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As many of you know I took a sabbatical from this game how ever I learned how to block effectively some where else. I'm leveling a new Dragon Hunter which has access to a ton of blocks, I plan on running a Great Sword and Hammer which I know is non Meta but I have them as Ascended so that's how I plan on rolling any way.

What skills help blocking, I remember F3 will either passively block every minute or so, or you can actively use F3 (which doesn't seem to be something mentioned in any rotations), I also see that Shelter is a Healing spell that blocks as well. Here's my concern in later era content such as Heart of Thorns and Path of Fire there seems to be way more attacks to block than you actually have blocks and dodges for so how can you tell when to que it up, what do these tells look like since it seems every mob is unique these days, what do I need to focus on past the visual noise?

Are some of these traps for Dragon Hunter able to negate damage while active, if I'm not mistaken I think some of them block projectiles?

Do these DPS rotations have survivability baked into them due to side effects from the abilities, if not where should I be weaving in my blocks to get the most coverage if I get disoriented by the visual noise?

Keep in mind I'm not exactly a new player, I've been playing this game for 4.5 years, how ever I've never really gotten good at the action mechanics until the past year when I learned how to fully utilize my Reaper, and more recently in ESO where I can recognize the tells to use my generic blocking ability.

I could continue playing Reaper for ever but I will never properly learn this game, and ANet will never buff Reaper to be Meta with out gutting it to the point where I wouldn't be able to survive on it any way.

I could of course walk away, how ever according to GW2 Efficiency my account is worth on average 22,000 so to walk away from all that investment of time, and money spent in Gems is a colossal waste.


I was watching a 5 year old video which I'm sure no longer applies after so many balance patches but it appears Great Sword has passive defense built into it anyway such as damage reduction or reflect on ability 4 and it appears the Whirl Attack blocks projectiles. I'm wondering if my instinct to dodge all the time is a bad idea since I'm moving out of my symbols, would I have more damage reduction if I just sat in my symbols between Hammer One, Great Sword 4, and let my aegis block every once in awhile? I've also heard that there's some build that relies on Retaliation which my understanding is it reflects damage back at attackers sort of like GS 4?

To the Mods it might be beneficial at this point to move this post to the Guardian Forum even though I initially only wanted to learn how to recognize tells to actively block.

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You can start by going meta. There's more to being proficient with a class/build, but it is indeed an excellent starting point as it is an already working, efficient build. Understanding how it works and what makes it efficient makes it easier to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your class, which is the basis of being "gud".

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(I'll give it a shot, but someone else can probably do a better job than me)


regarding the "tells" to block, it's a bit hard to give a good answer to that, since there are a lot of enemies that all behave differently. The best answer I can give is to just experiment and try it out, and if you have trouble with specific enemies ask for that enemy specifically.

In general, to start learning how to use blocks (and well, all active defenses) find yourself some big and brutish enemy npc, that attacks slowly but hit hard, Ettins, Minotaurs, Jotuns etc are all good examples. And just start watching their attacks. Ettins for example always wind up their special moves with light coming from their clubs etc, so you can use this to test and use blocks properly.

In general I'd advice to learn "Active Defenses" in general, and not over focus on block. Dodging, Blinds, Aegis, Positioning, Blocks, Invulnerables, CC, Pulls/Launch, etc all help keeping you alive, and there isn't enough of any single one of them to do the job alone, so you need a mix of all of them.



F3: gives you Aegis a boon which blocks 1 attack and then expires. The passive gives you this Aegis every 40 seconds iirc. Or you can activate it to get it when you need it, at 45 seconds cooldown/recharge. (Might have the numbers wrong, and there is a trait that reduces the time). If you play dragonhunter, this changes the F3 a bit, and it has a block function for a few seconds upon activation that only works in front iirc, but should block both ranged and melee. I don't play much DH so someone should answer/correct me on this.

The two easiest ways to "block" is the healing skill Shelter that has 2 seconds of "block", and Enduring Renewal which gives you 3 second of "invulnerable" which is generally better, in the odd case you meet something with un-blockable. Those two are usually enough for most content (once you start figuring out what to block etc).

