly to individual answers using the following forum syntax ( for example ):

Direct link for Q16

“FAQ Answer 16“:/forum/professions/guardian/Guardian-Frequently-Asked-Questions/first#Q16


eg. FAQ Answer 16

Feel free to contact me with new questions you think should be added ( and their answers if you are able to provide them )

Q1 Certain rune sets have effects that activate after a healing skill is used. What is the definition of a healing skill in this case?
Whenever tooltips and item descriptions mention the use of a “Healing Skill” they are always referring to the 6th skill in your utility bar. Skills or Virtues with effects that heal are not considered to be “Healing Skills”

Q2 Why don’t nearby Allies or I see any toughness added to my hero panel when I trait Strength In Numbers
The effect is only active when you are in combat. You should see the stats update once you engage an enemy.

Q3 Why doesn’t Strength In Numbers increase my critical chance when combined with Retributive Armor?
Unfortunately, since Strength in Numbers is an active effect which is only available in combat, the Toughness bonus is applied after the passive Precision bonus from Retributive Armor is calculated.

Q4 Does Strength In Numbers stack if multiple guardians have it traited?
No, bonuses from multiple applications of the same trait do not stack. However they will stack with similar traits from other professions.

Q5 Right-Hand Strength doesn’t seem to be working. I see no bonus Critical Chance in my hero panel.
This is a display bug. The 15% bonus does get applied when you equip a one-handed weapon, but the change won’t be visible in your stats.

Q6 Merciful Intervention is meant to teleport me to the ally with the lowest health, but it frequently does not.
This has never worked as the skill description describes. It will always teleport you to the closest ally with the following priority: Party Member, Party Member Pet, Other Allies, Other Allies’ Pets and NPCs

Q7 When I cast an AoE shout or symbol not everyone within range gets the effect.
Generally AoE skills have a maximum target limit of 5

Q8 If I use a combo, such as a Blast Finisher in a Fire Field, do the resulting Boons take into account the field caster’s boon duration or my boon duration bonuses?
Combos will always apply the stats bonuses of the player that activates the finisher skill and not the field skill.

Q9 Sometimes when I cast a Ward skill like Ring of Warding, an enemy will just seem to walk through.
Players with the Stability boon will be able to walk through wards. Also it can be possible to use well timed jumps or dodges to move through them without being knocked back.

Q10 Sometimes I still receive damage, or get knocked down when I have Aegis or a block skill active.
Some attacks are unblockable, and will hit through Aegis.

Q11 What is AHEM?
This refers to a specific combination of traits – namely Altruistic Healing (AH) and Empowering Might (EM). In a very general sense, this is an effective method of sustained healing by doing damage and buffing allies.

Q12 My stomps in PvP keep getting interrupted.
As a guardian, there are a number of options available to you that can help you complete a stomp – depending on the profession you are facing:

  1. Applying stability with Stand Your Ground, or Hallowed Ground can prevent your stomp from being cancelled by knockdowns or interrupts
  2. Using Virtue of Justice to apply blind just before you stop completes will help prevent an interrupt. Traited properly, VoJ will renew each time you complete a kill.
  3. Using Aegis (Retreat, Virtue of Courage) or a block skill like Focus#5 will give you a better chance of completion.
  4. If the opponent teleports/mist forms away ( Thief, Elementalist or Mesmer ), you can use Judge’s Intervention to relocate to their new position mid-stomp to finish them off.
  5. Applying immobalization at the start ( eg. Sceptre #3, Hammer #3 ) will prevent Elementalist from running away with Mist Form.

Q13 I keep dying from falling
Try using Judge’s Intervention just as you hit the ground – if there is a target nearby you will teleport to their location without damage. There is also the trait Protector’s Impact which will reduce fall damage by 50%.

Q14 Help! I’m stuck in the terrain!
Try using your teleport skills to get free. Judge’s Intervention or Sword#2 (Flashing Blade) to a target, or Merciful Intervention to an Ally. If there are not targets nearby, then activate a Spirit Weapon, and use Merciful Intervention to teleport to your Weapon.

Q15 Healing Breeze is useless right?
Recent patches have changed this skill into a formidable group heal, but non-support Guardians will find it hard to give up the utility provided by the alternative skills.

Q16 Sometimes when I run through symbol of swiftness it fails to work properly.
Symbol of Swiftness will only apply the full swiftness duration if you do not have any active swiftness bonuses. Otherwise it merely ticks an extra second of swiftness onto your current remaining duration. It is possible to run through the symbol too quickly to get the boon. The symbol pulses Swiftness immediately on casting, and every second thereafter – If you are standing or running in the radius of the symbol when it is cast, you are guaranteed the boon.

