Welcome back to my series which takes a look into the Guild Wars 2 Guardian profession as a support/sustain. I had originally planned to wrap this up within 3 articles but the trait lines are pretty extensive to cover so I'll be doing each on in it's own article. If you missed the first two parts then you can find Part 1 - Weapon Skills here and Part 2 - Utility Skills here. Just as I did with the 2nd article, regarding skills, these traits will correspond to the order they appear in the Guild Wars 2 Wiki. Not all of the trait lines will be covered, only the ones that reflect a support type. Out of the 5 trait lines, 3 of them will be covered in this series. I must point out that the two top trait lines are offensive while the bottom two are support, the middle one is actually a mix between them and has a lot of balance to it. Due to it's heavy influence on support and sustain I will begin by covering the Valor trait line. On a side note, at level 80 you will have 70 points to allocate between trait lines. Most people will build their traits with 30 in two and 10 in one or 20 in two and 30 in one.
The Valor Trait Line
Due to the balanced nature between offensive and defensive properties of this trait line, it is a solid investment choice in almost any situation. While the Valor line does delve into support, most of your choices will net higher defensive capability. Surviving situations is pretty important to a Guardian and the longer you live the better your team can perform. There are also a few traits that will improve your damage, but that isn't the main focus of this trait line. Valor starts out by giving you +10 toughness and +1% critical damage per point. At it's max, you can gain a total of +300 toughness and +30% critical damage. If you do not have a decent critical chance rate, the extra critical damage may not be your sole reason for investing into this line and it's likely that you are playing the support role. Although you may not critically hit often, this extra damage can be very helpful when you do land a critical strike. As a support Guardian you will be investing into this line more so for it's added survivability. 300 extra toughness can go a long way in making your self heals more effective.
Once you have invested your first 5 points into Valor you gain your first minor trait. This directly impacts your survivability by granting you Aegis when your health reaches 50%. Who doesn't want more Aegis? After you have a total of 10 points into the Valor line, you then unlock the adept major traits. Just as with any other major trait, you can swap out your choice at anytime you are not in combat, but you can only have one major adept trait chosen at a time.
After spending reaching level 40 you can unlock the Master traits. At 15 points invested you can unlock your second minor trait which follows the theme of improving your defensive abilities by refreshing your Virtue of Courage when you rally. This will essentially giving you an Aegis charge when you return from a downed state.
This skill works best for any Guardian that puts out a lot of Aegis through-out a fight. When you block an attack from an enemy you will gain a boon of Might. This may not seem important to somebody who is focusing on support, but putting out some extra damage will never hurt your chances of coming out of a battle victorious.
You man recall from my previous article on the utility skills that meditations are pretty powerful abilities. You can recharge their cooldowns 20% faster with this trait and having meditations up more often is always a good thing. Utilize this major trait if you are using multiple meditations or heavily rely on one.
This trait will always burn an attacker that has it's damage successfully blocked. I would suggest utilizing this particular trait when you have a build that is heavily invested in acquiring Aegis often. Couple this with the adept minor trait and you have a guaranteed burn when you drop to 50% health. It is also beneficial for you to use this trait when you are invested in the Radiance trait line or anything else that boosts condition effects.
Your survivability will greatly increase when utilizing this trait. When you are put into a downed state you lose health 33% slower. This trait is extremely useful if combined with the Zeal adept major trait, Revenge of the Fallen, which increases your damage by 50% while downed. Otherwise it is simply a tool for you to stay in the fight longer. Hopefully you aren't getting downed that often though.
It will grant all nearby allies +30 additional toughness. If you combine this trait with other skills or traits that grant protection or regeneration you increase the overall survivability of your allies exponentially. This trait is only good in small groups if the person or persons getting targeted are really weak and need additional help taking hits. It's also useful in large groups that are taking AoE damage. I would not suggest using it if your group has no problems staying alive to begin with as it would be redundant.
This next adept major trait only benefits the Guardian themselves. Simply put it cures one condition you suffer every 10 seconds. It has good synergy with your healing skill Signet of Resolve which also cures a condition every 10 seconds. Combine these two and you will cure 2 conditions every 10 seconds instead of one. This is especially helpful in PvP or any PvE situations that cause a heavy amount of conditions upon your character.
This trait grants you 5% of your toughness as precision. This skill is very important for somebody who is building a lot of toughness because there are other traits within the support/sustain lines that work off of critical hits. For example, the extra critical damage you gain in the Valor trait line. To get a free boost to your critical hit chance while still building tank style is something you shouldn't ignore. On the other hand, this skill obviously works best with an offensive build that grants survivability at the same time.
In my opinion this is one of the most powerful traits for anybody building support style, because the mace skills are so important. This trait will grant you 5% extra damage with a mace and helps make sure your not completely useless when it comes down to a real battle. Let's face it, you still have to deal some amount of damage no matter how deep you spec into support and this skill lets you do so.
I'm not really into 2-handed hammers, but they are not a bad weapon. This trait gives you a 50% chance to chill your target for 4 seconds if you critically hit them while wielding a hammer. I'd say this trait is more geared toward those that are building offensively and need to stay on their target. It also has a 45 second cooldown, which doesn't help me feel it's a viable trait. It may be strongest in PvP situations than anything else.
If you are using a mace and shield combination, there's no reason you shouldn't pick up this trait. It will regenerate your shield skills 20% faster. This means more protection and more healing. The only problem is that this trait shares the same tier, Master, as Mace of Justice. If you are opting for more shield skills then go for this one, otherwise you may choose the 5% extra mace damage if you are using a different offhand or you need extra damage while soloing.
This trait is straight-forward in the fact that it simply will cast any meditation skill instantly. There isn't much to say about this skill otherwise. Use it if you feel you need instant casting on your meditations.
This is also a very simple trait. It will heal you anytime you've placed a boon on allies. Considering how many skills and traits you get that will place boons on your allies, this is a very powerful trait choice. Use this skill especially if you plan on tanking the brunt of any damage.
Similar to your previous grandmaster trait, this one will heal you any time you use a meditation. If you are heavily using meditation skills and/or have the Focused Mind trait, this is a great choice for self-sustain.
That wraps it up for the Valor trait line. I hope this information has helped some of you get more acquainted with your choices as a Guardian. I will be working on the Honor and Virtue trait lines subsequently to posting this section of the series. After that, I'll delve into a few build choices that I'll give as examples through an online character building application. As always, leave me your feedback and questions in the comments or contact me via private message.
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