Guardian Fighter Back to Earth With Module 10 Changes

The Storm Kings Thunder balance changes hit the Guardian Fighter class pretty hard with a few all-around nerfs. Both Into The Fray and burst damage, which made the tank a beast in PVE and PVP, have been toned down. With a little help of @dolrey, who contributed to the article, we dig into the changes and try to break down the implications for the class.

Into The Fray no longer overpowered

Guardian Fighter Buff AnimationPVE had a massive problem on the tank front. GFs severely outperformed Paladins, making them the clear choice in endgame groups. The main issue was Into The Fray, specifically its synergy with Devoted Clerics. Not only could Guardian Fighters stack defense to enhance the ITF buff, but certain DC spells would add to it as well. The devs got rid of both problems by making ITF a flat buff.

The change to ITF was necessary, but I personally don’t like that Tide of Iron got nerfed as well. It no longer provides a team debuff, only one to the GF. In boss fights the power came with risks because it has a long animation and leaves the tank defenseless. So it had to be timed well and was a high reward skill-shot. The change essentially removes the power from group play.

The other notable change is the one to the Steel Defense. The devs reduced the damage immunity the class feature grants to 3.5 seconds, down from 6. This change is kind of connected to ITF and buffing builds, because it affects Tacticians the most. Because of Steel Defense Guardian Fighters had all the protection they needed across all feat paths. And since Tacticians generate Action Points at a higher rate, they could basically keep Steel Defense up constantly.

Tank classes move closer together in PVE

With the changes, Oathbound Paladins and Guardian Fighters are moving closer together in PVE. The GF probably is still the superior buffer, but the Paladin should be the more potent tank in Storm Kings Thunder. With the new Everfrost Damage, which is piercing damage and can only be mitigated by Everfrost Resistance, Hit Points gain significantly more weight. The Pally can gain a decent amount of temporary HPs while the GF is lacking a comparable source. It’s helping a bit though that Azures can be exchanged for Radiants now. GFs obviously no longer need to overstack defense.

No more one-shotting

ITF has also been an issue in PVP. It was part of a lethal rotation that enabled one-shotting opponents at will. The Guardian Fighter next to TRs were basically the only class that could kill in a 1v1 situation. The devs not only took away ITFs potency, but also nerfed a possible replacement in Knight’s Challenge and the main damage dealer and finisher Anvil of Doom. The one-shot capabilities of the class are therefore gone.

Other single target spells were widely buffed. Theoretically this means players now have more option in terms of DPS, but with the nerfs some could also just redefine their roles and return to defensive node holders. Some player might also try to build something around the buffed Steel Blitz and damage over time abilities.


I think the changes are responsible. For different reasons the GF ruled PVE and PVP and the devs brought the class back to earth. Guardian Fighters are still desirable in both game modes, but no longer the clear cut favorite over other options.

What’s your take on the tweaks? Share it in the comments below or visit the corresponding thread on our message board.

j0Shi

j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter inspired by the DPS builds of Envy and Rokuthy, he has built up ALTs of all classes and finished Module 5 with five characters in full legendaries and BiS/near-BiS level.

19 thoughts on “Guardian Fighter Back to Earth With Module 10 Changes

  • August 23, 2016 at 7:16 am
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    Are we playing the same game we ruled lol no we didn’t. Secondly why does perfect world cryptic our who ever not understand you are pissing off your customers.We spent countless hours and huge amounts of money building this character only to have it trashed. Why not buff everyone else to balance the roles instead of now making us trash. Third I love how you praise this change I wonder what ties you have to the company our what class you run.

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  • August 23, 2016 at 7:23 am
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    I see you were “originally” a gf but now are running another class how convienant. How about poll everyone that’s main is a gf and see how they feel about this “down to earth change” ha. I would put money down they don’t feel the same.

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    • October 20, 2016 at 5:18 am
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      I have only been playing this game since the first wk it hit he ps4, but ive been a GF since then…I am 100% pissed about what they have done to the GF class…So pissed that I’m almost to the point where I feel like not even playing this game anymore…The HR never got “nerf” when I’m wearing the full burning pvp gear set and they still have unlimited stunlock, and I have a pvp build set

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  • August 23, 2016 at 8:59 am
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    GF is still dangerous in PvP, just not one-shot geared people anymore (I hope). Now HRs deal sick piercing… OPness moved from one to another.

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  • August 23, 2016 at 1:07 pm
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    Meh..