Q17 Is tanking viable, or do I have to DPS?
It varies by content, but generally speaking any dungeon can be completed with almost any group composition. An experienced party specialized in damage can usually complete a dungeon faster than a party of tanks, but it’s not strictly necessary. Some dungeons and party compositions do favor an “anchor” (tank) in the group. In World v. World, full damage builds can be very difficult to play with success without a very high mastery of the class. As such, builds based on sustain, survivability, and support are highly valued. –foofad.5162

Q18 Is support and healing worth specializing in?
Support in the form of boons is very easy to add to any guardian build by focusing on Shout utilities, or using a Staff. Guardians have excellent options in that regard. Well-timed Consecrations can also turn the tide in both PvE and PvP. Healing in the form of Regeneration and direct heals can provide enough padding to allow even inexperienced parties to complete a dungeon. In World v. World, Guardians specialized in support and healing are a very welcome addition to both zergs and small groups, and with certain changes can be powerful solo as well. – foofad.5162

Q19 Should I activate my virtues, or not?
Virtues, like Signets, can be very powerful when activated at the right moment. Virtue of Justice can become “spammable” with 15 points in the Radiance tree, and just 5 points will turn it into an AoE blind. Combined with 5 points in the Virtues trait line, this is a good source of Might for you and your party, as well as giving party boons to your other Virtues. Further specializing in the Virtues trait line opens up even more powerful options for activating your Virtues. – foofad.5162

Q20 Do boons that I receive through trait effects ( like the Retaliation you get from Wrathful Spirit ) count towards Altruistic Healing?
Yes! Generally any boons you receive ( specifically: boons which have a yellow icon, not those gained from passive effects like Strength In Numbers or Battle Presence ), will trigger Altruistic Healing, not matter what their source

Q21 If I have Pure of Voice traited with Runes of the Soldier and use “Save Yourselves!” in what order do these remove and convert conditions.

  1. “Save Yourselves!” will always trigger first, stripping conditions from Allies in range and stacking them on yourself. Allies will not get the benefit of boon conversion from Pure of Voice.
  2. The 6th Soldier Rune will then remove a condition (see note) from yourself and Allies.
  3. Finally Pure of Voice which will remove another condition from yourself and allies and grant a corresponding boon to the players that were cured.

Note: Condition removal is often assumed to purge most recent condition, but when multiple conditions are applied simultaneously, the effect appears to be random or based on some obscure priority mechanism.

Q22 What is the internal cooldown and duration on Might gained from EM?
The ICD is 1s and duration is 5s which means that it is theoretically impossible to have more than 4.99 stacks at any given time without investing in Boon Duration. The average number of stacks, even with extreme Critical Chance, is between 3-4 stacks. – Brutaly.6257

Q23 What is the gain from Elusive Power? In calculators and in the tooltip it says 10%, but is this correct?
It’s theoretically correct but in practice it’s not. When you dodge you lose out on dps and in order to take advantage of Elusive Power you need to dodge approximately every 5 seconds due to Vigor from crits. This means that dodging to trigger elusive power alone is a loss of dps. Different weapons also benefit differently. For instance, the hammer has a short cd gap closer (Mighty Blow), which allows it to lose less dps than a mace for example. – Brutaly.6257

Q24 Is Celestial (All Stat) gear worth it?
In some very specific cases, Guardians may find some benefit from mixing some celestial gear into their build, but in most cases it is usually much more effective to focus on a few stats that most benefit your prefered setup.
Unlike most professions Guardians get very little utility from certain stats like Condition Damage, so these just end up being wasted points in a Celestial build.

Q25 What are effective guardian builds?
There are different builds guardians can run depending on PvE, WWW, sPvP, or tPvP. Here are some links to the various guardians that have tested and contributed builds to this forum. – Blasino.3128

Q26 Where can I find information on Guardian gameplay and techniques?
There are several useful guides stickied in this very forum.
As a starting point you can’t go wrong with Eveningstar’s (old but still gold) Guardian 101 – A Beginner’s Text.
For more advanced techniques then Brutaly’s Hammer and Altruistic Gameplay, foofad’sPyroclasm: The Definitive Guide to Burning and Obal’s DPS Guardian Guide for PvE are great sources of information.
Finally the official wiki is an encyclopedia for individual guardian Skills and Traits.

