First off I would like to say that there are some great build guides for the conqueror specs for PVP and PVE, and the Ageis Wrathful Defender guide is strong as well, so what I put together is by no means a replacement for them. Its more so a bit from Venores Turtle guide, with some differences in playstyle and skills. I find that people have different play styles and have a vision of how they want to play their class. I have had a bunch of conversations in enclave and various groups about different types of tanking setups. It seems there are a lot of players who want the ability to tank mobs, like in most games, instead of being the guy to gather them up and either nascar them around in a circle, or just pull them in a nice group for the CW to punt them off. It also seems that there is a general theme across the board where a 5 man group is 5 solo players doing their own thing to complete the end goal of killing the boss for loot, instead of working together as a team, and having their skills synergize with the group for efficiency and making for a smooth fast run. Are their placed mobs should be tossed off…sure. Are there places where they can’t…of course. Do bad pulls happen? To many adds? Group members colorblind and can’t see red areas? It is in these situations where I think this build excels. I am in now way an expert on GF, nor on tanking, but rather I just try to pull from others experiences on what works and what doesnt. There are multiple ways to play classes, people just need to sort out what works for them.
It is definitely not a build for everyone. If you are a DPS junky AND a GF, this is not the build for you. The goal of this build is not high DPS numbers, but rather the ability to have a smooth run through a dungeon, using minimal pots, and having minimal deaths, while holding aggro and allowing the rest of the party to maximize their capabilities. Even with reduced DPS numbers, it has in no way slowed down our dungeon runs. For those that would say that if you are not putting up huge DPS numbers you are dead weight in a party, all I can say is that the groups that I run with love the build over the conqueror Spec I used to run, and like the dungeon runs a lot better. Also with the upcoming change of the bosses leashing to their areas, groups are going to have to have a way of dealing with adds.
Before I respecced, I was running a full conq. Build, 14.9K GS. I had great DPS numbers using lunging strike, kneebreaker, knights challenge, and Anvil as needed. Personally I felt I was a bit squishy, and was going through a lot of potions. That could have been me, or the healer, or the group as a whole, however I wanted to find a way to make it work. So off I went to the preview shard and started trying to break my build, using CN mobs as my gauge. Afterwards, with some gear changes I ended up down to 11.8 (that 100% power boost sure pads GS). So with all that if you are still interested…here is how it all works.
The basic concept of this build is to be able to gather mobs to your location, and tank them in one spot, while being able to mitigate damage effectively to sustain through the whole fight. Secondly is to intercept any damage from stray mobs, AOE’s, and other randoms to the rest of your party. This is done with a combination of knights valor(KV) and supremacy of steel (SoS) along with a higher damage resistance and deflect rating. By using KV to intercept damage, you are helping the party in their damage mitigation, plus it builds a good amount of threat. When KV is used with SoS you are now damaging the mobs that are targeting your party. SoS also causes the plague fire enchantment to proc on those mobs, so now when they start heading your direction they already have a debuff/DoT on them. It makes for a nice combination when you have a CW or GWF doing AoE damage on all the mobs. In order to understand the strength of KV, I find it easier to show the numbers that we worked out while testing it out in various situations.
Mob hits DC for 1K damage Raw
KV is active, so it gets cut in half off the top, leaving the DC 500 damage to have to calculate, with 500 going to you.
Then the DC’s Damage Mitigation kicks in so say its 30% for easy numbers. That means that from that original 1K hit, he only gets hit for 350.
If you have your shield up on your GF, which you do a lot of with this build, you will also absorb that remaining 350 into your guard meter.
Any damage that comes your way is then factored in by your mitigation, and applied to your guard meter.
While is sounds like a lot of damage incoming, its not as bad as it seems because of skill selections. I chose skills to increase guard meter, and damage mitigation, in addition to pushing my defense a bit above the diminishing returns side of things.
Here is a link to the Neverwinter Calculator for my powers and feats:
Tide of Iron 3/3
Lunging Strike 3/3
Villians Menace 3/3
Shield Talent 3/3
Enforced Threat 3/3
Griffon’s Wrath 3/3
Fighter’s Recovery 3/3
Enhanced mark 3/3
Knights Challenge 3/3
Anvil of Doom 3/3
Frontline Surge 3/3
Threatening Rush 3/3
Into The Fray 3/3
Supremacy of Steel 3/3
Iron Warrior 3/3
Knight’s Valor 3/3
Bull Rush 3/3
Indomitable Strength 1/3
Action Surge 0/5 – I felt that the AP gain was not needed. In an add heavy fight I can cast SoS every time KV is up
Strength Focus 3/3 – Increased Strength equals more guard meter.
