Greatsword Guardian Leveling Build












Since Guild wars 2’s release I have been busy leaving a lot of bodies in my wake, instead of writing up new articles. I am back to share with you the leveling build I used.

I will be covering the full monty so get yourself some coffee, maybe a beer if you’re that guy, and sit down for a bit while you read this.

I clocked 75h 20m from 1-80 with this build, so it works. Proof will be at the bottom of the article.

This build will allow you to fight enemy groups up to around 8, depending on the enemies you are fighting. Intelligent play will allow you to fight 2-3 veterans at once, and stand up against a champion in group fights.


Well if the title of this article didn’t give this build away then good news everybody. Your weapon of choice will be the Greatsword. Find yourself one as early as possible, and make sure to keep it up to date.

Check out Guild Wars 2 wiki for skill information on the Greatsword. Information can be found at:

Your second weapon set can be anything you want to take with you. For the first 20-30 levels I used sword with any of the three offhand options. Shield becomes obsolete later down the line. You will be able to take a lot more damage, so it’s better to grab focus or torch for extra damage output. The rule I will give here is to change your second weapon set depending on what situation you are in. I keep one of every weapon on me at all time just so I can do this.

The stats you want on your greatsword are Power, Precision, and +% Crit Damage. When you can, apply a bloodlust rune to your greatsword.


Your armor should have the same stats as your greatsword. Focus on Power, Precision, and +% Crit Damage. Don’t be afraid to replace low armor gear with higher armor gear that doesn’t have the same stats. Neglecting armor for stats while leveling can put you in a bad spot.

I don’t recommend a lot of the karma merchant heavy armor, because it is all Vitality, Toughness, and Healing Power. If you find some with the stats that are needed then buy it. It will be a good investment.

For runes, there are a lot you can use that will benefit you. Anything that adds power or precision can be beneficial.

The top 3 for me are:

Rune of Balthazar

Rune of Lyssa

Rune of Flame Legion

Balthazar runes will increase your power and burning duration, as well as giving you a burning discharge when you heal and quickness below 20% health which is awesome at that point. Lyssa allows your elite to become a weaker version of Contemplation of Purity and gives you a random boon when healing. Flame Legion will make your burning more powerful and make you hit burning foes for 5% more damage.


Your skills will change as you progress through the game. I recommend around level 15 or 20 that you go and grab a bunch of skill points from the early areas. The skill points will be easy to get and most of them are close together.


Signet of Resolve.png

40 Recharge time  1 Skill point  Signet of Resolve

Passive: Cures a condition every ten seconds.
Active: Heal yourself.

Signet of Resolve will be your main heal throughout the entire 1-80 process, so get it as early as possible. The passive will come in very handy in condition heavy fights and the heal is the biggest for guardians.


Signet of Judgment.png

40Recharge time 1Skill pointSignet of Judgment

Passive: Reduces incoming damage.
Active: Grant retaliation to nearby allies and weakness to nearby foes.

Signet of Judgment is the only utility skill you will not change. It helps during the early levels when your toughness isn’t very high, and if you are in a large group during an event you can activate it and watch the fun.

Level 5

Sword of Justice.png

30Recharge time 1Skill point Sword of Justice

Summon an arcane sword to defend you.

Duration.png Duration: 30 s

At level 5, just grab the sword since you need to buy 5 skills in the first tier anyways to unlock the next skill tier. The sword will help you kill things faster, and that is a good thing at level 5.

Level 10

Purging Flames.png

40Recharge time 3Skill point Purging Flames

Create a ring of fire that burns foes and cures conditions on allies.

Burning.png Burning: 5 s Duration.png Duration: 5 s

By level 10, you should have at least 1 tier 2 utility skill unlocked. Purging Flames will be the best option at this level. It is a combo field and the greatsword has 2 whirl finishers to take advantage of it. It will also provide good condition damage and removal at this level.

Also make sure that Signet of Judgment on your bar now.

Level 20

"Hold the Line!".png

35Recharge time 6Skill point “Hold the Line!”

Grant protection and regeneration to allies.

Protection.png Protection: 4 s Regeneration.png Regeneration: 6 s

At level 20, you have your 3rd utility skill unlocked, so this skill is what you should grab out of your tier 3 utilities right now. “Hold the Line!” will provide bonus defense while you are still weak and great regeneration if you are low.

Save up skill points at this time so you can buy an elite skill at 30.

Level 30 (Elite)

Tome of Wrath.png

180Recharge time 10Skill point Tome of Wrath

Summon an ancient tome that grants you powerful offensive spells.

Duration.png Duration: 20 s

Depending on your race you will have different choices for your elite, but since this is all about guardians, take Tome of Wrath. If you want to take a racial elite then I recommend the following at level 30.

