The Guardian Fighter received many changes for mod 10 and most tanks, especially Tacticians, are left scratching their heads wondering how to keep their class relevant.

Actually, the Guardian Fighter’s buff is still quite strong even after they were nerfed in mod 10. Second, the reworks have allowed the class some level of variation rather than just loading on Defense.

Firstly, why should you go Iron Vanguard?

Make no mistake, the Sword Master build is still pretty good. One big weakness that the Iron Vanguard has is the lack of Steel Defense which acts as a quick 3.5-second bailout for when you find yourself in a pinch. However, the Iron Vanguard has Ferocious Reaction which heals you right up whenever your HP hits a critical level. I admit it is not quite as good as Steel Defense, but the Iron Vanguard has some useful powers that you can use to really help your party.

Let’s start with the basics.



Gear Orientation : Build towards Defense (Up to a Damage Resistance of 80%), HP, and Recovery (Recharging Speed).

Feats Tree :


Ability Score  :


Boons :

You’ll want a good amount of Recovery along with your Defense. Take as much Stamina/Guard regeneration as you can and plenty of survivability feats.

Now, here’s the major adjustment for Mod 10.

Companion Setup  :


Note that I have used Loyal Commander instead of Defender companion gears. This loads my companion with Recovery instead of Defense. The key reason for this is to stack Recovery into my Guardian Fighter using Bonding runestones in order to lower the cooldown of my encounters as much as possible.

Now some are probably Wondering why I chose to go with a Stalwart Golden Lion, that’s because this companion has a taunt that also buffs my entire party with Radiant Weapon stacks which can increase their DPS by 2% per stack. It’s not a lot but every little boost helps.

Insignia Bonuses :


Try to load you Guardian Fighter with as many self-healing mechanics as you can put on it. This helps to keep you alive, and you can also run a party with a Cleric that focuses on buffs and debuffs rather than heals.

Encounter Setup  :


This is the main reason for going Iron Vanguard. Threatening Rush allows you to forego slotting Enforced Threat as a way to mark multiple targets. This means that I can now slot Frontline Surge which will not only send mobs prone, they will also receive a Crushing Pin debuff.

So, counting everything you have in your party, Into the Fray gives your party a 35% damage boost, Crushing Pin from Frontline Surge gives an additional 10%, and mark targets have their defensive mitigation reduced by 5% thanks to Enhanced Mark class feature combined with the off-hand power. That’s a 50% damage increase. This is not 100% of the time since Crushing Pin only lasts 3 seconds, which is why you want your cooldowns to be very short.


Commander’s Strike also got reworked in Mod 10. It’s another great way to add more DPS to your party as a whole, especially if you’re running with classes that have encounters that deal massive damage (like GWFs). With this setup, you will be dealing a lot of damage while tanking and it’s also a good way to get some aggro as the damage will be credited to you. You will want to use Threatening Rush to mark multiple targets before casting Commander’s Strike, you can also just mark single targets if you want. This is also a good setup to use against bosses.