Toughness 3/3 – 9% more HP is always a good thing, especially with the alrge pool we begin with.
Shielded Resurgence 0/3 – Not needed for the HP regen. Believe it or not, even with the large amount of damage you have incoming, this is an easy build for a healer.
Distracting Shield 1/5 – Needed to put a point somewhere…
Armor Specialization 3/3 – 15% Increased Armor and defense. Every bit helps out in the end
Potent Challenge 3/3 – Greater Threat generation. Since you are not doing as much damage, I find this helps out.
Powerful Attack 5/5 – The added damage for your at wills helps with both increase damage as well as increase guard regeneration from what I could tell.
Grit 0/3 – Not needed
Pin Down 0/3 – Not needed
Ubiquitous Shield 5/5 – Ok this one will probably stir some debate. While under most cases I would agree that it is a lazy skill, with this build it helps a lot. Because you are using KV and SoS to grab adds from all over the map, you cannot always reposition to get all the archers on one side, or whatever mobs are harassing you. Also if you keep running all over, that means so does everyone else. With the reduction in the combat advantage damage they have on you, its not bad at all. I tried the build with it off, and points elsewhere, but it was definitely noticeable.
Armor of Bahamut 0/5 – This skill is a toss up. I can see its value, however my shield doesn’t break often, and when it does, its not broke for long with the skills I use.
Plate Agility 5/5 – +5% Deflection – noticeable improvement
Improved Reaction 0/5 – I don’t use the skill enough to warrant points here
Shield Defense 5/5 – +5 Armor Class translates to an additional 2.5% mitigation. Also I am not sure if there is an underlying mechanic when it comes to AC and mobs damage aside from the damage mitigation. The benefit to this is that it’s a flat 2.5% increase above any diminishing returns.
Shield Master 5/5 – 10% reduction in the amount the guard meter is consumed. That a flat 10% reduction on the block side of it. Keep in mind that before you block the damage is reduced by your mitigation, then passes the leftover to the shield to block. That will drop it down even more. Less guard meter consumed means more attacks you are able to block.
Brawling Warrior 5/5 – Increase to Knights valor and enforced threat. Both are key skills in the build so it made sense to go with the skill.
Balance Shield Fighter 5/5 – Since you will have your shield up a lot of the time, it makes sense to get an additional 15% damage to them. Add that to powerful attack and you are looking at a 25% increase.
Overwhelming Impact 5/5 – Adds a 5% debuff to the targets with SoS. Add that to the debuff from the plaguefire and any other skills and the mobs melt faster.
Iron guard 1/1 – 10% damage reduction max (2% per hit) This is yet another mititgation tool that reduces the mobs damage dealt, so its dropped down before it even gets to your mitigation.
The skills I use on a normal rotation:
Shield Talent – 15% increased guard meter. Since the goal is to be able to take a lot of damage, the higher your guard meter the better. This passive also plays off of your strength, and the feats Strength Focus (15% boost to strength so more guard meter), and Shield Master for a 10% reduction in your damage to your guard.
Enhanced Mark – Increased aggro and faster threat generation helps to hang on to mobs so that DPS classes can go crazy on them without them peeling off. Works well with both Enforced Threat and Threatening Rush
Cleave: Great overall high damage AOE skill. I use it a lot to clean up adds when either guard is broken or its not a big deal to keep your shield up to block. It has a bit faster cycle time than the Shield stab at will on Tab.
Threatening Rush: Best way to start a fight in my opinion. Rush in, hit a group of targets and grab that initial aggro, mark them and then start in on your rotation. It is also helpful on those mobs that love to teleport all over the place and are CC immune. (spider queen anyone?)
Tide of Iron: I slot this on boss fights for the debuff as well as increased guard meter replenishment. I normally trade this out with cleave. The more the target is debuffed, the faster it drops, the faster we move through the dungeon.