    GF is far superior option due to its buffs still vastly superior in pve. They can still match top end striker damage as well..
    GF is a top 3 class in pvp.

    They nerfs just made them go from crazy sick gods in both.. to just mere gods.

    I would not over emphasis the term “nerf” here.

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  • August 23, 2016 at 1:37 pm
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    This article by someone who clearly is out of the loop with the high end pvp community. Never seen joshi premade. GF is still overpowered. Maybe you should do some research and check out Ryu’s build.

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    • August 24, 2016 at 7:29 am
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      Thanks for your input!

      Unfortunately we can’t cover all classes equally and the article should be more seen as a rough round-up of the changes as seen on preview. It’s not even close to the in-depth analysis of the SW from Kolat and Fernuu. We additionally underline that we also feel PVP is not as well represented around here. But the main reason for this is the PVP community itself, which doesn’t seem overly interested to share stuff to a broad audience. It’s not that we’re not asking 😉

      Everyone is invited to write stuff and share it with our 30,000+ users. We’re a community project, not a personal blog. In case you’re interested in a follow-up that covers PVP or specific builds, contact us.

      Regards

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      • August 26, 2016 at 3:53 pm
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        Unfortunately, neither Fernuu nor Kolat are good high end PVP players. This place is great content but I hope you guys can get some folks from Synergy or Forsaken Rebels EOA to do writeups

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  • August 23, 2016 at 11:06 pm
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    After some changes on preview in last patches of m10 EV damage became working properly with GF’s defencive abilities. For example shield block now blocks EV damage and [Fighter’s recovery]+[Guarded assault] now works and with EV damage.

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  • August 24, 2016 at 7:20 am
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    Typical filler content post with no research behind it. Ask Siulents or any other GF.. They are fine.

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    • August 24, 2016 at 10:58 pm
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      Yes GFs got some nerfs and some bonuses.

      In PvP GFs damage was re-distributed from 3-skill combo (ITF+BC+AoD) and now it is problematic to defeat equal-equipped opponent immediately using just 3 skills.

      GFs feel themselves really nice because they able to push again and again their opponent what ends with a victory if your target have not enough defencive stats and health regeneration.

      What about new PvE the greatest danger was EV damage which in first versions of client on preview had been piercing everything. That is why I guessed that if it had not been changed GF would had some troubles in tanking.

      But as we see now developers did their job perfect and GF now really competitive as a tank and very usefull in PvP.

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  • August 25, 2016 at 8:17 am
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    ive spent 2 years building up my gf —- feel like I have been robbed

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  • August 25, 2016 at 3:49 pm
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    Meh. GFs are still way overpowered in pvp. HR’s piercing damage doesn’t mean much except with full combat (which can’t survive on a node) since HR animations are slow, awkward and buggy. There are gimmicks like the rod of impertial restraint to hold someone in Plant Growth once a minute but otherwise the only sources of burst damage that HRs have are are the slowest and most awkward – bear trap and gushing wound – or the most easily avoided, i.e. plant growth. Tl;dr: GF stll overpowered with instantaneous animations, target lock and ridiculous damage, HR still not competitive against players who know what they’re doing.

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    • August 25, 2016 at 11:20 pm
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      Yes I and some other players also have some suggestions about this but there is need in some more time to test it.

      Still, it is worth noting that GF’s 3-skill combo was nerfed. And it is not possible for GF to defeat equal-equipped target instantly. Maybe the point was in difference in equipment I suppose.

      But as I had already wrote maybe you are right and maybe after some tests I’ll write feedback thread at the official forum dedicated to this.

      Reply
  • August 27, 2016 at 1:17 pm
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    Ha ha ha,gf rules the pve/pvp…

    They play their game?

    Because in my opinion gf rules nothing since paladin are there, and u even said at end of your post ” The Pally can gain a decent amount of temporary HPs while the GF is lacking a comparable source. ” and it is not a news.
    When u said gain a descent amount u can really said all his life bar is full of temporary hp they never grow down in fight. Pally are in god mode in pvp / pve ,i means nobody can kill them and if u stay in front of them in pvp u die.

    Paladin take job of tank from gf. Now devs nerf gf they go in dd ,seriously they have better to remove completly this class if they dont want it in their game;

    So paladin make pity? Gf are op? We dont play same game definately.

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  • August 28, 2016 at 3:30 am
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    So I play a gf on the Xbox I’m expecting this sometime in October I’m straight pvp around 4K il it’s all I’ve ever done is it going to be that noticeable ? I’ve always said we needed turning down but from what I read in the threads and patch notes it seems we’ve been turned off ?

