Guardian - Leveling Paladin

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Focused on: Leveling.

Designed for:


Leveling Tips

It is strongly advised that you review our Leveling Tips Guide before proceeding with this build.


Guardian is a class that focuses on high Burning Burning uptime alongside very high burst damage and active defense. It has a very low health pool but access to many defenses and very high damage which makes it one of the easiest classes to level.

Many players might feel a bit squishy their first time playing a guardian, but by using a Focus offhand and learning how to Aegis Aegis attacks and Blind Blind mobs, it can have extreme survivability.

The Build

This is a preview of the build you are aiming for. Progression is explained below.

Skill Bar



Trait and Skill Variants

Zeal and Radiance traitlines are where most of your damage comes from. In contrast, the Virtues traitline contains a lot of your defensive traits on this build. Therefore, if you are concerned that you will die too quickly as you're leveling this build, you might consider taking the Virtues line first.

This build is focused on close-quarters damage. If you are looking for a ranged option, take Scepter instead of Greatsword or Sword.



This build in particular requires high Resolution Resolution uptime to function at its best due to the traits and . You can maintain your resolution uptime in a number of ways:

  • - pulsing Resolution from Greatsword
  • - causes all of your Virtues to grant retaliation and increases the duration of retal that you create
  • - causes your to refresh after every kill, meaning you can spam it often for massive damage boosts and Blind Blind from .
  • - in addition to blind, also grants a Light Aura which grants you resolution each time you are struck.

Combining these factors means you can keep nearly permanent retaliation up on yourself, which is a massive increase to your damage.


Guardian has a relatively simple rotation for dealing with mobs:

  • You can use to pull in mobs around you
  • The general idea is to activate your defensive skills first and then lay down your symbols and use your high-damaging AoE abilities while spamming .
  • - very high single-target damage, also blocks projectiles


Guardian is a very squishy class without using its active defenses, so it requires good timing to master. Sometimes you may want to change out skills like for skills like or based on the situation.

  • / - projectile defense
  • - extremely powerful heal skill which basically grants you temporary lifesteal
  • - strong heal skill which has a long-duration block
  • - Blocks an attack. With Virtues fully traited it will also break stun and grant Stability Stability,
    Protection Protection
    Apply protection to yourself.
    Protection.pngProtection (10s): -33% Incoming Damage
    Range.pngRange: 1,200
    , and Resolution Resolution.
  • - will blind mobs in an area when activated thanks to in Radiance.
  • - passively heals; can be traited to remove conditions
  • / - powerful condition removal
  • / + - cleanse conditions in an area
  • - blinds foes in an area and heals you slightly for each enemy hit


Unlocking the build above will take quite some time, but you should aim to follow the guide below. Note that you should have more hero points than you will need for this build, so do some experimenting and unlock things that seem fun to you. This build a guideline, not a hard rule to follow.

Tier 1

Tier 1 is level 2-10 and during this tier you will be slowly introduced to some of the core concepts of the game, like weapon and profession skills. You will begin with some weapon skills unlocked and will unlock more as you level. At level 5 you will unlock your first Profession Skill, the Virtues mentioned above, and will continue to unlock them as you level up.

Through this tier you will unlock more weapon skills. For now, work on reaching the next tier by completing events and exploration. At level 10 you will unlock the ability to swap weapons.

Complete your Personal Story and proceed to Tier 2.

Tier 2

From levels 11-20 you'll be in Tier 2, where you can start unlocking slot skills

Slot Skills are divided into three categories - Healing, Utility, and Elite. You already have a Healing Skill, but now you can begin unlocking Utility Skills.

On reaching Level 11 you'll receive 5 hero points. You can get hero points from levels or completing Hero Challenges in the world, but for the purposes of this guide we will only consider your hero points gained from levels.

To start off, open your hero panel and look under the Training tab. You'll see several options for Slot Skills. Your goal in Tier 2 is to unlock the following skills and any skills that come before them:

You won't unlock much else this tier, so keep exploring until you hit Tier 3.

Remember to focus on Power gear as you level. The secondary stat can be any of your choice, though Precision, Vitality, Healing Power, or Toughness are recommended.

At level 20, you will unlock Chapter 2 of your Personal Story. Complete it and proceed to Tier 3.

Tier 3

Tier 3 contains levels 21-30 and right away you will unlock the ability to select Core Specializations and unlock Traits.

Your goal in this Tier is much the same as Tier 2 and 1: Complete open world events, hearts, vistas, and the like while gaining levels.