Enforced Threat: Great AOE threat generator, recovers guard meter, and a good AOE damage skill as well. With large numbers of adds, it is also a great AP generator. Since I use Brawling Warrior, it also reduces incoming damage by 10% as well. This fits in with the goal of generating aggro, and being able to reduce and mitigate damage.
Knights Valor: Intercepts 50% of damage to party, and builds threat based on that. With the brawling warrior feat, KV also gives you an additional 5% damage resistance helping to mitigate any damage that makes it through. KV’s appears to work off of line of sight and has a pretty far range to it. Furthest that we noticed was in Gauntlgrym near the main hall, when one of my party members was about 300 away and still got the buff. KV also builds a ton of AP when you use it as well. At rank 3 it lasts for 10 seconds with 10 second cool down. While it is a decent skill on its own I think with SoS it really shines. I have read a lot of posts where they say that if mobs are hitting your party you are doing something wrong, but the reality is that on most boss fights there are always ranged mobs that are on the outskirts, out of singularity range that like to pick at your clerics and CW’s. This grabs those guys from clear across the room and pulls them to you. While I know a lot of people report it is very buggy, I have only had one instance where it was stuck looping.
Iron Warrior: I use this skill about 4 seconds into KV. It helps your guard meter from breaking, helps recover your guard meter, and gives temp hit points. It synergizes well with helping you block more incoming damage.
Supremacy of Steel: Damages targets damaging you. That also includes when you receive damage through knights valor. So when that ranged add targets the CW, and you intercept the damage, you are now damaging him clear across the room and pulling him towards you without even having to move around to tab mark him. Depending on your weapon enchants, it will also cause those to proc as well. Lastly you can “pop” it like the CW’s do their shield to damage enemies around you for a decent amount. At level 3 of the skill it lasts 10 seconds. So I normally will pop KV, then this and as soon as KV ends I pop SoS again for more damage.
Fighters Recovery: This is a great self heal that you can use in a pinch. It is rare that I ever use it though. I keep it on my bar as an insurance policy if you will.
Threatening Rush -> Enforced Threat -> Knights valor -> Supremacy of Steel -> Shield Stab/Block (tabbed at wills) -> pop SoS -> Enforced threat -> block and/or cleave as situation dictates -> repeat with Enforced threat then KV.
The biggest thing about this build is your ability to maintain situational awareness a lot more than just looking for red stuff on the ground. You do not always need to pop KV. Often times I will wait till either another group spawns, we pull more in, or I notice someone can’t seem to keep out of the red to cast it. While this build focuses on pulling a lot of adds to you, plus taking damage from the ones that are not directly attacking you, you are specced and gear focused to be able to absorb that damage.
My goal was to get a high enough damage resistance and deflection and then to balance that out with power/armor pen/recovery. My gear is a work in progress as I still have a bunch of stuff from my conq. Spec. however I found that thestats I had from those balance out the build a bit better than stacking recovery, more defense, or delfection.
Armor : Grand Regent set – 2 piece bonus 450 Defense; 4 piece set bonus you get power from 20% of your defense. Note that this gear has NO power on it at all, but instead pulls from all your defensive stats. More on defense in a bit.
Weapon/Shield: I chose the Ancient Grand Knight set. It has decent power as a base, but it has the 450 defense bonus for both. Coupled with the grand regent armor set, that essentially adds 90 to the power putting it at 1185, which is only 200 less power than the timeless one. With 25 power roughly equaling 1 additional damage point, the Ancient sword comes ahead since it is 15 points higher for base damage.
Neck: Ancient Excorsist Neckalce of Blessings – +154 Power, crit, armor pen.
Rings: Ancient Slavemaster Rings of Control – +154 Power, crit, recovery.
Belt: Lethal Occult Belt (Blue with Offense slot) +243 Crit, +133 recovery.
Shirt: Gemmed Shirt
Pants Gemmed Pants
Offense – I went with a mix of Dark for armor pen, and radiant. I currently have an armor pen rating of 18% combined, so I am doing max damage and generating max threat on the majority of the mobs that I may not be directly hitting. I wasn’t as worried about the boss for the additional 6% since I am normally shield stabbing it and that generates a lot of threat by itself.
Defense: In my armor pieces I went with Azure for a bit more defense. And yes I know its above diminishing returns. In my other gear I have radiants for more HP.