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  • August 29, 2016 at 8:33 am
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    I main a gf and personally I can understand the “fix” of BC and ITF. I am not totally sure why they touched combat superiority but the have nerfed this class to the ground. A paladin is hands down a better tank cause of its god mode encounter “binding oath” and not to mention gaining a 100% of temp hp with one encounter “templar Wrath”. In pvp gf are plain as day a buffer with a shield. ThE supposed goal was to give gfs a long term dmg than burst dmg but with the healing procing of insignias, boons, lifesteal, potions and other encounters. A 1vs1 scenario where a gf wud win is probably 0% if they are of the same gear score. Dev’s took out a one rotating class but are blind in seeing how a trip can spam their daily for an ultimate which can hit for up to 350k crit.

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  • September 5, 2016 at 12:07 am
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    Honestly. I was a new player on the ps4. only reason i started playing was because a friend talked me into giving it a try rather than ESO, which i play regularly. Told me that it had been around for a few years now, had it’s act together so It would be a stable game. I created a GF, I spent actual money getting things like a fast mount once I decided i liked the game enough and my character and was having fun. I spent money on the Champions of the North pack, because it looked cool and I figured i’d be playing this game for a while. Then I read that my character is getting nerfed and I start reading about this Mod 10. I hear all this talk about PVP. I hate playing PVP so couldn’t care less. other games I play like ESO and Warframe have debuffs and nerfs that only apply when playing PVP. Cryptic could have just done that and left the character alone, but then I sw the nerf on villainous Menace, which was the only reason I created a Gf in the first place, to create a throwback character to Champions of Norrath’s Return to Arms (the Lizardman Shaman). I read more about the nerfs and kept thinking, Every Paladin I see is already a better tank tham my GF, already does a better DPS, and gets to be immune to all effects in their little circle. Then Control wizards have a buff that lets them automatically heal the party for more than the Devoted Clerics do with their divine light healing buff, and I’m wondering why its okay for other classes to remain unbalanced, and my class to get crippled into something I didn’t wish to have wasted my money on when a simple PVP nerf and change would have sufficed. I don’t play MMO’s to PVP. I specifically ignore any MMO that has open world PVP. unfortunately I’m not getting my money back, and i’m not asking for it back. I am however not going to play anymore. It’s like buying a car, having that car repossessed, because the dealership thought it would be more fair if you had a mopad. I don’t want a mopad. Going back to ESO. it’s a better car anyways.

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  • October 10, 2016 at 2:08 pm
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    Some GFs have gotten their secret dose of ITF prebuffs that can slay Lostmauth and Orcus faster than a Stornghold Orc. I think this is the issue that the developers have in mind because as of now on PS4 there are barely any Protection Pallys in regards with ratio to Guardian Fighters.

    Simply put a Buff Debuff Cleric with Hallowed Ground and Break the Spirit, then add in a Scourge Warlock with either his Daily Debuff or Warlock’s Curse, Then either have a Control Wizard proc Enfeeblement plus Lantern, and a Hunter Ranger buff the party with Longstrider’s shot, then top it off with the Secret Prebuff plus Into the Fray from the Guardian Fighter and Orcus goes down in less than 30 seconds. The changes to the Guardian Fighter will definitely be noticeable come Mod 10 rolls around consoles because of the sheer fact that instead of stacking defense as a GF to up your ITF damage given now you have to stack Recovery to get ITF up faster which seems like the more suitable choice for Mod 10. So I will now have to get my Silvery Enchants to rank 12(which I still haven’t done so) just to get ready for Mod 10.

    Its a total pain in the ass that after I have spent so much money trying to get my Guardian Fighter to end game viability after being shouted profanities from high end builds when I get one shotted at Castle Never and Master Demogorgon. Now I have to spend another amazing amount of time and effort just to keep up with Mod 10 changes. That’s foul in my opinion. Cryptic and Arc could’ve made changes to our character that would entail us not to completely do an overhaul with our build but instead still have to adjust but no. Now I have to rethink this whole build all over again, And I get it, some better known Guardian FIghters are already well adjusted and have brushed away the woes of the GF nerf but as a Playstation 4 player with little time on playing Neverwinter then we get hit with a curveball out of nowhere when I’ve finally found purpose in this character is a total dick move on the part of Cryptic and Arc. At least what they could have done is delayed Mod 10 on PS4 for a year.

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