Sylvari: Take Root

Charr: Warband Support

Human: Reaper of Grenth

Asura: Summon 7-Series Golem

Norn: Any of the 10 skill point transformations will work (Bear, Raven, Wolf)

For Sylvari, Take Root will be very helpful against larger groups of enemies, or more powerful enemies. As a Charr you will benefit from Warband Support at lower levels if you get in over your head on a fight. Humans should take Reaper of Grenth, the amount of enemies you will be fighting at a time can be increased a bit with this skill, the poison damage is excellent and chill will keep them near you. Asurans, just take the offensive golem and use it when you need the extra damage, when it sets up for its flurry attack you should put a combo field in front of it. Norn, just take whatever you want of the 3, each is good in its own right.

Level 40-60

Wall of Reflection.png

40Recharge time 1Skill point Wall of Reflection

Protect the targeted area with a wall of mystic power that reflects projectiles.

Duration.png Duration: 10 s

Combo Field: Light

Judge's Intervention.png

45Recharge time 3Skill point Judges Intervention

Teleport to your target and burn nearby foes.

Burning.png Burning: 3 s

Breaks stun.png Breaks stun

Hallowed Ground.png

80Recharge time 6Skill point Hallowed Ground

Consecrate the ground around you, granting Stability to allies inside.

Stability.png Stability: 10 s

Duration.png Duration: 10 s

After you get your first elite skill, grab these 3 skills before you get any others. Wall of Reflection is for countering powerful ranged enemies in dungeons. Judges Intervention and Hallowed Ground will be placed on your bar at 60 when you unlock your Grandmaster traits. Once you have these three you can either save up for one of the Tier 2 elite skills or just start unlocking the rest of the skills.

You will need Tome of Courage later on during dungeons or large group fights, but I will leave it up to you to decide when to buy it.

Level 60+ (This is what your bar will be until you hit 80)

Signet of Judgment.png

40Recharge time 1Skill point Signet of Judgment

Passive: Reduces incoming damage.
Active: Grant retaliation to nearby allies and weakness to nearby foes.

Judge's Intervention.png

45Recharge time 3Skill point Judges Intervention (36 with traits)

Teleport to your target and burn nearby foes.

Burning.png Burning: 3 s

Breaks stun.png Breaks stun

Hallowed Ground.png

80Recharge time 6Skill point Hallowed Ground

Consecrate the ground around you, granting Stability to allies inside.

Stability.png Stability: 10 s

Duration.png Duration: 10 s

The example above is what your skill bar will look like until you finally level to 80 and start experimenting with other builds. The traits that I will be talking about after this will make Judges Intervention heal you when you use it and reduce its cooldown.

There are 2 optimal rotations when you begin fights with this build.

Primary rotation (when Judges/Hallowed is off cd)

Judges Intervention -> Hallowed Ground -> Binding Blades (Greatsword skill 5 1/2) -> Pull (Greatsword skill 5 2/2) -> Leap of Faith (Greatsword skill 4) -> Whirling Wrath (Greatsword skill 3) -> Attack until you can repeat from step 3.

Secondary rotation (when Judges/Hallowed is on cd)

Leap of Faith -> Binding Blades -> Symbol of Wrath (Greatsword skill #2) -> Pull -> Whirling Wrath -> Attack until you can repeat rotation again, or until you can repeat primary rotation.

Don’t worry about Judges and Hallowed being on cd when you move into another fight. At that point, change Leap of Faith to step #1 and Symbol of Wrath to step #3. After that you will throw out Binding, pull them in, and pop Whirling just like in the previous rotation.

When you are fighting more powerful enemies I suggest you swap to staff on secondary and use Empower (Staff skill 4) until you have the full 12 stacks of might. Once the might is up, switch back and start the rotation from Judges, then move into the secondary rotation.

And those of you that are gonna ask about Judges Intervention and why I don’t save it until I am stunned? I like to start a fight off with a lot of burning, it makes the fights go faster. When I am fighting bosses, I’ll ease up on spamming Judges Intervention. At the end of the day, it’s best left to however you decide to use it.


Traits are what make this build, and they will change slightly as you level up.

During levels 10-40 you are going to put points into the following,

Your first 10 points will go into Honor. At 10 take:

Honor (10)

Adept: Writ of Exaltation (Symbols are larger)

Then you want to the next 10 points into Valor. Once it is at 10 take:

Valor (10)

Adept: Retributive Armor (5% of toughness is given as a bonus precision)

The next 10 points will be split into Zeal and Virtues. Place the points into Virtues first, you will benefit from that more. This will allow you to have:

Zeal (5)

Zealot’s Speed (Create a Symbol of Wrath when your health drops below 25% with 30s cooldown)

Virtues (5)

Inspired Virtue (Virtues now also apply the following boons: Justice -> Might | Resolve -> Regeneration | Courage -> Protection)

At 40, when you buy your masters and have the free trait reset trait the following,

Honor (20 points)

Adept : Writ of Exaltation (Symbols are larger)

Master: Two-Handed Master (Two-handed skills recharge 20% faster)

Valor (10 points)

Adept: Retributive Armor (5% of toughness is given as a bonus precision)

Afterwards, place all points into Valor as you level to 50 and then take the following trait,

Valor (20 points)

Master: Meditation Mastery (Meditations recharge 20% faster)

This will make Judges Intervention recharge faster than it previously could (drops it from 45 seconds to 36 seconds)

From 50-60 you are going to put 5 points into Zeal and 5 points into Virtues, just like last time, and just like last time put the points into Virtues first.