Utility: Dark in all for movement bonuses. We don’t have all those neat skills to move fast.
Personally I think enchantments are very subjective. It depends on what levels you have in there, and what gaps in skill points you are trying to close. I am constantly swapping around rank 5’s and trying different things. I also use a stone of allure, which in my opinion is probably the best AD/zen you can spend in game. There is nothing like having 3 extra rune slots, 3 extra item slots, and all the stats passing over to you.
Weapon: Personally I like the plague fire enchantments as a tank. It flushes out my role as damage mitigator/debuffer. I have tried all of the others on test, and for what I do that one seems to work best. I tried a greater lifedrinker, but I was not impressed with the health it returned since it was only weapon damage. I think I was getting like 40 HP back each time. Some people swear by it, Im just not a fan.
Armor: A lot of debate over which is better, negation or soulforged. Since I run a higher mitigation to begin with, plus I have skils and feats that increase it, I opted for soulforged. It is not often that I will drop below 25% health, it does happen from time to time. I guess I look at the soulforged enchantment as that added insurance policy for a potion of a few seconds for the cleric to get AS down. I have looked at the briartwine also, but have not tried it yet. With the amount of damage I receive I think it may be an interesting one. It is on my to do list for test to see if it reflects damage pre shield block or post block, as well as if it reflects based off of KV as well.
Ability Scores: I focused on Strength and Constitution for all my upgrades. I figured that would be the best bang for my buck.
Defense and damage mitigation: Based on how the build is set up, I wanted to focus on defense above the diminishing returns point to see what difference it made. Currently I am at 4884, which I am certain many will say is to high, however it puts me at 37.4% damage mitigation from defense alone. Add in Armor Class and other skills and I am at 50.9%, which for whatever reason is a noticeable difference from the low 40’s where I was before.
Deflection: Currently my deflection is at 23%. I played around with slotting more deflection accessories, and stacking stones, but I was not noticing a big difference compared to what I was giving up with the loss of Armor Pen.
Power: I put points into here to keep my damage up when attacking and bashing with my shield Currently at 4K
Recovery: For recovery I went with the values on the gear that I was wearing. That put me around 1800. Again I played around with slotting different enchants, but the difference was in tenths of seconds, so I figured I could use the points elsewhere.
Armor Pen: My goal was to be at the 18% mark for Armor Pen plus Dexterity bonus. Since that is where the bulk of the mobs are, it worked for me. I wanted to be able to inflict max damage for max agro generation on the trash. Also my enchants are nowhere to even being close ot max. Not even all level 7s so I have a lot of room to expand from there.
Crit: I am currently at 15% crit rate. Since I wasn’t going for max DPS, I was not focused on it. Most of what I have is left over from gear that I was using on my conq. Spec.
I will be the 1st to admit that it is not even close to being an ideal OFFENSIVE build for PVP. As a defensive or utility it is fun to play. Keep in mind I am in no way a hardcore PVPer, but do it for enjoyment. Often times people will tend to go for the squishies 1st, and the tanks last. So I will keep a similar rotation with KV and SoS and hang back so the other classes can get in and engage. Then I can pop KV and put my shield up and block a ton of damage on them. With supremacy of steel active I’ve watched it kill a CW who cast Conduit of Ice on the group and since it was constant damage to the group, SoS was shooting out faster than I’ve ever seen it. It was almost like watching the knife attack that the rogues use. I wasn’t running tenebrous at the time, but I would imagine that they would proc as well off of that. That may be painful…hmmm more stuff for test to check out.
Like I said in the beginning, this is not a build for everyone. I am in no way an expert in the game, or on tanking. However I have ran groups with folks who have asked me about it afterword’s. When I get groups who say it was a smooth run, and that there were pulls that we should have probably wiped on, but didn’t, well then that’s enough endorsement for me. I enjoy the build, and the play style. By all means do not take this as a defacto build to copy from, but instead draw from it, see what works, and adapt it to what works for you. Now it becomes a challenge to see how many mobs we can pull at once for any given fight. We have gone to actually fighting bosses with their adds and not dancing all over with them. This lets the CW’s and GWF hit both the boss and the adds at the same time, burning through things faster. I guess in the end I wanted to play a tank, not a Guardian Great Weapon Fighter.