Open your Hero Panel under Training again but this time we're going to look at the Zeal Specialization. You have two traits to focus on here:

At Level 30, complete your next Personal Story chapter and move to Tier 4.

Tier 4

From levels 31-40, right away you can unlock your Elite Skill. Elite skills are unlocked at the end of some Skill Lines and can be very powerful. For our purposes, we'll focus on:

The core of your build is now complete!

It is worth noting that you will begin unlocking dungeons here, as listed in our Leveling Tips guide. Be sure to consult that section, as dungeons are a valuable source of gold and experience.

At level 40, complete your Personal Story chapter and move to Tier 5.

Tier 5

In this tier we get another choice of trait line at level 45. In this case, you'll want to begin unlocking the Radiance Specialization, aiming for these three traits

You should have these three traits fully unlocked before hitting the next tier, but if not continue to unlock them in the next tier. At level 60, complete the next chapter of your personal story and move to Tier 6.

Tier 6 and Tier 7

The next two tiers, 6 and 7, are mostly the same as Tier 5. You will unlock new dungeons like Twilight Arbor and Sorrow's Embrace, and will be able to complete more of your personal story. During these Tiers you will start getting gear with 3 stats rather than 2, so you should start focusing on bringing up your Power and Precision, generally, with the third attribute being of your choice (avoid condition damage).

Runes and Sigils

By level 60 you will be able to obtain Superior Runes and Sigils, which can alter your gameplay drastically. Find some that you like and that are very cheap and use them in your gear. It is not recommended to purchase any specific runes or sigils until level 80, however, so just use ones that you find or are given by the rewards system for now.

Once you have completed your Tier 7 Personal Story, you are ready to proceed to Tier 8.

Tier 8

Level 71 is where you start getting your first tastes of the end-game. Here we unlock our final Specialization slot, which we'll be dedicating to the Virtues line. Virtues grants you additional bonuses to your virtues class mechanic.


By this point, you will have most of the maps in Core Tyria unlocked and will have made your way to the Orr maps. These maps, such as Malchor's Leap, have extremely frequent events and you will often find "Event Trains" in their public map chat. Join up with these trains for large group activites that are both highly profitable and grant large amounts of experience.

After exploring Orr and participating in events, you will have reached level 80. From here, proceed into your final Story Chapter, and upon completing it you will be ready for some of the end-game content.

Elite Specializations and Post-80 Content

Just because you're level 80 now doesn't mean the game is over, however. Guild Wars 2's leveling experience is a fun series of exploration, story, dungeons, and learning experiences. Post-80, much of that remains the same. There are more level 80 maps in the game than pre-80 maps, so exploring those and experiencing Heart of Thorns, Path of Fire, and the Living Story episodes will give you more of that unique leveling experience.

You will also want to unlock your Elite Specializations. You can do this in a similar way to your Core Specializations, by obtaining Hero Points, but Elite Specializations require many more Hero Points than Core. The best way to obtain these is to venture in to the Heart of Thorns or Path of Fire maps and complete Hero Challenges there, which grant 10 Hero Points each. You can often find "HP Trains" in the LFGs for these maps or in map chat, which will allow you to very quickly and easily complete these Hero Points.

The difficulty level of maps ramps up considerably from Core to the Expansions, so be ready to get hit hard. You'll want to explore our Open World section for good Core / Basic Builds to level up your Elite Specs.

Fractals and Raids are also unlocked at 80, and if you own the expansions you can jump right into them. Fractals are a lot like dungeons but with a tiered progression system. Higher level fractals can be very profitable and challenging content but require special Ascended gear. Raids, on the other hand, can be an excellent source of Ascended drops and provide rewarding group content to complete with up to 10 players. You can start off raids in Exotic Gear, which is often relatively cheap, so don't be afraid to look for Training Guilds.

From here, your goals are your own. You can seek to conquer the fractal progression, join up with raids, or participate in the massive number of meta events available around Tyria. Whichever path you decide, you'll need a build for it, so consult the other builds on this site to find one that suits you best.

Good luck out there.

Build rating - 4 stars
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1 Ratings
4 stars
Onlywrin gave this build 4 stars May 2021

This is probably one of the highest damage classes at low level, but be warned that you will feel very squishy until you understand how guardian works. A lot of Guardian is killing the enemy before they can kill you, so it's imperative that you manage this gracefully. Because of this, this class can feel a bit difficult to level and it is advised that new players take some vitality or toughness in their build to help even this out.