At 60, pick up your Grandmasters book. Then place points into the following,

Valor (30 points)

Adept: Retributive Armor (5% of toughness is given as a bonus precision)

Master: Meditation Mastery (Meditations recharge 20% faster)

Grandmaster: Monk’s Focus (Using a meditation skill heals you)

Honor (20 points)

Adept : Writ of Exaltation (Symbols are larger)

Master: Two-Handed Master (Two-handed skills recharge 20% faster)

From 60 onward, you are going to place points into the following,

Zeal (15 points)

Adept: Fiery Wrath (Increase damage to burning foes by 10%)

At 15 points you will gain the master minor trait:

Symbolic Exposure (Symbols apply vulnerability to foes)

Symbolic Exposure will strengthen your secondary rotation.

Virtues (5 points)

Again, this is just for Inspired Virtues, so take it before you start putting your points into Zeal.

This trait set up will allow you to stand against large groups of enemies. Of course there are limits to this, so don’t go running into the middle of a group of 15+ mobs unless you are with other players.

Virtues, Dodge, and Downed

During any engagement, you should be taking full advantage of your virtues and your dodge while you fight. Pop Virtue of Justice (F1) during a fight for extra burning duration. Virtue of Resolve (F2) is a nice healing boost if you are low and your healing skill is on cd. Virtue of Courage (F3) should only be used in emergencies, the passive comes in a lot handier than it’s activation.

I shouldn’t have to say this, but I have seen it a lot so I am going to. Don’t stand in the enemy AoE! Holy shit are you stupid if you just stand in there, and I will slap you if you follow that up with “Man, my guardian just can’t take any damage at all”. AoE’s are designed to knock your health down a lot, and that is what is going to happen to you if you stand in it.

When an AoE is thrown down, you have about .5 seconds before you get hit by it, so dodge out of it. With the traits, the end of your dodge roll will provide a small AoE heal. Take advantage of it in a harder fight, the small heal can make a difference between getting downed and staying up.

When you get downed, don’t worry. Do what you can to get back up, and if you can’t then just spawn at the closest waypoint. A trick that I learned was to use Symbol of Judgment (downed #3) right before I got resurrected. Doing so allowed me to resurrect in the middle of a powerful healing AoE, and heal the guy resurrecting me.

Underwater Combat

Underwater combat is very different, and as such you have to change your tactics up a bit. Make sure to replace your Aqua Breather with something higher level when you can.

I love both the trident and the spear. The spear is great damage and the trident can keep you alive for a long time. Regardless of which weapon you use, the utility skills will remain the same.

During early levels, take Hammer of Wisdom and Sword of Justice for extra damage. The third skill is up to you, I suggest “Retreat!” so you can escape if need be, or Purging Flames for some added AoE burning.

Later levels, you want to throw Signet of Judgment up with Judges Intervention and whatever third skill. Again, “Retreat!” does really well by providing you an escape.

You don’t really have a choice of elite as a guardian when underwater, just grab Renewed Focus and use it whenever you feel like it. I personally rarely touch it, because I forget that I have it.’

In regards to your utility skills, Judges Intervention is great underwater. Sword of Justice and Purging Flames will also help with a lot of the fights, since you will be attacked by 2 or more mobs a lot.

Side Notes

Do you best to keep your gear up to level, but don’t worry so much about it. During your first 60 levels you need to save your money for trait books.

If you are running somewhere and you see an event close by, head over to it and participate in it. Just hitting one thing will let you get bronze from it which is a good experience boost. Do your best to get gold though, gold is a lot better.

Gather while you level, but if you are focusing on speeding through the levels don’t go out of your way to get a node. This does not apply to secret gardens or rich mineral veins, they are worth the trip.

If you see someone down, you should help them up. You get a fair chunk of experience when you resurrect someone. Do the same for NPC’s, most of the time they will give you completion boosts to the renown heart around you.

If you are taking things slower and exploring while you level, talk to scouts. They will guide you to good areas. Scouts only appear when you haven’t seen the hearts they reveal, so if a scout appears on your map it means you forgot something.

Dungeons are good experience, but if you are focusing on speedily leveling, I suggest avoiding them.

Personal story is your friend. You can get a lot of good gear from it, and the experience you gain at the end of one rivals dungeon experience. This build will allow you to do a personal story up to 3 levels higher than your current level.

Crafting can give you experience to level with. Around level 70 when you have a lot of materials from randomly grabbing them, you should take about 20-30 minutes to level up your crafting.

Exploring new areas before you do hearts is highly recommended. Being able to see the full map, and having waypoints to go to when events are posted, will help.


Here is my official time from leveling with this build:

I would like to give my proper dues to Guild Wars 2 Wiki for precise information on everything. You can find all the information I used at

Good luck to everyone, and remember to have fun playing!

May Dwayna bless you all!

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