Guardian has a lot of other ways to "block" things through various means. Like:

  • Shield #4 gives Aegis,
  • Shield #5 that blocks ranged and pushes enemies out of melee range.
  • Focus #4 Blinds
  • Focus #5 that creates a shield that blocks X attacks,
  • Sword #2 blinds, Greatsword #3 blinds,
  • Mace #3 Blocks 1 attack, then gives Aegis
  • Line of Warding, util skill that creates a wall that block ranged attacks,
  • "Retreat!" util skill gives Aegis

The problem with going too heavy on blocks and other defense mechanisms, is that you can easy end up not doing any damage while going defensive. This will make gameplay crawl down to a slow crawl, where you will often enough still lose, just in a different way. Generally it is better to use those that you can use while doing damage, and those are especially the Blinds that guardian got, and some aegis. And use Shelter+Enduring Renewal as "oh kitten!" buttons to get out of trouble (Sir robin bravely ran away).


A couple of very good weapon sets for this is:

  • Mace+Shield (heal on 3rd autoattack, low cooldown aoe that gives regen on #2, block+aegis on 3, protectiona nd aegis on 4, and projectile block and pushback on 5 with a heal if you cancel it)
  • Sword+Focus (#2 teleport +blind on low cooldown, #3 blocks projectiles, #4 blinds and gives you regen, #5 blocks 4 or 5 attacks)

Haven't played greatsword in a long time, but can only remember the blind on #3, don't remember anything else that will keep you alive. Greatsword is mainly a fast damage to multiple target weapon, with a little bit of utility (#5 for crowd control, 4+2 for light combo etc). Hammer as well, the ring of warding (#5) can be used to keep enemies away, but usually too slow to be effective at it, but combined with 3+4 you can launch them away and imob them to keep them away I guess, but then you can't do much damage with hammer either. Hammer works better as a damage+crowd control weapon.


If you're very interested in the block mechanics, you might want to look up a "Shattered Aegis" build. It is focused around using Aegis (single block) and traiting it to do more, like giving you a minor heal each time one expires, and do damage to nearby enemies when it expires etc. It can be a fun play style, and quite different from a lot of other things. The largest problem is that there is a limit to how much Aegis you can rotate, so you have to use them sparingly. (Mace 3, Shield 4, Retreat util, F3, for example on a core guardian, then you have to wait for cooldowns).

DH have the option of doing some damage through traps, while still playing defensive. If you drop traps before shelter for example you still do damage while blocking for 2 seconds. Iirc at least one of the traps has a 0 sec casting time, meaning you can even cast it while blocking with shelter (?). Combined that with the trait that sometimes drops an extra trap (the one that gives you Aegis even), combine this with some defensive weapon set and you can make a decently tanky DH that still does damage.

Ok long enough, off to work.

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You only need to avoid the really scary stuff, which is boss-specific. Most AoEs you can just side-step. Scary attacks you dodge. Some of the scary attacks can also be blocked.

But yeah, try the meta builds. PvE Scepter/Torch + Greatsword glass DH bursts so hard that most things in the open world barely let out a whimper before dying.

If you need practice avoiding shit, go to Fractals. Sure, you'll probably die a few dozen times, but for the most part is a nice proving ground for testing skills against trash and bosses alike.

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Practice makes perfect! Anyone can play the game, read the skill descriptions, and have a general idea of how those skills should be used. What separates good play from bad is practice. This is especially true of action combat games that prioritize timing. This naturally indicates a certain degree of knowledge. What is this enemy capable of? What attacks do I absolutely need to avoid 100% and how do I anticipate them? That all comes down to practice. Enemies should get easier the more familiar you become with them.

The other side of it is practicing your build until you become comfortable with it. "Comfortable" to me is the point at which I don't really have to think about how to handle a scenario. At this point, I've been there, done that and I've developed general strategies that I can apply on the fly to handle dynamic scenarios. It's similar to a playbook in (American) football. How do you win the game? Good play-calling sure helps!

Getting a little more granular, that "comfort level" should also extend to your individual skills. When I've practiced sufficiently, I don't have to think about which moves to make and when. It just flows automatically in response to the scenario. For instance, if I find myself in sudden danger at melee range, a move that works quite well in almost any scenario is to swap to staff and phase retreat out to range. I've done it so much that it almost seems like a single move as opposed to two!

I mean, what else can you really do? The playing field isn't level. Some players just have natural talent and aptitudes that make them better adapted to this type of gameplay, and balancing is all over the place from one class/build combination to the next! But all of that aside, every player gets better with practice.

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