Q27 How can I test different builds without buying a lot of gear?
There are various build calculators you can use to test different gear and trait setups before investing. At best, these will give you an idea of what kind of stats you will receive with different armor, accessory, rune and sigil combinations – and you can use them to save and share particular setups which you find interesting.
Below is a list of popular calculators, some of which are kept more up to date than others, so it’s worth testing them beforehand:

Q28 What are Guardian Combos?
Many skills generate Combo Initiator Fields which can be combined with Guardian Combo Finisher Skills to generate special effects. These effects vary depending on the type of field and finisher used.

Guardians have a lot of skills which generate light fields ( which are good for comboing condition removal and retaliation ), and we have limited access to some long lasting fire fields too ( which are often used to generate Might )

Depending on the weapon’s equipped, Guardians have ready access to Blast, Whirl and Leap Finishers ( but no Projectile Finishers ). A Guardian will often be expected to use a Blast Finisher ( from Hammer skill 2, or Focus skill 5 ) to stack AoE Might for Allies within a Fire Field. Blasts are also useful in Water Fields for AoE healing and Lightning Fields for area Swiftness. A Leap Finisher ( eg. Greatsword#3 – Leap of Faith ) through a Light Field ( eg Greatsword#4 – Symbol of Wrath ) will generate Retaliation for the Guardian, which is useful in roaming and small scale PvP.

Wall of Reflection placed in-front of ranged Allies will remove conditions for them as they fire through the Light Field it generates.

There are many other combinations, and it’s worth learning them so you can apply the best combo effects for any given situation.

Q29 When I place a combo field on-top of another player’s field which one takes precedence?
Combos are determined from the following rules:

  1. The Combo type is determined from the first Field your Finisher encounters
  2. Where there are multiple Fields the oldest has priority
  3. The Combo effect is activated from the point the Finisher skill ends or the moment it first strikes a target.

For example: When you do a Leap of Faith, the first Field along the path of your Leap Finisher is the one that will trigger the Combo effect (in this example, an Ethereal Field). You will instantly see the visual effect for a Chaos Armor Combo, but you won’t actually receive the resulting Boon until your leap finishes ( when you land ).

Another example: If you start Mighty Blow Blast Finisher from within 2 Fields ( a Light Field on top of a Fire Field ) then you will trigger an Area Might Combo ( from the first/oldest Fire Field ). 5 allies within an area centred on the point Mighty Blow lands will then receive 3 stacks of Might ( even if this is now a long way outside of the Field ).

Q30 Does the Protection boon and Signet of Judgement reduce the amount of Condition Damage I receive and do they stack?
No, both Protection and Signet of Judgement only reduced Direct Damage, and do not affect damage received via Conditions. They do however stack additively with each other, resulting in 43% of Direct Damage mitigation (without traits).

Q31 If I put 30 points into Virtues, why aren’t the cooldowns on my Virtue skill reduced by 30 percent?
It is actually a little bit misleading.
When you put points into Virtues you are actually increasing your “Virtue Recharge Rate” and not directly reducing the cooldown of the skills themselves.

Base Skill Cooldown / ( 1 + Points In Virtues% ) = Reduced Cooldown

in other words, for Virtue of Courage: 90 / 1.30 = 69.23

Q32 How does the condition cleanse of Purging Flames work?

  • Purging Flames will cleanse up to 3 conditions per Ally ( max 5 allies, including yourself ) upon cast, provided they are within the AoE circle when it lands.
  • Any new condition applied to an Ally within the ring will have it’s initial duration decreased by 33% on the next tick ( 1 tick per second )
  • Pre-existing conditions that where not removed in the initial cast will not have their duration affected.
  • A guardian within Purging Flames, using “Save Yourselves!” to draw conditions from nearby Allies onto himself will not get the benefit of the duration reduction.

Q33 Can Retaliation critical hit?
No, despite being a Boon with damage that scales based on Power, Retaliation will never Crit – just like the damage suffered from Conditions like Confusion or Burning. Nor is it affected by percentage damage modifiers like Unscathed Contender.

Q34 Renewed Focus is meant to give Invulnerability, but I keep dying while the skill is active, why?
Unfortunately Renewed Focus only protects you from Conditions and Direct Damage that are applied while the skill is active. If you have received Conditions prior to using your Elite skill, you will still suffer the Condition Damage for their full durations.
For this reason it is often prudent to use condition removal skills prior to activating Renewed Focus. Some builds use Runes of Lyssa to clear all conditions as the Invulnerability period comes to an end ( with a bonus of activating all Boons ).

Q35 What effect does Perfect Inscriptions have on all of the Signets?

