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Returning guardian looking to get into fractals


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I just got back into GW2 after having not played since before HoT release. I have never done fractals before but I want to start, so I'm curious to know how guardians perform in fractals. My main is actually a necromancer but my understanding is that guardians are generally better for group content, so...

Can anyone suggest a build? Maybe a melee build with mace and/or focus since I really like those weapons... but I'm open to pretty much anything besides full condition damage. Also keep in mind that I'm still playing baseline GW2, so no Dragonhunter or Firebrand, although I will most likely be buying HoT pretty soon.

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Guardians are in a good spot...

No, really. They are. A guardian is a welcome addition to most teams, and there are many different builds you can run. The two big ones are the pure DPS dragonhunter, and the Pure DPS Firebrand. Getting on a team with a pure guardian may be a bit difficult, though, since the elite specializations are really good at what they do.

The power Dragonhunter build looks something like this. I say "something like this", because the exact traits, gear, utilities, and weapons can be adjusted depending on what you do. One of the common ones is replacing the berserker gear with valkyrie, since this build can get a large amount of critical chance through retaliation and fury. In general, you'll want to swap out utilities depending on what is needed for each encounter:

Bane Signet for extra power and CCWall of Reflection for... reflects"Stand your ground!" for extra retaliation and stability"Retreat!" for blocks and movement speedSword of Justice for additional burst damage.


The firebrand is a bit more complicated, because there is no definite build. The two big competitors are the Griever - Virtues and Vipers - Zeal. For reference, I use the Grieving build myself. The meat chili is important, since it lets the Firebrand get 100% burning duration without a single point of expertise. This makes the grieving build a sort of power/condi hybrid, since the direct damage the build does is quite substantial. For a prolonged fight, this build has some of the best DPS in the game, and since it focuses on burn there is very little ramp up time. The tomes also give a lot of support skills, so the utilities can be wholly focused on offense.

There's also a healing build out there, but I personally don't know much about it.

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@CptAurellian.9537 said:

@Blood Red Arachnid.2493 said:The firebrand is a bit more complicated, because there is no definite build. The two big competitors are the Griever - Virtues and Vipers - Zeal.Shouldn't it be the other way? The SC meta build is viper-virtues, which makes more sense than viper-zeal due to synergies between traits, weapons and stats.

I'm pretty sure there's Griever Virtues, Griever Zeal, Viper Virtues, and Viper Zeal. It's sort of a mix and match. The exact popularity of each build is unknown, but when the Firebrand was Released, the PVE builds started out with zeal and moved toward virtues after Ashes of the Just was nerfed. I listed them in reverse order of when the builds came out... sort of.

The takeaway from all this is that, aside from encounter specific needs, each of the builds is within a few % of each other. Whichever build to use comes down to preference, or encounter specific mechanics.

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I'm a returning pre-HOT player also. I'm currently duoing the story with my wife in my old hammer/shout/knights armor build and we may also get back into fractals with another returning couple. So what would a "viper virtues" build look like? Thanks for any advice.

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