LotRO - Guardian Class Guide Skills Overview

Updated Thu, Sep 16, 2010 by gunky

LotRO Guardian Guide



Guardians are a rather complex class, with different roles defined by different circumstances. Soloing will require a different rotation of skills than running an instance with a full fellowship, for example, and running a 12-man raid will require modifications from the 6-man fellowship setup.  

Threat-Building Skills

These are the "tanking" skills, the ones that specifically generate threat. Using these skills will make the Guardian the preferred target - as it should be.

A Dwarf Guardian

"This.. is my BOOM STICK!"

  • Vexing Blow - A quick swipe that does moderate damage. Can be improved with a class trait to affect multiple targets in a frontal arc.

  • Sheild-Blow - A solid shove with the shield, effective against a single target. This attack does good damage, and can be improved with the use of shield spikes. An Improved version at level 54 does more damage and generates more threat. This skill is only available when a shield is equipped.

  • Engage - Does no damage, but applies a slowing debuff and forces aggro - the recipient will target the Guardian immediately regardless of how much threat he has built up. When the effect expires, the mob will attack whoever has the highest threat rating.

  • Fray the Edge - A non-damaging shout that generates threat and applies a debuff, making the target slightly more likely to fall vitcim to a random conjunction. This debuff stacks, increasing the likelihood of triggering a random conjunction with each use, and can be improved with traits to stack up to a 30% chance to trigger a random FM.

  • Challenge - A non-damaging, area-effect shout that forces aggro on up to 3 enemies. This has a fairly small radius at 7 meters, but is often enough to yank troublesome mobs off the healer in a pinch.

  • Block Response Chain - When an enemy blow is blocked by the Guardian's shield, a reaction chain opens up. These skills are only available when a shield is equipped. All of the block reaction skills generate threat.

    • Shield-Swipe - A brutal double-whammy attack with shield and weapon. This affects a single target, and the shield attack can be improved with the use of shield spikes. Using this skill negates the use of Litany of Defiance and Catch a Breath until another blow is blocked.

    • Bash - The Guardian charges up and hurls all of his bodyweight against the target. This attack does good damage and stuns the recipient. This skill is only available after using Shield-Swipe.

    • Shield-Taunt - A non-damaging, area-effect skill. The Guardian bashes his weapon against his shield and presumably says rotten things about the targets' mothers. This skill is only available after using Shield-Swipe.

    • Shield Smash - This is a legendary skill that can be acquired at level 39 and up, and can only be used after Bash or Shield Taunt. This one does very good damage.

    • Litany of Defiance - An area-effect shout that generates threat over time and affects up to 5 targets. The Defender of the Free capstone legacy improves this skill, allowing it to affect 5 more targets. Using this skill negates the use of Shield-Swipe and Catch a Breath until another blow is blocked.

  • Whirling Retaliation - An attack from the Parry response chain, this is an area-effect attack attack that does moderate damage to up to 5 enemies within a 5-meter radius. This attack does not generate extra threat, but siphons off some of the threat from any fellowship members within 10 meters and transfers it to the Guardian. Can only be used after Retaliation.

  • Challenge the Darkness - This is a legendary trait that can be acquired at level 39 and up. This is an area-effect, non-damaging skill that forces aggro and applies the same defensive buff as Guardian's Ward.

General Damage-Dealing

The "other guys." These skills do not generate extra threat but have a number of other practical uses.

A Man Guardian

A Guardian preparing to lay some smack down.

  • Guardian's Ward -This skill does decent damage and adds a defensive buff, increasing Block and Parry ratings, Partial Block and Parry chance, and decreasing armor wear.

  • Sting - A quick attack that does moderate damage. This gets improved at level 52 to Improved Sting, which adds a bleed for 10 seconds and removes one corruption upon expiration.

  • Sweeping Cut - An area-effect double attack that hits up to 3 targets in a frontal arc. This skill does moderate damage per swipe.

  • Stamp - A downward front kick that does modest damage and interrupts inductions.

  • Salt the Wound - On its own, this skill does moderate damage against a single target. When used in conjunction with Thrust from the Parry response chain, it increases the bleed damage.

  • Parry Response Chain - When an enemy blow is parried by the Guardian's weapon, this reaction chain opens up. This chain does not require a shield to be equipped and can be used in conjunction with Overpower stance.

    • Retaliation - This is the "gate" skill that opens up the rest of the chain. Does good damage.

    • Overwhelm - Can only be used after Retaliation. This attack does a crushing downward blow, which stuns the target on a critical hit.

    • Thrust - Can only be used after Retaliation. This attack does moderate damage and applies a bleed.

    • To the King - A legendary skill that can be acquired at level 45 by completing both class quests. It can only be used after using Overwhelm or Thrust. Does very high damage and applies a run speed debuff, and has a chance of knocking the target to the ground, opening up a conjunction.

  • Let Fly - This one is not a melee attack, but the Guardian's sole ranged attack with a bow or crossbow. It does good damage. Best used for doing ranged pulls.

  • Take to Heart - A quick attack that drains power from the target and returns it twofold to the Guardian. This skill costs morale to use, and it does good damage.

  • Overpower - Guardians can use most of their melee skills while in Overpower stance, except those that require a shield. These skills can only be used in Overpower stance, and all do high damage.

    • Force Opening - A big hit that opens up the Parry response chain on a successful hit.

    • Stagger - When attacking from behind, or on a critical hit, this blow applies a debuff that slow the recipient's run and attack speeds.

    • Brutal Assault - A big, powerful hit that does very high damage and has an awesome death-metal-sounding name.


These are toggled skills that affect various aspects while active. Only one stance may be active at a time.

A Hobbit Guardian

This Mountain-Drake is about to get Maddened.  Oh, wait....

  • Guardian's Defense - This one increases Block chance, Partial Block chance, and Partial Block mitigation, and reduces wear on the shield from blocks. Activate this defensive stance if you wish to open the Block response chain and use Catch a Breath more often. Since the Block response chain skills all generate additional threat, this is a good stance for lower-level tanking, or for Guardians who do not have the Guardian's Threat legendary skill slotted. This stance can be activated without a shield, but it is pointless to do so.

  • Guardian's Parry - This one increases Parry chance, Partial Parry chance, and Partial Parry mitigation, and reduces wear on the weapon from parrying. This stance can be used without a shield. Activate this stance to open up the Parry response chain more often. This is generally a better DPS stance than Guardian's Defense and may be more useful when threat-generation is not important, as none of the Parry response skills generate additional threat.

  • Guardian's Threat - A legendary skill that can be acquired at level 39 and up. This stance increases the amount of perceived threat a Guardian generates by 20%.  It also decreases armor wear from hits and increases Block and Parry ratings. It can be used with or without a shield.  Activate this stance to generate more threat and hold aggro easier, or when grouped with Hunters and other aggro-magnets. Because it increases the rating for both Block and Parry, using this stance will open up both of those response chains more frequently than having no stance active.

  • Overpower -This stance requires a two-handed weapon to be equipped. Overpower increases damage output 15% and ramps up the power cost for skills by 30%. It lowers Evade chance, but also decreases wear on weapons from parries. This stance is useful for soloing and PvMP where big damage is needed and power consumption is generally not a big issue. Some Guardians will stay in Overpower while tanking for a group, forsaking the defense of a shield for brute offensive power.


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