  • Signet of Resolve: Will remove 1 condition every 8 seconds, instead of every 10
  • Signet of Judgement: Will reduce Direct Damage by 12% instead of 10%
  • Bane Signet: The power bonus is increased by 20% ( at level 80 this is +216 power instead of +180 ). Contrary to the wiki, this does not appear to increase the knockdown active effect to 3 seconds from 2
  • Signet of Wrath: Increases Condition Damage bonus by 20% (+216 at level 80)
  • Signet of Mercy: Increases Healing Power bonus by 20% (+216 at level 80)

Q36 Does the trait Inner Fire give me Fury when I set myself on fire with the Torch Skill Zealot’s Flame?
No, unfortunately Inner Fire only awards Fury when you are suffering from the Burning condition ( applied by an enemy or environmental hazard ).
Guardians only have limited access to Fury via Focused Mind, “Save Yourselves!” and Zealot’s Fervor in the Tome of Wrath ( although you could use certain Rune sets as an additional source ).
Inner Fire will grant 3 seconds of Fury each time you are inflicted with Burning, and it has no internal cooldown.

Q37 What is the size of the healing area effect from Merciful Intervention?
While it’s hard to give an exact figure, tests have shown that the healing area covers no more than a radius of 240 ( possibly less ), centred on the teleport’s ally target.
This is an equivalent size to a Symbol of Swiftness or Wrath when traited with Writ of Exultation.

Q38 If you’re traited for 5 points into Virtues, what’s the base duration of the Boons given by Inspired Virtue upon activation?
The Boons have a duration of 5 seconds before Boon Duration bonuses are applied

Q39 Why does my Guardian have much lower health compared to my Warrior?
The Professions are divided up into 3 Tiers of base stats, with Guardian’s occupying the lowest.


  1. 10,805 HP – Guardian, Thief, Elementalist
  2. 15,082 HP – Ranger, Engineer, Mesmer
  3. 18,372 HP – Warrior, Necromancer

The theory is the Guardian’s natural direct damage mitigation (Aegis, Blind, Protection, Absorption, Reflection) and regenerative healing (Virtue of Resolve, Regeneration) should allow it to compensate for its basic lack of Vitality.

In practise, the current Condition heavy PvP meta game coupled with the Guardian’s difficult mobility means that they can have a hard time against Condition spamming Professions and have to resort to group support roles or bunker play to remain viable.

Q40 Do traits which trigger on the removal of Aegis work for Allies?
Yes! Shattered Aegis will trigger for any Ally who’s Aegis is broken provided you are the one who originally supplied the Aegis boon to them. Likewise, an Ally will also receive healing from Pure of Heart the moment Aegis sourced from you blocks an attack on them.
Note: Despite what the trait description says, the Burning from Shattered Aegis is only applied to the attacker, and is not AoE

Q41 What is the maximum achievable Boon Duration from traits, upgrades, gear and food?
Boon Duration is hard capped at 100% so any stats above this threshold are wasted despite the fact longer durations are displayed in the tooltips.
With 30% duration from 30 points in Virtues, popular builds use 2 Superior Runes of Water, 2 Superior Runes of Monk and 2 Superior of Traveller for another 45% (75% total).
Adding Chocolate Omnomberry Cream food adds 20% more (95% total).
Finally you can use Snowflake/Wintry trinkets or Platinum Doubloon upgrades to put you up to the 100% cap. Avoid Giver armour as the stats distribution on these are not favourable.
Alternatively you can aim for 80% and supplement it with Hallowed Ground’s +20% Boon Duration effect.
Note: If you are just looking to increase your group’s dps then it’s probably better to stack Might Duration allowing you to distribute more of your stats into damage.

Q42 Can I used “Save Yourselves!” whilst invulnerable to avoid receiving conditions from nearby Allies?
While it’s true that skills like Renewed Focus will give you immunity to any condition application when using “Save Yourselves!”, you will find that the Shout will also fail to pull any conditions off your Allies
For this reason you should reserve using this combo only for situations when attempting to acquire the Shout’s boons would be suicidal ( in other words, when Ally conditions would overwhelm your ability to cleanse or heal through them, like in WvW zerg vs zerg ). It is usually preferable to simply not use “Save Yourselves!” at all in these situations.

Q43 When a skill’s tooltip says that the effect applies to allies in range, does that include me?
In nearly all cases when a skill mentions an area of effect which applies to Allies it means up to 5 friendly players, pets or NPCs within the target area including yourself.
There are however a few exceptions introduced in the April 15th patch which apply to guardians:

  1. Sigil of Benevolence’s increased healing output stacking applies only to allies and excludes yourself
  2. The 6th Rune of the Monk’s 10% healing output increase applies only to allies and excludes yourself
  3. Communal Defenses applies aegis to allies in range, excluding yourself, with no AoE cap ( it will apply to all allies within 360 range of your character )

Additional Guide Tips Welcomed!