Welcome to Part 2 of my look into the Guardian profession as a support/sustain character type. If you missed Part 1 you can visit the article here. In the first part I took a look at the Guardian's virtues and weapon skills. In this second part I will explore the utility skills and then cover trait choices in the third article. For the sake of continuity I will review each skill and trait in the order they appear on the Guild Wars 2 wiki.
The first set of utility skills are called Consecration type and they lie heavily in abilities that effect an area of the ground. All consecration skills have the focus of supporting your allies and a couple of them have secondary effects which will damage enemies. Hallowed Ground is the first skill and it simply creates a small area around you that grants stability to all allies within it. The second skill is called Purging Flames and does exactly what it sounds like, burns enemies and cures conditions on allies. Sanctuary is the third consecration skill and in my opinion is the most powerful choice for support. Sanctuary will create a dome type shelter around you which heals all allies within it and blocks any foes or projectiles from entering. This skill is almost similar to the offhand shield skill called Shield of Absorption. It would not be surprising if chaining these two skills together would create a very large window of safety for your allies. The final skill, wall of reflection, does nearly the same purpose but instead of blocking projectiles, it will simply reflect them back at enemies. Beyond it's reflection properties, this skill has no other use.
The next set of utility skills have a total of four but only three offer any support aspect. They are called meditations and the first one, Contemplation of Purity, is a pretty powerful one if you are getting focused. It will remove all conditions upon yourself and turn them into boons, which are beneficial buffs to your character. This skill is also stacked in power due to it's ability to not only break stun but give you a boon that directly negates the condition which you were suffering. For example if you are taking damage over time it will give you regeneration. If your movement is impaired it will give you swiftness and if you are weakened it will strengthen you. This skill by itself can really turn the tides in a battle, reversing the effects your enemy hoped to have on you. Especially in PvP.
Next in line for the meditations lies a skill that is solely designed to support allies. Merciful Intervention will teleport you to the nearest ally with the lowest health and create a healing area around them. There isn't much to say about this skill except how could you choose not to use it as a healing focused guardian? It's essentially the guardian's “Save the Day” heal. The final meditation skill is called Smite Condition. It's a pretty powerful damage dealer that also cleanses a condition and deals damage to any nearby enemies, doing more damage if you cleanse a condition. This skill seems to be more about dealing damage than it is support and I'm fairly certain it's only able to cure the caster. I haven't used this skill yet because it doesn't seem enticing so I can't comment on it's effectiveness.
Shouts are very powerful utility skills that provide a great amount of supportive boons. When you use a shout, your character will actually shout out the name of the skill. I find this to be really cool and extremely useful in identifying what shout is being used. Hold the Line, the first shout, is one that I use often when supporting in a tough situation. When you cast this skill it will grant protection and health regeneration to all nearby allies. It's essentially an AoE heal effect that also provides defense. Retreat is the next shout and it provides your team the chance to retreat effectively. Casting this skill will grant all nearby allies Aegis and swiftness. What more could you ask for when attempting to disengage safely?
Oh, let's not forget the most important shout. Save Yourselves! I absolutely love this skill. This little beauty will pull ALL conditions from nearby allies onto yourself and then give you just about every boon you could think of. Not only does this skill break stun but from what I've seen when using it, it doesn't actually place conditions onto yourself. I could be wrong about that though because when I use this skill I'm generally in the middle of some heated battle so I don't have the time to double check what's on me. On top of that, it puts so many boons on you that it's difficult to break down what's going on in your buff area. Save Yourselves! Will grant you 10 seconds of fury, vigor, might, protection, regeneration, swiftness, and retaliation. Insane. The final shout seems to pale in comparison to the previous one but it has it's uses. Stand Your Ground will grant yourself and all nearby allies stability.
Next up we have Signets and only two of these are relative to support. The first is Signet of Judgment and is pretty powerful. Its passive effect makes you take reduced damage while it's active grants yourself and all nearby allies retaliation. It will also put weakness on nearby enemies when activated. The second is Signet of Mercy and while I really like that it's passive increases all healing, it's active seems to be broken. It's supposed to revive a nearby ally and while I'm not certain if it's able to bring a downed state person to their feet, I am certain it's supposed to revive an actual dead ally. Unfortunately every time I use this skill it simply does not work. Even if me and the dead friend are the only two people in the area and even if we are in the same party. I even attempted to select the person I'm attempting to revive before using the skill. Nothing seems to work and either my character is broken or the skill is broken. Please let me know if you've had a similar experience.
The final portion of Utility Skills revolves around spirit weapons. These are skills very unique to the guardian and act mostly as added damage to your character. They summon for you a spirit weapon such as a bow, hammer, shield, or sword to fight alongside you during battle. They are pretty useful and can be kept summoned most of the time, especially when you invest in improving them through traits. The only weapon though that has a support function would be the bow. When you summon the bow it shoots arrows that cure conditions on allies and yourself. With all the weapons, there is an active ability you can use to destroy the weapon which adds to it's cooldown but also gives you additional effects. With the bow in particular, you can command the bow to shoot a barrage of healing arrows into a specific location.
I want to finish up this article by covering the two of three Elite skills which can be used to support/sustain. These are skills that you unlock access to at level 30 and are very powerful skills that have a fairly long cooldown. The first Elite skill I'll cover is called Renewed Focus. This one is pretty powerful, especially if your build revolves heavily around Virtues. Renewed Focus will make you invulnerable while also recharging your Virtues. I'm not certain how long the invulnerability lasts though because I haven't invested in this skill yet. The second Elite skill is called Tome of Courage and when cast it will replace all of your active skills with new ones. It is essentially like you picked up a new weapon called a tome and wielded it. Its number 1 skill is called Heal Area and does just that, heals all allies in the targeted area. Number 2 is called Purifying Ribbon and is similar to the focus skill Ray of Judgment. When cast it will bounce off of nearby allies, curing them, while hitting enemies to blind. The 3 skill is really cool and it's called Protective Spirit. This will grant protection and regeneration to all allies in front of you in a cone radius. 4th is a skill called Pacifism and it will daze a target for 3 seconds. The 5th and final skill is one hellva spell. It's called Light of Deliverance and it will fully heal up to 5 nearby allies. Yes, a full heal, even if from 1 health.
That about covers it for support/sustain skills on the Guardian. Now that I've busted out weapon and utility skills, all that's left is traits. Who knows though I may find more to talk about when it comes to a support Guardian after traits. Let me know if this information has helped you in any way and don't forget to ask your questions in the comments!
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